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Rest, Relaxation and Recreation in Jakarta

Once you have settled into the regular activities of your new life in Jakarta, you will begin to think about how to enjoy your leisure time in your new home. There are a good number of recreation and sports activities available in Jakarta that will appeal to various members of the family.

Many expatriate homes have their own swimming pool and housing complexes and apartments often have a pool and other facilities, such as: fitness center, and tennis courts. Sometimes it's nice to go out for a change of atmosphere and to socialize, and the ideal place is one of the family-oriented sports clubs.

The American Embassy Recreation Association or AERA, usually called just the American Club, is very popular and centrally located in Kebayoran Baru. Membership is open to Americans and limited numbers of other nationalities. The facilities include an open-air restaurant and air-conditioned bar/restaurant, family recreation room, children's playroom, a well equipped fitness center, large swimming pool and small pooland play area for young children, as well as basketball and tennis courts. AERA offers a wide variety of classes and activities and monthly celebrationsof special events.

Private business clubs offer social and business entertaining facilities and activities.

Family Outing Fun

For family fun outings here are a few suggestions:

  • Go-carting at Speedy Karting, Plaza Semanggi.
  • Paintball at Splash Paintball.
  • Patriot Paintball Sport at Alam Sutra housing complex in Serpong.
  • Ice skating at Skyrink in Taman Anggrek Mall.

There are several water parks where children can enjoy swimming in various kinds of swimming pools with water slides, etc. One is Lippo Cikarang in Bekasi, to spend a day at WaterBoom Lippo Cikarang Tel. 8990-7711), a beautifully landscaped water park. Ancol Dreamland in North Jakarta also features the popular Atlantis Water Adventures (Tel. 2922-2222) with a large swimming pool with slides, wave pool, and children's pool.

For more fun activities, try Waterbom Pantai Indah Kapuk with 19 world-class water slides including The Hairpin, Aquatube, Speed Slide, The Whizzard, Twizter and others (Jl Pantai Indah Barat No 1 Pantai Indah Kapuk).

Scuba Diving is not a sport for younger children certainly but older kids may enjoy the challenge. Before you and your offspring venture out into the deep blue sea however, you’d better practice with a proper teacher. A number of dive schools offer scuba classes in Jakarta. If you need a refresher course or are a beginning you can learn the basics in swimming pools in Jakarta prior to going out in open waters across the Indonesina archipelago.

For sports enthusiasts there are numerous expatriate community sports clubs where members get together to indulge in their favorite pastime.

Over 40 golf courses located in and around Jakarta are open daily from sunrise to sunset, and with very reasonable charges, making Jakarta a golfer's paradise in Indonesia!

To learn a little more about the cultures and ethnic groups across the Indonesian archipelago, you might consider a visit to Taman Mini Indonesia Indah or the "Beautiful Indonesia in Miniature Park"; it's advisable to go on a weekday as Sundays in particular can be extremely crowded. The park features full size replicas of traditional houses from all the provinces of the Indonesian archipelago with displays of clothing, arts and handicrafts inside each house, numerous museums with different themes, bird aviary, orchid garden, a man-made lake with the islands of Indonesia, as well as a monorail, and cable cars. The park was established in 1975 so some of the exhibitions are in need of upgrading, while others are newer and are quite interesting.

At Taman Ismail Marzuki in Central Jakarta there is a planetarium with shows twice daily. A presentation in English can be arranged in advance.

The Ragunan Zoo in South Jakarta, not far from popular expatriate residential areas, is home to over 250 species from Indonesia and throughout the world and is set in over 135 hectares of parklands. This is a relatively green and shady place where you can enjoy walking or cycling and a picnic lunch. Once again it's best to avoid Sundays and public holidays as it's very crowded. Some areas of the zoo are in need of upgrading, however there are some privately sponsored exhibitions that are very nice.

Taman Impian Jaya Ancol or Ancol Dreamland is a huge oceanfront recreational facility in North Jakarta featuring the water park mentioned above, a marina for boating, a golf course, as well as the following theme parks and attractions:

  • Dunia Fantasi "Fantasy World" - rides include roller coasters, bumper cars, flume ride, carousel, and boat ride.
  • Sea World Ancol & Ocean Dream Samudra - variety animal show, birds and orangutan show, sea lion show, dolphin show, as well as a boat ride through tropical gardens.
  • Sea World - large tanks with all sorts of sea creatures, touching pool with starfish, anemones, and walk through underwater tunnel where you are surrounded by sharks, turtles, manta rays and other marine life.

Read Fun Things for Kids to do in Jakarta for some more ideas!

Many shopping centers and malls have food courts, restaurants, and indoor recreation facilities such as rides and arcade games, as well as multiplex cinemas. Many of the latest movies are screened in Jakarta not too long after their international release, with English audio and Indonesian subtitles.

Most quality cinemas belong to the Cinema 21 chain and movie schedules can be found at their website, giving a listing of theatres, movies, and playing times. Premiere service theaters can be found at most of the 21 theatres that are located in the popular malls in Jakarta. Premiere theatres have their own ticket booth and exclusive lounges where moviegoers can relax and enjoy snacks and cocktails while waiting for the movie to start. Your snack can also be served to you within the theatre and a blanket provided so that guests need not worry about being too cold in the air conditioning. The seating in the Premiere theatres is made luxurious by giving each guest their own Lazyboy- type reclining chair that has a foot rest and can recline to the guests specific preference.

CGV Cinemas is a smaller movie chain that is located in Grand Indonesia and Pacific Place, Central Park and 7 other locations around the city. Not only do they screen most of the popular American films that are released, but also offer their clients a more international selection of films. Often current Indian, Taiwanese, and European films are often playing at one of their locations.

There are also many excellent art galleries and museums in Jakarta. Cultural performances are held regularly at Taman Ismail Marzuki and Gedung Kesenian Jakarta, the city's premier fine arts centers. They hold local and foreign performances, including ballet, theatre, symphony orchestras, choirs, chamber music, and traditional Indonesian Puppetry or "Wayang Orang".

Ciputra Entrepreneur Theater, located in Lottee Shopping Avenue is a 2000 seat theatre that often hosts international dance and theatre companies. Schedules of upcoming performances and events can be found on their website.

While their activities are mostly geared for adults, the Indonesia Heritage Society is a great organization to join if you want to learn about the incredibly diverse and fascinating Indonesian culture and arts.

It can also be very enjoyable to spend your leisure time exploring some of the older parts of the city. One of the most interesting places to visit is Sunda Kelapa Harbour with its fleet of traditional phinisi sailing boats, the old Dutch lookout tower, and the Maritime Museum in a former Dutch East Indies company warehouse. Be sure to visit Pasar Ikan (fish market) and nearby Fatahillah Square where you can tour the Jakarta History Museum or nearby Wayang Museum orenjoy a meal at the famous Café Batavia Restaurant.

There certainly is some kind of recreation for everyone in Jakarta!

For more contact information on recreational and relaxation opportunities in Jakarta, check out community posts on the Living in Indonesia Expat Forum.

Our thanks to Colliers International for their generous contribution of this article!

Last updated April 10, 2019