Help get your first trip to Jakarta off on the right foot with our tips on what to expect in Indonesia’s Big Durian.
Weather: Pack sun-protection products for the trip. It’ll be hot no matter when you visit tropical Jakarta, with temperatures generally in the mid- to upper-20s Celsius year round. Floods are common during the heaviest periods of rainfall (January and February) in the wet season, which generally lasts from October to May.
Visas: As of 2015, travellers from more than 40 countries, including USA and many in Asia and Europe, need not obtain a visa prior to arrival in Jakarta. Free tourist visas valid for up to 30 days are granted at immigration.
Traffic Concerns: Standstill traffic jams are an everyday reality in Jakarta, so it’s crucial to plan ahead and give yourself as much time as possible to avoid being late for important meetings, events, and other functions. If you don’t, you may miss it all together.
Tipping: Tipping is fairly commonplace in Jakarta, particularly in restaurants, hotels, and taxis. Tip servers Rp15,000 to 30,000 (US$1.10 to $2.20), while Rp15,000 to 20,000 (US$1.10 to $1.50) per day is sufficient for the housekeeping staff. If a porter assists with your luggage, tip him Rp10,000 for each bag. Tips for taxi drivers vary based on the fare and journey—err on the slightly generous side for good service.
Drinking Water: Do not drink water from the tap in Jakarta —stick to sealed bottled water, even for brushing your teeth. However, the water is perfectly safe for bathing.
Safety: Most tourists do not have any unpleasant encounters in Jakarta, which is a generally safe city with little violent crime. That said, keep your wits about you while walking in some areas after dark, particularly in the fringes of Kota Tua and in Glodok, where there are occasional robberies.