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Jakarta, Indonesia - An Essential Guide
Jakarta is the capital city of Indonesia, and situated on the island of Java. The population is approximately 10 million. The dominant religion in Jakarta is Islam, and the currency used is the Rupiah. The climate in Jakarta is very hot and humid. For the six months from April, the temperature will hover around 30 degrees Celsius. There is a wet season from October to February when it is a little cooler and there is a lot of rain, often torrential.

The city of Jakarta was born in 1527 when a small harbour town called Sundra Kelapa was conquered by Prince Fatahillah from nearby Cirebon and he renamed his conquest Jakarta, which translates as Glorious Victory. The city was taken again in 1619 and renamed Batavia only to be fall under the control of the Japanese during World War II, who renamed it Jakarta. Martial law was declared in 1957 and a period of unrest ensued. In the late nineteen nineties, with the economy collapsing and widespread belief of governmental corruption, riots took place in Jakarta in which 500 people lost their lives and there still obtains a social and political tension in the region.

So, Jakarta may not be the first choice for the traveller, but in recent years the facilities for the visitor have improved dramatically and there is no shortage of luxury hotels, good restaurants, shopping and nightlife. Of course, there is also the diverse architecture and the traditional tourist attractions of the city and diversity is the operative word when talking about Jakarta. It is a mix of traditional and modern, rich and poor. The nations motto is Unity in Diversity and even the local language has two varieties: one spoken by older people born and bred in the city and the other by the young and the immigrants.

The National Monument, known as "Monas" is a 137 metre tall obelisk which visitors can ascend for a terrific view of the city. At the bottom of the monument there is a museum telling the history "Monas" and of the city itself. A more comprehensive collection of artefacts and relics can be seen at the Central Museum which houses an extensive gathering of fascinating exhibits dating back to the Stone Age. Visitors shouldn't have any difficulty finding the Central Museum as there is a large stone elephant situated on the front lawn!

A more modern attraction is Jaya Ancol Dreamland. This is a recently developed recreation park on a vast site and offers a wealth of diverse attractions from swimming pools, boating, golf, even an artificial lagoon for fishing! There is an aquarium providing live daily shows involving dolphins and sea-lions. The complex houses numerous restaurants, nightclubs, and hotels. Also on site is Fantasy Land which is a terrific entertainment park where visitors can take a historical tour through old Jakarta, Africa, America, Europe and Asia. Jaya Ancol Dreamland is a fantastic resource. While it may not appeal to the culturally aloof, it has a great deal to offer the fun-loving visitor.

Jakarta is a fascinating mixture of the old and the new and has a lot to offer the tourist. An unusual destination, those who visit leave the city with a tale to tell and an exciting experience behind them.
About the Author
Dara Ward is the Managing Director of Irish Accommodation and operates over 20 Irish Travel and Tourism websites including 3 Dublin Hotels sites. Dara operates from Ireland's oldest 2 storey thatched cottage in County Wexford, South East Ireland.
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