Guest Post: One Day Trip in Jakarta on a low budget – Trita MJ

Hello Everyone! I was lucky enough to spend some time in Jakarta with an avid traveler. She is a local to Jakarta, Indonesia and knows about fun, cheap and awesome things to do in her hometown. I know that the following guest post is not related to my science traveler theme, but hey, it’s good to mix things up. I hope you enjoy this blog and if you really enjoy it and want to learn more, please follow Trita MJ.
What to do for One Day Trip at Jakarta on a low budget?
“The journey of a thousand miles begins with a single step.”
– Lao Tzu
I had never thought to write down touristy things to do in Jakarta, my hometown, so I thought maybe I should start one. It happened when I hosted two Canadian girls (Bioonthego & thegoin) through CouchSurfing a few weeks ago. Since it was the weekend and I had nothing to do, I accompanied them while they were exploring Jakarta.
In this blogpost, I want to share about what to do in a day at Jakarta on a low budget.
Usually for breakfast there are plenty Indonesian foods to try, especially near my house in South Jakarta. The first morning, we had Lontong Sayur for breakfast, what is it? It’s rice cake served with vegetables, tofu and boiled in coconut milk soup with krupuk. Personally, to have this kind of Lontong Sayur for breakfast is bit too much since it makes me so full for half day! The Cost? Oh it’s so cheap near my neighborhood (Rp5,000/portion/ 0.50 CAD)! Though the cost depends on the neighborhood.
What’s the most convenient way to commute around? The most convenient way is by using car and motorcycle driving-sharing apps like Gojek, Uber or Grab. Since I live in South Jakarta it’s better to use drive-sharing apps to get to the nearest Trans Jakarta bus station :). Plus, it will add to your experience about what local life is like in Jakarta. The cost for the Trans Jakarta is Rp 3,500/0.35 CAD! How cool is that!?! The only caveat is that to use this Trans Jakarta bus system you need to purchase a re-loadable bus card. Luckily, the bus system has set up co-operating relationships with Banks so that you can link to your bank. Personally, I think it’s a shame there is no single ticket for now.
Nowadays, the Trans Jakarta covers the popular tourism attractions in Jakarta so it’s really easy to commute around. Did you know sometimes locals confusingly call the Trans Jakarta with Busway instead!?! The busway is the name of the lane that is only used by the Trans Jakarta but well, Trans Jakarta is the name of the bus. Hence the confusion!
Our first stop on that day is Galeri Nasional Indonesia (National Gallery of Indonesia). We took Trans Jakarta from Ragunan. You will take the bus with the route called Monas via Semanggi, get off at Monas and transit via another Trans Jakarta bus to Pulo Gadung and get off at Gambir 2. From there you can walk, it’s so close around a 5-10-minute walk. National Gallery of Indonesia is a museum and an art gallery in Jakarta. It has existed as a cultural institution in the field of visual arts since 1999 (source : wikipedia). They have several buildings (A, B, C and D) and it’s FREE to enter. You only need to fill your name on their guestbook, check in your bags for free and are good to go.
Each building has their own style of paintings most of all or some art collections. One of the officer’s that I spoke with said Building A’s collections will change occasionally while the other buildings have permanent collections. It was crowded when we went there, the place was pretty nice and you can spot some people there taking photos on their own where they might put it on Instagram and so on. This place open from 10 AM – 4 PM.

I liked this painting because it shows how diverse Indonesia is as a country.
After spending a long time in the National Gallery, we then felt hungry and needed to feed ourselves and we decided to just across Station Gambir to find something to eat. I suggested to have Bakmi GM as this noodle is famous in Jakarta, especially their Pangsit, a crispy pastry with some meat loaf inside and a paired sauce that plays the main role of this Pangsit dish. Ohh soooo good 🙂
After feeding our happy tummies, we were going to the National Museum. Since we were short of time, we took taxi from National Gallery. It’s not that far though, you can walk for 30 minutes and you can pass by the National Monument. But since it was 3:30 PM and the National Museum closed at 5 PM, we decided to take a taxi to save time. It cost Rp16,000 to go with a taxi to the National Museum. Reminiscing my childhood, I went to the National Museum for the first and last time when I was in grade 3 during my friend’s birthday. Her parents took us here, and it was such an unforgettable moment for me :).
Entrance Fee for National Museum Rp5,000/person (local) & Rp10,000/person (foreigner). Ohh here we go, the price differentiation between local and non-local guests. Thankfully the difference is not that much comparing with the cost to visit Borobudur Temple in Yogyakarta, phew! The museum consists of 4 floors. I didn’t remember the museum being very large when I was little, but maybe they improved since I went there so many years ago haha!
The National Museum of Indonesia is an archeological, historical, ethnological and geographical museum located in Jalan Medan Merdeka Barat just right across the National Monument or Monas (Monumen Nasional). It is well known as Museum Gajah (Elephant Museum) because they have this iconic Elephant in front of Museum.
One thing that made me so happy to see there were some parents who came with their children and took them to this museum instead of a Shopping Mall or giving them a gadget to watch some movie or play around with. I also saw some kids that got excited and told their parents that they learned about some of exhibits in school. Personally, I thought it was great because they can literally see the things that they’ve read about at school.
We stayed inside the museum until it closed. It was too bad we couldn’t get to see the last floor which is 4th floor which consists of Gold and Bronze (Jewellery). From there we saw City Tour Bus so we decided to take that bus and it’s for FREE, yay!
I really wanted to try this bus came out for the first time, but I didn’t have the chance and because I was too lazy to go to Central Jakarta especially if I had nothing to do there :p. Since this bus has 2 levels we thought it would be more interesting to sit on the 2nd level.
City Tour Bus will also stop on some other tourism spots like Old Town, Istiqlal Mosque, Cathedral Church, Pasar Baru etc. We arrived at Pasar Baru, which was established in 1820 and it’s one of the oldest shopping districts in Jakarta. It was also my first time here.

The 2nd Level on the City Tour Bus!

Pasar Baru – since 1820
While at the market, I bought one of my favorites Indonesian snacks which has a funny name because of the shape. Usually I call it Kue Tete and “Tete” means boobs, but this cookie is actually called Kue Ape. It is a traditional pancake with a soft and fluffy center surrounded with thin and crispy crepes which is so tasty. I usually eat the best part of this cookie for last which is the fluffy part. Yummy and it only costs Rp5,000/0.05 CAD for 4 pieces.
We only explored the main road of this Market. Maybe you can find more interesting things to see if you visit the alleyways but we were satisfied and decided to explore another place.
Once we finished walking the length of Pasar Baru, we headed back to the City Tour bus stop. Nearby Pasar Baru we could also see Gedung Kesenian Jakarta (The Jakarta Art Building). It was built during colonial period in Batavia, Dutch East Indies and is currently used as a Concert Hall.
It was 6:30 PM when we got on the City Tour Bus. This may have been the last bus as they only took us to Sarinah bus stop which was fine because we took the Trans Jakarta to our next destination, Old Town.

Jakarta Mascot – Ondel-Ondel–o_0gGVeiZo/WNYHbHC15LI/AAAAAAAAJRo/qzngIaG_vJwE_lUB8gQHLwG8WrhsWgJNACLcB/s1600/RBWS9606.jpg
There are so many museums to see in Kota Tua (Old Town) but since we arrived at night, the museums were already closed. But I recommend strolling around Old Town, it’s pretty fun to do.
I heard that the Government is doing some kind of renovation of Old Town to make tourism there better as far as I know. After hearing about the renovation I haven’t gone there until now. Surprisingly, there are some changes that I did notice that I compared with the last time when I came to Kota Tua with friends. There are more cafes than before, but the original famous one, Cafe Batavia is still there, located on the edge of the main plaza.
There are so many people there, I felt this place was like Alun-Alun in Yogyakarta, people gathered there with friends to hang out, relax, chit chat or even play guitar, sing and dance together. It was fun and relaxing to see all the people enjoying the evening. We were starving and decided to go to that fancy restaurant, Cafe Batavia. The place was well organized with old and fancy interior design. The service also good and well, the price is quite expensive.
We had Tongseng Kambing (Soup with Vegetables and Goat) and Quesadillas which the shape was kind of unique, it’s more perfect to call it Burrito! For 3 of us, cost around Rp260,000 so each was Rp86,000/8.6 CAD including ice tea as well.
The taste was good but I didn’t feel full and so I thought maybe we could find something else to eat again.
We continued exploring more of Old town and I found lot of stalls consist of lot of things like food, clothes, dolls, etc. behind the Old town Plaza. We looked around until we felt tired and headed back home with the Trans Jakarta to our nearest stop from my house and by a drive-sharing app to my house.
Even though Jakarta is the capital city of Indonesia, you can still enjoy Jakarta for a cheap cost :). So, if you happen to come to this city, well, just have fun, explore and eat! Haha!
Below I will breakdown how much the cost for this Day Trip in Jakarta was on a low budget, excluding meals since it depends on the person :
For food, if you are okay with street food, it might cost Rp10,000-30,000 (1-3 CAD) and if you will dine out at a restaurant or food court might cost less than Rp50,000 (5 CAD). and for nice restaurant might cost Rp50,000-100,000 (5-10 CAD) and sometimes more.
Enjoy Jakarta and thank you very much for reading! See you soon.
Trita MJ