Here’s how to get the most out of Java’s most soulful city from sun-up to sundown
The Indonesian city of Yogyakarta is renowned for its arts and culture scene, making it the perfect springboard for travelers seeking to discover the soul of the country. But what if you only have one day to spend in “Jogja”, as it’s affectionately called? Here’s a handy 24-hour itinerary.
Start your day in the best way possible by witnessing sunrise at Borobudur Temple. Watch in amazement as the soft glow of dawn first sweeps over the surrounding forests, and then over the many stupas of the largest Buddhist temple in the world. The entrance fee costs US$13 for foreigners, inclusive of a breakfast of coffee and pisang goreng (banana fritters).
Next, pedal your way across the villages surrounding the temple. Sign up for a bike tour, which will take you around the villages of Karangrejo and Wanurejo, leading to a place called Warung Kopi where you’ll get to try your hand at batik and pottery lessons. A standard package costs around IDR450,000 (₱1,674) per person for a minimum group of four, inclusive of a guide, bike rental, drinks, snacks and lesson fees.
For lunch, Pendopo Onthel Tingal (Wanurejo) is the place to be. Sample traditional Indonesian dishes like oseng jipang (stir-fried chayote), mie goreng (fried noodles) and tempeh (fermented soybean cake) while watching a performance of Satrio Manunggal Singo Barong — an indigenous dance featuring “lion giants”, which symbolize the courageous spirit of warriors.
After your sumptuous feast, be sure to head to the iconic Malioboro Street, which is Yogyakarta’s major shopping district. It’s a haven for cheap souvenirs; good-quality batik skirts can go for as little as IDR120,000 (₱446).
Cap off your day in Yogyakarta by heading to the archeological site of Ratu Boko (Bokoharjo) for a marvelous view of the sunset. Admire the sky as it breaks into hues of orange and purple over the iconic gates of the “Temple of the Stork King” (as it’s translated from Javanese). It can get a little crowded here at times, but for just IDR110,000 (₱409) the views are definitely worth it.
The best way to get to Yogyakarta from Jakarta is by embarking on an 8-hour train ride. This will take you directly to the center of the city sans the heavy traffic that Jakarta is notorious for; plus, you’ll get to feast your eyes on a montage of beautiful landscapes. Tickets start from IDR75,000 (₱278); get them online from tiket.com, so you can choose your seat.