Yogyakarta is the Indonesian city in the central part of the Java island. It is very popular among tourists because of its ancient temple Borobudur – the largest Buddhist temple of the South hemisphere and temple Prambanan – the biggest Hindu temple in Indonesia. Yogyakarta is a centre of culture and education. It is also interesting because of its location near the Merapi volcano.
Before you go
Yogyakarta lies on the Java island, where most of the inhabitans are muslims. Therefore, you might consider the clothes you will wear. It is recomended to wear long trousers (even if it is hot ouside) and especially women should have their arms covered. Locals are always dressed in long clothes. Obey the old saying: “When in Rome, do as the Romans do”.
How to get there
Adisutjipto International Airport hosts many airlines, such as Air Asia, Lion Air, Batik Air, Garuda Indonesia etc. We flew from Bali island. The flight takes approx. one hour. The airport has good connections to Kuala Lumpur and Singapore as well.
Transportation in Yogyakarta
The most comfortable and quite cheep means of transport in Yogyakarta is to travel by taxi. Always agree on the price with your taxi driver beforehand unless his car has taximeter. The ride from the airport to the city centre takes approx. 40 minutes and costs 50.000 IDR (cca 3,30 EUR).
Traditional, however less comfortable means of transportation, are rickshaw and pedicab (so called becak). Also, always agree on the price beforehand. You will avoid inconvenience, when your driver would ask for an unreasonable price.
You can also try horse carriage, which you can find on the Jalan Malioboro street.
Public transport and motorbikes
There is also public bus transportation in Yogyakarta. The most popular means of transport in the city is by motorbike. There are thousands of them everywhere. Motorbikes cause the chaotic situation on the road and heavy trafic. Therefore, always remember to be careful when crossing the street. 🙂
Where to stay
If you want to be in the centre, stay close to the Jalan Malioboro street. It is close to the city sights of Yogyakarta, such as Vredeburg fortress or Kraton palace. There are lots of hotels and hostels in the area. We stayed in – The Phoenix Hotel Yogyakarta which is nearly 100 years old. It is a beautiful building from colonial times, full of history. It is located cca one kilometer from the Jl. Malioboro.
What is MUST SEE in YOGYAKARTA and its surroundings
The the largest buddhist temple on the Southern hemisphere. It was built between the 8th and 9th century. In 1991 Borobudur UNESCO enlisted Borobudur as a World Heritage Site. It is located near the town Magelang, about an hour ride from Yogyakarta. We recommend you to visit Borobudur at sunrise. When the weather is clear you will be able to enjoy a beautiful view of the Merapi volcano. Entrance fee to the Borobudur sunrise is 380.000 IDR (approx. 25,50 EUR) per person. Ask for the joint ticket Borobudur-Prambanan, it should be more cost-efficient.
The biggest hindu temple complex in Indonesia. Prambanan is also enlisted by UNESCO as World Heritage Site. The ride from Yogyakarta takes approx 30 minutes, depending on the traffic. Make sure to visit Prambanan at sunset.
Mount Merapi is an active volcano (2930 metres above the sea level) situated 28 kilometers from Yogyakarta. First you have to come to Kali Urang village. From there you can rent an off-road vehicle with the driver (350.000 IDR/1,5 hour, apx. 23,50 EUR). They will drive you up – 4km under the caldera from where you can enjoy breathtaking view on the Mount Merapi.
The main shopping street of Yogyakarta. There are lots of shops on this street, where you can buy souvenirs such as batik shirts, T-shirts, woodcarved statues, decorated puppets, puppets for shadow theatre and other stuff that will remind you the visit of this exotic city.
The palace of sultan of Yogyakarta. It is located 10 minutes walk from Jalan Malioboro (go South all the way down the Jalan Malioboro and you will get to the palace). The palace closes at 2pm.
Where to eat in Yogya
The cheapest way is to eat in warung, small stall with the local cuisine. We have tried several restaurants such as restaurant Paprika in our hotel, and others Roaster and Bear and Honje. The food in all of them was delicious 🙂
The people in Yogyakarta are very helpful and kind. There are not many tourists in Yogyakarta city centre. We only saw up to 10 tourists wandering the streets. This might be because we were visiting Indonesia in low season. Local children but also grown-ups wanted to talk to us. They were asking us where are we from, or just wanted to practise their English with us. Also, they wanted to take a lot of pictures. We kinda felt like Brad and Angeline sometimes. Meeting people in Yogyakarta was very nice experience 🙂
What to be aware of
As mentioned above, always agree on the price with your taxi driver or becak driver. If there is a taximeter in the car, insist on turning it on. They are not always willing to take you with the taximeter on, because it is the cheapest and they know it.
The locals will stop you and start talking to you a lot (mostly on the Jl. Malioboro or in front of the Kraton palace – especially if you come after opening hours). But there are some with the hidden agenda – they will try to show you the piece of art in gallery, the ballet performance or shadow theatre performance (called wayang). If you go, they would get the commision, of course. But you probably wouldn´t want to go see any performance, so you will just probably lose your time.
Useful app for your travels
maps.me – offline maps. If you are not online abroad, make sure to download this app. You can download the map of Indonesia and you can never get lost. It works great, we have used it a lot! 🙂 Available on Android and Apple
Three days are enough to see everything in Yogyakarta and around – sunrise at Borobudur and sunset at Prambanan, the next day Merapi volcano and the evening shadow theatre performance; the third day go to the city centre and Kraton Palace, with the shopping on the Jalan Malioboro street.
Enjoy your stay in this amazing city 🙂
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