Never have been in Yogyakarta despite the fact that I have been in Indonesia many times before. And I did not regret this decision at all. It’s a lovely city and very clean and people here are very friendly and the food is awesome. Needless to say the activities and sightseeing options given here, are out of this world.
I was still lucky with the weather and it didn’t rain this much (once in a while and only heavy rain during the nights) but the weather was very humid. I recommend you to drink a lot.
Yogyakarta is a city on the island of Java and was the capital city of Indonesia for three years. My trip to Yogyakarta started with a little bummer. Booked in advance a day tour to climb Mount Merapi, however I have been notified that it is still closed due to recent seismic activities. Mount Merapi means ‘Fire Mountain’ and is still an active volcano. Well, it gives me a reason to come back to this lovely city.
I checked into a hotel in Gowongan, close to Jalan Malioboro and in the center of the city and the cost, 11 SGD/night.
One of the highlight I was looking forward, was the visit to Borobudur Temple and Prambanan, a Hindu temple, latter one located in the southeast of Yogyakarta. Booked a day tour and it was indeed a very long because I opted for the package with the sunrise at Borobudur Temple, which meant a pick up from the hotel at 3:30 am. Borodubur is about an hour dive away from the city center. The drive drive to the temple was about an hour away and the sun rises at 5 am. BUT, it was worthwhile to wake up this early and the view from the temple was amazing and very calming. This is a must go place for you if you are ever in this city. Spent three hours there before heading at 8 am to Prambanan, which was 1.5 hours drive from Borobudur.
Prambanan is a great spot to visit and is a UNESCO World Heritage Site and the area is very huge. Could have spent more time there but was given just two hours. The temple was built in the 9th century and is still very well preserved. The central building is about 47 meters in height. The tour cost approximately 50 SGD and included transport, entrance fees and a light breakfast snack.
Visited Karon Palace and Water Palace (Taman Sari) the next day as well, since it was situated close Jalan Malioboro. The Kraton palace is the main living area of the sultan and is at the same time a museum, which you can visit. The Water Palace is just a walking distance (10 mins) away from Kraton Palace and was part of the former Sultanate of Yogyakarta. It has been listed as one of the world heritage site in 1995.
The next stop brought me to Jalan Malioboro, which was a stone throw away from the accommodation I stayed. Jalan Malioboro is a long stretch of street, with authentic local Javanese food, produce etc. During the day it is a rather quiet, but at night this street turns into a bustling area. If you are in Yogyakarta, this is an area you should not miss. Strolled around Yogyakarta and there some food you should not miss, like Satay, Lotek, Gado Gado, Nasi Gudeg, and much more of course. For me, the best find was a local street stall, selling coffee Yogyakarta style. You will be served coffee with hot charcoal onside. YEAH, hot and sizzling!!! You have to wait for a few minute and remove the charcoal before you drink it. To my surprise, it tasted nice!!! Had another one the next day. There are so many food options here!
On my last day, I booked a day tour for 100 SGD to Jomblang Cave and Cave Tubing at Kalisuci and it included the transport, a lunch and the respective gear you would need for the Jomblang Cave Exploration and Cave Tubing and of course the entrance fees respectively. Jomblang is approximately 1.5 hours drive away from the city center, depending on the traffic. Agreed to be picked early in the morning at 6 am, thus we can arrive at Jomblang as early as possible. Reason is that Jomblang has a daily max quota and not more than 50 people are allowed per day. The cave trip starts at than 10 am latest and if before that the quota is already filled up and you are not within the first 50, you can’t go down.
You will be provided with a harness, boots and helmet, and once you are geared up, you will be lowered down into the day, 60 meters down! When I was standing at the edge, adrenaline was rushing through my entire body.:) Once in the cave, be prepared that it will be very muddy, slippery and very humid! There is enough time given for everybody to catch the perfect shot in the cave and we spent about 1.5 hours in the cave. It was a magnificent experience I have to say and did not regret this trip at all! The natural light, the greenery, the humidity etc. It’s just nature in it’s purest!!!
After that, continued to the cave tubing, located just 2 km away from the Jomblang Cave. Here as well, you will be provided with the gear you need (helmet, life vest, knee guards, elbow guards). Be prepared to get wet!!! The cave tubing lasted for about 30 mins and was a good thing to do after the muddy and humid experience. The water in the cave is very clear and was nice and cooling during the hot day. If you are in Jomblang, I recommend to go for the cave tubing as well. It will cool you down and it’s very refreshing:)
This marked my last activity in Yogyakarta, but as I said at the beginning, I will be back here for Mount Merapi and other things I want to explore, which are a bit outside of Yogyakarta.
As a last point, I want to share on option on how you can move around in Yogyakarta. There are different options for you to get around, e.g. private car, taxi, motorbike rental, rickshaw, local bus (Trans Jogja) or Go Jek (motorbike by Grab).
Also take note that if you intend to get a local SIM card, make sure you get one, which is valid for the entire country, if you intend to travel to other cities in Indonesia. Since I will be going to Bali next, I opted for one, which cost 10 SGD for 12 GB of data and was valid for a month.
Not to be missed: Borobudur Temple, Prambanan Temple, Jalan Malioboro, Jomblang Cave
Mode of transport: mostly by foot:), and organised day tours
Daily expenses: 8 SGD for food, drinks and supermarket (excluding accommodation and day tours)