Menteng is one of the most exclusive parts of Jakarta, a neighborhood where millionaire businesspeople rub shoulders with diplomats and the upper echelons of Jakarta's society. Admire the palatial homes of the city's elite and stroll in Menteng’s luscious gardens. Look out for examples of Dutch colonial architecture and take in a musical performance in one of the many parks.
Menteng was designed by the Dutch colonial government in the 1920s as a suitable home for the city’s burgeoning middle class. The neighborhood is the country’s first park town and provides a peaceful escape from busy inner city Jakarta. Here you will find an assortment of modern mansions and early 20th-century buildings, all surrounded by lush tropical greenery.
Relax in the city’s main park, Situ Lembang, and take a gentle walk around the lake. If you are in Jakarta on a weekend, head to the park at Taman Suropati to enjoy some of the region’s best young classical musicians, practicing, learning and performing.
If you appreciate fine art and architecture go to the Kunstkring Art Gallery. This former Immigration Office hosts temporary exhibitions that in the past have featured works by Picasso, Van Gogh and examples of Indonesian contemporary art. Even if you don’t enter the building, it is well worth a look. The arched windows and peaked towers are classic examples of colonial Dutch architecture.
During your visit to the area, stop by Besuki Public School where Barack Obama studied as a boy. There is now a statue of the young Barack in the courtyard.
Start your evening in Menteng with an Indonesian coffee or aperitif in a stylish café or bar, then head to a restaurant. As you might expect from an upmarket district that is frequented by diplomats and businesspeople, there are some excellent dining options.
As with most places in the city, travel to and from Menteng can be time consuming. Walk whenever possible and avoid making your journey during rush hour. Jakarta’s climate is humid and tropical throughout the year, making the shaded areas of Menteng’s parks a good way to escape the heat.