Monas: A Must-See in the Capital

Indonesia’s National Monument (known locally as Monas) is a monument built to remember the struggle of Indonesian heroes fighting colonial domination. Atop the monument is a golden flame, supposedly symbolising the never-extinguishing spirit of the Indonesian people.

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Jakarta isn’t exactly full of tourist attractions, but if you are in the Indonesian capital for tourism then a quick stop en route to other areas of the country is always a good idea (despite the traffic, crime, and pollution). Monas was my favourite place in the city, even though it can get very crowded, especially at weekends. Everybody should come and visit the National Monument in Jakarta before flying elsewhere such as Medan or Bali.

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The standing pillar of Monas, standing 137m high, symbolises a rice pestle, while the ‘cup’ at the base is said to be symbolising a rice barn. Rice pestle and barn are traditional tools to pound rice, which reflects Indonesia’s heritage as an agricultural country. The park area which surrounds the monument is organized nicely. There are several kinds of plants from various regions of Indonesia, and you can find many seats provided under big trees to shelter from the intense heat. There is a reflecting pool with beautiful fountains and the statue of a Princess riding a bronze horse.

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Visitors can reach the top of Monas by elevator. Here, the view from the top is called “the Top Yard” – and this is a great place to feel the wind caressing your face! In clear weather, you could enjoy the view of Salak Mountain towards the south, the ocean to the north, and Jakarta’s Soekarno-Hatta International Airport westwards. While the park and the surrounding area is indeed beautiful, it is well worth the time to get to the top yard and enjoy the views of downtown Jakarta!

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I didn’t spend too long at Monas, and this meant that I didn’t get to see the spectacular water and fountain show that illuminates the night sky around these parts after dusk. Maybe I will get the chance next time?

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