Jakarta is the economic and political capital of Indonesia, so its residents are of many different cultures and ethnicities. The people are mostly of Malay and Polynesian descent, with over 300 ethnic groups and subgroups represented. Due to its long history as a key trading post, Jakarta is also home to immigrant minorities of Chinese, Arabic and Persian descent. The cultural influences of former colonial powers (the Portuguese, Spanish, English and Dutch) is also still evident in the islands today.

Indonesia is home to over 500 languages, with three main language groups being spoken on Java, all with a great number of dialects. The official language is Bahasa Indonesia, but dialects of Betawi, Javanese and Sundanese are widely used as well. Most people in the tourism industry can also speak some English, and a small number of mostly elderly people can speak Dutch (a remnant from when the islands were part of the Dutch East Indies) .