Travel & Expat Lifestyle Magazine

Exploring the Cities of Indonesia



Jakarta is Indonesia’s capital and largest city. It is located on the north west coast of the island of Java, and is home to over 9.5 million people. With such a population, it is also the largest city in Southeast Asia.

Being such a vast global city, it is hard to put Jakarta into a few words. It was established in the fourth century, and eventually became the capital of the Dutch East Indies. It stretches over a low, flat basin, with some hills in the southern district, and is hot all year round. One aspect of Jakarta is its diverse population; it contains ethnic groups from all over Indonesia, as well as a sizable Chinese population. Another aspect is that it is a major administrative, cultural and economic center for the country of Indonesia. Though there are some historical monuments and museums in the city center, Jakarta is not much of a tourist spot. It is a very crowded city that lacks a public transit infrastructure. People rely on rickshaws or automobiles for transportation, and this has led to intense traffic, along with pollution problems. The buildings of this city range from modern skyscrapers to poor shanty towns and anything in between.



Surabaya is the second-largest city of Indonesia, and is situated on the northern shore of eastern Java. Over 2.7 million people live in its urban area; its nickname is the “City of Heroes.” It is a highly urbanized place, with many industries and shopping centers as well as slum areas. Surabaya is the main education center of Indonesia, with its many schools, and its student acts as its own community. The population of this city is known to be very diverse, with people not only from around Indonesia, but Malaysia, China, India and Europe. It also has a hot year-round climate.



Bandung is the third largest city of Indonesia, and there are about 2.3 million that live in the city proper. It is located in West Java, and because it is located high above sea level, it has a cooler climate than most other cities in the country. The northern part of Bandung is rather hilly, eventually  stretching out to a volcano, Tangkuban Perahu. Most of the people in Bandung are of Sundanese descent. The architecture of Bandung is characterized by the array of Dutch colonial buildings, and some of these styles are rather interesting and experimental. People from Jakarta often come here during their vacation time, and take advantage of the weather, along with the different food, shopping and athletic opportunities.


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