I was ecstatic. I breathed in the afternoon air and whispered, “Hello Jogja! We meet again.” From Jakarta, our plane landed at Adisucipto International Airport. After two years, a lot has changed but it did not alienate. I was still welcomed by that familiar warmth I felt a couple of years back.

With over 17,000 islands, Indonesia holds the title as the largest archipelagic nation in the world. Whether natural or cultural or both, there is definitely so much to discover and explore in Indonesia beyond the world-famous Bali. One of them is Yogyakarta.

Yogyakarta is fast becoming popular as a tourist destination because of its proximity to Prambanan and Borobudur, a UNESCO World Heritage site. The city is a great jump-off point to these historic places and other natural wonders.

It is also an important wellspring of Javanese culture and arts. The Kraton (Royal Palace) and Taman Sari complex are great venues to learn more about the Javanese heritage. Arts and crafts abound in the city — Wayang puppetry, Batik textiles, drama/performing arts, silversmithing, and many others. Malioboro is the most famous street where you can shop for souvenirs and eat local dishes.

Here are some of the places to see and activities you can do in Yogyakarta. We’ve provided info should you want to pull a D-I-Y trip. For those who don’t want to think of the logistics and transfers, you will also find Klook links for available tours.

Borobudur Temple (Candi Borobudur)

Borobudur is actually part of the Magelang Regency, which is easily accessible from Yogyakarta. A UNESCO World Heritage Site, this 9th-century structure is considered one of the world’s seven wonders of the ancient era and the largest Buddhist temple in the world, making it one of the most visited tourist attractions not only in Central Java but in the country. More than a temple, it’s also an educational site for those who want to learn more about Buddhism and its guiding principles told through thousands of relief panels. You can marvel at the architectural beauty either at sunrise or sunset. Or both! I was fortunate to visit the temple during both times.

Admission Fee:

  • Regular — IDR355,000/USD25/PHP1300 (Above 10 y/o); IDR213,000/USD15/PHP780 (10 y/o and below)
  • Borobudur Sunrise/Sunset – IDR475,000/USD34/PHP1740 (Inclusive of entrance fee, souvenir, tea/coffee, and breakfast/dinner); IDR 250,000/USD18/PHP915 (Children 6 – 10 y/o; free admission for children 1 – 5 y/o)

Operating Hours: 6AM – 5PM (Regular); 4AM – 6AM (Sunrise); 5PM – 6:30PM (Sunset)

Location: Jl. Badrawati, Borobudur, Magelang, Jawa Tengah (Central Java), Indonesia

Want to join a tour?

BOOK SUNRISE TOUR HERE

BOOK REGULAR TOUR HERE


Yogyakarta Palace (Keraton Yogyakarta)

This is part of the larger palace complex that covers the main palace, royal residence, palace squares, and other residential areas. This is where the current sultan, Hamengkubuwono X (HB X), lives. It is located in the city center, embodying its role as the heart of the Javanese heritage. Discover how life in the palace is and what Javanese culture is about as you explore the grounds and see some artifacts and traditional items featured around the palace. Note that there are two entrances: the Main Court and the Residence. You can buy the admission tickets at either entrance.

Admission Fee: IDR15,000/USD1/PHP55 (Adults & Children)
Operating Hours: 9AM – 2PM (Daily except Friday); 9AM – 11AM (Friday)
Location: Jalan Rotowijayan Blok No. 1, Kota Yogyakarta, Daerah Istimewa, Yogyakarta, Central Java, Indonesia


Water Castle (Taman Sari)

Pasiraman Umbul Binangun or Bathing Complex (Left) and Sumur Gumuling (Right)

Used to be surrounded by an artificial lake, the area now is surrounded by local settlements. The lake dried up and is nowhere in sight anymore. Taman Sari, translated “A Beautiful Garden” from the Javanese language, was built by Sultan Hamengkubuwono I. It is also often called “water castle” by tourists. It was used as a retreat place for the Sultan, his family, and his women. Aside from recreation, it was also used as a defense area and a religious place. The complex has gardens, bathing pools, gates, worship places, water canals, and underground water tunnel.

Sumur Gumuling is also part of the Taman Sari complex. It is a two-level circular structure with five stairs, symbolizing the 5 Pillars of Islam.

Admission Fee: IDR15,000/USD1/PHP55
Operating Hours: 9AM – 3PM
Location: Jalan Nogosari No. 6, Patehan, Kraton, Kota Yogyakarta, Daerah Istimewa, Yogyakarta, Central Java, Indonesia


Prambanan Temple (Candi Prambanan)

Photo provided by Klook

Easily accessible from the city center, Prambanan Temple Compound is actually located in Sleman Regency, near Adisucipto Airport. Also called Roro Jonggrang Temple, Prambanan is the largest Hindu temple in the country and the second in Southeast Asia after Cambodia’s Angkor Wat. This is also listed as a UNESCO World Heritage Site. The best time to explore it is at sunset (given that the weather is good).

Admission Fee: IDR355,000/USD25/PHP1300 (Above 10 y/o); IDR213,000/USD15/PHP780 (10 y/o and below)
Opening hours: 6AM – 5PM
Location: Bokoharjo, Prambanan, Sleman Regency, Special Region of Yogyakarta, Central Java, Indonesia

Want to join a tour?

BOOK SUNSET TOUR HERE

But wait! Do you want to experience both Borobudur Sunrise and Prambanan? There are tour packages that offer a combination of these two UNESCO World Heritage sites. You
can book in advance with Klook.

BOOK THIS TOUR HERE


Sendratari Ramayana

An adaptation of the Indian epic Ramayana but a shorter one, this traditional ballet dance-drama is a noteworthy stop if you are into performing arts. This is done without dialogues but a narration (with English translation flashed on a screen). The performance is held at either Prambanan or Purawisata. Depending on the schedule and the weather, the show can either be performed indoor or outdoor.

Admission Fee:

  • VIP – IDR400,000/USD28/PHP1465
  • Special – IDR300,000/USD21/PHP1100
  • Class 1 – IDR200,000/USD14/PHP733
  • Class 2 – IDR125,000/USD9/PHP458

Operating Hours: 7:30PM – 9:30PM (Tuesday, Thursday, Saturday)
Location: Bokoharjo, Prambanan, Sleman Regency, Special Region of Yogyakarta, Central Java, Indonesia

Reserve a seat! You may book in advance online via Klook.

RESERVE A SEAT HERE


Yogyakarta Food Tour

Indonesia’s dishes are generally on the spicy side (sometimes you can choose the degree of spiciness). Jogja’s cuisines are known to be on the sweet side; however, they still love to include the country’s staple condiment/sauce — sambal (chili sauce or paste). The strong tourism industry gave birth to the westernized version of local cuisines by restaurants that seek to cater to the tourists.

Gudeg (Top Left), Kopi Jos (Top Right), Angkringan/Lesehan (Bottom)

But if you want authentic Jogja food scene and grubs, you may go to the streets of Malioboro or Prawirotaman. You can try the lesehan or the angkringan. Lesehan is characterized by eating while sitting on the floor, usually covered with carpets or mats spread along the streets/pavements. Angkringan is characterized by food stalls with a wide array of local delicacies like nasi kucing (similar to Cebu’s puso), satay choices (similar to ihaw-ihaw), and the local favorite — Kopi Jos, a coffee drink infused with real burning charcoal.

Some of Yogyakarta’s signature food are gudeg and bakpia. Gudeg is a combination of egg, chicken (or duck), rice, and young jack fruit marinated in palm sugar and coconut milk. Bakpia is similar to the Philippines’ hopia.

Klook offers two food tours: one in the morning and the other at night. The local guide will take you to a mouth-watering exploration of Javanese cuisine.

Join the DAY TOUR

Join the NIGHT TOUR


Batik-Making Class

Designated by UNESCO as Masterpieces of the Oral and Intangible Heritage of Humanity, Indonesian Batik is a prized cultural heritage. The country even celebrates National Batik Day on the 2nd of October, the day UNESCO officially recognized it as a cultural treasure. The Javanese Batik is said to have the most sophisticated patterns. The traditional process of making a Batik is very meticulous, and the pattern so intricate and complex. No wonder the quality ones are expensive, but rightly so. One Batik fabric may take a month or two or more to finish, depending on the pattern and the colors.

The process starts with the sketch or drawing of the pattern/design, then the wax-resist dyeing or copper-stamping. After the pattern is made, it will go through the hand-painting process, and then boiling the fabric to remove the wax. The process may repeat many times for one fabric, depending on how many colors a design requires. One of the places where you can witness the step-by-step process and even make your own simple Batik is Batik Plentong.

Batik Plentong Contact Info

Address: No. 48 Jalan Tirtodipuran, Mantrijeron, Kota Yogyakarta, Daerah Istimewa, Yogyakarta 55143, Indonesia
Phone Number: +62 274 373777
Office Hours: 8AM – 6PM


Silversmithing Workshop

Jogja is also well-known for its fine silverworks and silversmithing. Jogja’s silverwork industry flourished in Kotagede, nicknamed “silver village”. I had a great time at HS Silver, learning more about the silverworks industry from the raw materials to the process of creating accessories and other silver products, and making my own silver ring that I got to take home with me. YAY! You can choose one from four design options — two for the ring and two for the pendant.

HS Silver Contact Info

Address: Jalan Mondorakan, Prenggan, Banguntapan, Jagalan, Bantul, Daerah Istimewa Yogyakarta 55192, Indonesia
Phone Number: +62 812 2988 6237
Opening Hours: 8:00AM – 5:30PM

You can book your tour and workshop here!

RESERVE A SLOT HERE


Sample Yogyakarta Itinerary

Here’s a sample 4D3N Yogyakarta itinerary. This assumes that you are a party of two that will split the cost, your base is the city center, and your budget per meal is RP40,000 (P150) per person.

DAY 1
(Note: Based on flight leaving Jakarta at 6am & arriving Yogyakarta at 7am)
07:00AM – Arrive in Yogyakarta
07:30AM – Airport to the city center (hotel): RP3,600/person (bus fare)
08:30AM – Check-in at hotel
09:30AM – Yogyakarta (Royal) Palace: RP15,000/pax (entrance fee)
11:30AM – Lunch: RP40,000/pax
01:00PM – Walk to Taman Sari (4 mins)
01:10PM – Water Castle (Taman Sari): RP15,000/pax (entrance fee)
03:00PM – Yogyakarta City Tour
06:00PM – Dinner: RP40,000/pax
07:30PM – Lights out

DAY 2
05:00AM – Borobudur Sunrise Tour: Around RP600,000, Book here!
10:00AM – Merapi Lava Tour: About RP195,000, Book here!
04:00PM – Malioboro Street Shopping
06:00PM – Dinner: RP40,000/pax
09:00PM – Lights out

DAY 3
09:00AM – Travel to Ratu Boko: RP15,000/person (bus fare)
10:00AM – Ratu Boko Palace: RP350,000/pax (entrance fee)
11:30AM – Travel to Sleman (Prambanan): RP3,600/person (bus fare)
11:45AM – Lunch: RP40,000/pax
01:00PM – Explore Sleman area near Prambanan Temple
03:00PM – Prambanan Temple Compound: RP355,000/pax (entrance fee)
05:00PM – Prambanan sunset
06:00PM – Dinner: RP40,000/pax
07:00PM – Sendratari Ramayana: RP125,000/pax (admission ticket)
09:30PM – Back to city center: RP3,600/person (bus fare)
10:00PM – Lights out

DAY 4: DEPARTURE

The itinerary above will cost you around IDR 2.2 million (PHP 8,010 / USD 155 / SGD 214 / EUR 141) per person, excluding airfare, accommodations, and shopping expenses but including a little bit of allowance for any miscellaneous expenses along the way.


How to Get to Yogyakarta

There are many things to do and places to visit in Yogyakarta, but before that, here’s how to get there. You will be arriving at Adisucipto International Airport. If you are coming from Manila, you need to make a stop in Jakarta. From the capital city, you can reach Yogyakarta either by air or by land. Here’s a detailed post on HOW TO GET TO YOGYAKARTA!


Top Budget Hotels/Hostels in Yogyakarta

Our group stayed at Sheraton Mustika Yogyakarta Resort & Spa. It features a Taman Sari-themed spa experience. If you have money to spare and you want to end your Yogyakarta trip with some pampering at the spa, you can book your last night here. ✅.

Here are the top budget hotels in Yogyakarta as rated by Agoda customers.

Image courtesy of Agoda

Search for more Yogyakarta Hotels!



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Asta Alvarez

Blogger at PhilippineBeaches.org
Asta is the Managing Editor at PhilippineBeaches.org and a regular contributor to The Poor Traveler. She's also a mountaineer, production designer, and cineaste.
Asta Alvarez

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