If you are planning to visit Yogyakarta city on Java island most probably you already know what you want to see there? If not, you will find suggestions to visit the 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 the Yogyakarta tour.
Most popular Yogyakarta attractions
Borobudur, Prambanan, Ratu Boko temples
- If you have a possibility, don’t plan to visit these temples during weekends or the Indonesian holidays. Then you can avoid a mass of people and especially Indonesians, who will ask to 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 visiting Borobudur temple during Vesak day. First of all, you will see a 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 a lantern and free entrance to Borobudur (that usually costs 20 USD). But if you want to enjoy the whole ceremony you should plan a whole day to stay Borobudur area, like the ceremony starts in the morning and ends in late-night ~1-3 am. During day time, you can visit Mendut, Pawon temples as well. And don’t be shy to go inside the monastery beside Mendut temple, the atmosphere there so magical.
- Some people go to see the sunrise in Borobudur temple (a more expensive entrance ticket). But you can come exactly at 6 am buy a regular ticket and be in a hurry to go to the top of the temple. You will still see the 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 tickets? As well to see sunrise people go not far from Borobudur on Setumbu hill from which you can see a small silhouette of Borobudur, enjoy nature view and if interested visit Chicken church.
- If you will visit the Prambanan temple in the evening, check if they have a 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.
- If you will buy Borobudur, Prambanan tour from the travel agency (certificated one) you can get tickets with a discount. But those 2 temples you should visit for 2 days with the same agent.
- Not far from Prambanan temple you can visit Twin and Ratu Boko temples. To see the sunset in Ratu Boko temple cost more than a daytime ticket but as well you can buy a package of Prambanan and Ratu Boko, that in total will cost you less.
Kraton – Sultan palace
- Each day in Kraton there is 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 an 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 a local Kraton guide, who will explain all the things for you.
Taman sari – Water castle
- Like in Kraton, here you won’t find any descriptions in English, so you should make again “homework” or hire a local guide who will tell you everything.
- Usually, the guides standing in front of the entry and suggesting their services. The price depends on 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 to 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). The free entrance you can recognize by the market in front, the main entrance has a big parking area in front.
Malioboro street, Beringharjo market, “ladyboys” performance
- Malioboro street is the main street where you can buy souvenirs, batik clothes, see “ladyboys” (“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 “ladyboys” performance and have better places to sit, come at least ~1 hours before (like many people go 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 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 a factory. In opposite shops, you can find as well the same variety of batik things and a bit cheaper.
- If you don’t take a local guide in Water castle, local people inside can just come by the way to you and start to tell some things about objects. You should know that later they will ask for money for that. So if you don’t want to have not nice situation – first say to 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/object drivers near Water castle or Sultan palace will suggest you a drive from one place to another. But honestly, the distance between these objects is a maximum of 15 min. by walk. You can just have a walk or use their services, but again before the start, the trip agrees about the price. It can cost ~10 000 – 20 000 Rp depends if you will choose ojeck with motor or becak (pedicab).
- Some scammers will say that they can lead you to secret entrances and etc. for extra money. But there are no secret entrances, only the main entrances.
Other Yogyakarta attractions
It’s just a couple of things that sometimes people choose to see, do or at least thinking about it.
It’s ~ 1 hour from Yogyakarta city center. But honestly, it’s quite a dirty beach with grey sand and without the possibility to swim there. But most of the time sunsets there amazing. If you are an extreme lover, you can try sand-boarding (really fun, I tried) or paragliding there (if you have time).
I’m trying sand-boarding
Trekking in Merapi volcano
Most of the travelers trekking there during the night to see the 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 go to Kaliurang and have a lava jeep tour around the area. If you want to do all these things you will need an almost a whole day for it.
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 as Chinese food. The price is good and the food delicious.
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 trees with closed eyes your wish will come true. I tried twice, but not succeeded. But I found on the internet some information about how works our brains about such kinds of walks.
Have a night drive around Alun-Alun selatan Kraton
It’s quite a busy place in the evenings, full of Indonesian people, street food vendors. You can have fun riding with a sparkling and loud music car.
Of course, there are many 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 a quite an 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?