Museum Wayang (Puppet Museum)
There is a token charge to enter the Wayang Museum, discounted even further for children. As the impressive collection is poorly signed, poorly lit, and generally confusing, it’s worth visiting with a guide. If arranging a guide at the entrance, agree on a price before you tour the museum.
Thanks to its central location in the heart of Old Town (Kota Tua) and its historic building, the Wayang Museum is an occasional stop on Jakarta Old Town tours, though you can also request a visit when exploring the city with a private driver/guide.
Things to Know Before You Go
Lovers of traditional indigenous art forms will appreciate the Wayang Museum. Despite the topic, it’s not especially child-friendly.
There are free puppet performances at the museum most Sundays.
The gift shop offers a fascinating range of puppet replicas, which make interesting souvenirs.
The Wayang Museum is not wheelchair accessible.
How to Get There
The Wayang Museum stands right on Fatahillah Square in the heart of Jakarta Old Town, about 4 miles (7 kilometers) north of Merdeka Square. It’s a short walk from Jakarta Kota station, while a range of buses, including 1A, run from Monas. Many visitors to Jakarta, however, prefer the comfort of a private driver or an organized tour.
When to Get There
The Wayang Museum is open from morning to afternoon Tuesday through Sunday, but closes on Monday. It is rarely crowded, although it’s at its busiest on weekends. Many Sundays see free puppet performances, generally in the morning and after lunch; boards in the square have details.
Puppetry in Indonesia
Puppet shows have been documented in Indonesia for almost 2,000 years and, despite the arrival of smartphones and social media, are still a popular art form today. Educators use the ancient art of shadow puppetry at festivals and community gatherings to communicate information about everything from sexual health to the environment.
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