Yogyakarta is the city on Java in Indonesia placed somewhere in a half way to Jakarta (capital of Indonesia) and Bali. We’ve been there at the end of July 2015.
Yogyakarta seemed to be very chaotic and not very interesting at all. It was high season so we saw more tourists than local people. Most of the hotels were fully booked and restaurants packed with people. To avoid all this touristy thing we were waking up before sunrise to get to the spot before it was filled with people.
Below is the list of places we found and without shadow of a doubt we can recommend you. 🙂
1. Underground Mosque Sumur Gumuling – the secret of Yogyakarta
Not many people know how to get there (unless with guides) and how to find an entrance to a secret place. Building sticks out above the ground but there are no doors, just windows with stone bars. To find the entrance you have to walk through a labyrinth of houses and then walk through a tunnel. We won’t tell you more clues only because it is fun to find it by yourself! Avoid selfcalled guides! They are agressive when you won’t hire them! Just say you came here with a group and your guide is around.
2. Network of small streets near bigger Jalan Malioboro
Narrow, jumbled, covered with colourful murals and streets. Small shops with souvenirs and other shops where you can find literally everything… chicken sir? Maybe laptop?… You name it.. Place is full of tourists and very crowded.
3. Taman Sari Water Castle
Built back in 17th century complex of buildings for relaxing, meditation or just for bathing. Very interesting architecture. Ticket price for foreign visitor is a bit higher than for Indonesian (but still cheap) so if you don’t feel like to pay you can find the way in through back door. 😉 Here is a little clue: 7°48’35.8″S 110°21’31.4″E
Where to sleep?
Yogya is full of low budget hotels or hostels. Most of them are located near Jalan Sosrovijayan (neighbourhood of Malioboro), Jalan Prawirotaman and all paralel streets. Hotels near Jalan Prawirotaman are 3.5km away from the city centre so accommodation is cheaper and not as noisy. Public buses going there and back all day.
If you are going to Yogya in July-August, make sure you book a room in advance because we had a little troubles finding place to stay overnight (we were walking for 3hrs with backpacks from one place to another to find out they were fully booked, definitely you don’t want to do that on your short holidays!). If you prefer walk-in and you are in a high season, then more chances to find a room is to go near Jalan Prawirotaman.
We stayed at east end of Jalan Prawirotaman 3. Can’t remember the name of the place though. Double room with aircon, private bathroom and ”breakfast” (toasts+butter+jam+coffee) cost 160k IDR. All rooms with fans were booked and price was 120k IDR. In low season prices drop a little bit and you can find decent room for 80k IDR with fan and shared bathroom.
Food – where to eat?
Jalan Malioboro and Prawirotaman are full of restaurants. Food is very cheap and prices start as low as 10k IDR for a dinner.
Public buses from TransJogja are one of the best and the cheapest way of transport we have seen there. They go around the town (rout maps are on the bus stops) between 5.30am until late 9.30pm. Buses have an aircon and are quite clean. Staff is friendly and understand English well. One ride costs 3600IDR and you can switch buses as many times as you wish. How it works? You walk into a bus stop (locals call it shelters) with a cashier, buy a ticket and then go into the bus you are after. When you exit the bus you get out into the bus stop and you don’t walk out from there just wait for another one that will take you to your destination. Once you get out from the bus stop you have to buy a new ticket. If you not sure how to get to somewhere just ask one of the cashiers. They are happy to help. Some more info here
If you want to experience Yogya a little bit more grab a becak at least once. It’s 3-wheel bicycle with passenger basket in the front. Negotiate the price at very beginning and never agree for the first figure they tell you! It’s going to be too high, for sure. 😛
Where to buy souvenirs?
Yogya is the best place to buy some gifts and souvenirs in whole Indonesia. Choice is huge and prices much lower comparing to Bali! Most of shops are located at the north end of Jalan Malioboro.
Typical Indonesian souvenirs are:
- batik – clothes painted in traditional way using wax and dye;
- wayang golek – wooden puppets;
- wayang kulit- leather shadow puppets;
- wooden, decorated masks;
- leather bookmarks with burned out patterns.
We don’t have enough room in our backpacks for all souvenirs but we have list in our mind where to come back when we’ll be decarating our future house. Yogya is on the top of the list (right after Varanasi in India!:))
Are you going to visit Yogyakarta? Or you’ve been there and would like to add something to our list?
Spread the word! ↓ 😉