Nestled in the Opak River valley at the foot of Mount Merapi, Yogyakarta is known as the cradle of Javanese culture. Its numerous historical sites and monuments have attracted and fascinated visitors from various backgrounds for hundreds of years. Nowadays, a vibrant art scene with continuous events and festivals animate the town. Countless galleries and museums present traditional and contemporary artwork. The region offers a wide choice of reasonable, cozy accommodation.
From the 8th to the beginning of the 10th century BCE Yogyakarta was ruled by Hindu Kingdoms. Their capital shifted to East Java around 928. The reasons for this move are unknown but they might be linked to important volcanic eruptions. The region remained unoccupied until the end of the 16th century. Then, the rise of a new power based in Kotagede marked the beginning of the Mataram Empire. Founded by Panembahan Senopati, the empire reached its peak of power between 1613 and 1645, under his grandson’s reign,Sultan Agung. Internal disputes and conflicts involving Dutch and Madurese forced him to move the capital again and the empire declined after Sultan Agung’s death. Royal court intrigues continued and war broke out over the succession until a Dutch intervention divided the kingdom in two.
A rebellious brother of the king established a sultanate in Yogyakarta and became one of the most powerful rulers on Java island during the 18th century. All his successors used his name Hamenkubowono. Nowadays, apart from holding the reins of the Royal Palace, Sultan Hamenkubuwono X occupies the function of governor for the Special Region of Yogyakarta. Under a special agreement concluded in 1945 between his father and then president Sukarno, the sultan of Yogyakarta was granted Life-governorship of his region in recognition for his support in the independence war against the Dutch.
is now a major cultural and artistic centre with students from every part of the archipelago attending its universities. The region is overflowing with historic sites, temples, museums; ongoing art exhibitions and varied performances, both traditional like the shadow theater or the Ramayana ballet and contemporary creations presented by local artists. Bounded by Merapi Volcano and the Indian Ocean, between mythology and modernity, Yogyakarta proposes a wide array of activities for a fascinating holiday.
The Sultan’s Palace, called the Kraton, consists of a vast walled complex situated in the heart of the city. Beyond the private quarters where the royal family resides, the Kraton has a museum section and offers classical dance presentations. In the evening, vendors of all kinds and pop-up food stalls animate the city’s main streets. Malioboro, the most famous artery, turns into a very busy exotic bazar.
Yogyakarta’s climate is hot and humid. The dry season from May to October is the best for tourism. During the rainy season, from November to April, storms most often occur in late afternoon. The highlands are cooler than the coastal areas.
How to get there
There is an international airport in Yogyakarta with directs flights to Singapore, Kuala Lumpur and many Indonesian cities . The two busiest airports of the country, Jakarta andBali are only an hour flight from Yogyakarta. Buses, trains and intercity coaches provide more flexible schedules. There are direct buses connecting Yogyakarta to Bali.
How to move around the town
Public transport includes buses, minibuses, becaks (tricycles), andongs (horsecarts) and GO-JEK or Grab (ride hailing). Taxis are easily available except during long weekends or school holidays when the city gets overcrowded with visitors from Jakarta. You can rent a car, but better to hire a local driver as well. Motorbike and bicycle rentals are available too.
What to do in Yogyakarta?
Watch a Ramayana ballet performance -Schedule: Depends on where you go Purawisata or Prambanan - Cost: start at IDR125,000
Watch a wayang kulit (shadow puppet) performance - Schedule: at the Sonobudoyo museum Monday to Saturday 8 to 10pm – Cost: IDR20,000
Visit the Kraton - Schedule: every day from 8am to 2pm except Friday 8am to noon - Cost: IDR12,500
Visit Borobudur - Schedule: every day from 6am to 5pm - Cost: USD25.00.
Go trekking in the surrounding mountains, there are various kinds of treks you can do all offering spectacular landscapes.
Discover local food while exploring every corner of the town.
Enjoy the South Sea coves and beaches.
Join a craft making workshop like batik or shadow puppet making.