My Top 7 Things to Do in Yogyakarta, Java, Indonesia

borobudur yogyakarta

Top 7 things to see and do in Yogyakarta – Borobudur has to be on your list!

Remembering recently about my trip to Java in Indonesia got me realising that I haven’t really written properly about either Jakarta or Yogyakarta at all. So to make up for it, I aim to give an overview of those two cities, I started with a Top 5 things to do in Jakarta a few weeks back now it’s time for Yogya! Here are my top 7 things to do in Yogyakarta.

yogyakarta and java

Top 7 things to do in Yogyakarta in Java, Indonesia.

1. Borobudur

This has to be number one on the list – don’t miss it! Borobudur is quite simply the largest Buddhist Temple in the world. Consisting of hundreds of Buddhas in different shapes and sizes and built in the middle of the countryside, this complex is a must see in my opinion. Once you get there, spend a good bit of time walking all round the temple. It’s worth it. And don’t fall for the endless tacky souvenir stalls on the way in – overpriced and full of people shouting “Hello Mister!” Something I didn’t like about Indonesia, but seriously Borobudur is worth the hype!

borobudur indonesia backpacking

With my travel buddy Rodrigo and a few randoms at Borobudur near Yogyakarta, Indonesia!

My full post on Visiting Borobudur

2. Prambanan

Central Java is so diverse religion wise, especially in the past. This is evident by the fact that my second favourite temple complex is the Hindu Temples at Prambanan. These have sadly been destroyed by earthquakes and bad weather over the years but the structures still stand tall. There’s also a museum to walk around. So with a Buddhist Temple and a Hindu Temple to boast, this place is of course now a Muslim state!

prambanan hindu temples jonny blair

The awesome sight of the Hindu Temples at Prambanan

My full post on Visiting Prambanan

3. The Sultan’s Palace

I liked this place because it really is the Sultan’s Palace you are in. In Brunei we weren’t allowed inside the actual palace – here you are. OK so it’s old and worn and very touristy, but it’s also great for getting up to date with the history of Java and indeed Indonesia as a whole. Also referred to as the Kraton.

yogyakarta sultans palace

You can get inside the Sultan’s Palace in Yogyakarta Indonesia

4. The Water Castle/Taman Sari

The Water Castle, also known as Taman Sari is an old style “swimming pool” basically. It has inklings of something the Greeks and Romans came up with back in the day and it did make me think that the idea may have come from Europe. Either way stroll round at your leisure, but don’t bring your swimming trunks! It’s open for walking round only. The swimming pools and baths are no longer in use.

taman sari water castle yogyakarta

Inside the Water Castle – basically an elaborate swimming pool fit for a king!

My full post on Visiting the Water Castle

5. The Kota Gede Silver Refinery

I really enjoyed my visit to the Silver Refinery at Kota Gede, mostly because we got in behind the scenes in the factory and saw the process of silver refining. These guys work hard so if you want to do them a favour, buy something in the shop on your way out.

silver refinery yogyakarta

When in Yogyakarta get in a visit to the Kota Gede Silver Refinery.

My Visit to the Kota Gede Silver Refinery

6. Yogyakarta City Walls

You’ve got to get inside the city walls of Yogyakarta and it’s likely you will on any tour. Markets and vendors lurk on the streets and you can see the mix of old and new Yogyakarta all at once. We even had our lunch by the city walls and tried some local Indonesian buffet as you’ll see in point 7.

yogyakarta city walls

Breathing the real life of Yogyakarta inside the city walls.

7. Buffet Lunch

As you might have read, myself and my Brazilian travel buddy did our tour of Yogyakarta in one day, with an organised driver. Whilst this might not be the most cost effective way, it was a guaranteed way to tick off all the main sights with a minimum of fuss and lunch was included. It was an Indonesian style buffet lunch. I wrote about it in my Friday’s Featured Food section recently!

buffet lunch in yogyakarta

With my hosts for lunch in Yogyakarta.

And that’s it folks – if you manage to tick all seven off you’re doing well. There is also the option to try traditional clothes on and we also checked out a volcano from a distance (not Mount Bromo) so get your travel boots on and head to central Java and the city of Yogyakarta!!

My Videos from Yogyakarta:

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8 thoughts on “My Top 7 Things to Do in Yogyakarta, Java, Indonesia

  • Hi, I am visiting from Y Travel Blog where I saw your post title and just had to come for a look. I visited Jogjya about 35 years ago. All I can remember are Borobodur, markets, batik paintings, the walls. Doing it all in one day with a driver makes sense if you are short of time and can afford it. I enjoyed reading your post, I have not seen another on Jogjya! We travelled there overland from Bali which was an experience 🙂
    budget jan recently posted…Is being a Host Fun? An Interview with Danielle EslerMy Profile

  • Thanks Jan – great story – you were in Yogya well before it became touristy! Borobudur and Prambanan are now packed daily with tourists. We didnt want to do it in one day and it was a 5am start and a 4am finish in fact but it was the only option in our tight schedule on Java to be able to see all the things in and around the city. Was worthwhile believe me! Safe travels, Jonny

  • Hi Jonny the traveler..

    You certainly had nice trip in Yogya. If you insist to have second visit here, I suggest you to visit Goa Pindul (Pindul Cave), Kidul beaches (it has many famous beaches). But you must rent a bike to explore them easily.

    “Leave nothing but footprints. Take nothing but pictures. Kill nothing but time”
    TUKANG MAKAN ANGIN recently posted…Bermalam Gratisan (PART 2): SingapuraMy Profile

  • Hi Johnny,
    thanks for visiting our website and dropping a comment.
    Did you have a good time in Yogyakarta?
    I’ve been there a few times and there’s always something to see!
    Oh by the way, Borobudur is something that tourists in Yogyakarta don’t wanna miss, but it’s actually located in Magelang regency, outside Yogyakarta province. It’s just pretty nearby (1 hour drive) from Yogyakarta, and Magelang is a much less touristy place than Yogyakarta, but also very nice as it is quiet and neat 🙂

    any plan to roam about Indonesia again in the future?
    vira recently posted…Where We Pissed in 2013 – Our KaleidoscopeMy Profile

  • Thanks for the comments Vira – yes I loved Yogyakarta!! Thanks for the information there. I do want to head back to Indonesia but probably Sumatra or Lombok next time, or even the Borneo part. Safe travels, Jonny

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