What to do in Yogya

Interested in coming to Yogyakarta? Here is some information that may be of interest.
There are several interesting places to see in and around Yogyakarta. Here a few that you may want to visit when you come to Yogya:

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Borobudur Temple (1 hour drive from Andrea Hotel)
Borobudur, a Buddhist stupa in the Mahayana tradition, is the largest Buddhist monument in the world. Located 40 km northwest of Yogyakarta, Borobudur was built around 750 AD. The magnificent temple is a three-dimensional mandala (diagram of the universe) and a visual representation of Buddhist teachings.
We advise to get there early morning so that you will be there before the crowd.
Borobudur temple
The Borobudur temple

Buddha statue, Borobudur temple

Prambanan Temple (30 mn)
Built in the 10th century, this is the largest temple compound dedicated to Shiva in Indonesia. Rising above the center of the last of these concentric squares are three temples decorated with reliefs illustrating the epic of the Ramayana, dedicated to the three great Hindu divinities (Shiva, Vishnu and Brahma) and three temples dedicated to the animals who serve them.
Prambanan temple

Malioboro Street
Jalan Malioboro (Malioboro Street) is a major shopping street in Yogyakarta; the name is also used more generally for the neighborhood around the street. It lies north-south axis in the line between the Sultan Palace (Kraton) and Mount Merapi. This in itself is significant to many of the local population, the north south orientation between the palace and the volcano being of importance.

The street is the centre of Yogyakarta’s largest tourist district surrounded with many hotels and restaurants nearby. Sidewalks on both sides of the street are crowded with small stalls selling a variety of goods. In the evening several open-air streetside restaurants, called lesehan, operate along the street.

Malioboro: Becak (trishaw) and Andong (carriage) are still very common in Yogyakarta.

One the favorite attractions for local and foreign tourists: walking along Malioboro Street and bargaining for the remarkable selection of handicraft.

The Sultan Palace (Kraton)
Kraton Ngayogyakarta Hadiningrat is the primary kraton of the Yogyakarta Sultanate. The sultan and the royal court have their traditional seat there.

The complex consists of a number of low-lying buildings such as audience halls, museums, and the residences of the sultan and the queen. It is a popular tourist destination.

Sultan Palace, Yogyakarta. Daily performances of Gamelan music, dances or puppet shows

Taman Sari
Taman Sari, also known as Taman Sari Water Castle, is a site of a former royal garden of the Sultanate of Yogyakarta. It is located about 2 km south within the grounds of the Kraton. Built in mid 18th century, the Taman Sari had multiple functions, such as a resting area, a workshop, a meditation area, a defense area, and a hiding place.

Taman Sari (Water Castle)

Taman Sari consists of four distinct areas: a large artificial lake with islands and pavilions located in the west, a bathing complex in the center, a complex of pavilions and pools in the south, and a smaller lake in the east. Today only the central bathing complex is well preserved, while the other areas have been largely occupied by the Kampung Taman settlement.

Since 1995 the Yogyakarta Palace Complex including Taman Sari is listed as a tentative World Heritage Site.

Inside the Water Castle

The Beringharjo main market
The Beringharjo Market is the largest traditional market in Yogyakarta and has hundreds of cheap souvenirs and goods available.
The market is located in the inner city and is easy to find as it is situated to the north of the Sultan Palace and is in the region of Jl. Malioboro. Everything is run in the traditional way, from the bargaining process down to the packaging. The market is full of domestic and international tourists every day trying to find unique souvenirs from Yogya.

The Yogyakarta main market: vegetables, fruits, batik… Everything!

Alun-alun Selatan (South City Park)
This is a recreation area for the local people of Yogyakarta. It is more interesting to be there after dark.

Alun-alun Selatan, the South City Park

Trying to reach the trees blindfolded.

The Bird Market
Birds play a significant role in Javanese culture, and most homes will have one aset.
The bird market used to be inside the city, close to the Kraton. It’s been moved out to an airy, park-like setting with ample parking. You will also see other animals as well as plants.

The Bird Market, Yogyakarta

Pura Wisata (Ramayana Ballet)
Ramayana Ballet performance became a famous attraction for tourists in Yogyakarta. The performance tells about a love story between Rama and Shinta. Tickets for the performance are available at the Pura Wisata. Daily 8 pm.
Note: The Ramayana Ballet is also performed at the Prambanan temple. You can connect the performance with an afternoon temple visit. See www.borobudurpark.co.id for schedule (performance in the temple does NOT take place everyday!)

Ramayana Ballet at Pura Wisata

Kota Gede (Silver craft centre)
Kota Gede also known as Pasar Gede is an area in the city of Yogyakarta. One of the old capitals of Mataram, the area now has an archaeological site which contains the remains of the kraton (palace), the royal cemetery, and royal mosque of Mataram, dated from the late 16th and early 17th centuries.

There are many legends and local tales which connects the site to the Mataram palace, however much of the physical remnants of the palace and the capital city are already destroyed. The only parts that remains quite intact are the Kota Gede royal mosque, the royal cemetery (precursor to Imogiri), and a few sections of the original palace walls.

The city lost its prestige when the center of power was shifted to Kartasura near modern Surakarta. The city further lost its political and cultural significance after being replaced by Imogiri as the royal cemetery for the sultanates. Later sultanate of Mataram was split between Yogyakarta Sultanate and Surakarta.

The Royal Graveyard holds important graves that trace connections of Mataram with earlier kingdoms, and the placement of the graves within the covered area of the graveyard can be considered as a physical representation of ‘silsilah’ or genealogy of the rulers and their progenitors. It is guarded and maintained by Juru Kunci who are employed by the two palaces of Yogyakarta and Surakarta.

In mid-twentieth century, Kota Gede became synonymous with silverworks and silver handicrafts, since the area has become the home of silversmith in Yogyakarta. At the time of Indonesian independence in the 1940s, and after considerable promotion and publicity to the silverworks within this locality, Kota Gede gained popularity as the center of Javanese silver handicraft.

Silver craft

Kasongan (ceramic & other handicraft centre)
Kasongan is the name of a popular tourist destination in Bantul regency, Yogyakarta. It is famous for its ceramic handicrafts. If you are interested in seeing the ceramics making, you can visit some ceramic galleries that produce the special handicrafts on site.

Potery and handycraft center Kasongan

Decorating a pot

Kaliurang (40 mn)
Kaliurang is a small town located about 25 kilometers (16 mi) north of the city of Yogyakarta on the southern slopes of Mount Merapi volcano.

Kaliurang is a resort town, popular as a weekend destination for visitors from Yogyakarta. Attractions include the cool air, views, and an extensive forested park with trails. The town charges a small admission fee to visitors, paid at a booth on the busy main road from Yogyakarta.
You can do small treks around the nearby Mt. Merapi volcano.

Kaliurang, a town north of Yogyakarta, near Mount Merapi volcano

Climbing Mount Merapi
Literally “Mountain of Fire”, Mount Merapi is the most active volcano in Indonesia. The volcano is thought to be largely responsible for the downfall of the Hindu Mataram kingdom in 1006 and the desertion of the huge temple complex at nearby Prambanan.
However its characteristics don’t stop people to make the most of its charming natural environment. It is recommended to have a local guide for the adventure. The climbing starts in the village of Selo and takes about 4 hours up. Usually you’d climb the mountain at night so that you will enjoy the wonderful sunrise on the top of the volcano. No need for special equipment, except for a torch, enough water and appropriate clothing (Mt. Merapi is more than 2900 high).

Mount Merapi volcano

Parangtritis Beach (45 mn)
Along the 27 km road to Parangtritis you will cross wonderful rice fields and rivers, before finally reaching grey sand dunes announcing the ocean. What makes Parangtritis so attractive is probably its mystic atmosphere full of mythology: we are in the Kingdom of Nyai Roro Kidul, Goddess of the Sea.
On certain days known as Suro in the Javanese calendar, locals have a ceremonial procession, with many seen presenting offerings on the beach in honor of Nyai Roro Kidul.
Swimming is forbidden on this beach because of dangerous currents, but you won’t regret your journey to Parangtritis.

Mystic Parangtritis

Parangtritis beach

Other activities in and around Yogya

Courses (2 – 5 hours):
– Silver course; create your own silver ring using the traditional way
– Cooking course; buy ingredients in the market and prepare an Indonesian dish
– Batik course; make a painting using a manual wax resist dyeing technique

Trip to Wonosari district:
– Visit Baron, Krakal and Indrayanti beaches, a 2 hours drive from Yogya. Beautiful sand & coral beaches.
– Cave tubing: Pindul cave became a popular destination for tubing in the river that goes through the cave. Travel agents around here organize such tours.

Day trip to Solo City:
Several trains a day can take you to the neighbour city of Solo in a 1 hour journey. You could visit the city and see one or both temple, Suku & Cetho, which are located in the Solo surroundings.

Thank you to Strange-Lands for allowing us to use their beautiful images.

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