Yogyakarta (often called “Yogya”) is something like the cultural center of the island of Java. Famous Curiously, the city is famous for two sights a few kilometers outside of the city: the two temples Borobudur and Prambanan.
Yogyakarta itself is definitely bigger and busier than expected but also quiet, very cozy corners. In Yogyakarta you will find many exhibitions, a few temples and above all many incredibly good restaurants. Yogyakarta is a university city, so the flair of the city is quite young and lively.
In this article we will tell you what awaits you on a trip to Yogyakarta. We will show you the most beautiful sights and of course leave our personal tips for you.
1. The Most Beautiful Sights and Highlights in Yogyakarta Borobudur Temple One of the most important sights of Yogyakarta is not in the city center at all, but rather far outside. The Borobudur Temple dates from the 8. Century and is actually the largest Buddhist temple complex in the world – madness, isn’t it? No wonder that the temple has long since been declared a UNESCO World Heritage Site.
The Borobudur Temple is a step pyramid with countless characteristic bell-shaped stupas. It is nestled in the midst of lush green hills. The landscape is really magical. You can climb the temple: there are nine levels in total.
On the top of the temple rises the largest stupa. From there (but also from below) you have a fabulous view over the jungle. Quite curious: At the Borobudur temple we were asked countless times by young Indonesians (primarily school classes) for a photo together.
When is what is the best time to visit Borobudur Temple? You can probably already guess what’s coming: As lonely as some photos suggest , a visit to the Borobudur Temple is unfortunately far from it. Unfortunately, this now applies to all times of the day. A visit at sunrise is quite popular. The atmosphere is really magical, but unfortunately you have to share the scenery with many others.
We ourselves were there at sunset. The weather wasn’t exactly kind to us, but we found this period to be ideal. There were not as many people there as expected and the visit is also cheaper than in the morning. (We’ll tell you more about it in a moment.) If we were you, we’d skip lunchtime.
Information about visiting the Borobudur Temple Price: 50.000 IDR (at sunrise the price is at 480. IDR Borobudur combined ticket and Prambanan 600 .000 IDR)
Opening hours: 6 to 17 Watch
Arrival: It takes about an hour by car from Yogyakarta. We would recommend either hiring a driver or arranging a minibus transport (with other people and therefore much cheaper). You can also reach the temple on your own by scooter. We only recommend this if you are practiced (and definitely not in the dark).
Tip No. 1: If you find it too tedious to organize local transport, you can also arrange private transport Book the tour in advance via GetYourGuide. This already includes the price of the entrance ticket.
You can book your tour here: Sunrise or sunset tour
Tip No. 2: If you find it too tedious to arrive early in the morning from Yogyakarta or return after sunset , then you can also consider staying near Yogyakarta.
Our hotel recommendation near Borobudur Temple: January Bungalow
Prambanan Temple The second major temple around Yogyakarta is the Prambanan Temple. It is the largest Hindu temple in Indonesia. Just like Borobudur, the Prambanan Temple is also very old: it dates back to the 8th century.
The architecture of the temple complex is reminiscent of Angkor Wat in Cambodia. Eight shrines or temples rise up. The main building is scarce 18 Meter high.
Although the temple is of course very impressive, we have to admit that Prambanan Temple impressed us a little less than Borobudur. But that’s just our personal opinion, which certainly not everyone shares. Incidentally, here too we were asked dozens of times by young Indonesians (mainly school classes) to take a photo together.
When is the best time for a visit to the Borobudur Temple? We ourselves were at the Prambanan Tempe during the day, but would only recommend this time of day to a limited extent, as it was very busy. If you can arrange it, sunset is a suitable time to visit.
Information about visiting the Prambanan Temple Price: 30. IDR (at sunrise the price is at .000 IDR Combined ticket for Borobudur and Prambanan 475. IDR)
Opening hours: 6 to 13 Watch
Getting there: You can reach Prambanan from Yogyakarta in about half an hour by car Hour. We would recommend either hiring a driver or arranging a minibus transport (with other people and therefore much cheaper). There is also a public bus (number 1A) that serves all 20 minutes drive from Malioboro Street to Prambanan Temple (3.600 IDR per person per way). You can also reach the temple by scooter, but here again our recommendation: only if you are experienced and not in the dark.
Our tip : If it is too complicated for you to arrange transport on site, then you can, for example, book your private tour in advance via GetYourGuide. The entrance fee is already included in the price of this tour.
You can book your tour here: Sunset tour
Taman Sari (Water Castle) The Water Castle (called Taman Sari in Indonesian) is located in the center of Yogyakarta and is one of the most famous sights. It was made in 16. Built in the 19th century as a spacious garden and retreat for the Sultan.
The most important things first: The photos are of Taman Sari unfortunately a bit misleading. The moated castle is unfortunately not as photogenic and well preserved in most corners as one would expect. That’s why there are almost only photos of the famous central turquoise-blue water basin circulating on the internet (which you can also see in our picture). In general the facility is quite old and in dire need of a renovation.
The water palace is quite good visited. If possible, we would recommend that you come as early as possible and avoid lunchtime.
Information on visiting Taman Sari Price: 15. IDR
Opening hours: 8 to 06 Watch
Kraton (The Sultan’s Palace of Yogyakarta) The Sultan’s Palace of Yogyakarta (also called Kraton) is just a few minutes walk from Taman Sari, also in the heart of the old town of Yogyakarta. Unfortunately, the name of the sight doesn’t really do it justice here either: Please don’t expect a stately palace complex.
The craton is quite spacious and you get a good insight into the life of a sultan. However, we think there could be a lot more to get out of the facility. We liked the fact that traditional Javanese music was performed in the courtyard in the morning. Our conclusion on the Sultan’s Palace: You can have seen it, but it doesn’t have to be.
Information about visiting the Kraton Price: 15. IDR (1. IDR additional for taking pictures)
Opening hours: every day except Monday from 8: 17 until 13: 30 Watch
Jalan Malioboro & Pasar Beringharjo Jalan Malioboro is not exactly a jewel, but it is the main shopping street in Yogyakarta. The street is pretty touristy now, but it’s worth seeing the hustle and bustle here for yourself.
Along Jalan Malioboro is also one of Yogyakarta’s most famous markets, the Pasar Beringharjo. If you like markets, then you should stop by here. You can buy batik, but also groceries and spices. The market has between 8 and 15 Open 11am.
You have to expect that along the Japan Malioboro you will be approached by quite a few supposed guides and art dealers . It’s best to be friendly, but definitely refuse.
2. Eating and drinking in Yogyakarta: Our tips In Yogyakarta there are lots of great cafes and restaurants. You will find the best in two areas: On the one hand around the backpacker street Prawirotaman, on the other hand around “Gang1” and “Gang2”, two mini alleys that run from Jalan Sosrowijayan towards the train station.
ViaVia Resto & Bakery The ViaVia is a fairly popular (maybe even a bit hyped) restaurant with a directly connected shop. There is a lovely upstairs terrace and a wide selection of Western and Indonesian n dishes. The ViaVia also offers cooking and other courses, which we unfortunately did not test.
Kesuma Restaurant Traditional Javanese cuisine is served here in a cozy atmosphere. The French restaurant owner is very accommodating. His wife, an Indonesian, prepares the dishes.
Bladok The Bladok eats well, but it is clearly designed for tourists. There are Indonesian and Western dishes, all rather medium to higher priced. The ambiance is very nice: you can sit outside in the front yard.
3. Our hotel tip for Yogyakarta The hotel selection in Yogyakarta is quite large and you will find suitable accommodation for every travel budget. We can recommend the Adhisthana Hotel Yogyakarta. It is just around the corner from Jalan Prawirotaman, in which many bars are located.
The rooms at Adhisthana Hotel Yogyakarta are arranged around a lovely pool. Depending on the room category, the rooms may be a bit small, but they are tastefully furnished. The breakfast area and the lobby are also very comfortable. All in all: Great value for money.
You can do that here Book Hotel:
Adhisthana Hotel Yogyakarta
4. More Tips for Yogyakarta Safety in Yogyakarta Yogyakarta is no more unsafe than other major cities in Indonesia. Apart from the usual petty crime (pickpocketing, etc.), Yogyakarta is very safe and we never felt uncomfortable.
You have to be careful of “wrong” guides, i.e. those people who chat up you in the middle of the street and want to recommend a great art exhibition that is only open today (which of course is absolute nonsense). It’s best if you simply decline the offer in a friendly but firm manner.
Transportation within Yogyakarta Many destinations in Yogyakarta are within walking distance. However, to get from A to B, you can also take a bicycle rickshaw, called a becak. There are plenty of them in Yogyakarta and you can find them on almost every street corner. The price for one trip is between 18.000 and 50. IDR.
Our tip: travel guide for Indonesia Even if you already know that finds a lot of travel information on the internet, we never travel without a printed travel guide. We really like the Stefan Loose travel guides for Asia. The one from Indonesia is no exception.
The guide has accompanied us to Indonesia several times. It is well researched and, as usual from Loose, very detailed. We have a clear recommendation for this travel guide. You can buy the travel guide here: Stefan Loose Indonesia
1200Transparency: Affiliate Links2016 This blog article contains our personal recommendations in the form of so-called affiliate links. If you book or buy something through the links, we will receive a small commission. For you, this does not change the price at all. A thousand thanks from both of us!
Have you already been to Yogyakarta and do you have any other tips? Or are you planning a trip to Indonesia or Yogyakarta and still have questions? We look forward to your comment!