Planning on visiting Java? Yogyakarta is a city that must be on your itinerary! The city is located in the centre of Java, and can easily be reached from Jakarta or Bali, either by plane, bus or train! Yogyakarta is mainly known for its close proximity to Borobudur and the active volcano of Mount Merapi. But that is not only that there is to see, read below 8 things you must do when visiting Yogyakarta!
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1. See the sun rise at Borobudur
A classic, a must do, the reason many of us put Yogyakarta on our itinerary, something you just have to see once in your life… the sun rise at Borobudur. Located roughly 40km away from Yogyakarta it will be a guaranteed early riser, but some sun rises are definitely worth the effort. Climb the steps of Borobudur to see the sun rise over the temple and the stunning surroundings. Even if the sun rise is not that spectacular, we mean we can never predict a perfect sunrise right, wandering around the temple is well worth the effort and your money. Intrigued? Read everything you need to know about seeing the sun rise at Borobudur here including how to get there, cost and everything you need to know before you go.
2. Awe at Prambanan
Perhaps not as well known as Borobudur, but at least as impressive is Prambanan. Prambanan is a hindu temple compound from the ninth century, located on the Northeast corner of Yogyakarta. Since a combination ticket can be bought for seeing both Borobudur and Prambanan many visit the latter for sunset on the same day. The compound itself originally consisted of 240 temple, with the largest temple being the Shiva Temple (height of 47m), located in the center of all the temples.
3. Visit Taman Sari & Sumur Gumuling
Located in Kraton, in the city of Yogyakarta, you can visit Taman Sari and Sumur Gumuling. Taman Sari is also known as the water castle, and was built in the mid 18th century as part of the Sultan’s Palace. The water castle functioned as a bathing complex, a resting area and much more. While a larger part of Taman Sari was destroyed, the Segaran Lake area is well preserved and can still be visited. Now to make your visit complete you can use the same ticket to visit the nearby Sumur Gumuling, the underground mosque. The underground mosque can only be reached via a tunnel. In the centre of Sumur Gumuling you will find 4 staircases leading to the elevated platform, all located under an open ceiling, a recommended visit when you are at Taman Sari!
Tip: visit Taman Sari and Sumur Gumuling on the same day to avoid paying for two entry tickets. The entry ticket is 15K IDR per person.
4. See Mount Merapi
The active volcano can be spotted from various points of the city, but they are not half as impressive as actually visiting the volcano from up close. For the budget travelers you can just drive up close to the mountain yourself or for the adventurous travelers there is a possibility to do a sunrise lava tour, driving in a jeep through rivers and over the rugged volcano terrain to catch a stunning sun rise over Mount Merapi! We visited the viewpoint of Klangon Hill and have written everything you need to know about seeing Mount Merapi and the different options of visiting Mount Merapi right here!
5. Sun Rise Viewpoints
Don’t limit your visit to Yogyakarta by just visiting the main sights, because Yogyakarta is surrounded by some beautiful nature. There are many viewpoints that you can visit to catch the sun rise over the mountains, or perhaps a sun set if you are no early riser. Be sure to check the weather in advance, you don’t want to be caught up in the rain, especially during rain season! Some of the most well known viewpoints are:
– Punthuk Setumbu
– Kaliburu National park
– Bukit Panguk Kediwung
6. Wander around the Sultan’s Palace
If you are planning on visiting Kraton, the Sultan’s Palace is a must see. Wander around the different buildings and learn more about how the sultans lived. If you are lucky you can even admire a traditional dance show. During our visit in August 2018 there was a traditional dance show every Sunday morning at 10pm. The entrance fee is the same and it such a beautiful experience. On any other given day it is still fascinating to wander around and to admire the Javanese Architecture of the palace.
Tip: Be early so you can have a seat for the show, the show lasts an hour and you showing up early will mean you will have the best view!
7. Do a Cooking Class
If you have never tasted Indonesian cuisine you will be in for a treat from nasi goreng, gado gado, satay with peanut sauce to fried bananas and much much more… the Indonesian cuisine is rich and large in variety, from spicy meals to flavorful deserts, there is something for everyone’s liking. And what better way then to taste the cuisine then to actually prepare it yourself! Do a cooking class at Via Via, or many of the other locations and cook some of the tastiest food you have ever tasted, all prepared by you!
8. Shop at Malioboro
And last, but definitely not least, shopping at Jalan Malioboro. A visit to Yogyakarta would not be complete without a souvenir, or two or perhaps even three. Jalan Malioboro is home to many batik shops, clothing shops, souvenir shops and accessories shops. Wander around the stalls to find some unique souvenirs or new clothing items, and don’t forget to bargain to get the best price! You will also find multiple street food stalls here, perfect for a quick bite in between.
Accommodation in Yogyakarta
Explore the rest of Java
The adventure does not have to end in Yogyakarta, while one of the most beautiful cities of Java and Indonesia, this beautiful and big island has so much more to offer. Hop on the train and travel West to experience the hustle and bustle of Indonesia’s Capital, Jakarta, or head east to see the sun rise over Mount Bromo, one of our favorite destinations in Southeast Asia! Not sure where to start or want to read perhaps more about Bali, check out all our articles on Indonesia here.
We hope you enjoyed reading all about the 8 things you must do when visiting Yogyakarta! If you have any questions or recommendations for our next visit be sure to leave a comment down below. Oh, and don’t forget to pin in for later…