Yogyakarta attractions: how to enjoy time & save money

If you are planning to visit Yogyakarta city in Java island most probably you already know what you want to see there? If not, you will find suggestions to visit famous Hindu temple Prambanan and Buddhist Borobudur temple, Sultan palace and Water castle, Malioboro street and etc. But there are more Yogyakarta attractions which you can visit if you have just a bit more than 2 days to stay here.

Here are some practical tips for visiting Yogyakarta attractions. Hope it can help you to save some money, avoid scammers and enjoy Yogyakarta tour.

Most popular Yogyakarta attractions

Borobudur, Prambanan, Ratu Boko temples

        • If you have possibility, don’t plan to visit these temples during weekends or Indonesian holidays. Then you can avoid mass of people and especially Indonesians, who will ask take a picture with you. If you have time and it gives fun for you – then don’t think about which days to visit, just go when you can.
        • It’s worth to visit Borobudur temple during Vesak day. First of all you will see beautiful Buddhist ceremony which will end with lanterns in the sky. Second, if you will donate money (what is ~100 000 Rp – ~6 USD), you will get lantern and free entrance to Borobudur (that usually costs 20 USD). But if you want to enjoy whole ceremony you should plan whole day to stay Borobudur area, like ceremony starts in the morning and end in the late night ~1-3 am. During day time, you can visit Mendut, Pawon temples as well. And don’t be shy to go inside monastery beside Mendut temple, the atmosphere there so magical.

Candi Prambanan

        • Some people go to see sunrise in Borobudur temple (more expensive entrance ticket). But you can come exactly at 6 am buy regular ticket and be in a hurry to go to the top of the temple. You will still see sunrise. Just not all the time sunrises are breathtaking that you can see in the pictures – it’s nature, that you can’t predict. So why buy more expensive ticket? As well to see sunrise people goes not far from Borobudur on Setumbu hill from which you can see small silhouette of Borobudur, enjoy nature view and if interested visit Chicken church.
        • If you will visit Prambanan temple in the evening, check if they have Ramayana performance there. Somebody thinks that it’s too boring, but it’s a part of Indonesian culture. See this performance in Prambanan open theater and especially during full moon something magnificent.

Buddha statue in Vesak day

        • If you will buy Borobudur, Prambanan tour from travel agency (certificated one) you can get tickets with discount. But those 2 temples you should visit during 2 days with the same agent.
        • Not far from Prambanan temple you can visit Twin and Ratu Boko temples. To see sunset in Ratu Boko temple cost more than daytime ticket but as well you can buy package of Prambanan and Ratu Boko, that in total will cost you less.
Ratu Boko sunset
Waiting for the sunset.

You may be interested to check Erika’s from Erika’s travel blog story about visiting Borobudur and Prambanan temples.

Kraton – Sultan palace

        • Each day in Kraton there are different performances that you can enjoy: traditional dance, wayang kulit (shadow theater), gamelan and etc. So you can check what is more interesting for you and visit Kraton on exact day.
        • Inside Kraton there are no English descriptions, so you should make “homework” and read about it before if you want to understand everything or hire local Kraton guide, who will explain all the things for you.

Yogyakarta attractions - Kraton

Taman sari – Water castle

        • Like in Kraton, here you won’t find any descriptions in English, so you should make again “homework” or hire local guide who will tell you everything.
        • Usually the guides standing in front of entry and suggesting their services. The price depends how good you are in negotiation. Before taking a tour, agree clearly the amount of money that you will pay. Please don’t forget that salary in Indonesia is low and people try to earn money. Don’t negotiate the price too low, give a chance them to earn for their work.
        • Taman Sari has 2 entrances. 1 is for free but you won’t see there anything just ruins, where youngsters like to date during the evening and 2 the main one (paid entrance). Free entrance you can recognize by the market in front, main entrance has big parking area in front.

Yogyakarta tour - Taman sari

Malioboro street, Beringharjo market, “lady boys” performance

    • Malioboro street is the main street where you can buy souvenirs, batik clothes, see “lady boys” (“waria”) in “Mirota Batik” performance, try street food, exchange money in good rates (in “Mulia money exchange”, inside “Garuda” hotel area).
    • If you want to see “lady boys” performance and have better places to sit, come at least ~1 hours before (like many people goes there). But don’t expect too much. By the time I was there, most of the songs were Indonesian and only Indonesian people understood the jokes. As well sometimes the separate performances not so quality (I think in Thailand they are much better but more expensive as well).

Malioboro st. during daytime

  • Malioboro street becomes like crazy in the evenings because many people hang out there, as well there are many hotels around. But more crowded and interesting there during some holidays. For example: Chinese New Year, Javanese New Year and etc.
  • Even if common that in markets the prices should be cheaper but I found that buying batik in Beringharjo market is more expensive than in shops opposite this market. Probably because of the name (like its touristic attraction) they put higher prices. And not all batik is handmade, mostly made in factory. In opposite shops you can find as well the same variety or batik things and a bit cheaper.

Scammers

        • If you don’t take local guide in Water castle, local people inside can just come by the way to you and start to tell some things about object. You should know that later they will ask money for that. So if you don’t wan have not nice situation – first say for a person that you don’t need his service or if you will decide that he can be useful, agree about the price before continuing the tour.
        • Many becak/ojeck drivers near Water castle or Sultan palace will suggest you a drive from one place to another. But honestly distance between these objects is maximum 15 min. by walk. You can just have a walk or use their services, but again before start the trip agree about the price. It can cost ~10 000 – 20 000 Rp depends if you will choose ojeck with motor or becak (pedicap).
        • Some scammers will say that they can lead you to secret entrances and etc. for extra money. But there are no secret entrances, only main entrances.

Other Yogyakarta attractions

It’s just couple of things that sometimes people choose to see, do or at least thinking about it.

Parangtritis beach

It’s ~ 1 hour from Yogyakarta city center. But honestly it’s quite dirty beach with grey sand and without possibility to swim there. But most of the time sunsets there amazing. If you are extreme lover, you can try sand-boarding (really fun, I tried) or paragliding there (if you have time).

A photo posted by I’m Ria – (@lifeinbigtent) on

I’m trying sand-boarding

Trekking in Merapi volcano

Most of the travelers trekking there during the night to see sunrise. It’s possible to organize the trip by yourself but better take a tour – will be faster and easier (especially if you don’t have too much time). As well after sunrise some goes to Kaliurang and have lava jeep tour around area. If you want to do all these things you will need almost whole day for it.

First colors of sunrise in back of mount Merapi

What else to do in Yogyakarta?

Try dishes from cobra meat

I have been in Kobra Imperial Kitchen (Jalan Hayam Wuruk 19, Yogyakarta). The place not fancy, very simple but they have quite a lot of different dishes from cobra meat, drinks as well Chinese food. The price is good and food delicious.

Try in Yogyakarta - cobra meat

Try your luck going between twin Beringin trees

It’s located at South alun-alun (Sultan’s square). People say if you can pass between these tress with closed eyes your wish will come true. I tried twice, but not succeeded. But I found in internet some information about how works our brains about such kind of walks.

Have a night drive around Alun-Alun selatan Kraton

It’s quite busy place in the evenings, full of Indonesian people, street food vendors. You can have fun riding with sparkling and loud music car.

Yogyakarta night drive

 

Yogyakarta attractions pinterest
Pin it for later!

 

Of course there are much more Yogyakarta attractions: Kota Gede (area of silver making), rafting in Elo or Progo rivers, Tugu Yogya, workshops of batik, silver, poetry, leather, beaches in Gunung Kidul and etc. Everything depends just on you, how much time you have and what is your interests.

In any case if you are visiting Yogyakarta, check events, to attend them could be quite interesting experience.

 

Are you planning to visit Yogyakarta soon? Do you know what you would like to do there? Maybe have been here and would like to suggest your discovered Yogyakarta attractions?

 

 

If you need somebody to lead you in Yogyakarta, drive somewhere, you can contact Hendra (trustful guide).


Useful? Great! :) You might also like these:

How to travel from Yogyakarta to Bali in economical way
Mount Merapi defeated me
What story hides Vesak day lanterns?

 



Travel resources

Here I share my favorite and useful travel resources which I use before or during my trips and while I’m living in Indonesia.

Travel resources guides

  • Lonely Planet – sometimes nice to have a paper guide to read it during travel, while drinking morning coffee. Pick one of paper book or e-version for your next destination.
  • TripAdvisor– before adding any “to see/do/stay” object to my travel plan I check here what other travelers say about those places.
  • Wiki voyage – the free, worldwide travel guide. Valuable that every traveler can edit newest information from their trips.
  • Bali survival guide – safety tips and everything you need to know before coming and staying in Bali
  • My travel stories, advice in Asia – check reviews, tips as well.

Travel resources accommodation

  • Airbnb – 1st place which I check. I can know better local people & sometimes it’s cheaper than stay in hostels ;). Register – get FREE CREDITS for next booking! Want host travelers? Get back money when you will host 1st guest. Check my tips for using Airbnb.
  • Agoda – I find here the most selection for low-budget accommodation in Asia.
  • Booking – is one of those resources that I can find low-budget accommodation outside of Asia.
  • Trivago  – here you can find 1.3 million hotels deals all around the world!
  • Hotelscombined – even if I found some good place with good price, I always check once more here. Sometimes they have even better deals.
  • Couchsurfing – one of most popular platform to search local hosts. But it’s not just free accommodation during your trip – it’s sharing and giving as well.

Cheap flights

  • Skyscanner – I love that I can choose “to” destination “flexible”. It helps me to find the cheapest destination from Europe to Asia (no matter Thailand, Malaysia or other, from there to go to Indonesia simpler).
  • Momondo – If my travel dates are flexible it’s great to see all prices in the chart by dates and choose the cheapest date to fly.
  • Nusatrip – here I find sometime cheapest flights inside Asia.
  • Tiket – one of the website that you can find as well cheapest flights tickets inside Asia. As well you can buy train tickets, rent a car, book the hotel in Indonesia.

Travel resources communities

  • Thorn Tree – many travel advice from local travelers and not only. I like that people most of the time gives exhaustive answers to questions.
  • Couchsurfing – people not only host you but share their experiences, advice. Often organize meetings with travelers and local people.
  • FB groups – you can find many travel groups by different regions, traveling types and etc.

Travel resources programs

  • Darmasiswa scholarship – possibility to study about Indonesian culture, live here for 6-12 months. I was selected to this program.
  • Internship in Indonesia – other possibility to stay in Indonesia and share your academic and cultural knowledge with Indonesian students.
  • Work away – voluntary program around the world and many possibilities for Asia as well. I already have several projects in my mind that would like to attend.
  • European voluntary service – possibility for youth to travel, learn and share their knowledges in many different projects. I was volunteer by this program in Greece.
  • GoAbroad – providing the most comprehensive international education and alternative travel resource. You can find study, internship, volunteering programs and more.

Travel resources traveling

  • Easy book – largest booking website in SE Asia: bus, train, car, ferry and local tours in Singapore, Malaysia, Indonesia, Thailand and more. Often suggest discounts for the online tickets.
  • Indonesian railway – trains timetables in Indonesia. Online ticket reservations (in Indonesian language).
  • Tiket – train tickets, car rentals in Indonesia. Easier to buy train tickets here.
  • Uber – easy and cheap way to get a ride by the car to needed destinations in more than 58 countries around the world. You can use this app in main cities of Asian countries as well. Get first FREE ride with this code.
  • Viator – you can find local guides and see who is certificated, get quite full information about suggested routes, experiences.
  • Hendra Arkan – freelance certificated guide (as well driving guest in Yogyakarta, around), traveler, illustrator, good and helpful person.

Travel resources links

Travel resources

  • InterNations – making life easier for expats.
  • Expats blog – uniting expat bloggers site, with expats latest blog posts, blog reviews, expat interviews & contests.
  • Culture plate – connects people who love cooking & hosting dinners with people who love eating authentic home cooked meals.
  • Mekar Bhuana – family based Balinese gamelan music and dance center in Denpasar, Bali. Offers workshops, lessons, making documentation, reconstruction of rare and lost Balinese gamelan instruments and dance art-forms, sells gamelan and dance products.
  • WhatssApp – app that use most of Asian people. It’s more popular than call or text SMS
  • Here maps – app that I use during my trips. I love that the map works even when it’s offline, as well you can get information how to get to the place with walking, using public transport and much more.

Want more travel tips? Subscribe newsletter :)

 

 

Vietnam visa on arrival – easier way to enter Vietnam

Vietnam is one of Southeast Asia countries which I really want to visit again. I was there only for 2 weeks but I easily felt in love with Vietnam. I believe you will be in love with this country as well.

But before starting to enjoy time in Vietnam, you first of all need to take care of your Vietnam visa. This is what you need to know:

Who need Vietnam visa?

Many countries travelers need a visa for Vietnam. Only under bilateral or unilateral visa exemption agreements granted by the Vietnam government don’t need it.

Under bilateral visa exemption agreement citizens of:

  • Laos, Cambodia, Thailand, Malaysia, Singapore, Indonesia – has free 30 days visa exemption;
  • Philippines – has free 21 days visa exemption;
  • Brunei and Myanmar – has free 14 days visa exemption.

Under unilateral visa exemption agreement citizens of:

  • Japan, South Korea, Sweden, Denmark, Finland, Norway, Russia, UK, France, Germany, Spain, Italy and Belarus – has free 15 days visa exemption.

The difference between bilateral visa exemption agreement and the unilateral one is that those under the former one can always visit Vietnam with visa exemption provided that their stay in the country is no longer than their exempted duration.

Citizens from the countries not mentioned in the list above, can visit Vietnam with visa exemption if their arrival date does not fall within 30 days from exit date of their last visit to the country.

If you are not from the country listed above. What should you do?

You need to obtain the visa for Vietnam. There are 2 ways:

  1. Get visa via Vietnam embassy in your country or nearest country that has Vietnam embassy;
  2. Get a Vietnam visa on arrival (VOA).

Which visa is better? I will give a brief guide for you.

Vietnam embassy visa 

This option will provide you a full visa beforehand. The issuing authority in this case is the Vietnam embassy.

Required documents: Normally, you will need to submit your original passport and a copy of completed application form. The form you need to download from the embassy to which you will submit your documents. Some embassies can also ask you to submit flight ticket, and other documents. So, you should contact them in advance for details.

How to submit: The embassy may accept application documents submitted in person, by post or by a third party with letter of authorization. But not all act in these ways. So, you are once more recommended to contact them for details.

Processing time: Normally, visa will be processed by the embassy during 5-7 working days. Sometimes, you may get it expedited faster paying extra amount of money.

The advantage and disadvantage of Vietnam embassy visa

Making visa to Vietnam via Vietnam embassy I suggest for those who are traveling to Vietnam through borders crossing and have enough time to wait till visa will be made. While for those traveling to Vietnam by air, I recommend Vietnam visa on arrival.

Vietnam visa on arrival (VOA)

In my opinion, this option is much more convenient, but for air travelers only. If you travel to land or cruise, you need to get visa from Vietnam embassy.

Unlike with Vietnam embassy visa, with visa on arrival, you will not get the full visa beforehand. You will get only the visa approval letter (it will be issued by the Vietnam Immigration Department via a travel agent), which will let you board the flight and get visa stamped upon arrival at Vietnam airport. But REMEMBER you need to get the Vietnam visa approval letter before departure as without it, in airport you can’t continue processing Vietnam visa on arrival.

Required documents: None at all for application.

How to submit: With Vietnam visa on arrival VOA, you only need to fill out an online form for visa approval letter. You can submit an online form for visa approval letter. This whole process is completed online. You just need fill travel and contact information an pay issuing fee with your debit/credit card. Don’t forget to fill this form at least week before you are planning to enter Vietnam.

Processing time: Within 2 working days from your submission of application form and payment of service fee, you will get the visa approval letter processed and sent to our email. You will need to print it before going to Vietnam and bring it to immigration office in airport. And then you will need approximately 15-30 minutes at Vietnam airport to get visa stamped into passport.

You can speed up processing of visa approval letter (even within 2-4 working hours) with a bit more money.

The advantage and disadvantage of Vietnam visa on arrival

 

If you decided to make Vietnam visa on arrival and looking for further assistance, I recommend to check vietnam-visa.com with whom I have partnered preparing this post. This company already working more than 10 years providing Vietnam visa on arrival service, has only positive feedback and can be reached by hotline 24/7.

Vietnam visa on arrival - easier way to enter Vietnam - lifeinbigtent.com
Pin it for later!

 

SHARE YOUR THOUGHTS

  • Have you ever made any visa online? What was your experience?
  • Is Vietnam in your bucketlist? What you would like to see, do or try there?
  • Is this post useful for you to share it?

LIKE WHAT YOU READ? #LetsTravelInAsia

Subscribe here and receive tips, stories for your next trip straight to your inbox! Follow my adventures on Facebook, Instagram, Twitter and get updates!

Useful? Great! :) You might also like these:

Travel tips for traveling in Asia
“Must” and “maybe” souvenirs from Vietnam
How to get Indonesian visa in Penang, Malaysia

 



Booking.com