Yogyakarta Travel Guide

Yogyakarta Overview

Once the seat of the great Javanese kingdom of Mataram, today Yogyakarta, (Yogya for short) is an energetic and cosmopolitan city blending contemporary life with bundles of old world charm. Less industrial than Jakarta and livelier than nearby Solo, Yogya, the capital of the Yogyakarta Special Region province, is the islands clear frontrunner when it comes to showcasing Javanese arts, dance, culture and timeless traditions, making it an increasingly popular tourist destination.

 
Yogyakarta is dominated by three distinct landmarks; the walled city of the Kraton Complex, home to the Sultans Palace; Jalan Malioboro, the major commercial and entertainment district, and; the distant MountMerapi. Exploring the Kraton Complex and Jalan Malioboro it is easy to see the contrasting and changing faces of the city. Duck inside to the Sultans Palace for a culture filled afternoon and witness a city within a city, where traditions are time honored and strong. Then, take a stroll along Jalan Malioboro heaving with shops, hotels, museums and galleries and famed for its street vendors and night food culture. 
 
With its central location on the island of Java, Yogyakarta is somewhat of the gateway for the rest of Indonesia with transport heading in all directions. From Giwangan terminal it would seem that buses are constantly coming and going for Bandung, Jakarta, Solo, Surabaya and Denpasar. Tugu train station, in the heart of town, is equally as busy, with connections running the length of the island. Anyone looking to save time or for a quick escape will find flights from Adisutjipto airport to domestic destinations as well as Kuala Lumpur and Singapore. However, check the current situation with MountMerapi, as eruptions can cause flight delays and even airport closure.
 
Although in possession of a wealth of local transport, on the whole Yogya is a fun city to explore on foot, especially the old districts and Jalan Malioboro area. Moreover, renting a car or motorbike allows for total freedom and opportunity to explore the ancient sites of Borobudur and Prambanan as well as the many beaches lining the south coast of Java.

Things to do in Yogyakarta

Museums in Yogyakarta

Sonobudoyo Museum - The pick of the bunch in the city, with an impressive collection of Javanese and YogyakartaKingdom artefacts and a courtyard containing Hindu relics. Entrance fee IDR 3,000.
Museum Affandi - Private collection of the Indonesias most well known artist, Affandi, who lived, worked and is even buried in the grounds. Entrance fee IDR 20,000 (camera 10,000).
 
Kraton Complex - A city within a city in the heart of Yogyakarta, home to the Sultans palace and its own markets, schools and mosques. The main buildings, one of Javas architectural masterpieces, were built in 1755 and today remain the prime residence of the Sultan and his family. With lavish halls and breezy courtyards one can see why the royal family continue to live their luxurious lifestyle here. Regular Javanese song and dance performances and wayang shows are held in the inner pavilion.
 
Taman Sari - West of the Kraton Complex is the remnants of a garden complex built for the original Sultan in 1765. Also known as the WaterCastle due to the gardens, bathing pools and waterways in which the royal family would indulge themselves.
 
Purawisata - Art and cultural centre/park hosting concerts, classical and modern Javanese dance performances and Ramayana ballet. Within the park are cafés, restaurants ad a host of kids amusements and funfair rides.
 
River Rafting - For the adrenalin seekers, white water rafting trips make their way through the stunning surroundings of the Elo and ProgoRivers. The EloRiver is perfect for beginners with rapids of Grade 2-3. Experienced rafters can then jump onto the ProgoRiver for rapids up to Grade 5. Tour Jogja offer competitive day trips.
 
Mount Merapi Trekking - Those bored of the city can venture out on overnight treks of the nearby active volcano MountMerapi. Treks move through the spectacular Kaliurang Rainforest, passing valleys, gorges and rivers and stopping off at mountain villages. Most tours will also include watching the sunrise over the ancient and worlds largest Buddha temple at Borobudur.
 
Yogyakarta Nightlife
From street stalls to burger bars to swanky restaurants and jazz bars to raucous nightclubs, Yogyakarta has a little of everything. For a quick snack and great local atmosphere, the street stalls at Jalan Malioboro are always a good bet. For drinks, Hugos Café is the funkiest spot in town at the Sheraton Hotel; Vino Bar is a chill out lounge serving great cocktails and Caesar Café blends quiet afternoons with late nights and DJs. There are also numerous theatres hosting all kinds of tradition music and dance shows. Ask in hotels for details and the best options.

Hotels in Yogyakarta

Budget Hotels Yogyakarta

Hostel 1001 Malam - Yogyakartas backpacking mecca in the lively Malioboro district.
Merapi & Merbabu Hotel - 2 good budget hotels under the same ownership at Sosrowijayan. Tel (62) 274 582574.
Venezia Homestay - Great value and comfortable rooms in a traditional part of town. Tel (62) 274 374049.
 
Midrange Hotels Yogyakarta
Air Langga Hotel - Contemporary rooms, nice pool and restaurant and pub. Tel (62) 274 378044.
Duta Garden Hotel - Relaxed lodgings set around a tropical garden and swimming pool. Tel (62) 274 373482.
Ministry of Coffee - Great location, just south of the SultansPalace and, as you would expect, great coffee and café. Tel (62) 274 376057.
 
Luxury Hotels Yogyakarta
Melia Purosani Hotel - Luxury resort style hotel in the heart of traditional Yogyakarta. Tel (62) 274 589521.
Hyatt Regency - All the 5-star Hyatt trimmings for those who can afford it. Tel (62) 274 869123.

Yogyakarta Weather

Yogyakarta Travel Resources

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