Resting in Central Java between the steamy volcanoes and the Indian Ocean is the Indonesian city of Yogyakarta. To get here, you can take a train from Jakarta or a flight from Singapore or Bali. Since the 8th century, Yogyakarta has been the home of the devout, artists, and sultans. It is also the epicenter of classical Javanese education and culture. Here are the top must-see attractions in Yogyakarta, Indonesia.
From the train station here, you can get to any Javanese city. Many locals come to Jalan Malioboro to snack, shop, and wander but refinement is just a ride away. Kraton, the soul of the city is just a cruise away. Apart from being the home of sultans, it has been Yogyakarta’s keeping place for incredible spiritual, intellectual, and cultural traditions. The inner palace is a private home for the royal family but the museums, pavilions, and courtyards are open to all.
Taman Sari is a water palace where sultans and some chosen few escapes the Javanese sun and the demands of duty. The tone of Javanese culture is set by the courtly center of Yogyakarta and the arts of the island flow in their purest forms from here.
Although Yogyakarta is a place of tradition, it is also the center of an evolving culture. On the lanes of Kampong Cyber, a combination of online expression and street art has been used to forge creative possibilities. The Affandi Museum is just a becak ride away. It was once the resting place, gallery, and home of the maverist artist who created a seismic shift and loosened the bonds of tradition in Indonesian painting.
Yogyakarta is also the epicenter of ideological and political shifts. The Fort Vredeburg is not far from the presidential palace and you can pass through the gates to hear the stories of sacrifice and resistance that resulted in the creation of Indonesia.
Venture back to the 8th and 9th centuries to a time when Hinduism and Buddhism vied for the minds and hearts of the kingdom. Prambanan stretches for miles and it is the heart of the Hindu temple network. Worship at the temples of Brahma, Vishnu, and Shiva or follow the relief panels to see the unfolding Hindu tales. Ratu Boko is about 30 minutes stroll from the main temple. Here you will get to enjoy amazing views of the city.
There are many Buddhist temples and monasteries in Yogyakarta. While many can be compared with the Hindu temples in Prambanan Plain, Borobudur is the greatest of them all. Borobudur is the largest Buddhist temple in the world and one of Indonesia’s most visited sights. For a sunrise you will live to remember, go early to this temple.