Jakarta for Kids

[Downloads: May’s Suggested Itinerary for Jakarta]

I was very excited to return to Jakarta after my last visit some 20 years ago. I wonder what it would be like today and was hoping to explore the city, jam-packing our days with activities tailored to the needs of my kids. Yet, my husband told me he felt safer if I stayed in the hotel [and shopping mall connected to it] the whole trip if need be to avoid getting stuck in Jakarta's infamous traffic jams.  It has been deemed The World's Worst Traffic. That doesn't sound like a plan at all. I am an explorer. It would be torturous for me to stay put.

"The reason why we are staying at Ritz-Carlton Pacific Place with all meals provided, a comfortable room and a connecting shopping mall to Kidzania is so you can stay in the vicinity with the kids while I go to work. Not attempting to drive out 2 hours daily to watch a movie in some Junior Cinema or Glow-In-The-Dark Golf?" he complained.

I retorted, "But Google Maps suggest the places I put on the itinerary to be just 35 minutes drive away from the hotel!"

There are a few big tips about Jakarta that every family should know:
1. The Traffic Jam Can Be Nerve-racking. Ask a local or ask a business traveller who frequents Jakarta and everyone tells you that a 20 minute ride from point to point can take up to two hours to arrive. Consider and plan your holiday well.
2. Avoid Peak Hours When Travelling. Peak hours are 0800 to 1000 hours and 1630 to 2000 hours; and they should be avoided. Weekends and public holidays have calmer roads and if you can have your holiday booked over the weekend, you are guaranteed with at least two traffic-free days in the city.
3. Reliable Taxis. Take only Blue Bird or Silver Bird; both of which belong to the same company. Blue Bird is the regular taxi [in blue] while Silver Bird is the premium ride [in black]. Both are available to ride by meter and always only ride with a meter.
4. GRAB App. Download the GRAB app while in Jakarta because it may come in handy when you have no idea where the Taxi queue is where you are!
5. Tap Water Is Not Potable. We had a sign in our hotel bathroom that reminded us to use bottled water to brush our teeth. Tells a lot about the water condition in Jakarta! I didn't even dare wash the children's water bottles from the running tap. We eventually gave the kids bottled water every day to drink from.
6. Is It Safe? Well, let's say you should watch your back and bag. Never hang a backpack over the back of your chair in a restaurant. I was also told by a local that there is also a possibility my phone could get snatched while using it. Keep alert, stay safe.

We must be the bringer of Good Traffic! On our four day three night trip, we had never been caught once in any kind of traffic jam. I took the risk to travel even when everyone told me my 35 minute ride could go up to 95 minute long. We even travelled when it rained and over peak hours without a jam!

It was almost unbelievable when I told every local there that I reached my destinations as what Google Maps had predicted I would just by the gauge of its distance.

There are two properties in Jakarta and we've chosen to stay at Pacific Place where Kidzania Jakarta resides. With technically just three full days to spend in Jakarta, we decided it would be a good idea to spend one-third of it travelling not [since Jakarta is famous for its traffic jams]. Ritz-Carlton Pacific Place is in the heart of Jakarta. According to my husband, we are in the epicenter of the worst place to be in terms of traffic.

However, Ritz-Carlton Pacific Place would provide the amount of luxury and service good enough for us to stay in the hotel if need be. The Ritz Kids programme is amazing! Not to mention we have all meals provided for with our stay.

Find out more from this post, Ritz Kids in Ritz-Carlton Jakarta.

Weekday Cost [Mon to Thurs]: Rp 50,000 [2 to 3 year olds] | Rp 200,000 [4 to 16 year olds] | Rp 150,000 [17 to 24 years old] | Free [+65 years old]
Weekday Time Slots: 0900 to 1600 hours
Weekend Cost [Fri to Sun]: Rp 100,000 [2 to 3 year olds] | Rp 250,000 [4 to 16 year olds] | Rp 200,000 [17 to 24 years old] | Free [+65 years old]
Weekday Time Slots: 0900 to 1400 hours [Session 1] | 1500 to 2000 hours [Session 2]
Locate: Level 6, Pacific Place Mall
Kidzania Jakarta was the first on my list to visit with the children, also the reason why we chose to stay with Ritz-Carlton at Pacific Place. With technically just three full days in Jakarta, we decided it would be a good idea to spend one-third of it travelling not [anticipating traffic jams]. To get to Kidzania Jakarta, we simply walk through an underpass from the hotel to Pacific Place Mall which took just two minutes.

I planned to go on a Tuesday. It was only natural we arrive at Kidzania Jakarta as soon as it opens its check-in counters at 0900 hours. There are 62 establishments [Singapore has 48] and only seven hours of play. We had to be strategic about the jobs we wanted to undertake. Ewan and Faye completed 15 jobs in total and I wished we had one more free day to return for a second round.

Despite the many school excursions that went on the visit with us that day, the ability to complete 15 jobs was awesome!

1. Bring Your B.KidZanian PaZZport. It is internationally recognised in every Kidzania!
2. Leave Your ATM Card At Home. Every Kidzania issues a different ATM card. Play with Kidzos instead.
3. Kidzos Are Universal. Doesn't matter which country you go, you can use your Kidzos anywhere. Bank them in Kidzania when you return to your home country.
4. Leave Popular Jobs After 1400hrs. There are school excursions every week day and they take up the bulk of the crowd. Leave popular jobs with long queues like Firefighter and Pilot till after 1400hrs when they leave. You have another two hours to play before Kidzania closes for the day.
5. Inform Staff Your Preferred Language. In Singapore, all play is conducted in English. In Bangkok, bilingual. In Jakarta, Bahasa. However, you can request for a translation. My children decided to go with the flow and had seven hours of play in Malay, watching introduction videos in Malay as well. I am happy to see them so adaptable and we left Kidzania Jakarta with them trying to speak the language for the rest of the night! Ewan picked up, "Tak Boleh!" which means, "Cannot!" Yay!

When I saw the ticket prices at Kidzania Jakarta, I was taken aback! It is half the price of what Kidzania Singapore is tagged at! It costs only S$25 in Jakarta for a 4 year old while Singapore charges their junior customers at S$58!

I like it that Kidzania Jakarta has interesting jobs to embark on like being an archaeologist, palaeontologist, book designer, car dealer and they even have an Earthquake Survival Institute where kids role-play as rescuers! In a country like Indonesian, it is vulnerable to natural catastrophes such as earthquakes, volcanic eruptions and floods. Earthquake Survival Institute builds a sense of solidarity, integrity and courage in every child. Mine were too frightened to give it a shot. Wished they had more courage.

One other thing that stood out at Kidzania Jakarta was the countdown timer outside every establishment. With that, children can scout around to make better decisions in maximising their time spent in the edutainment centre. How smart!

The only big advice I'd give is to refrain from food establishments in Kidzania Jakarta. For now, until they rethink their process. We went for the Chocolate Factory and Baking Center where Ewan and Faye get to make their own chocolate bars and cookies. In Singapore, all food prepared by the children are labelled and put on the stove or oven and returned to respective children immediately. No one child was going to get the food made by another. If the food or beverage they were making cannot be produced fast enough within the role-play itself, Singapore's Kidzania set up a fake experience in making that ice-cream or packet of milk. When they are done with their jobs, each establishment presents them with a properly packaged ice-cream or packet of milk provided by the companies themselves.

However, in Kidzania Jakarta, I noticed my kids ate cookies and chocolate bars made by other children from the previous batches! That is not very hygienic in my opinion. If that child had been sick despite washing his hands, my child would have been infected. I was observing the chocolate making job intently and found it weird that the kids' chocolate bars were not labelled with their names before entering the freezer for hardening. Next, the staff took a tray of chocolate from previous batch which had been hardened for my kids to foil-wrap. What? That wasn't right? Not especially when Ewan already dipped his fingers into his chocolate and licking it off his fingers several times before it went into the freezer! Some kid later will be given his chocolate filled with his saliva! Same scenario as what I've observed from the Baking Center. I had to give my feedback but I couldn't identify which chocolate bar that went into the freezer was my son's by the time it ended.

I couldn't possibly disappoint my children and tell them they cannot eat those chocolates they "made". I took the risk and allowed them to indulge. That or a melt-down.

Alternatively, go for it! Go for the food establishments! But don't let your child eat it unless it is the actual product they made on their own.

Read Also:
Kidzania Bangkok - Bangkok for Kids
Kidzania Singapore - Faye Went to Kidzania and That Grandpa at Kidzania was my Dad

Lounger Cost: Rp 100,000
Cinema Seat Cost: Rp 100,000
Beanbag Cost: Rp 100,000
Sofabed Cost: Rp 200,000 [comes with two seats]
Complimentary for children 3 years old and below
Locate: MaxxBox Lippo Village, Tangerang

Look what I found on my "Jakarta For Kids" research! A Kids’ Cinema with two slides and a ball pit in it! I picked this up from Little Steps Asia and I knew I had to make this trip to Tangerang even though it may take us 2 hours to drive from Jakarta with the traffic.

Google Maps suggest 35 minutes from Hotel to Maxxbox where Cinemaxx Junior will be. Everyone including my husband tried dissuading me from making this trip. A local friend said, "It takes faster to fly to Singapore than driving in my own country!"

I decided to take the risk. We reached Tangerang in 35 minutes with no traffic on a Monday peak hour! We are so lucky and Meyer was in disbelief.

We caught the first show, Early Man, at 1030 hours and it costs only $10 per seat! Faye is free because she isn’t 4 years old yet. The $10 ticket includes a movie and one hour pre-show playtime at the playground. The day before visiting the cinema, we were at Wowzonia and I was utterly disappointed with its standard of hygiene. I shared my skepticism about Cinemaxx Junior with Meyer and was afraid it may not live up to its promise as shown on the website.

However, Meyer assured me that if it was Cinemaxx, it would be good. He added that the quality of cinemas in Jakarta is better than what we have in Singapore.

True that!

There are sofa beds, regular cinema seats, loungers and bean bags in the junior theatre. My kids chose the bean bags for its novelty but later moved to the lounger when the show started. We were the only people that morning in the theatre! It was as if I had the whole place booked for private viewing. Clean, New, Fun and thank goodness the cartoon was in English with Dolby 7.1 Surround Sound.

The indoor playground is bright and cheery with a trampoline, two curly slides and lots of obstacle courses. We all had fun together and when we found ourselves catching our breaths by the time the show was going to commence. Thankful for very comfortable seats that we can sink into.

When you are buying your tickets for the show, do note that the timings on the board represent Play Time. So if it says, "10:30am", it meant that you can enter the Playground at 10:30am for an hour of play before the show starts at 11:30am. One hour play time was a tad long for the kids. Maybe 30 to 45 minutes might suffice!

It was an exciting way to catch a cartoon in the cinema. Singapore should so do a concept theatre like this!

Locate: Jl. Boulevard Diponegoro No.108, Bencongan, Klp. Dua, Tangerang, Banten 15810, Indonesia

Oh I know. You must be thinking, "Timezone on the list? But we have Timezones in our country and we don't even go play at them." If you are not a fan of arcades, Timezone at Supermal Karawaci will change your mind. It isn't your regular games arcade. It is an indoor amusement park with a roller coaster in it!

Make your trip to Tangerang worth the while. This Timezone is just across the street from Cinemaxx Junior. Watch a cartoon, have lunch and spend the next few hours playing games and going on rides!

There are carousel rides, bumper cars, drop and twist tower which brings you up 14 meters high and drops you for that adrenaline rush, a 15 meter high roller coaster twisting through the premise of Timezone and many more! The arcade games are up to date and I am most happy with the price we had to pay for each game.

It starts from 75 cents to S$1.50 for the very extravagant games like Time Crisis 5, latest installment in the popular Time Crisis series! Impressed much by what Timezone in Jakarta has to offer.

The only problem I encountered was having to use two different Powercards for games and rides. They looked exactly the same and I couldn't differentiate between the. We had to keep swiping them to see which worked for rides and which worked for games. Not only that, they cannot be used in other Timezones and that was quite a hassle. We topped up way to much money in our first Powercard and couldn't finish all our credits. Thinking we could use it at another Timezone to be disappointed that it was not possible.

At this moment, Indonesia stores are operating on an older system. The system upgrade just started this week and will progress over the next few weeks. It is in the plans that once this is completed, the next step would be the allow cards to be used in all locations. Same solution would be for two cards in the same store. I'm sure by the time you head there on your next trip, the Powercard system would have been upgraded!

Weekday Cost: Rp 120,000 [one adult and one kid]
Weekend Cost: Rp 150, 000 [one adult and one kid]
Opening Hours: 1000hrs to 2200hrs
Locate: Level 3, Lippo Kemang Mall, Jalan Antasari, Jakarta Selatan Indonesia.

Wowzonia. You were a disappointment. A regret on my part to put this on our itinerary but to the children's delight, they had a lot of fun.

I was disappointed not by what Wowzonia had to offer but the lack of maintenance and hygiene level.

Wowzonia us the sister property of Amazonia Singapore. I am one of those moms who doesn’t bring my children to indoor playgrounds because three separate visits to indoor playgrounds in Singapore had me sick kids after every play. I apologetically declined every birthday party invitation held in an indoor playground thereafter.

We had received birthday invitations to Amazonia several times in the past years but I never accepted them. It's funny how I haven't looked through the website until now as I write this piece and realised that Wowzonia and Amazonia boast the same attractions - Glow In The Dark Golf and Glow In The Dark SpaceBall Rooms that attracted me in the first place when I researched for Family Friendly activities in Jakarta!

Alas. If I knew, I wouldn't have travelled all the way to Kemang Mall for Wowzonia. Wasted one spot on this list. I decided to put this on nevertheless to shed light to ill-informed parents like myself.

Anyway, I decided against my better judgment this trip and gave Wowzonia a visit just for the Glow In The Dark segments. To my utmost disappointment, some of the UV lights were replaced with white fluorescent lights. Probably to brighten the place a little but it brought down the level of experience for what Glowing In The Dark would have meant.

It was difficult to pull the kids away from the indoor playground which was poorly maintained. I closed one eye and told myself I’d clean them up thoroughly after. Then, I saw a kid eating in the ball pit! That was the last straw. The hygiene level was almost non-existent.

It could have been truly a WOW experience if they had upkept it well enough. There is even a Flying Fox experience in there which was great on the Playometer!

The children said they had an amazing time at Wowzonia though. A Love [they] - Hate [me] Relationship for indoor playgrounds. But if you are a Singaporean, just skip this. You have the same experience, hopefully better, at Amazonia.

Silly mommy.

May's Suggested Itinerary for Jakarta

Our little Travel companions 
March 2018 - Ewan at 5 years old and Faye at 3 years old 
Click on our Travel tab to read all about our travel tips and tricks 

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A stay at home mum, blogging to widen her social life. 
We want to echo the sound of love through our lives to inspire other mothers alike.


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