Earlier this year, we decided to have a staycation in Jakarta for the long weekend for a change of scenery from the home office and also for the fact that we love exploring!
We set off in the car not really having any plan of where to go, and randomly ended up staying at Novotel in Mangga Dua as we decided that it may be fun to spend a day visiting Ancol with Samudra, and Novotel was the closest location as all hotels inside the complex were already fully booked.
We were up bright and early the next day and made the short trip across to Ancol and headed straight to Dufan Dunia Fantasi. We arrived to incredibly long queues as half of Jakarta apparently had the same bright idea as us. I had a moment of wishing I could get back into the cool air conditioning in the car before Putra decided we should go inside and buy VIP tickets as there was no line at all.. brilliant! For a very reasonable extra charge you can purchase a VIP ticket, which gives access to a VIP room with air conditioning and couches to take a break and a little play area for toddlers. It also gives you access to the VIP line at all rides and as there were very few people in these lines, if at all any, it meant that we didn’t wait long at all to go on anything we chose, which I was extremely grateful for in the heat as everyone else was queuing for hours.
Unfortunately due to Samudra’s age we weren’t able to go inside many of the themed areas like the Ice Age Arctic Adventure, but we still had a great time walking around. Dunia Fantasi opened in 1985 and most areas look like they haven’t been updated since, and I think that’s what gives the place it’s charm. It looks like an old school theme park with lots of retro looking rides and it seems to be very popular with the locals.
My favourite ride was Istana Boneka (Doll Castle) with Samudra and I loved his enthusiasm pointing at all the (somewhat eerie) dolls as we slowly moved through the tunnel on our little boat for the 15 minute ride. The dolls inside were dressed in traditional costumes from all around the world and the settings were so bright and colourful. I had to laugh as we neared the end and finally we saw the sign for Australia, and there were no dolls at all! After seeing costumes from each country, it appears that Australia has no traditional dress, only a few kangaroos, sheep and a koala!
The boys went out on the paddle boats, we walked through Rumah Miring (the slanted house), rode the carousel, ate ice-creams and explored all the grounds before the heat got too much for us and we decided to leave in search of food.
It’s definately a funny place to visit, maybe more fun for slightly older kids, as there are more rides available for them to go on and they can go inside the Hello Kitty world and Ice Age Adventures areas.
I would recommend going outside of any long weekends if possible to avoid the queues, but otherwise definately purchase yourself a VIP ticket and go exploring!