What's awesome in or near Yogyakarta?
April 12, 2014 10:38 PM   Subscribe

Going to Yogyakarta for five days, as a base for exploring that region of Indonesia. I have a guidebook but no hotel reservations/set plans, other than taking a day trip out to Borobudur. Any advice (re: things to see/do/eat or areas to check out or avoid) coming from personal experience would be much appreciated. Thanks!
posted by egeanin to Travel & Transportation around Yogyakarta, Indonesia (4 answers total) 7 users marked this as a favorite
Best answer: Check out the bird market! It's gross and interesting and I've never seen anything like it before or since.
posted by tealcake at 10:41 PM on April 12, 2014

Best answer: Solo is an interesting place to visit in the area. You can train there- I think it took a couple of hours, no doubt taxi or moto would be quicker. We also did a motorbike tour to some temples with a couple of local guys from solo. They were just small temples and we stopped off at a rice field on the way and ate noodles and egg from a local vendor :). I would highly recommend a local tour like this- we found these guys in solo. They were very interesting and it was a highlight of the trip. Solo, in general, was an interesting place because it is considered by many to be the cultural/spiritual heart of Java. It has had a slightly troubled past as a result, but we had no troubles at all and found it a great relief from Jogjakarta, which is very touristy. Though fun in its own way too.
posted by jojobobo at 11:22 PM on April 12, 2014

Best answer: I assume you know about prambanan as well as Borobudur, right? Also- if you are able to ride your own motorbike and can head out to the temples very early and independently, I've heard this is a beautiful way to experience them- much quieter for a start. Early means at least dawn.
posted by jojobobo at 11:30 PM on April 12, 2014

Best answer: Seconding jojobobo on Solo for the day. It is a one hour train ride. I think the last train is around 5 or 6 in the evening. If you do go there, find time to see: Pasar Klewer (batik market), Pasar Gede (big market). I am guessing the temples jojobobo are referring to are Candi Sukuh and Ceto. Both are very nice. You may also like Tawamangu. Like Sukuh and Ceto, it is high up on the mountain and a good chance to escape the heat.

As for Yogyakarta, there is plenty to see and do. What is your budget for a hotel? The obvious things you will there are malioboro (a long street of food stalls and shops (many for tourists). Malioboro eventually connects right up to the Kraton, which is worth a little tour. Borobodur and Prambadan are an absolute must. But your guidebook will tell you all these things.

Do sample as much food as you can. The famous/traditional food of Yogyga is nasi gudeg But you would also be remiss not to try late-night sate ayam, ayam goreng/bakar, ikan bakar, soto ayam (probably best in Solo), nasi pecel (if you make it eastward), bakso, and of course the classics — nasi goreng and mie goreng telur in any old warung 24 jam. Sample the wonders of krupuk in all their variety. Find warungs for breakfast. A good bet is near one of the universities (e.g. UGM) where the students live and need to eat before heading off to class. Fresh, delicious food. If you like spicy food, try special sambel. In Solo, for some of the best noodles, check out "Mie Gajah Mas" — kitty-corner to Pasar Gede (the big market).

Do find a gamelan gamelan performance. The Kraton may have one, but check elsewhere — particularly local cultural centres / theatres. See if there is a wayang performance — best if at an outdoor pendopo or even village nearby. They start in the evening and run well into the night (4am). Stay as long as you like. Feel free to sleep too. Maybe check out some of the villages around Central Java. If you're still itching for more arts and culture, check out what is going on the at the national arts universities — ISI Yogya (or ISI Solo if you are there). There are plenty of galleries around (but avoid the ones in and around malioboro) worth seeing — from contemporary Javanese artists (whose works are quickly being bought up in the rising Chinese art market) to traditional painters and artisans.

I'd go on but I need a cup of coffee. Memail if you want more info or have any questions.
posted by ageispolis at 8:33 AM on April 13, 2014 [4 favorites]

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