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Tanjung Priok, Jakarta, Indonesia

Indonesia’s capital and largest city Jakarta is actually only the center of a megalopolis that is among the most populous places on earth, encompassing almost 1700 square miles and housing 28 million souls. Luckily among this press of humanity are many small gems to discover. Originally the center of a Hindu kingdom, it was the heart of the Dutch East Indies empire when it was known as Batavia. Remnants of that era are salted throughout the city, as well as colorful artifacts of the Chinese presence for hundreds of years. Ethnic groups from all over the Indonesian archipelago have gathered here for generations and form a distinct group called the Betawi with their own dialect and hybrid culture. Around Merdeka Square are clustered museums and monuments worth seeing. The Museum Wayang holds an extensive showing of the puppets that are so important in indigenous cultures. The Museum Nasional has a huge collection of cultural and artistic artifacts from the islands of the nation. In the outskirts, the Taman Mini Indonesian Indah is a folk museum made up of traditional houses from all Indonesian ethnic groups, revealing much about their diverse folkways. These and other highlights are sure to form lasting memories of your time in one of Asia’s most important and exciting cities.