Some people say that Yogyakarta is a city that is “trapped in the past”, but in reality, it’s just a place where the people value and maintain their tradition in a respectful manner. No wonder you will find so many recreational spots with old-school design and characteristics here. You know what else? The locals know how to have fun. Believe it when we say that you will get so many memorable things if you spend your holiday in this City of Scholars. Need some guidance? Here are some healing place ideas on how to create an unforgettable experience in Yogyakarta
- Unforgetable Sunrise at Borobudur
Watching a great sunrise is definitely on everybody’s bucket list. Well, fret not because you can check that off your list as soon as you visit the gorgeous Borobudur Temple. With an extraordinary architectural style, this is surely the best view you can choose to accompany your view of the sunrise. Make sure to take lots of shots of the scenery because there is really nothing like the Borobudur temple. Book a trip now all the way to Borobudur, a trip worth every memory. Located on the island of Java, the magnificent Borobudur temple is the world’s biggest Buddhist monument you must visit at least once in your lifetime. The area is surrounded by beautiful scenery of Central Java’s nature that you can only find there. The monument is a marvel of design, decorated with 2,672 relief panels and originally 504 Buddha statues, surrounded by green area. The architecture and stonework of this temple have no equal. It was built without using any cement or mortar. The structure is like a set of massive interlocking Lego blocks held together without any glue. It is no wonder that Borobudur is listed by UNESCO as a World Heritage Site.
2. Visit Goa Jomblang
Goa Jomblang cave is one of the tourism highlights of Yogyakarta. The cave is located in Gunung Kidul, an hour to 90 minutes drive from Yogyakarta. To reach enter Goa Jomblang you are lowered 60 meters over the edge of a cliff into the sinkhole. At the bottom of the sinkhole is a hidden forest from where you enter a system of caves. The highlight of the trip is Grubug Cave. There is a hole in the roof of the cave and every morning the light filters through like a natural spotlight (if the weather permits). Trek for more than 50 meters through a dark tunnel using only a flashlight. At the end of the tunnel you’ll enter a cave the size of a cathedral. A beam of light coming from a hole in the roof cuts through the darkness. As soon as you step into the light you’ll get a great photo. In the afternoon you can take a traditional cable car over the ocean in Timang Beach, go cave tubing or visit a waterfall.
3. Watch the Ramayana Ballet
The Ramayana Ballet is a dance and theatre performance held on an outdoor stage against the backdrop of Prambanan Temple (it will be indoor during the rainy season). The play is based on an ancient Hindu love story and follows the tale of King Rama and Princess Shinta. Over 200 dancers and actors perform in this epic. Recommended for people who enjoy performances and want to see a real spectacle, with Javanese dancing and eye catching costumes. The Ramayana dance performance is one of the city’s cultural highlights. It is popular with tourists visiting Yogyakarta for the first time. The Ramayana Ballet is a 2 hour performance. The ballet starts at 7:30 pm and ends at 9:30 pm. You can watch the play every Tuesday, Thursday and Saturday. From May to October you can watch it on the open air stage. You’ll see Prambanan in the background. This is definitely the best time to watch the performance. From November through to April it’s performed at the indoor stage. The stage is slightly smaller. The performance is the same whichever venue you go to.
4. Lava Tour at Merapi
Merapi Lava Tour is an off road adventure on the slopes of Merapi Volcano with a serious backstory. You will also visit some of the villages that were abandoned following the last eruption. This is definitely one of the interesting things to do in Yogyakarta when you are visiting the city. You can also add a visit to the Lost World Castle or Museum Gunungapi Merapi or Ullen Sentalu Museum. Jump into a jeep and take a Jurassic Park style of off road adventure on the slopes of Mount Merapi. This Tour is an adventure for people who are looking for something a bit different than the usual cultural tours. Merapi Lava Tour takes two hours, but you’ll need to arrange a car rental to do the tour. It takes one hour to reach the start point for the tour from Yogya. The jeep rental starts from Merapi. During the two hour jeep tour you’ll drive around on the slopes of Mount Merapi and visit villages destroyed by the 2010 volcanic eruption. It’s an amazing landscape. The views are beautiful. It’s also interesting to see the impacts of the last volcanic eruption (Merapi is one of the most active volcanoes in Indonesia).
5. Eat Like a Local
If you are wondering about what is authentic Yogyakarta cuisine, you should definitely give Gudeg a try. Gudeg is made from young unripe jackfruit boiled for several hours with palm sugar, and coconut milk. Gudeg is served with rice. Other mandatory side dishes that are usually served with Gudeg include: sambel goreng krecek (crisp beef skins fried with chilli and peanuts), opor ayam (a sort of chicken curry drenched in coconut milk), telur pindang (seasoned boiled egg), and tahu or tempe bacem (sweet steamed tofu or soybean cake). It is delicious! Please do give it a try. In contrast to the western “fast food”, Gudeg is the perfect example of Javanese slow and thorough cooking. The process of making this traditional jackfruit stew can be tiring and tedious. Almost every part of the process is time consuming, and must be done with precision. Therefore, creating the perfect Gudeg can take almost a full day. In a way, it is a perfect reflection of Javanese philosophy of calmness, patience, and meticulousness, as opposed to rushing and recklessness. Just like most Indonesian food, Generally, there are two types of Gudeg: the Wet Gudeg and Dry Gudeg. The wet Gudeg has more coconut milk sauce which resembles gravy. On the other hand, the dry Gudeg has a deep brownish color and caramelized young jackfruit which gives it a sweeter taste. The dry Gudeg, also takes longer to cook since it needs to drain the coconut milk, so that it will also last longer (24 hours when stored in a fridge).
6. Exploring Beringharjo Market
As oldest and largest traditional market, Beringharjo almost provides whatever visitors desire. Many call Beringharjo as the most beautiful traditional market in Java. But certainly, Beringharjo, in addition to having historical ties with Kraton Jogja and Javanese culture, also became an icon of Jogja tourism as well as Malioboro. Beringharjo Market is a part of Malioboro that is a pity to miss. How not, this market has been the center of economic activity for hundreds of years and its existence has a philosophical meaning. This market, which has been restored many times, symbolizes a stage in human life that is still struggling with fulfilling their economic needs. In addition, The Beringharjo Market area was originally a banyan forest. Shortly after the founding of Kraton Ngayogyakarta Hadiningrat, in 1758, this market area was used as a place for economic transactions by residents of Yogyakarta and its surroundings. Hundreds of years later, in 1925, then this place of economic transaction has a permanent building. The name ‘Beringharjo’ itself was given by Hamengku Buwono IX, meaning the area which was originally a banyan tree (bering) is expected to provide prosperity (harjo). Now, tourists interpret this market as a fun shopping place.
7. Becici Peak
This place is equally beautiful of earlier places because in Puncak Becici you will meet a stunning panorama, where you will see the city of Yogyakarta from the top of the hill, Mount Merbabu and Semeru which are magnificently displayed, and a line of South Beach that looks charming. This site also offers thousands of pine trees so that you would feel the serene atmosphere in a beautiful forest complete with a cool breeze. This place also presents a romantic atmosphere combined with viewing spots made on a tree that offers unparalleled comfort. The facilities in this place are quite complete. There is a mosque, a bathroom that is clean and not smelly, a gazebo to rest if you are tired, and areas to do a variety of outdoor activities.