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18 things to do in Yogyakarta

If Jakarta is to be called Indonesia's economic, political and financial center, then the colorful city of Yogyakarta is itcultural andartistic Center of Java.

Jakarta is perhaps the very nice, but exhausting and efficiently-oriented business student. In contrast, Yogyakarta is the nice humanities scholar who doesn't take everything too seriously and is open and spontaneous.

The university town in the center of Java offers a large number of events, excursions and attractions. In this post you will find our must-dos in Yogyakarta.

There is so much to discover around Yogyakarta

Table of Contents

1. Visit the famous Borobudur and Prambanan temples at Yogyakarta

Although neither the Borobodur Temple nor the Prambanan Temple are located directly in the city, they can be easily reached with a tour or simply by public transport.

Since both places very popular destinations for tourists and local school groups it is worthwhile either to come very early in the morning, when there is not much going on, or to take the excursion in the late afternoon, as there is not much going on shortly before the respective facility closes.

At both temples, do not forget sunscreen (there is no real shade at the temples) and be prepared for the groups of students who want to interview and photograph you as foreign tourists. The plants are meanwhile very touristy, so be prepared for plenty of other travelers!

TIP: The Gotour9 crew offers inexpensive tours around Yogyakarta and they are super cool. If you are a student, don't forget your ID - it will give you a discounted entry to the temple complexes!

View from Borobudur Temple

Guided tours to the temples on Get Your Guide

2. Enjoy the best view of Yogya from Bukit Bintang

If you're still after the perfect point for a breathtaking view are looking for: Try it atGunung Kidul!

In the middle of the city you can meet atBukit Bintang (translated as a hill of stars) the sunrise or sunset in one of the many small warungs and eat fresh corn on the cob and drink a coconut.

When it gets dark you can see the dimensions of Yogyakarta and all the glittering lights of the city.


You can experience real life in Yogyakarta much better if you live with an Indonesian family. So-called Homestays there is plenty in the city and in a wide variety of price ranges. But there are also more and more good and cheap hostels in the city.

Happy Buddha Hostel is a great place to meet other travelers and have a cheap and relaxing time in Yogya.

A free dinner is held regularly at the Good Karma Hostel. This way you can come into contact with other travelers very quickly.

Laura’s Backpackers 523 is super inexpensive. Here you can quickly connect and the hostess Laura is there to help you with everything!

The Villa Sambal is centrally located in a quiet Kampung (district) of Yogyakarta. The owner Herni can organize a lava tour to the Merapi volcano, among other things.

The Sae Sae Hostel is located near the Sultan's Palace. There the ascent to Merapi can be organized for you.

In addition to great cooking courses, Via Via also offers other cultural activities. Viavia is also committed to social projects and supports local communities.

Café As Coffee is a good place to go for all backpackers in the area. There are good travel tips here. They also have a friend who will be happy to show you around. Everything on a friendly basis and as little touristy as it gets!

3. Visit the Chicken Church near Yogyakarta

A highlight of many Yogyakarta fans is that Chicken Church at sunrise!

The church is a ruin in the shape of a chicken - to be found in the middle of the green.

From above you can look up to the Borobudur temple. The place is also very popular among locals for Instagram photos!

4. Visit the Taman Sari moated castle in the middle of Yogya

You're curious like that Sultan and his family have previously spent their free time? Then on to Taman Sari!

You can see that the complex is struggling a bit with age and moisture, but the water basins and towers tell a story of days long gone.

Built as early as the 18th century, the castle not only served as a place of amusement, but the underground tunnels made it possible for the residents of Yogyakarta to escape from the Sultan's palace in an emergency and to stop their opponents by flooding the tunnels afterwards.

The visit goes well with the des Sultan's Palace connect. The two plants are not far from each other. Entry costs 10,000 rupiah.

The Taman Sari moated castle is only open until 3 p.m. If you don't make it until later, no problem either: For a small tip, locals will be happy to lead you through a small residential area and various archways and backyards to a small vantage point from which you can look into the moated castle.

The old moated castle of the stultans in the middle of Yogya

5. Hike in the Kalibiru National Park near Yogyakarta

The Kalibiru National Park has become super famous through countless photos on Instagram. Kalibiru is a national park with a beautiful view.

The most famous area of ​​the national park is the small one wooden platform with a view of the mountains and forests.

The national park is one to two hours away from Yogyakarta.

View over the Kalibiru National Park near Yogyakarta - Photo: Klara Weidemann

Guided tours to Kalibiru National Park on Get Your Guide

6. Drive to Parangtritis Beach, Yogyakarta's house beach

Sun, beach and sea? Yogyakarta offers that too.

Parangtritis Beach has kilometers of sand, umbrellas, coconuts and good-humored Indonesians.

Since not many tourists make the way to Parangtritis, you can experience typical Indonesian leisure life here, especially on weekends.

However, since you are not among other travelers, swimming suits that are too tight are not really in fashion - you better move in T-shirt over your bikini and splash in the waves.

Entry to the stand is 3,500 rupiah. But be careful, the beach is unfortunately not as close to the city as you might think:28 kilometers must be driven.

We have the TansJogja bus for 3,600 IDR to the final stop Giwangan Terminal and drove from there with a mini bus for 20,000 rupiah. That's how you come back. But keep an eye on the clock at the booth, the last bus goes back to town at 6 p.m.

However, there is still around Yogyakarta a lot more beaches. You can find our favorites in the following article.

Parangtritis beach - you can really relax here with a coconut! But next time please order without a straw 😉

7. Check out the Sultan's residence in Yogyakarta

The so-called Kraton, the Sultan's palace, gives a good insight into the traditional Javanese court architecture.

In addition to the spacious buildings, there are also exhibitions on the former sultans and various Indonesian robes.

It is best not to visit the palace (!) On a Friday, because there are on all other daysPerformances of traditional dances and music in the courtyardwhich are very worth seeing.

Fun fact: As you enter the sultan's residence, think for a moment that Helmut Kohl once stumbled across this step.

The Sultan's palace in typical Javanese style

8. Shop at local markets and experience Yogya's street food

The Pasar Ngasem was formerly known as the bird market - today you will no longer find live animals for sale, but an almost endless variety of fruit, vegetables, meat and snacks.

At the local market you can watch housewives buy chicken for lunch or schoolchildren treat themselves to a piece of fruit - so you get an authentic sense of everyday life.

Do you like street food? Then you should check out the Street Food Tour from the Backstreet Academy. Look forward to many culinary highlights!

There is a huge variety of fruits and vegetables to be found in Yogyakarta's local markets

9. Make sure you are lucky in Yogyakarta

Every country and city has its own way of getting a little luck: Sometimes you have to touch statues by the feet or stroke Ganesha's forehead.

In Yogyakarta there is a legend that it brings luck with your eyes closed through the two trees on the large, rectangular square in front of the craton Alun-Alun Utara to run.

The effect has not been confirmed, but it can't do any harm.

Close your eyes and through - that should bring luck!

10. Take a trip to the permaculture farm "Bumi Langit" or Nglinggo tea plantation

How about a trip by scooter to the permaculture farm Bumi Langit or the Nglinggo tea plantation?

Permaculture Farm Bumi Langit

The "Bumi Langit" institute is located in the south of Yogyakarta. It will informative tours offered by the owner's son.

On the terrace you can enjoy homemade Indonesian food made from ingredients that are harvested on site on the farm.

The farm is picturesquely situated in the green on a hill. You have a great view from the terrace and can learn a lot about "Permaculture Gardening" there.

Nglinggo tea plantation

In only about an hour from Yogyakarta you can reach the Nglinggo tea plantation, located on a mountain, via narrow streets and small villages.

The owner of the plantation gave up his job as a banker a few years ago and set himself the goal of supporting the local village population with the tea plantation.

In the midst of beautiful nature, he has been growing tea there in a traditional and ecological way. If you've always wanted to know more about the cultivation of tea, then you will love the trip to the Nglinggo tea plantation.

The Nglinggo tea plantation near Yogyakarta

11. Immerse yourself in the batik world of Yogyakarta

Yogyakarta is considered the home of batik, so it is hardly surprising that there are many providers where you can try it yourself.

Batik is a traditional form of designing textiles using wax. The tools that are used in the process will be tjanting and cap called. The tjanting is used to create exact lines and patterns, the cap in the broader sense is a stamp can be stamped with the pattern on the fabric. The wax makes the patterns visible when the fabric is dyed. This process can be carried out multiple times, so that you get colorful patterns.

In the south of Yogyakarta you can find Batik Kelik, one of the many providers of batik workshops. During the six-hour course, you can put your dexterity to the test and create your own patterns. Depending on the size of the fabric and the pattern, this experience will cost you between 10 and 20 euros.

If you don't feel like lending a hand, you can of course just do it Go shopping for batik products.

But be careful: there are probably as many fakes as there are original offers. You can recognize real batik by the fact that the fabric looks exactly the same on the inside as it does on the outside. With traditional batik, the contour is first painted on the fabric with hot wax and then colored step-by-step. So better buy something apart from the Main shopping street Malioboro in a traditional workshop.

Reading tip: Batik in Yogyakarta: My favorite shops

Danger in front of sellers addressing tourists on the street and talking about an art school in Yogyakarta. They lure tourists into a back room on the Maliboro and roughly show them the batik handicraft and the batiks of alleged art students. The tourists are not forced to buy anything. But they are told that this is a good cause and the prices are much too high (90 euros). Unsuspecting tourists may fall for this scam and think they have bought something special until they find out that they have actually been ripped off.

In Yogyakarta you can also lose yourself in the art of batik

12. Be enchanted by a traditional ballet performance in Yogya

Are you in the mood for an extraordinary evening program in Yogyakarta? Go to a traditional ballet performance! The sounds, the dance, and the stunning costumes don't have very much to do with Western ballet - it's a completely different, beautiful art.

Our tip: Before the play briefly research the plot - although there is usually a kind of moderator who sums up the story in English, his English and the acoustics of the microphone can be so bad that you can't understand anything and then the plot is more bad than right must rhyme together during the performance. We have a piece in the Ramayana Ballet Purawisata viewed.

Traditional ballet in Yogyakarta

13. Watch the sunrise in Yogyakarta

As is well known, the day starts earlier in Indonesia. Adapt to the Indonesians and try to get out of bed before sunrise.

In the city itself, the sunrise is not very easy to see, but if you drive a little further into the surrounding area on your own or with a tour at 4 a.m., you can enjoy beautiful sunrises with a view of the volcano Gunung Merapi observe. When the fog slowly clears and the sun comes out, you really can't help but be amazed. Then the tiredness immediately evaporated.

We watched the sunrise from the viewing platform Punthuk Setumbu viewed - unfortunately that costs about admission, but you have a wonderful view. And if you are already on your feet anyway, it makes sense to visit Borobodur immediately afterwards. Because now there are not so many people on the road and the sun is less burning from the sky.

Also the Chicken Church and the Bukit Bintang is a great place at sunrise.

Breathtaking sunrise with a view of Gunung Merapi

14. Visit the Goa Jomblang Cave

The Goa Jomblang (ind. goa = cave) is perfect for one Day trip in nature.

The cave in the southeast of Yogyakarta is part of a huge cave system that extends over the whole Kidul mountain stretching out.

This system has been through countless sculpted underground rivers and rainwater and is now slowly being developed for tourism.

More about the cave can be found here.

Goa Jomblang - Photo by Corinna Pleuser

Tours to Goa Jomblang on Get Your Guide

15. Discover Yogyakarta's nightlife

Yogyakarta also offers a lot of variety for the night owls among you. Especially Cubic - Kitchen & Bar as well as that Platinum with its three floors are highly recommended. Both are located in the city center and can hardly be overlooked due to their size.

in the Cubic do you often meet locals who Tuesdays or Wednesdays for themed evenings such as Korean Night to celebrate. Admission is almost always free here. You can find out about the upcoming parties on Instagram.

The Platinum waiting with three floors, among other things Hip Hop & RnB as well as one Electrohall and dancehall. Depending on the day, however, only have one or two floors open. The entrance fee for women is around 50,000 IDR, i.e. around 3 euros, and sometimes even twice as much for men. Of course, you can also find out about upcoming parties here on Instagram.

Who times one Indonesian open-plan disco would like to visit, for whom this is ideal Boshe at. With a huge area, beer towers and dance performances by the staff, there is a lot on offer for night owls. Unfortunately, the entrance fee is a bit higher here, at least for the men. Women come in for free. But be careful, like everything in Indonesia, partying is often an adventure. We had pretty good nights at the Boshe, but also quite a few failures. So if you want to be on the safe side, you should be satisfied with the Cubic or Platinum.

Tip 1: There are often student parties in Jogja on Mondays, so most clubs have offers or discounts.
Tip 2: On the account @upcoming_yk you will always find the latest information on the coolest parties in Jogja, whether in the club, hotel or rooftop bar. Here you will always find the hottest places on the party scene.

16. Experience the Yogya art scene and take part in workshops

Are you interested in art? Then we recommend this article to you. Places to visit for those interested in art:

This is in the south of Yogyakarta Studio 76, by becoming a silversmith yourself. As a souvenir for friends and family or for yourself, the small pieces of jewelry will definitely bring you joy.

You can choose between one two hour course or one Daily rate your designs can be correspondingly complex. For two hours you pay 225,000 IDR, which corresponds to around 13 to 14 euros, the daily course with 6 hours including lunch costs 400,000 for one person, i.e. around 25 euros, or if you come in a group 300,000, i.e. around 19 euros.

We did the course for two hours. Our blacksmith welcomed us and then gave us a short introduction. Afterwards everyone was allowed to go to their own "workplace" and the desired design was discussed. The blacksmith then gave us tips or suggestions for the less creative among us, and then we got started.

You get the silver cut to match your design and then hammer and file as much as you can. Do not worry, even if you are not technically gifted, the blacksmithing course is not impossible.

When the first step has been taken, the silver is heated, of course with instruction and assistance, and then shaped. Then there is another step so that the silver shines for a long time and is durable and then you are already finished with your little masterpiece.

There are hardly any limits to your imagination and under the guidance it is child's play to create your own designs. Quite apart from the quality, my rings are still as beautiful and shiny as they were on the first day, the whole thing is just great fun and definitely offers a great excursion point in Yogyakarta.

tip: You have to register for the course online in advance, during the week it is sometimes even cheaper. The website is www.artstudio76.com and on Instagram you can also get impressions of the studio and the forge via the location.

My ring from the silversmith course in Yogyakarta

17. Climb the Gunung Merapi

If you are in Yogyakarta, then a visit to theimpressive Merapi volcano not missing. There is the possibility to do a Merapi Lava tour or theTo climb the summit while watching a unique sunset.

The Merapi is one of themost active volcanoes in the world and is only around 40 km from Yogya. The last major eruption occurred in 2010. Several times a year the volcano spits kilometer-high clouds of ash into the air.

The following accommodations can organize your tour to Merapi.

#1 Villa Sambal

The owner Herni organized the lava tour for us and drove us to the meeting point. The hostel is centrally located in a quiet Kampung (see booking.com).

#2 Hostel Sae Sae

The Sae Sae Hostel is located near the Sultan's Palace. There the ascent to Merapi can be organized for you (see booking.com).

The landscape around the Merapi volcano

18. Take part in the garbage project Garduaction

Located directly on the Indian Ocean, about an hour from Yogya, the garbage bank Garduaction is located in the small town Parangkusumo in parangtritis (see above).

Although Garduaction is all about trash, it's a beautiful place on the south coast of Java. If you drive south from Yogya for a few minutes, the environment changes. Large, green, glowing rice fields and banana trees open up on the roadside. You follow Jalan Parangtritis to the south and quickly leave the chaotic, noisy atmosphere of the city behind you.

When you arrive on the south coast, you immediately feel that there is a different rhythm here. You can spend the night on site on the beach and get an insight into the work of Garduaction and you are also welcome to contribute yourself.

Reading tip: Garduaction, a colorful garbage project on the south coast of Java to participate!

The grounds of Garduaction

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Text and photos: Linda Ringel, Melissa Schumacher and readers of Indojunkie

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