Rich cultural heritage, vibrant nightlife, mind-blowly delicious cuisine and colourful streets… have I piqued your interest yet?

Well, let me introduce you to Jakarta. The capital city of Indonesia and an all-around badass city that you should have firmly placed on your budget list.

Jakarta is filled with colourful neighborhoods, each offering its own unique character and distinct personality. From the Sudirman Central Business District with its classy wine bars to the Old Town of Kota with its Dutch influence and historic museums.

Deciding where to stay in Jakarta can be confusing, especially if you’ve never visited the city before. The best area to stay in completely depends on you, your interests and your budget.

Fortunately, you’ve got me here! I’ve been around the block a fair few times in this sprawling city and have compiled the best areas to stay in (in my humble opinion).

I’ve categorised them by interest and budget. I’ve also included the best places to stay and things to do in each. After reading this guide, you should be all ready to rock’n roll and lock in your stay in Jakarta.

So, without further ado – let’s get down to business and find the best place in Jakarta for you!

boat touring down a river in jakarta
Cruise through Jakarta with my guide

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Where is the Best Place to Stay in Jakarta?

Backpacking Indonesia and wondering where to stay in Jakarta? With so many incredible neighborhoods to choose from, it can be overwhelming for a first-time visitor. Here are my highest recommendations for places to stay in this exotic Indonesian capital: 

Mercure Jakarta Kota | Best Hotel in Jakarta

Frangipani trees over a bottom lit pool at the Mercure Jakarta Kota Hotel

The 4-star Mercure Jakarta Kota is located close to Jakarta’s fascinating Old Town, full of fascinating cultural attractions and fabulous restaurants. Facilities at this luxurious hotel include a swimming pool, a spa, free on-site parking, two restaurants, and a fitness center. As well as these modern amenities set in colonial architecture, you have sensational street food stalls almost on your doorstep, what’s not to love?

The Packer Lodge | Best Hostel in Jakarta

The common room at the Packer Lodge, Jakarta Indonesia

Located in the heart of Chinatown, the Packer Lodge offers shared dorms and private en-suite rooms with FREE breakfast, free Wi-Fi, and a free train station shuttle. You can look forward to having a shared kitchen for meal prepping, a communal lounge, and a terrace to hang out on during your stay. 

Need to spend some quality time with fellow backpackers? Get your fix by staying at one of these amazing backpacker hostels in Jakarta!

Apartment with amazing view | Best Apartment in Jakarta

well lit spacious white Apartment with amazing view, Jakarta Indonesia

Now, this apartment might not be the cheapest but looking at the great design and amazing view of the city, it’s definitely worth the nightly price. Located close to the Sudirman Central Business District park, you’ll also have access to the gym and infinity pool in this apartment complex. The space is sparkling clean and was furnished with a proper eye for detail.

Jakarta Neighborhood Guide – Best Places to Stay in Jakarta

FIRST TIME IN JAKARTA
Mangga Dua, Jakarta
FIRST TIME IN JAKARTA

Mangga Dua

Mangga Dua is Jakarta’s world-famous shopping hub. In fact, it’s one of the largest shopping areas in all of Southeast Asia! From Mangga Dua Square where many big concerts are held to Mangga Dua Mall with its excellent retail store bargains, you’ll have no shortage of things to do.

ON A BUDGET
Glodok, Jakarta
ON A BUDGET

Glodok

Welcome to Glodok, Jakarta’s lively Chinatown. Home to most of the capital’s Chinese population, this neighborhood offers great food, bargain markets, ornate oriental temples and – the best part – super cheap prices!

NIGHTLIFE
SCBD, Jakarta
NIGHTLIFE

Sudirman Central Business District

Wondering where to stay in Jakarta for nightlife? The 111-acre Sudirman Central Business District, also known as the SCBD, is one of the best areas to stay in Jakarta – and not just because of its excellent location.

COOLEST PLACE TO STAY
Jakarta Old Town, Jakarta
COOLEST PLACE TO STAY

Jakarta Old Town (Kota Tua)

Jakarta’s Old Town, Kota Tua, is the best neighborhood in Jakarta to stay in. Why? It’s situated around Taman Fatahillah Square in North Jakarta. It’s the oldest part of the city and there’s a pleasing mix of the historic and modern here.

FOR FAMILIES
Ancol, Jakarta
FOR FAMILIES

Ancol

Are you wondering where to stay in Jakarta for families? We’d recommend Ancol, the marina district for its excellent family-friendly attractions.

Jakarta, the capital of Indonesia is a city that’s full of life. Despite being a sprawling metropolis, it manages to retain a friendly, laidback atmosphere. You immediately feel right at home here. Whatever your Best Itinerary Activities in Jakarta, there is a neighborhood in town for you.

Residential or urban, distinctly Chinese to carefree Bohemian, each neighborhood has something special to offer a first-time visitor to Jakarta.

Looking to indulge in a bit of retail therapy and explore boutiques at bargain prices? Mangga Dua is the best area in Jakarta to stay in.

Kota Tua (Old Town) Blurb

Central Jakarta Blurb

Families will find more options to suit them in Ancol, home to the famous Ancol Dreamland. This enormous resort park is home to multiple theme parks, waterparks, aquariums, and more. You’ll have no problem keeping the kids entertained!

If it’s nightlife you’re after, then you’ll have to stay near the SCBD, the Sudirman Central Business District. In this central Jakarta neighborhood, you’ll find no shortage of quirky wine bars, restaurants, and nightclubs open until the early hours.

Glodok, Jakarta’s Chinatown, is the best neighborhood to stay in Jakarta if you’re looking to save a bit of money. You’ll find all sorts of great deals here, from affordable places to eat and sleep, to cheap souvenirs and gifts for the home.

So whether it’s botique shops, nightlife, family activities, or sightseeing you’re after, you’re bound to find a Jakarta neighborhood to suit your needs. Here are our favorites:

Jakarta’s Five Best Neighborhoods to Stay in

Let’s take a closer look at the five best places to stay in Jakarta. Each offers its own appeal whether you’re holidaying here for the first or 50th time. With so many to choose from, I’ve narrowed them down to my absolute favorites.

Here are my top choices:

1. Mangga Dua – Where to Stay in Jakarta for Your First Time

Mangga Dua is Jakarta’s world-famous shopping hub. In fact, it’s one of the largest shopping areas in all of Southeast Asia! From Mangga Dua Square where many big concerts are held to Mangga Dua Mall with its excellent retail store bargains, you’ll have no shortage of things to do.

If you’re wondering where to stay in Jakarta for one night, Mangga Dua is a much more enjoyable option than staying near the airport.

Mangga Dua trade center, a shopping paradise, Jakarta
Mangga Dua Trade Center, a shopping paradise
Photo: Midori (WikiCommons)

The district of Mangga Dua is well-connected. You can get around using the TransJakarta or APTB buses.  Jakarta Kota Station and Kampung Bandan railway station of Jakarta Commuter Rail are both nearby.

When it comes to Jakarta accommodation, there are a few affordable backpackers but most of the accommodation here ranges from comfortable apartments to modern hotels. If you’re looking for a few recommendations, check out my suggested hotels and hostels below!

Novotel Mangga Dua | Best Hotel in Mangga Dua

Novotel Mangga Dua, Jakarta Indonesia

Relax in comfort inside a Deluxe Executive King Room at this 4-star hotel, just 30 minutes from the SCBD. Perks include free Wi-Fi, a lounge bar, and an Olympic-sized swimming pool. Mangga Dua Square and Ancol Dreamland Park are within a 10-minute drive from the hotel.

Pinx’s Hostel | Best Hostel in Mangga Dua

Pinx's Hostel, Jakarta Indonesia

Pinx’s is convinetly located, within walking distance to Train station Pasar Senen, which will take you almost anywhere you need to go in Java. Clean and comfortable beds with pod options, standard bunk dorms or even private rooms, pick what suits you. Perhaps more importantly than, or, the icing on the cake of the accesibility and comfort, there’s a Nasi Goreng stall just down the road that’s enakkkk (yummy)!

Sea View Apartment | Best Airbnb in Mangga Dua

Sea View Apartment, Jakarta Indonesia

Sunny, newly renovated and comfy, this three bedroom apartment is perfect for your first time in Jakarta to stay close to Mangga Dua. The shopping mall is just moments away, and you’re also close to public transport options. You can use the two on-site swimming pools and gym for free, making staying fit while you travel easy!

Things to See and Do in Mangga Dua

A close up photo of Will's hand with tattoos on the throttle of a motorcycle
Tattoos and scooters… Name a better combo.
Photo: Will Hatton
  1. Pick up some affordable electronics at Harco Mangga Dua or Mangga Dua Mall
  2. Hunt for affordable fashion at ITC Mangga Dua and Pasar Pagi Mangga Dua
  3. Check out the concert hall lineup at Mangga Dua Square
  4. Get a tattoo in Mangga Dua Square
  5. See an active volcano crater, see the bubbles and smokes, and hear its rumble on this volcano hike
  6. Enjoy a seafood dinner in Gunung Sahari Street
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2. Glodok – Best Place to Stay in Jakarta on a Budget

Welcome to Glodok, Jakarta’s lively Chinatown. Home to most of the capital’s Chinese population, this neighborhood offers great food, bargain markets, and ornate oriental temples.

Wander down the narrow alleyways and you’ll find all sorts of hidden gems. Perfect for foodies, Chinatown also offers some of the best restaurants in the capital – with great meals at a fraction of the cost.

Glodok, Jakarta

Staying in the Glodok is all about soaking up the energy of this compact neighborhood. The Jakarta accommodation you’ll find here is basic so don’t expect any frills, but the hotels are comfortable and clean and offer great value for money!

Sparks Life Jakarta | Best Hotel in Glodok

Sparks Life Jakarta, Indonesia

This 3-star botique hotel in Chinatown offers a choice of twin or double rooms and suites – all with free Wi-Fi, en-suite bathrooms, and air-conditioning. Guests can look forward to an outdoor spa pool, karaoke rooms, an on-site restaurant, and a spa. Car rental services are also available.

The Packer Lodge | Best Hostel in Glodok

The Packer Lodge, Jakarta Indonesia

Set in the heart of Chinatown, this hostel offers shared dorms and private en-suite rooms. Guests can enjoy access to a shared kitchen for meal prep, a communal lounge, and a terrace during their stay. Perks include free breakfast, free WI-Fi, and a free shuttle service to nearby train stations. 

Chinatown apartment | Best Airbnb in Glodok

Chinatown apartment, Jakarta Indonesia

A peaceful, comfortable apartment on the 10th floor of this building with a pool for swimming and a gym for getting those gains. This apartment is a five minute walk to Chinatown for all the wonder you can handle and provides a restful home to come back to. With an almost immediate response from Stephanie or her mum Lina, you’ll feel well looked after on your trip to Jakarta.

Things to See and Do in Glodok

Red lanterns in Chinatown
Red symbolizes good luck, happiness, and prosperity.
Image: Nic Hilditch-Short
  1. Enjoy the famous noodle dishes and wontons at Bakmi A-hin
  2. If you’re traveling through Jakarta Kota station, take your time to admire it. It’s one of the oldest train stations in Indonesia!
  3. Shop for Chinese lanterns and other souvenirs along Jalan Pancoran (Pancoran Street)
  4. Admire the gorgeous red Toa Se Bio Temple
  5. Pick up local produce and soak up the life of a local at Petak Sembilan market
  6. Try the signature rice dish at Gado-Gado Direksi
  7. Take a full-day tour of the cultural landmarks of Jakarta
  8. Treat yourself to Medan-style condensed milk coffee at Kopi Es Tak Kai

3. Sudirman Central Business District (SCBD), Central Jakarta – Best Area to Stay in Jakarta For Vibrant Nightlife

Wondering where to stay in central Jakarta for nightlife? The 111-acre Sudirman Central Business District, also known as the SCBD, is one of the best areas to stay. SCBD is in the heart of central Jakarta and not all business.

It’s one of the capital’s most hip and happening nightlife districts bordering the central park. This neighborhood is filled with tall skyscrapers and trendy bars, fabulous restaurants, and nightclubs open until late in central Jakarta.

SCBD, Jakarta

It’s easy to get around the SCBD. The neighborhood is in a central location and served by TransJakarta Corridor-1, ATPB, and many other bus providers. During working days, there are free shuttle buses for getting around the center every 10 minutes.

With so many nightlife venues in the area and Jakarta Cathedral to confess your sins, you won’t struggle to find a great place to stay. If retail therapy is more your thing, head to Central Park Mall to rebuild your good vibes. Take your pick of fancy five-star hotels or budget rooms – the SCBD has it all.

Ayaka Suites | Best Hotel in Central Jakarta (SCBD)

Ayaka Suites, Jakarta Indonesia

This 3-star hotel offers the best of everything: a great central Jakarta location, modern rooms, and an outdoor pool. Rooms for couples and families offer free Wi-Fi, buffet breakfast included, air-conditioning, and private bathrooms. Other features of the hotel include a spa, on-site restaurant, fitness center, and free private parking.

Djuragan Kamar Slipi | Best Apartment in Central Jakarta (SCBD)

Djuragan Kamar Slipi, Jakarta Indonesia

A private room for a hostel price, that’s nice. This apartment is kecil (small) but well appointed in terms of central location and design. A bed, room for your bits and a desk are neatly arranged in these rooms in the city center.

The building has lots of space to spread out if you are need to get some work done with indoor and outdoor communal areas. Make sure you visit Grand Indonesia Mall while you’re in the area and shop till you drop and easily pop home.

Apartment with amazing view | Best Apartment in Central Jakarta (SCBD)

Apartment with amazing view, Jakarta Indonesia

Now, this apartment has great design and amazing views of the capital city is definitely worth the nightly price. Located close to the park, the apartment is part of a complex, which means that you’ll also have access to the gym and infinity pool. The space feels like a botique hotel, is sparkling clean and furnished with a proper eye for detail in central Jakarta.

Things to See and Do in Central Jakarta (SCBD)

Korean BBQ
Mmmm… Korean BBQ.
Photo: Sasha Savinov
  1. Enjoy live music and a sundowner at Beer Garden SCBD
  2. Explore Jakarta’s community life, culture and diversity on Rizky’s private city tour
  3. Taste kimchi and other Korean classics in Legend of Noodle
  4. Take a short boat trip at Sunda Kelapa Old Harbor and get around the city like a local with Fajar
  5. Shop for high-end fashion at Plaza Senayan and Senayan City
  6. Visit Grand Indonesia Mall and shop till you drop or catch a movie
  7. Take a drive to explore the nearby museums: National Museum, Puppet Museum, and the Fine Arts and Ceramics Museum
  8. Tour Baduy Village and see traditional life without technology
  9. Visit and explore The Botanical Garden in Bogor, outside of the capital city, nestled in the mountains
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4. Jakarta Old Town (Kota Tua) – Coolest Place to Stay in Jakarta

Jakarta’s Old Town, Kota Tua, is the best neighborhood in Jakarta to stay in. Why? It’s situated around Taman Fatahillah Square in North Jakarta. It’s the oldest part of the city and there’s a pleasing mix of the historic and modern here.

Once known as Batavia during the city’s colonial days, this part of the city was established by the Dutch during the 16th century. It became a thriving trading hub but still remained surprisingly small while the rest of Jakarta developed around it into one of the largest cities on Earth.

Jakarta Old Town, Jakarta

Today, there’s not much that remains from this European settlement, but what does can be found inside the 0.8-mile area of Kota Tua. Take yourself on a self-guided walking tour and visit the historic sites, museums, and architecture that remain. A must-see is the Jakarta History Museum, I’d start there and enjoy the beauty of the colonial architecture around the area as you wander.

Bear in mind that as Jakarta Old Town is one of the best areas to stay and is close to many of Jakarta’s coolest attractions. The hotels here are slightly more expensive than other areas, but you’ll still be able to find some affordable options if you know where to look.

Mercure Jakarta Kota | Best Hotel in Kota Tua

Mercure Jakarta Kota Indonesia

The 4-star Mercure Jakarta Kota is located close to Jakarta’s fascinating Old Town, full of fascinating cultural attractions and fabulous restaurants. Facilities at this luxurious hotel include a swimming pool, a spa, free on-site parking, two restaurants, and a fitness center. As well as these modern amenities set in colonial architecture, you have sensational street food stalls almost on your doorstep, what’s not to love?

Wonderloft Hostel | Best Hostel in Kota Tua

Wonderloft Hostel, Jakarta Indonesia

This hostel is perfectly located in the heart of colonial Jakarta. Everything, including the nearby beaches and Batavia Cafe, is within easy reach. Guests can enjoy free breakfast, free Wi-Fi, a communal lounge, pool, and foosball tables, and a quiet room for yoga or reading. From city tours to karaoke, there’s always something happening here!

Urbanica Room | Best Airbnb in Kota Tua

Urbanica Room, Jakarta Indonesia

Airbnb’s in Kota Tua aren’t exactly abundant but this cozy room of Benny’s will set you up well for your stay in Old Town. All you need within walking distance of this epic apartment that feels like a botique hotel. Enjoy street food stalls around the area and if you do want to travel further afield, the bus stop is right outside.

Things to See and Do in Kota Tua

a large amount of Indonesian Rupiah in Bali
Rupiah, rupiah bills baby!
Photo: @amandaadraper
  1. Visit Kota Intan Bridge (also known as Chicken Market Bridge)
  2. Taste some of the local street food at Kota’s 1.8-acre central square
  3. Rent one of the city’s colorful bicycles for exploring at your own pace (matching colorful floppy hats included)
  4. Leave Jakarta for the day and explore Gede Pangrango National Park.
  5. Adventure through the past at the Jakarta History Museum
  6. Stop for a refreshment at Cafe Batavia, named after the former colonial name of the capital
  7. Visit the Jakarta History Museum, Maritime Museum or Wayang Museum

5. Ancol – Best Neighborhood in Jakarta for Families to Stay In

Are you wondering where to stay in Jakarta for families? I’d recommend Ancol, the marina district for its excellent family-friendly attractions.

Not only does it have a wonderful waterfront area to explore, known as Ancol Dreamland, but also a wide range of attractions for all ages. From Sea World and Ocean Dream Samudra to Dunia Fantasi (Fantasy World) and Atlantis Water Adventure, the opportunities are endless!

Ancol, Jakarta
Enjoy the sunrise before the city wakes up

Apart from that, there’s also Allianz Ecopark and an art market. Getting around Ancol is super easy – there is a bus and a gondola that offers aerial views of the neighborhood!

Wondering where to stay in Jakarta with kids? Check out our suggestions below.

Mercure Convention Center | Best Hotel in Ancol

Mercure Convention Center, Jakarta Indonesia

The epitome of where to stay in Jakarta for children, the Mercure Convention Center has an outdoor and an indoor play area for kids. Not only providing fun for the little ones, there’s a billiards and ping pong room so you can play too.

This luxury hotel has all the modern amenities and is located in Jakarta’s Dreamland Ancol Park. Accessibility is the name of the game at ercure Convention Center.

KINI Luxury Capsule | Best Hostel in Ancol

KINI Luxury Capsule, Jakarta Indonesia

Stay right in the heart of the action at this modern capsule hotel. It offers shared dorms with free Wi-Fi and towels. Activities are organized from Thursday to Sunday and include culinary walking tours, movie nights, and Batik craft classes. Facilities at this botique hotel include a communal lounge with foosball, ping pong, and more. 

East Ancol family flat | Best Airbnb in Ancol

East Ancol family flat, Jakarta Indonesia

I chose this apartment as the perfect stay in Jakarta for families. Located in East Ancol, you’re super close to the sea and cool attractions. The apartment accommodates 5 people and has an amazing view of the city since it’s located on the top floor. The host is very attentive and is known to have only the best recommendations for the area.

Things to See and Do in Ancol

a girl smiling and making a silly face taking a selfie with a local in indonesia
Ready for fun?!
Photo: @amandaadraper
  1. Enjoy the thrills and spills of Atlantis Water Adventure
  2. Ride the gondola to enjoy bird’s eye views of Ancol, the coastline and Jakarta
  3. Browse the Ecopark and art market
  4. Go for a walk and enjoy ice creams at the waterfront
  5. Hang out on Carnival and Festival beaches
  6. Go bowling at Jaya Bowling, the first and biggest bowling center in Indonesia
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FAQ about Finding a Place to Stay in Jakarta

Here’s what people usually ask me about the areas of Jakarta and where to stay.

What To Pack For Jakarta

Pants, socks, underwear, soap?! Take it from me, packing for a hostel stay is not always quite as straightforward as it seems. Working out what to bring and what to leave at home is an art I have perfected over many years.

Product
Description
Don’t Let Snorers Keep You Awake!
Don’t Let Snorers Keep You Awake!

Ear Plugs

Snoring dorm-mates can ruin your nights rest and seriously damage the hostel experience. This is why I always travel with a pack of decent ear plugs.

Keep your laundry organized and stink free
Keep your laundry organized and stink free

Hanging Laundry Bag

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Stay Dry With a Micro Towel
Stay Dry With a Micro Towel

Sea To Summit Micro Towel

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Check out my definitive Hotel Packing list for even more top packing tips!

What’s on at the Jakarta History Museum?

The Jakarta History Museum is a special feat of colonial architecture, built in 1707. The museum exhibits the development of the city and the community of Jakarta.

I loved visiting the Museum Bank Indonesia too, there were incredible exhibits of batik, the history of money and the economy.

What are the best shopping malls in Jakarta?

I love Central Park Mall and Grand Indonesia Mall. They both have cinemas and there’s something so luxurious about watching the big screen. There are more than 170 malls in Jakarta, so there’s something for everyone.

What are the must see monuments in Jakarta?

You have to see the National Monument (MONAS). This is an epic feat of design and a cultural attraction in the city center. Erected (pun intended) to commemorate Indonesia’s independance, the obelisk is symbolic of a yoni and a linga. Look it up 😉

Don’t Forget Travel Insurance for Jakarta

In a Jakarta minute, anything can change. Everyone needs good travel insurance.

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Final Thoughts on Where to Stay in Jakarta

Jakarta’s neighborhoods all offer their own unique character. If I had to choose which is the best neighborhood in Jakarta to stay in, it would have to be Kota – Jakarta’s Old Town.

Why? It offers a fascinating mix of old and new (if you’re really into the old, definitely check out jakarta history museum!). It’s also well located to explore all of the city’s other neighborhoods and attractions.

My favorite accommodation there is easily Wonderloft Hostel. They serve a lovely brekkie, have kind, helpful staff, and have easy access to public transport. This combo makes it my top choice for where to stay in Jakarta.

If you’re looking to treat yo’ self for a night in the big city, Book yourself in at Mercure Jakarta Kota. If you’re short on time, the Mercure has a couple of fab restaurants on site too.

I hope my Jakarta neighborhood guide was useful for planning your trip. Have I left anything out? Let me know in the comments below. I’d love to hear from you!

Looking for more info on travelling to Jakarta and Indonesia?
boat arriving to nusa lembongan, bali
Onwards on your Indonesian adventure!
Photo: @danielle_wyatt