Known as the cultural centre of Javanese art, Yogyakarta (or Jogja for short) is certainly a traveller’s paradise for the perfect getaway with so much to see, learn and indulge! It is one of the most tourist-friendly cities in Indonesia, with great cultural places to fun places to shop and exciting outdoors activities to try out. The regular culture vulture will love the abundance of temples, and the ever-hungry traveller will feast like a king on Jogja’s delicious dishes, whilst the shopping queen will definitely find retail delights that will soothe all needs for retail therapy.
Best of Yogyakarta
1. Borobudur Temple
One of the greatest monuments in the world, timeless beauty beckons when you explore the massive temple complex. Millions of people are eager to visit the biggest Buddhist temple in the 9th century, hailed as a UNESCO World Heritage site with its colourful history, beautiful architecture and astounding scenery.
2. Prambanan Temple
A lesser known ancient temple ruin yet equally as stunning, with its sharp, jagged archaeological structure. The ancient temple that was dedicated to the Trimurti gods (Brahma, Vishnu, Shiva) is a beautiful Hindu-Buddhist architecture enshrouded in mystery, and touted as one of most beautiful Hindu temples in the world.
3. Mount Merapi
Adventure-seekers will be thrilled when bubbling molten lava start spewing onto the ash-laden terrains. Go on a “lava tour” as they bring you around on a big 4-wheel drive, showing proof of its destructive power.
4. Ratu Boko Compound
Ratu Boko Compound is believed to be a former palace where you can see the remains of mystifying pavilions, pools and shrines. A favourite spot for sunset offering spectacular views of Mount Merapi, Prambanan Temple and Kalasan Temple from the top.
5. Kraton Ngayogyakarta Hadiningrat
Take in the pomp and grandeur of the palace or enjoy the frequent palace dance performances.
6. Taman Sari
Bathing pools in the formal royal garden built for the first Sultan where he used to pick his companion for the day. Though it is no longer possible to bathe in the pools, you can still visit the rooms that were once used exclusively by the women of the court, including a changing room and massage room.
7. Imogiri Royal Cemetery
Pay a visit to the hauntingly solemn royal graveyard, the final resting place of Yogyakarta’s monarchs.
8. Benteng Vredeburg
Check out the beautiful ancient architecture and dioramas depicting the rich history of the independence movement.
9. Beringharjo Market
Intense flavours of food on the outside and a hive of batik activity on the inside, this traditional marketplace has been a popular trading centre since 1758! Come for the excitement, stay for the buzz!
10. Ramayana Ballet
The timeless tale of Ramayana comes to live in a marvellous depiction of the legend through performing arts. Book your tickets early for this!
11. Parangtritis Beach
Where can you find a beach dotted with temple ruins on an enchanting sloping beach? Enjoy the beautiful sunset while taking a slow ride on a horse carriage.
12. Kota Gede
Everything and anything related to silverware can be found in abundance at Kota Gede, the epicentre of Javanese silver handicraft. The skillful craftsmen of Kota Gede find pride in their art and their most intricate works are much sought-after at the biggest market for silver handicrafts in Indonesia.
13. Sumur Gumuling
It looks like a big donut when you see it from above, but once you’ve walked through the underground pass, you’ll realize that this curious structure was once a mosque built over a spring.
It’s bustling with shoppers eager to get the best batik including Mirota Batik and trinkets along the five-foot way. The famous souvenir paradise in the heart of the city is alive with shouting traders, bubbly laughter, screaming car horns and exciting chatter.
It may look like brown slop to the unknowing, but this jackfruit curry cooked with palm sugar and coconut milk bursts with amazing flavours! Best paired with white rice and other condiments.
Amongst other regencies of the Yogyakarta Special Region, Gunungkidul (Mount Kidul) is famous for its wealth of caves (Jomblang, Pindul) and beaches (Indrayanti, Wedi Ombo, Krakal, etc).
Enjoy the fresh and cool air at Suralaya Samigaluh’s peak, challenge yourself with whitewater rafting at Progo River or visit pilgrimage sites such as Maria Cave at Sendangsono.