Useful tips for sightseeing in Yogyakarta

During my roundtrip through Indonesia, I visited Yogyakarta for three days. In general Yogyakarta is a less touristic city in comparison with other cities on Java and Bali. The city is located on the Indonesian island Java and is known for its cultural heritages. The city is definitely worth to visit, because there are two world heritage sites of UNESCO located, called Borobudur and Prambanan. Next to this, the city is still very traditional and not overloaded with tourists. If you are thinking about visiting Yogyakarta, please reconsider to do the following:

  1. Visit the greatest Buddhist monument of the world: Borobudur temple
    The Borobudur temple is one of the biggest and greatest Buddhist monuments and it is the largest Buddhist monument in the world. Since 1991, UNESCO listed the temple as a World Heritage Site. The Borobudur temple represents many layers of Buddhist theory. It is nice to walk around each layer and see the sculpting work. The temple has a beautiful history and it is very interesting to read something about it before visiting. The top layer represents many Buddhas seated within giant bells. Legends say when you are able to touch a Buddha in a bell, you will be lucky for your entire life. Try it! The temple also looks beautiful from a distance and is definitely worth a visit.On the way back from the temple to the exit and parking place, you will walk through a local market. There are a lot of stands, so it is possible to get lost within the market. I recommend buying some fresh fruits on the market. The taste is really good. Next to this, be prepared for twenty minutes walking before you will exit this market. At the end of the market, you will find around five local warungs. The local food of these warungs is simple but tastes very good and is cheap.IMG_3139Please note:
  • At this site you will discover the price discrimination between a foreigner and a local. A foreign adult pays around €18,00 for a ticket, while a local adult only pays €2,00 for a ticket.
  • Please note that it is an famous site and it can get really busy with tourists.
  • In the afternoon it gets extremely hot. Bring enough water and sun protection with you.
  • Be aware of the beauty of foreigners and get prepared for many pictures with local girls.
  • Be prepared for many steps.
  • The best time to visit Borobudur is during the sunrise or in the early morning before noon.

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  1. Visit a very beautiful Hindu temple: Candi Prambanan temple
    Candi Prambanan is a beautiful temple which is focused on the Hindu culture. The story says Prambanan consists of 1000 temples, but due to an earthquake in the 16th century, lots of temples are destroyed and gone. However, there are still plenty of small temples, seven big temples and one astonishing temple in the middle of this World Cultural Heritage (listed by UNESCO in 1991). It is, together with the Borobudur temple, the most beautiful temple I have ever seen. It is definitely worth to visit. A visit to Yogyakarta without a visit to the Candi Prambanan temple is not complete.x
    Please note:
  • At this site you will also discover the price discrimination between a foreigner and a local. A foreign adult pays around €15,00 for a ticket, while a local adult only pays €2,00 for a ticket.
  • Please note that it is an famous site and it can get really busy with tourists.
  • Be aware of the beauty of foreigners and get prepared for many pictures with local girls.
  • It will get extremely hot in the afternoon. Bring enough water and sun protection with you.
  • The best time to visit the Candi Prambanan temple is during the sunrise or in the early morning before noon.

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  1. Go shopping in Jalan Malioboro
    This is an area where many indoor shops are located. There are plenty of shops where you can buy souvenirs, cloths and food. The prices are very low and at some shops you can negotiate about the prices. This market is in the centre of Yogyakarta and across fort Benteng Vredeburg. It is a perfect place to wander a bit. In the evening you can enjoy local snacks from the stands on the streets in this area.
Flickr.com Malioboro

© Flickr.com

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© Flickr.com

  1. Enjoy the existing history of Yogyakarta in the fort Benteng Vredeburg Museum
    Fort Benteng Vredeburg Museum was a former colonial fortress. The fort also has a museum. If you are interested in history, the fort is very interesting to visit. The museum includes collections of old photographs and historical objects. The fort is very well maintained and clean. The location of the fort is close to the famous Malioboro area. It is worth a visit if you are in this area. The ticket price is very low, just 2000 Rupiah (€0,15), both for domestic visitors and foreigners. It is also possible to ask an English guide for free.
Flickr.com

© Flickr.com

  1. Take a ride in a rickshaw or becak
    Within Yogyakarta there are still plenty of traditional public transportation possibilities. If you need to go somewhere, take a ride in a horse cart, becak (with bicycle) or becak motor (with motor).

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  1. Enjoy the typical local meal of Yogyakarta: Gudeg
    Gudeg is a traditional Javanese meal from Yogyakarta and Central Java. Gudeg is made from young unripe jack fruit which is boiled for several hours with coconut milk  and palm sugar. It is delicious and very sweet! You should definitely try this.
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© Flickr.com

  1. Visit the water castle Tamansari
    In general this building represents an interesting history and is nice to visit quickly if you have time left in Yogyakarta. The water castle Tamansari is a former garden and castle of the Sultanate of Yogyakarta. The building exists of some beautiful gates, a bathing complex and you can have a look inside the castle. The pictures on the internet are different from the real views. There is almost no water in the pool and the walls look old. Since 1995 the water castle Tamansari is listed as a tentative World Heritage Site. This site is part of the ‘must sees’ of Yogyakarta, but honestly I think it is not well maintained and it is not worth to visit. If you have to choose between the temples and this water castle, you should definitely choose the temples.

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  1. Visit the Keraton Ngayogyakarta Hadingrat
    Keraton Ngayogyakarta Hadingrat is a palace complex. It is an interesting place to learn about the history of the sultans in Yogyakarta and the palace is well maintained. There are two entrances. The  entrance with the white clock is the one you need to go through. The entrance fee is 12,500 Rupiah (€0,80). You are only allowed to see a small part of the palace. The description of the areas is written in Indonesian, which makes it very hard to understand. Therefore, it is recommended to ask for a guide at the entrance.

This article is now available for download for offline reading and for obtaining travel directions (by foot, car or bicycle) to the points of interest mentioned in this article. Click here to open the application.

Author: Daphne

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