If you want Indonesian culture, arts, and cuisine then Yogyakarta is for you. Just between Mount Merapi and the Indian Ocean, this Java island town has a natural charm by its beauty of ancient temples and ruins, similar to Borobudur and Prambanan.
Yogyakarta, also known as “Jogja”, is the center of fine Javanese arts and culture.
Well known for its traditional method of producing beautifully hand-made Batik handicrafts, this town is also a paradise for their must-see ancient temples and even has one of the Seven Wonders of the World, the Borobudur Temple.
- Indonesian legends circle this place and you can get to know them better by seeing the town’s artwork and dance shows.
- Yogyakarta’s multi-cultured history has an extraordinary lineage of Hindu and Buddhist realms that left behind stunning and charming religious temples and palaces.
How to Get to Yogyakarta
The flight takes only an hour to get you to the destination.
The best way to travel to and back from the airport is with Bluebird Taxi. Bluebird Taxi is the most trusted and honest taxi company you can find all over Indonesia.
Grab and Uber also is now available in Indonesia.
There are several flights from Bali to Yogyakarta and back. So that is an easy option an not a problem.
There are two kinds of trains between the Jakarta-Yogyakarta.
- The cheaper option, which is the economy class trains, depart from Pasar Senen station
- The business class trains—the more expensive—leave from Gambir station.
The only difference is in the number of stops. The cheaper ones have more stops than the expensive one. But the service is quite the same.
The landscapes outside your train-window in the countryside Java is picturesque and relaxing.
The bus ride takes for about long sixteen hours. You can get your ticket at Giwangan Bus Terminal and jump onboard from there.
If you travel on holiday, book your tickets in advance. You can book it online or visit a travel agent.
Things to Do in Yogyakarta City
This 113-foot high shrine is a bit of a Buddhist mystery.
Built between the 8th and 9th centuries by the ruling Buddhist Cailendra dynasty, little is known about the temple’s original meaning or even a name. With four active volcanoes on Borobudur background, the view is charmingly mysterious.
I would suggest visiting Borobudur on the sunrise. It can be crowded but the most beautiful part of the day is the 45 minutes after the actual sunrise when the massive constructions are painted in golden, glowing light and the morning mist has settled pleasantly in the background.
Prambanan temple is a UNESCO world heritage site consisting of 240 temples built by the succeeding dynasty.
The temple site is dedicated to the expression of God as Brahma, Vishnu, and Shiva, reaching 47 meters altitude. In the evenings, you can watch the amazing Ramayana ballet performance with 200 dancers and musicians performing in the open air stage, with the beautiful temple as the backdrop.
Buy the combo temple ticket for both Borobudur and Prambanan temples. Both temples take around 1.5 hours to explore.
- Silver Jewelry making in Kota Gede
Just a thirty-minute drive from the city of Yogya you can find an ancient town well known for its exceptional silver arts and handicrafts. Kota Gede is home to many silver craft workshops. You can even observe the actual process of creating their work there.
Traditional Indonesian fabric is a unique cloth with complex batik dye. To make the fabric, a wax-resistant dye is applied to the material dry by either drawing dots or lines using a spouted tool called the canting, or by printing with a copper stamp called the cap.
Yogyakarta has a long history of making batik fabric and is where the art form is the most highly developed.
Built in 1757, the Kraton or the Palace served as a home for the Sultan and his family.
It is an impressive art mix of old Javanese culture and architecture blend. Complex designs from halls to floors, bright gold painted ceilings and symmetric floor designs.
Various buildings can also be seen in the palace, like the waiting hall, justice hall, eating hall and many more.
After walking around the Kraton, you will reach the Water Castle also known as Taman Sari. Water Castle serves as a pleasure park for the Sultans and their noble families. In here you will find charming spots of wondrous and fascinating ruins, underground corridors, and large subterranean mosque.
Watu Giring, a trace of ancient stone mining, and has become a popular destination among local travelers.
The mining area looks like ruins of a fallen realm.
- Pinus Pengger (Hutan Pinus Dingo)
Pinus Pengger (Hutan Pinus Dingo) makes you feel excited. Branches of trees are transformed into different and impressive sculptures from a romantic nest to a gigantic hand.
Also known as Gunung Merapi is the most active volcano in Indonesia. It is located on the border between Central Java and Yogyakarta. If you’re up for an adventure, without the tourist crowds of sunrise at Borobudur, this is must do. This hike definitely makes for quite the spiritual experience.
Did you know that you can have so much fun at the sand dunes just outside the Yogyakarta? Yes, you read that correct! Get your sandboards ready as you slide down the giant mounds of sand!
- Explore the caves in Goa Pindul
Nature lovers would definitely enjoy this one. If you love a good outdoor action, then you should make to Goa Pindul caves, where you can go cave tubing.
Cave tubing involves voyaging a cave through riding a rubber tube down the water channels within the cave itself.
I would suggest going in the morning at about 9 am when the water is not too cold, and also to catch some rays of sun filtering down into the cavern. This is surely a magnificent sight and experience not to be missed.
For this caving adventure, the team will guide you through the practice of rappelling gear, as well as help you descend 70 meters down the cliff into the depths of the cave.
When you reach the floor, you’ll witness the surprisingly calm tranquility of darkness. Continue on your adventure by tracking the tunnels and other connecting caves, before rising from Grubug Cave where you’ll get to see and take photos under the ‘light from heaven’