Yogyakarta (often called Jogja) the capital city of the Yogyakarta Special Region in Central Java, Indonesia, known for its traditional arts and cultural heritage and wedged strategically between two powerhouse of ancient temples – Prambanan the magnificent Hindu temple and Borobudur the renown Buddhist temple, this place holds more wonders than just that. You can explore the main streets and narrow alleys for hidden treasures of bygone days, taste the best Javanese food and soak yourself in history, art and culture.
Unsurprisingly, it is one of the major tourist hub in Indonesia, due to its uniqueness and all the tourist attractions, sightseeing places and many things to do all packed into one. Without furthermore, these 10 things you should do while you travel Yogyakarta.
Fulfil your energy with the best Indonesian food – Gudeg
Even there are so much junk food you can find, but still, Gudeg is a must to taste. Gudeg is the famous food from Yogyakarta made of young Jackfruit with sugar palm, coconut milk, meat, garlic, and other spices that make it more and more special. You will taste it slowly while you munch it the melding flavors and textures are definitely perfect match! Semberani Jogja recommend you to get the best Gudeg in Gudeg Yu Djum.
Drowned in the histories Yogyakarta – Kraton
It is a must to visit this place. Even it is a global era, you still can feel the kingdom sensation in the Kraton, Yogyakarta. Its uniqueness of architecture will make you drown into the history of Kraton that will be accompanied by a local guide who amazingly can speak all kinds of language. Cool!
Try your luck with local myth – Southern Park
After drowned in the histories of Yogyakarta, go fo a walk to the Southern Park (Alun-alun) Yogyakarta where you can find two huge of Bayan trees. Believe it or not if you manage to walk between the trees while your eyes are blindfolded, you will get your wish! But it is not that easy to cross the two trees, it almost impossible to walk straight and cross them! So, I dare you to cross it straightly perfectly! Will you?!
Be a detective and follow the secret – Sewu Temple
Sewu Temple, its calming sensation with secret in it. It is just another perfect place to visit in Jogja. Located near Prambanan Temple you will need to walk for 10-15 minutes it is so worth to be visited. Sewu mean thousand so you can get the meaning with a place with a thousand temple, but there are only 249 temples?! Come and try to find what are Sewu Temple hides from you!
Shopping time! Which one? Malioboro or Beringharjo? Or both?
Yogyakarta with its culture also sell much much things to be owned (of course you need to but it!). But do not worry, in Malioboro and Beringharjo sell a lot of cheap things to buy. What you need? Clothes? Accessories? Food? Anything you thought might find in Indonesia are here!
Be strong, hike is easy! – Merapi
Have never climb yet before? Ah nothing to worry about! Even if you are not a serious hiker or climber, you should try the short hike towards Mount Merapi and find yourself amidst the leftovers of houses and such after the recent volcano eruption in 2010. You will find yourself humbled by the immensity of nature’s wrath and how people respond to it bravely. If you reach the place of Mbah Maridjan, you will learn how a keeper of spirits stood by his duty even when the volcano erupted.
Sneak into Water Castle – Taman Sari
Use a back way from the other side of the castle and try to sneak your way in through rundown defense walls and scattered village houses. Once you got in, you will find yourself in mazes of underground water holes, secret chambers and gardens and pools. This castle is a huge complex that use to be a former royal garden of Sultanate of Yogyakarta used for various functions including bathing place. You heard me right, bathing place, which personally I find the most intriguing, with a calm blue pool surrounded starkingly by pink buildings.
Chill out at a cafe
At the end of a long day walking and exploring Yogyakarta, you can have your evening chilling out at one of the many cafes, there are many to choose from at Jalan Prawirotaman (road) . Here you will find good atmosphere to just sit for a long time and probably catch up on that email or with friends. Food choices among the cafes are a mix of local and international of main meals and snacks. Drinks may range from local sweet drinks to lassi and of course coffee. Get to one of the cafes here to mingle with people or just sit at a corner all tuck in by yourself.
Admire the reconstructed puzzle of Sambisari Temple (candi)
By no means in anyway stand out from the shadows of the above temple, it is still a good stopover when you are making your way to Prambanan. Sambisari temple use to be buried five metres underground for hundreds of years until the first slab of stone was discovered in 1966. This temple that took more than 20 years to excavate and reconstructs seems to stand as a bold testament of many archeologists best effort in restoring the glory of the past.
Be awed by the magnificent Prambanan Temple
Candi Prambanan (temple) or also known as Candi Roro Jonggrang, is a well known ancient Hindu Temple in Indonesia. It is built during the 9th century for Trimurti as an expression that God is the Creator (Brahma), Preserver (Vishnu) and also the Destroyer (Shiva). The temple compound lies just 18km east of Yogyakarta and can be easily reached with the Transjogja public bus, which is by far the cheapest and best option to visit Prambanan. It is one of the Indonesia UNESCO World Heritage Site, being one of the largest Hindu temple architecture in Southeast Asia.
Venture out to the serene Borobudur
Technically not in Yogyakarta but many will definitely do this day trip (only 1 hour drive from Yogyakarta to Borobudur) or few days trip out of Jogja just for a visit to Borobudur (better choice if you have the time). Yes it is worth the trip and it is even better if you can stay the night nearby and catch the temple at the dawn of light (if you pay for the sunrise tour) or at least be the first to go in when it opens at 8am. This is how to best enjoy it, when it is at its most quiet, with just a trickle of travelers like you who appreciate the silence and marvels at the beauty with respect. This 9th century temple is an Indonesia UNESCO Heritage site and one of the largest Buddhist temple in the world, consisting of six square platforms with 2,672 relief panels and 504 Buddha status. Thousands of Buddhists does their pilgrimage here in Borobudur during Waisak day.