Situated on the island of Java in Indonesia, Yogyakarta, fondly called Jogja by the locals, is the soul of the island. It is a cultural hub that is renowned for its history, traditions and art, and is also a great place for tourists from all over the world to get a taste of the Javanese lifestyle. While there are numerous day trips in the region, there also plenty of fantastic things to do in Yogyakarta without having to go too far.
15 Best Things To Do In Yogyakarta 2019
Take a look at some of the best Yogyakarta things to do to give you an unforgettable experience during your stay.
- Borobudur Temple
- Prambanan Temple
- Ramayana Ballet Show
- Sultan Palace And Water Castle
- Indrayanti Beach
- Sono Bodoya Museum
- Progo River
- Pasar Pasty
- Gembira Loka Zoo
- Wediombo Beach
- Mangunan Fruit Garden
- Ullen Setun Museum
- Batik Workshop
1. Borobudur Temple: See The Sunrise
One of the first things to do when in Yogyakarta is to wake up early, and drive to the central part of java to witness the most beautiful sunrise in Borobudur Temple. Nothing beats seeing the sunrise from this famous temple which also happens to be the largest Buddhist temple in the world built dating back to 9th century. As the sun makes its way across the pale sky from the east horizon, you will see the light hit the intricate carvings on the temple, creating a mystical effect which is not to be missed.
Highlights: Gupta architecture that reflects India’s influence on the region, and 504 Buddha statues
Location: Jl. Badrawati, Kw. Candi Borobudur, Borobudur, Magelang, Jawa Tengah, Indonesia
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2. Prambanan Temple: Capture The Sunset
Less than a one-hour drive from Yogyakarta, you will get to see Indonesia’s most beautiful Hindu temple – Prambanan Temple. Also known as Rara Jonggrang Temple, it was discovered by the Dutch in the 10th century. Dedicated to Lord Shiva Mahadeva, Prambanan Temple is characterized by its tall, and pointed architecture wherein the central building measures 47-meters high inside a large complex of individual temples. The walls of each temple are sculptured with intricate and interesting details after exploring which, one can relax and watch the sun go down in Prambanan Temple that is one of the best things to do in Yogyakarta.
Highlights: Relics that illustrate the Ramayana, three temples dedicated to Shiva, Vishnu and Brahma and the animals that serve them
Location: Kranggan, Bokoharjo, Prambanan, Sleman Regency, Special Region of Yogyakarta, Indonesia
3. Ramayana Ballet Show: Enjoy The Fascinating Show
After watching the sun set in Prambanan Temple, catch the Ramayana Ballet Show to make it a complete experience. The show is performed in an outdoor theater stage within easy reach of the temple. With the lighted Prambanan Temple under the night sky as a backdrop, it is a picture-perfect sight that you will be in awe of. To complete the ballet experience, a traditional ensemble of Javanese music called the Orchestra of Gamelan accompanies the performance. The actors are clad in bright and bold costumes to add drama and flair to the ballet, making it a fabulous visual treat. Do not miss out on watching the dramatic performance of the Ramayana epic and a traditional Indonesian ballet that happens to be one of the most unforgettable things to do in Yogyakarta at night.
Highlights: Bright bold costumes, and a stunning backdrop with the Prambanan Temple
Location: Jl. Brigjen Katamso, Mergangsan, Keparakan, Yogyakarta, Indonesia
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4. Sultan Palace And Water Castle: Glimpse Of Royalty
One of the top things to do in Yogyakarta is visiting the Sultan Palace. The province of Yogyakarta is ruled by the Sultan himself as governor. The Kraton or Palace was built in 1757 and still serves as the royal family’s home to this day. It is a magnificent structure that displays an authentic form of old Javanese architecture and culture. The halls and floors are intricately designed, the ceilings painted bright gold – a classic example of luxurious Javanese architectural style. Another one of the most popular Yogyakarta activities is visiting the Water Castle, which is also known as Taman Sari and is located just a few steps away from the Palace. Explore a large subterranean mosque, interesting ruins, and underground passages too.
Highlights: Collection of the Sultan’s belongings, authentic Javanese architecture, and subterranean mosque inside the Water Castle
Location: Jalan Rotowijayan Blok No. 1, Panembahan, Kraton, Kota Yogyakarta, Daerah Istimewa Yogyakarta, Indonesia
5. Malioboro: Shop Til You Drop
If you want to go shopping in Yogyakarta, the best place is Malioboro. Located in the heart of the city, this is where you can get almost everything at a steal. Malioboro is a great place to shop for souvenirs and gift items to take home. The best way to explore the bustling shopping streets of this area is by walking. Go at a leisurely pace to truly immerse yourself in the exciting atmosphere. It might get a little crowded, but if you are looking to shop on a budget, there is no place better than Malioboro. You will definitely love the countless little shops – some of which sell the most curious things!
Highlights: Shops that sell amazing souvenirs at affordable prices
Location: Jl. Malioboro, Sosromenduran, Gedong Tengen, Kota Yogyakarta, Daerah Istimewa, Yogyakarta, Indonesia
6. Indrayanti Beach: Relax Amidst The Waters
Yogyakarta is located in the vicinity of the Indian Ocean, and the southern side of the city stretches along the coastline forming the Indrayanti Beach. Adorned by a strip of golden sand, this clean beach invites many visitors and the small cafes spread across the beach makes a great place to sit and enjoy the soothing air of the coast.
7. Sono Bodoya Museum: Take A Historical Walk
Yogyakarta is the city which is blessed with varied historic museums which should be definitely added in the bucket list of Indonesia vacation. Among all the museums, Sono Bodoya Museum is one of the famous which has preserved a huge collection of Javanese art in display. From the Indonesian puppets, masks, weaponry to textiles, there is a variety of things to discover at this place. Apart from the authentic Javanese art, the museum is faced by a courtyard which showcases the Hindu architecture.
Highlights: Puppet show
Location: Jl. Pangurakan No.6, Ngupasan, Gondomanan, Kota Yogyakarta, Daerah Istimewa Yogyakarta 55122, Indonesia
Timings: Tues-Sun (8am-3:30pm), Monday closed, Friday (8am – 2pm)
8. Kraton: Experience The Royalty
Experience the royalty in Yogyakarta by visiting the Kraton Kasultanan Ngayogyakarta Hadiningrat which is one of the famous attraction in this Indonesian city. Still a home to the Sultan and his family, the Kraton museum is open for the visitors. Inside the museum one can learn more about the royal family and alongside also take a glimpse of the Javanese art and culture.
Highlights: Try to reach here before 9 AM to enjoy the cultural shows which are held here every day.
Location: Jalan Rotowijayan Blok No. 1, Panembahan, Kraton, Kota Yogyakarta, Daerah Istimewa Yogyakarta, Indonesia
9. Progo River: Go River Rafting
While there are many architectural beauty around the city, there is something for the adventure junkies as well. Head to the Progo river and rent a kayak to go river rafting while enjoying the beauty of the place. Quite an unusual spot in the Yogyakarta, this place will take you away from the main city for a while to enjoy the abundant flora and fauna.
Highlights: While Kayaking at the Progo river, make sure to also not miss out taking a glimpse at the Elo River.
10. Pasar Pasty: Discover The Bird Market
Another fascinating place in Yogyakarta which the bird lovers will love is Pasar Pasty which is the local bird market. Birds are quite a flourishing business in Indonesia as people keep them as pet and also take them to singing competitions. The market has a varied range of birds like owl, raven, pigeons and many other species which are taken special care.
Location: Pasar Pasty Dongkelan, Gang Rahmat No.1, Gedongkiwo, Mantrijeron, Kota Yogyakarta, Daerah Istimewa Yogyakarta 55188, Indonesia
Timings: 9AM – 5PM (Open Daily)
11. Gembira Loka Zoo: Spend A Day With Wildlife
Witness the abundant flora and fauna of Indonesia at the Gembira Loka Zoo which is indeed a paradise for the nature buffs. Located at the south east of the city, the zoo is a home to plenty reptiles and birds along with some indigenous Indonesian species. The zoo gives a serene vibe to the visitors as one walks down the tropical surrounding watching the different species.
Location: Jl. Kebun Raya No.2, Rejowinangun, Kotagede, Kota Yogyakarta, Daerah Istimewa Yogyakarta 55171, Indonesia
Timings: 7:30AM-5PM (Open Daily)
12. Wediombo Beach: Chill Under The Sun
The word “Wediombo” means wide sand which makes it quite evident about how the place appears. This Indonesian beach is spread across a large with soft white sand and people walk around the coastline to indulge into activities like fishing. This part of the city is blessed with abundant species and one of the famous among that is the Panjo fish. This pristine beach is located at the edge of rolling hills where the travelers can climb up and enjoy the entire view of the region.
13. Mangunan Fruit Garden: A Haven For Nature Lovers
Located at the outskirts, the Mangunan Fruit Garden is one of the offbeat places where you can try on some unique things to do in Yogyakarta. Standing here one can enjoy a great view of the valley alongside the river. With the pleasant sunrise, the early morning is worth the view. This place will give you a feeling of standing amidst the clouds and mist without even climbing the steep mountains.
14. Ullen Setun Museum: Explore The Javanese Culture
Get a glimpse of the Javanese culture at its best while you visit the Ullen Setun Museum which is considered as one of the best museums in Yogyakarta. In this museum one can get an idea about how this Indonesian city has evolved along with there are remains of ancient Batik, antique manuscripts and period paintings.
Location: Jl. Boyong No.KM 25, Kaliurang Barat, Hargobinangun, Sleman, Kabupaten Sleman, Daerah Istimewa Yogyakarta 55582, Indonesia
Timings: Monday Closed, Tues-Fri (8:30AM-4PM), Sat-Sun (8:30AM-5PM)
15. Batik Workshop: Learn Something New
Often called the capital of art and crafts, Yogyakarta and for the people who want to try their hands on these beautiful artistry, can enroll them for the Batik workshop. There is also a leather workshop where they teach about the fashion items made of leather which like purse. Apart from this one can also learn the famous textile technique of Batik and also dying of fabric.
Location: Jl. Tirtodipuran No.54, Mantrijeron, Kota Yogyakarta, Daerah Istimewa Yogyakarta 55143, Indonesia
Timings: 9AM-5PM (Open Daily)
Further Read: A Tour Guide To The Java Island in Indonesia
Cannot wait to experience these best things to do in Yogyakarta? Get going to spend a quiet, relaxed, and laidback vacation in the heart of Java Island. And to make the most of it, book one of the tailor-made Bali tour packages with TravelTriangle.
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