12 Practical Tips to Dealing with Jakarta’s Traffic


Jakarta, the bustling capital of Indonesia, is renowned for its heavy traffic – one of the greatest problems that Jakarta residents have to face everyday. As one of the largest cities in the world, navigating its streets can be daunting. However, with strategic planning, you can explore Jakarta’s attractions without spending endless hours in traffic.

Prioritize public transport, plan your travel times wisely, and utilize modern transportation options like the MRT and motorbike taxis. By following these tips, you can enjoy all that Jakarta has to offer without being bogged down by traffic jams. Always remember, a little planning goes a long way in making your Jakarta experience smooth and enjoyable.

  1. Travel on Sundays for Lighter Traffic

Jakarta’s traffic congestion primarily stems from the high number of commuters traveling to and from work. Sundays, however, are an exception. With fewer people working, the streets are notably less crowded.

  • Best Day to Sightsee: Plan your itinerary for Sundays. It’s the easiest day to visit popular destinations like Kota Tua, Chinatown, Taman Mini, and Ragunan Zoo.
  • Next Best Day: Saturdays are also better, but be cautious of busy areas around popular malls like Pondok Indah Mall, Grand Indonesia, and Gandaria City.
  1. Utilize the MRT System
Integrated MRT Map Jakarta
Integrated MRT Map Jakarta

The introduction of the MRT system has revolutionized travel in Jakarta. It offers a faster, car-free alternative to traditional commuting methods.

  • Convenient Stations: Travel from Lebak Bulus MRT Station to Bundaran HI MRT Station without encountering any cars.
  • Key Attractions: Bundaran HI MRT Station is ideal for accessing Monas, the National Gallery, and the National Museum. Alternatively, travel to Fatmawati MRT Station and then take a car to Ragunan Zoo or Taman Mini.
  • Car-Free Sundays: Use the MRT to reach central areas and enjoy the car-free zones on Sundays.
  1. Stay at Hotels Attached to Malls

If visiting Jakarta, to minimize time spent in traffic, consider staying at hotels connected to malls, particularly those near MRT stations.

  • Central Locations: Hotels like Hotel Indonesia Kempinski Jakarta, Grand Hyatt Jakarta, and Keraton at the Plaza are attached to Grand Indonesia and Plaza Indonesia malls, and are near Bundaran HI MRT Station.
  • Convenience: These hotels offer easy access to shopping, dining, and MRT services without the need for car travel.
  1. Use the Airport Railink Train

Avoid the notorious traffic between Soekarno-Hatta International Airport and central Jakarta by taking the airport train.

  • Fast and Efficient: The train journey takes about 45 minutes and connects directly to BNI City Station. From there, you can walk to Dukuh Atas MRT Station within minutes.
  • Seamless Transfers: This train service ensures you avoid road traffic entirely and quickly connects you to the MRT network.
  1. Embrace Public Transit: TransJakarta and Commuter Trains

Opting for public transit over personal vehicles can significantly reduce your travel time and contribute to a cleaner environment.

  • TransJakarta and Commuter Trains: These systems provide extensive coverage and are often faster than car travel, especially for longer distances like trips to Bogor.
  • Future Developments: Keep an eye on the expansion of new LRT lines, which will further enhance public transport options in the coming years.
  1. Time Your Meals to Avoid Peak Traffic

Dining out in trendy areas like Senopati or Kemang can be a traffic nightmare during peak hours.

  • Optimal Dining Times: Aim to eat either early or late. Dining at 8:30 PM instead of 6:00 PM can significantly reduce your travel time, especially on weekends.
  1. Use Go-Jek or GrabBike

Motorbike taxis can navigate through traffic much more efficiently than cars.

  • Quick and Convenient: Services like Go-Jek and GrabBike offer fast travel options. Always wear the provided helmet for safety.
  • Skilled Drivers: These drivers are typically very experienced and can maneuver through congested areas quickly.
  1. Plan Your Trips with Google Maps

google maps

Before heading out, check Google Maps for real-time traffic conditions.

  • Avoid Red Zones: If your route shows heavy congestion, consider delaying your trip or choosing an alternative route.
  • Driver Assistance: Ensure your driver uses a map application to take the fastest route possible.

 9. Choose the Best Time to Travel

One of the most effective ways to avoid heavy traffic is to schedule your activities outside peak hours. Plan your appointments for mid-morning or early afternoon. For office workers, starting your day earlier can help you beat the morning rush. You can always eat breakfast at the office or squeeze in a workout at a nearby gym.

10. Enjoy and Make Use of Your Time on the Road

Turn your time spent in traffic into an enjoyable experience. Keep some of your favorite music in the car, or listen to books and study programs. If your car is equipped with a DVD player, you can even watch a movie. Additionally, make sure to have phone, iPod, or gadget chargers and car cigarette lighter adapters handy.

Consider the time spent in traffic as an opportunity to make phone calls or do some work on your laptop. You can also use this time to relax, meditate, or even take a nap, especially in the evening after a long day.

11. Stay Hydrated and Nourished

Always keep a supply of water or other drinks in the car. An insulated cooler bag can keep your drinks cool. It’s also a good idea to bring along some snacks or fruit. For babies, keep a supply of bottled baby food, diapers, and wet tissues. A portable potty can also be a lifesaver during long traffic jams.

12. Take a Break

If traffic comes to a complete standstill, rather than sitting in the car and fuming over lost time, why not take a break? Pull into the nearest beauty salon and treat yourself to a relaxing massage, cream bath, or manicure. After a couple of hours, you might find that the traffic has eased up, and you’ll be ready to continue your journey in a much better mood.