jakarta travel guideBecause political unrest has driven away most casual visitors, there is an oversupply of hotel rooms, and you can usually negotiate for better rates. Most hotels quote rates in U.S. dollars, but smaller ones and those outside the central business district also offer rupiah packages for those who ask, and these are generally a better value.

Budget accommodation is available in backpackers’ alley—Jalan Jaksa—just two blocks south of Merdeka Square and a 15-minute walk from the Gambir train station. On the north side, Chinatown also offers a number of budget hotels as well as some more luxurious choices. There are also some good deals to be had on luxury options.

For most travelers, Jakarta, Indonesia, is either part of a business trip or a pit stop on the way to more popular tourist destinations such as Bali and Yogyakarta. In truth, most find little that makes them want to linger in Indonesia’s capital: A large, crowded city on the island of Java, Jakarta evokes few beautiful or memorable images. One exception is the Gedung Kesenian Jakarta, the city’s art building.