Yogyakarta is seen as the cultural capital of Java. The relaxed student city has few high-rise buildings and the residents are notable for their friendliness and politeness. In the middle of the city is the kraton, the palace of the Sultan. Near the kraton you can find the old water palace (Taman Sari). Furthermore, a visit to Fort Vredenburg is fun for anyone interested in the history of Yogyakarta. You can make nice city tours through local guides (often students who speak good English). Highly recommended to get acquainted with real life in Yogyakarta.
Near Yogyakarta he world famous Borobudur and Prambanan can be found, which have been declared a World Heritage Site by UNESCO. These impressive places are absolute must-see’s.
If you like nature and being active, the area around Jogjakarta has a lot to offer.
Yogyakarta is one of the few cities in Indonesia where the sultan still has an important function in daily life. His palace, the kraton, was built between 1755 and 1766 and the current sultan still lives here.
The kraton is a mythical place built in a special place. The kraton is built on an imaginary line that starts at Parangtritis beach, and then through the kraton, Malioboro street, the Tugu monument, finally ends at Merapi. All important places in Yoyakarta are thus in a straight line. The spirit world of the sea is connected by this line to the spirit world of the Merapi volcano.
The kraton is the cultural heart of Yogyakarta and can be visited every morning. Here you can take a guided tour and visit the museum with a guide associated with the kraton. Furthermore, depending on the day of the week, there are various performances such as dance, puppetry and gamelan music.
The Malioboro street is located in the middle of Jogjakarta and is the most famous shopping street in the city. Here you will find many shops and sales stalls with clothing, souvenirs, handmade products, bags, etc. There are also many restaurants and eateries. Street musicians and artists show and hear their talents.
Get to know the hospitality and real life of Yogyakarta. Wander arround with a guide and experience the city like a local. The people of Jogja genuinely enjoy getting to know you and are proud of their city. They are happy to share this with you.
Walking tour through the center
The center of Jogjakarta is rich of culture and history and it is also great shopping here. A guide tells you about the background of everything you see and shares the best stories. He or she will take you to authentic shops, so you won’t miss anything and will get to know all the secrets of the city.
The water palace is a special place. This palace was built in the 18th century as a place for the Sultan to relax. The complex consists of swimming pools and gardens. There is also a special underground mosque. Many artists are active in the small streets around the complex, who also sell their art here.
In 1760 a fortress was built by the Dutch in Jogjakarta. This fortress was called Fort Rustenburg. After the fort was destroyed by the earthquake of 1867, it was rebuilt and given a new name: Fort Vredenburg.
Since 1992, the fort has been used as a museum focusing on Indonesia’s struggle for independence.
Must sees in Jogja:
A visit to Borobudur should not be missed when visiting Indonesia. Borobudur is the largest and oldest Buddhist temple in the world. For years this temple was hidden under ash and vegetation until the temple was rediscovered in 1814. Since then, this beautiful temple has been the main attraction and landmark in Indonesia. In 1991, UNESCO recognized Borobudur as a World Heritage Site. Read more >>>
The Borobudur is 40 km from Jogjakarta and can be visited during the day, but also beautiful at sunrise.
The Prambanan is a beautiful Hindu temple near Yogyakarta. The temple has been designated a World Heritage Site by UNESCO. It is a special temple with a special story Read more>>
“Merapi” means “mountain of fire”. The vulcano is 2968 meters high. Yogyakarta is situated at the foot of the volcano Mount Merapi. On the Merapi, next to the spectacular jeep tours and enjoy nature.
In 2010 Yogyakarta was covered with ashes after an eruption. Many people living on the mountain had to be evacuated. You can still visit the affected villages and be impressed by the power of the mountain. The people who used to live in the destroyed villages, now run the museum and the jeep tours on the mountain. So by visiting these sites, you not only get impressed by the power and beauty of the vulcano, but you also support the local people who lost everything they owned in the eruption.
Untill 2010, Mbah Maridjan, an old man, was the spiritual guardian of the Merapi. He was appointed by the Sultan of Yogyakarta, and lived almost on the top of the vulcano. For his job he was paid a symbolic $1 a month. He was in touch with the spirits of the mountain and led ceremonies to appease the spirits of the vulcano by offerings of rice and flowers in and around the crater. He described his job, as: “Let the vulcano breathe, not to cough.” In 2010 when thousands of people had to be evacuated and more than 300 people were killed in an eruption, Mbah Maridjan felt it was his duty to stay on the mountain and, at the age of 83, he was one of the victims.
-Tip- In the evening-
Also plan fun activities in the evening. The city comes to life in the evening when it gets cooler.
Join a cooking workshop and get to know Indonesian cuisine (better). You will be warmly welcomed by a family at their home and together you will cook a delicious fresh Indonesian meal. A unique opportunity to get a real look behind the scenes. After cooking you eat the result of your cooking skills together. This workshop is suitable for everyone, with or without cooking experience. Children are also very welcome!
More than 200 professional dancers portray the ancient story of Ramayana. From November to April, the performance can be admired in an indoor theater. In the dry season (April-November) the dance performance is performed in the open air, with the illuminated Prambanan temple as a background. The storyline is easy to follow during the performance. In the theater, a summary of the Ramayana story is distributed in different languages. The story can also be followed on screens during the performance so that you not only enjoy the beautiful dance in the beautiful costumes, but you can also follow the story. The price of the tickets varies from… to…. depending on the place you choose. A magical evening.
Discover Jogja’s food culture and traditions on this popular tour. The tour starts at the end of the afternoon and lasts until the beginning of the evening. Taste the best food and go to Jogja’s favorite eateries. For about 3 hours you will try different types of food in different places. The food and drinks are included .
The surroundings of Jogjakarta
Gunung Nglanggeran; An ancient Vulcano
On about one hour drive from Yogyakarta we find the ancient Vulcano Nglangeran, located in Gunungkidul.
The ancient vulcano Nglanggeran used to be active until a 60 million years ago it is one of the oldest vulcanoes in Central Java. It started as an rock under the sea which rose above the surface during a vulcanic eruption. The mountain was formed by old vulcanic material and has two peaks namely the Western and Eastern peak with a caldera in the middle.
Mount Nglanggeran is easy to climb. Only a 1,5 hour walk, through the beautiful landscape of UNESCO-Geopark Gunung Kidul will lead you to the Western peak.
Based on old traditions only seven families are allowed to live on the mountain. If there are more families, one of the families has to leave, if there are not enough, a family needs to be found to join the community of seven families. If there are more or less than seven families it will cause bad luck.
At Nglanggeran we have a beautiful view over the landscape, the unique shaped mountains, and the skies of clouds.
Yogyakarta has many beautiful beaches, which are not well known by foreign tourists. Enjoy the quiet and calm beaches to relax and cool off in the sea breeze and water. But be careful, Ratu Kidul (the Queen of the South Seas) rules here and even well-trained swimmers can’t go too deep because of the strong current. Check the color of your clothes before you leave… the story goes that Ratu Kidul doesn’t like the color green..
Jogjakarta itself is just a bit too busy for a relaxed bike tour. South of the city there is more space. The cycling tour starts at a beautiful viewpoint and leads you through sawah’s and small villages. You will see the river and the typical activities of this region such as how to bake red bricks. Before the Kraton of the old Mataram empire (the palace) moved to Jogjakarta, it could be found here in between the sawahs. Objects from this time are still regularly found by farmers.
At the end of the tour, a tasty meal will be waiting for you, prepared for you at a local home.
Cave Tubing in the Pindul Cave
South of the city you can go on an adventure in nature. On an inflatable tire the river will carry you into a cave where you can admire swallows and bats. This tour has it all: action, nature and fun. The environment is beautiful. To get to the river a truck will take you through the woods towards the river. On public holidays, it can be busy here.