What to do in Yogyakarta: Your Travel Guide

Gudeg Jogja
Gudeg Jogja – Photo by ferfau

Yogyakarta, usually pronounced as Jogja, a relatively small city compared to major cities in Indonesia, is one of most visited cities in Indonesia. Yogyakarta is the host of Indonesia’s two most important cultural and religious heritages; Borobudur and Prambanan temples. Yogyakarta is the capital city of Yogyakarta Special Region (D.I. Yogyakarta), home of the purest Javanese Language, a clean and lovable city, and crowded-free city in which you will fall in love immediately. Numerous activities to do and places to go to will sound intimidating, so for a quick start, here are several things to do in Yogyakarta.

Where to Go?

So welcome to Jogja. Wherever in Indonesia you’re coming from, you’ll feel a very different atmosphere once you arrived in Jogja. First you’re gonna need to find homestay or hotels, and whichever it is, it won’t tear your wallet off, so don’t worry about the price. Now let’s heading out:

  1. Walking Through the Ancient Ficus Trees

Around the center of this city, you can play a simple yet fun game which is held at the Sultan’s Square (Alun-Alun Jogja). In this game you have to walk through the two ancient ficus trees, sounds simple eh? It’s not as simple as it sounds, most participants fail in this game. To participate in this game, you have to have your eyes blindfolded and start walking towards the two trees, and you have to walk straight to pass through them. The funny thing, no matter how wide the range between the two trees, you will surely fail several times before having it succeed. Locals said that if you have a wish in your mind and getting passed through the trees, that wish will come true. Eager to start? It is located around Sultan’s Castle.

  1. Wayang Kulit Performance

Get to know more about ancient culture of Javanese with watching Wayang Kulit Performance, Javanese shadow play accompanied with traditional orchestra at Sonobudoyo Traditional Museum, north Alun-Alun.

  1. Enjoy Exploring Jogja with Becak or Andong

Becak or Andong is a traditional transportation, pedal-powered, similar to cart, you just have to sit and the driver will take you to explore the town. Ah, how cool it is.

  1. Do a Culinary Trip

You will find so many delicious local eateries around Jogja. Jogja is also well-known as a culinary city. You can find many kind of interesting local dishes such as Gudeg Jogja (curry of jackfruit, chicken and egg served together with rice), Special Fried Chicken, Sego Langgi (Langgi Rice), Rujak Ice or Rujak Ice Cream (made with fresh fruits), Nasi Kucing (Cat’s Food, very small size of foods combined with various ingredients), Gorengan and Kipo (bite size of snacks), etc. You can find them almost anywhere around Jogja.

  1. Connect with Historical Landmarks and Buildings

Borobudur Temple is actually located in Magelang, but it’s not too far away from Jogja City. It is one of the most popular heritages of Indonesia along with Candi Prambanan (Prambanan Temple) which is located in Jogja itself. Besides the two, there are also Candi Sambisari (located close to Adisucipto International Airport), Candi Kalasan (close to Candi Prambanan), Candi Sari (600 meters to the north-east of Candi Kalasan), Candi Ratu Boko, Candi Plaosan, Candi Sewu, etc.

Besides temples, you can also visit Benteng Vredeburg (a former colonial fortress), Taman Sari (a water castle), Kota Gede (ancient Islamic Mataram Kingdom), Kraton Yogyakarta, Sultan’s Carriage Museum, etc.

  1. Take a walk while shopping at Malioboro Street
Malioboro Street
Malioboro Street – Photo by Gunawan Kartapranata

Malioboro Street is a very popular shopping promenade among Indonesian and international tourists. Malioboro has 2 kilometers in length and in which hundreds of shops and street-stalls offering various kind of handicrafts sit. You can take a look around on foot or use Becak or Andong to make your traveling more delight. But beware, although it’s safe as it seems, Malioboro is not free from pickpockets, so watch out for your belongings especially when it’s overcrowded.

Tips to Get Around:

  • By Taxi: more trustworthy nowadays than ever, most taxis are metered now
  • By Becak or Andong: trishaw and horsecart, most popular traditional transportations around
  • By Car: there many places that offer affordable price to rent a car
  • By Motorbike: it is the most popular private transportation you can rent, very affordable price per day
  • By Car with Driver.

Because Jogja is a small city, one short-trip for approximately 5 days should make it enough to explore the awesomeness it has. If you are not sure enough to start exploring Jogja because of the language and the names of the sites, the tourism authority in Jogja has maps and directions written in English, so no worry if you fear of getting lost somewhere in there.