Those on the hunt for Jakarta adventure activities shouldn’t have to look too far. This is the sprawling, seething metropolis that heads up the vast island nation of Indonesia, after all. It actually encompasses five separate cities, which together cover a whopping 2,700 square miles of land of northern Java, and play host to over 10 million people in total!
The town is best known for its huge shopping malls, traffic-choked lanes, and intriguing mix of architecture, cultures, and creeds. Yep, you’ll encounter everything from Dutch colonial mansions to Chinese temples, Indian neighborhoods to Malay cookhouses, in these parts, and that would still only be scratching the surface.
When it comes to Jakarta adventure activities, you also shouldn’t be short on options. Everything from scuba diving in the pearly waters of the Java Sea to Indonesian hiking trips out to the wild jungles around the city is on the menu, not to mention VR gaming and ocean kayaking. Let’s go…
Scuba diving in Pulau Seribu
If you don’t have too much time in this city but are craving a fix of world-class Southeast Asian diving, Pulau Seribu – also known as the Thousand Islands – is probably your best option. It’s a favorite weekend sun and sand destination that’s located just three hours from Jakarta’s harbor, up in the pearly waters of the Java Sea. Boats depart for the archipelago every day from Ancol on the north side of the metropolis.
Popular spots for diving and snorkeling activities are Pulau Harapan, Pulau Macan, Pulau Tidung, and Pulau Genteng Besar. The good news is that scuba excursions to the isles usually include the boat transfer and let you check off a couple of the best locations in a single trip. It’s also possible to do overnight dive trips, which are great for getting under before the crowds arrive.
You can look forward to some spectacular dive spots, too. They include sweeps of multicolored coral reef, encounters with strange nudibranchs, sea slugs, and shoals of small fish that dart this way and that. Larger animals that make regular appearances in the region could be sea turtles, clownfish, and barracuda.
Flyboarding and wakeboarding
Jakarta might not have the best beaches in Indonesia – not by a long stretch! – but it’s still got loads of places where you can get wet and cool off in the tropical heat. And that doesn’t have to be on a chilled stretch of sand with a coconut in hand, either. It could also be somewhere where it’s possible to crank up the adrenaline count.
Yep, plenty of water sports centers around the city offer a chance to go wakeboarding or flyboarding. They’re slightly different – the first involves being pulled along on a board behind a whizzing speedboat, while the latter is about fixing H2O-powered jetpacks to your feet and soaring into the skies. Pretty cool, huh?
Here are some of the best places to get stuck into these sorts of Jakarta adventure activities:
- Kraken Baywalk Watersport – Located in the Baywalk Mall in Pluit, North Jakarta, this water sports hub is one of few places in the capital that has full flyboarding capabilities (up until now, you could only do it in Bali). Rates are competitive and actually more affordable than over on the Isle of the Gods.
- Wakeboss – Jakarta adventure activities enthusiasts can head up to Sunter Lake in North Jakarta to enjoy all manner of various high-octane water sports, from wakeboarding to wakeskiing to waterskiing.
Sea kayaking in the Java Sea
Most people will venture across to Bali or Lombok to do their sea kayaking in Indonesia. That’s understandable. Both of those islands have endless coastlines threaded by high cliffs, shimmering tropical beaches, black-sand bays, and coral reefs. If they’re part of your Indo itinerary, keep this one in the bag for then.
If you’re not going to be heading the islands’ way, then a sea kayak in Jakarta could be your chance to sample the joys of the bath-warm waters that lie south of the Equator. There’s currently only a handful of companies offering trips in boats from the big capital. The best of the bunch is Laut Luas Adventure, a Jakarta adventure activities outfitter that specializes in sea kayaking trips.
They’re headquartered on the quays of the chic Pantai Mutiara area of Pluit, right at the tip of North Jakarta, with the Indian Ocean right on the doorstep. It’s from there that they launch expeditions by aqua, taking you out to the clear bays around the city for some paddling practice and sightings of the wilder Java shoreline.
Just a mention of the name Krakatoa is usually enough to get the hairs standing up on the back of the necks of geologists and vulcanologists the planet over. If you’re not one of them (like us), we’ll fill you in: This was the site of the biggest ever recorded volcanic eruption in modern times. It exploded with colossal force back in the 1880s and could be heard as far away as Australia!
Today, the mountain of Krakatoa is just a shadow of what it once was. In fact, the cone that’s visible has grown only in the last century, since the whole caldera of the old peak was blasted away during the initial eruption. The thing is, Krakatoa is still very active. Some daring adventure travelers did start climbing it in the noughties, but recent years have seen more and more volcanic activity, so it’s now closed.
That said, you can go and visit the site to witness the island from afar. Jakarta is a good launch-off point. First, travel west through Java to the towns of Anyer or Cilegon (they are about 1.5 hours away). The boats leave from there, but guided tours are the better choice because they’ll let you sleep on one of the neighbouring islands to see Krakatoa up close.
Hike Pangrango and Mount Gede
The hike to the top of Mount Pangrango and Mount Gede is billed as a great escape from Jakarta. Set deep in the heart of the mist-gathering hills of the Gunung Gede Pangrango National Park south of the city, the massif is split into two huge – thankfully, mostly dormant – stratovolcanoes. You can conquer both in a single day’s walking, although most will choose to do the trek in two days – otherwise you’re looking at 10 hours+ on the trail!
The trek will whisk you to over 3,000 meters above sea level at its highest point (the top of Pangrango). But the joys begin long before you emerge above the clouds. The walking starts in the lush jungles below and then passes through subalpine forests and even meadows of the uber-rare Javanese edelweiss plant. There will be plenty of exotic fauna to spot, too, including silvery gibbons and mouse deer.
It takes about two hours to get to the trailhead for Pangrango and Mount Gede from Jakarta. Hikers can enter the park at any one of the main four gates, but the most popular is the Cibodas, mainly because it’s to the north nearer to the capital, and conveniently located on the main roadway that wiggles through central Java.
Virtual reality experiences
If you’re a gamer searching for an exciting indoor pastime to do with your pals that also doubles as a Jakarta adventure activity, consider the virtual reality experience. There are a couple of these around Jakarta and they let you get the adrenaline going even if it’s raining the proverbial cats and dogs outside (as it often is in the monsoon season!).
Here are some of the best options for VR experiences in Jakarta:
- Kovee VR Theme Park – This VR playground, located in Neo Soho Mall, 2nd floor, West Jakarta, carries the concept of a Korean-style VR playground, from the technology used to the game content offered. To play, visitors must first buy a membership card for IDR 100,000 and can top it up with a nominal value of IDR 50,000 or IDR 100,000 after that. One of the popular game titles here is Mortal Blitz, which can be played with supporting equipment, such as VR glasses, a PC backpack, sensor gloves, and automatic weapons.
- Sandbox VR – Sandbox VR offers a full-body VR-based gaming experience. That means players can feel the sensation of real-time VR effects throughout their body. Each player is equipped with VR glasses, weapons, PC backpacks, heptic vests (vests with 42 sensors), and motion trackers (foot and hand sensors). Then, they can choose from any number of top games, including Amber Sky and Deadwood Mansion, which could see you protecting Earth from alien invaders or shooting zombies in a haunted house!
Train for Muay Thai and more
Muay Thai training has become big business in the Land of Smiles north of Indonesia. However, the craze isn’t limited to the home of Bangkok and Samui. You can now partake in kickboxing training of all sorts all across the region, and Jakarta boasts a real hodgepodge of different gyms and disciplines to get stuck into…
Yep, from traditional Muay Thai kickboxing to Capoeira from Brazil, English boxing to championship wrestling, it should be a breeze to find somewhere that will let you swing a few punches and let out some pent up anger (perhaps from the endless traffic jams you’ll encounter in the Indo capital?). Here are some of the top options…
- Capoeira Indonesia – Get fit while you learn Capoeira with Capoeira Indonesia. It has several studios across Central, West, and South Jakarta and also offers training in Latin dance such as Maculele and Samba. The guys here also run corporate classes in Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu, MMA, and various fitness programs to boot.
- Jakarta Muay Thai – Rated by Fox Sports as one of the top 10 MMA gyms in Asia, Jakarta Muay Thai is the place to go to get stuck into the famous kickboxing discipline from Thailand.
- Kemang Fight Gym – Kemang Fight Gym is a Boxing and Muay Thai studio located in South Jakarta. It’s a small studio with a tight-knit group of members, offering a range of both intense and beginner-friendly martial art classes.
Jakarta adventure activities summary
There are oodles of Jakarta adventure activities out there for travelers looking for a fix of adrenaline and excitement in the huge Indonesian capital. You can escape to the rugged mountains of West Java to hike ancient volcanoes. You can go and witness one of the world’s most formidable volcanic craters out at sea. Or, you can kayak and scuba your way through the tropical waters that abound here, meeting turtles and strange coral plants. The options are endless.