You'll find Indonesia's capital, Jakarta, on the island of Java. Modern buildings tower over its bustling streets, and there's a dynamic energy that buzzes from the early morning until long after the sun goes down. There are centuries of history to explore, a flourishing food and drink scene and nightlife venues that stay open late into the night. The locals make Jakarta what it is – a friendly place within the fast pace of a big city.
You can stay in a brightly coloured colonial building, or one with capsule-style pod beds. Choose a Jakarta hostel just 15 minutes from the beach to make sure yours is the first towel down, or unwind at a place that hosts sunrise yoga sessions, sunset drinks and a cinema room. Some hostels in Jakarta have their own on-site bars for chilling out with a beer. Expect to find free breakfasts and Wi-Fi to help your budget go further too.
The Central Jakarta neighbourhood, known as Jakarta Pusat, is where you'll find the main attractions like Merdeka Palace and Istiqlal Mosque. The old town is here too, where you can explore centuries-old culture. West Jakarta is home to the city's Chinatown, with restaurants, busy shops and temples to visit. You'll find plenty of cultural to-dos in East Jakarta, including Taman Mini Indonesia Indah park, or you can go shopping on Surabaya Street.
From cultural highlights to camping out at the beach, there's a lot to do in Jakarta. Ancol Beach has a lively atmosphere, white sands and swaying palm trees. Pasar Baru market is one of the oldest in the city and known for its vintage fashion. Visit the National Monument to see the skyline-defining 132-metre obelisk close up, or the National Museum of Indonesia to view collections important to the country's history. Thrill-seekers can go on a day trip to the Anak Krakatoa volcano island.
There are two main train stations in the city: Gambir Station, in the centre, and Jakarta Kota Station, closer to the old town. If you're flying into Soekarno-Hatta International Airport, you'll need to catch a couple of trains into the city centre (the trip takes about an hour). Jakarta traffic can be slow going, so it's often better to take the SHIA Express Railway Line around. Three-wheel Bajaj vehicles are a unique way to travel, too. Just remember to haggle, and bear in mind that the driver may not speak English.