Yogyakarta, the heart of Java

After a month crossing Vietnam from north to south, our next stop on our round-the-world trip was Indonesia! And the first stop in this beautiful country was the city of Yogyakarta, a place that gave us mixed feelings. You want to know why? Keep reading!

How to get to Jakarta from Yogyakarta?

We arrived by plane from Jakarta, the capital. There are a lot of flights between Jakarta and Yogyakarta. We chose the airline Airasia because its prices and schedules suited us better than other airlines. The flight is quick (one hour) and for a very reasonable price (about 30 € per person). From Yogyakarta airport to the hotel we took a taxi which cost us 90,000 IDR (6.50 €) and in less than three quarters of an hour we were at our hotel.

Where to sleep in Yogyakarta?

There are two main sleeping areas in Yogyakarta: Sosrowijayan, the area south of the train station (the tourist hotel area) and Prawirotaman, to the east, a quieter area. As you will imagine, we chose the second option. We found the guesthouse Good Karma, which we loved, located on a small street where there is no traffic. The decor is nice and the staff very friendly. It has several dorms but there is a private room (the one we booked) decorated in wood with a private outdoor shower, which is nice. The price is 20 € / night with breakfast included.

Visiting Yogyakarta’s downtown

We decided to spend 3 days in this city mainly visiting the temples nearby. The city we did not find particularly nice, there is a lot of traffic, very hot and the main attractions in the city are not as pretty as we expected. Here we leave the places we visited in Yogyakarta. Before we start, we want to warn you that our visit coincided with a national holiday, so there were many people on the streets!

Beringharjo market

This huge covered market is the largest of Yogya, and is north of Kraton. You will find everything: food, spices, fruits, vegetables, the famous batik (woven with traditional prints), local clothing … The place is nice but there are always lots of people.

A walk through the Kraton district

The Kraton is the old palace of the city, now transformed into an area surrounded by walls. Thousands of people live in this vast space, of which 25,000 are direct employees of the Sultan of Yogyakarta! A walk in this labyrinthine neighborhood is nice, but it’s very easy to get lost!

Taman Sari or the Water Palace

This is one of Yogyakarta’s most popular attractions. Taman Sari was once a kind of spa for the Sultan, with its pools and gardens, where the whole court was going to cool off in the hottest months. We liked it a lot but were a bit disappointed in their size (they visit very fast). The price is 15,000 IDR per person, or € 1.

The Sultan’s Palace

There is a palace area that you can visit. However, we could not access that day because there was a national holiday and the palace was closed! So we could see local parades and dances on the street, which is not too bad! If you know the palace, do not hesitate to share your opinion with us.

Malioboro Street

It is the main shopping street of Yogyakarta, and in this street is the market and the liveliest part of the city! The traffic jams are stunning in Malioboro, cars are mixed with scooters, becak (a kind of tuk tuk typical Indonesian decorated with lovely colors), horse carriages and pedestrians! Malioboro is full of shops of all kinds!

Getting around

Within the city we simply walked, the distances are not long even if with the heat sometimes it is a little heavy! We took a taxi once and to visit the temples of Borobudur and Prambanan we bought a tour with transportation included.

Where to eat in Yogyakarta

The food in Yogyakarta surprised us for good! Indonesian food is very tasty, and we recommend eating at the little restaurants called “warung”, which we found everywhere! The prices are low (about 50,000 IDR or € 3) and it eats very well!

Among the restaurants we liked the most, we recommend the following:

Bedhot Resto: a nice little restaurant where you can find Indonesian food and much more! The curry with aubergines is particularly good!

Via Via restaurant: We liked it so much we went 3 times! We just loved it, the place is nice, nicely decorated, delicious food at a reasonable price with organic / organic products!

Yam Yam restaurant: A very good Thai restaurant, we ate very well and the staff is very friendly! The decor is relaxing. If you go, we recommend you try the Pad Thai, it is excellent!

Il Tempo del Gelato: If like us after the visit of a temple you return to your hotel and you are dead of heat, go and try a good ice cream at this ice cream shop!

Restaurant Nanamia: Feeling like Italian food? Here the pizzas are good, but what we preferred was the huge lawned terrace with the lanterns, it is so nice for a romantic dinner!

We enjoyed our stay in the city, although in Yogyakarta itself there is not much to do. We loved the temples around, and wanted to visit the city before crossing the island of Java to reach the Bromo volcano.