Yogya is an interesting city to discover. We are always happy to suggest the nicest spots to get a grasp of it, especially to those travelers that come with a tight schedule! So here we go with our 6 favorite places to visit when in the city:
1. TAMAN SARI (THE WATER CASTLE)
Taman Sari, or The Water Castle, is one of the most beautiful buildings in Yogya. Built in 1758 by Sri Sultan Hamengku Buwono I, it's a part of the Sultan Palace Complex. It was used by the royal family as a recreational palace, where they went to bath and retreat.
The Dutch named it after the artificial lake that used to surround it, now dried. Although the part of the building is in ruins now, the beauty of its Muslim architecture is preserved in the intricate gates, the quiet agoras with pools and the alleys and rooms that remain. You can also explore the underground corridors and try to find the hidden mosque. And if you feel for a more real-life experience, you will love to visit the batik shops and narrow streets of the little neighborhood in the back of the palace!
Opening times: 9am-3pm
Entrance fee: IDR 15k
Address: Jl. Taman, Yogyakarta.
2. KRATON (THE ROYAL PALACE)
Also located in the Palace Complex and built 2 years before Taman Sari, the Royal Palace, 'Kraton' in Indonesian, was finished in 1756 (1682 in the Javanese calendar). Being the residence of the Sultan, it quickly became the very center of the kingdom, where political decisions were made. It was fully planned as a symbolic building, from the trees, the tiles and sculptures to the structure of it.
For example, the year of the inauguration of the palace (in the Javanese traditional calendar) is depicted by a sculpture of two intrigued dragons, one male and another female. If you are knowledgeable of these signs you can read 1682 on that: nº 1 represented by the "union", nº 6 stands by the "desire of the union", nº 2 because of the 2 dragons and nº 8 is the number related to dragons in the Indonesian culture.
It is a good idea to get a guide that can explain you all the history and interesting facts that lie behind the walls of the palace.
Opening times: 9am-3pm
Entrance fee: 15k IDR
Kotagede is the neighborhood where BHUMI is located, and it's boldly on the top of our list. Being a very unique place in the city, walking around it will feel like a travel in space and time to an older Javanese village. Its streets and buildings have kept on a hold the charm of a daily life that is being lost in big cities, and we cannot get enough of it! Shut down google maps and get lost, while you give yourself a break from the tourist traps. We are SURE you will love it as much as we do :)
You will find more information on Kotagede here.
4. THE CITY'S MARKETS
Go get a glimpse of the market culture in Java on one of the local markets in the city. Although you can find many around, we recommend you Pasar Beringharjo, the biggest market in town and of course Pasar Legi Kotagede, the oldest one in town. Tropical fruits (#YUM), colorful snacks, vegetables, handcrafted baskets, even clothing. The give-away pop-up stands appear when the sun is gone, you will never know what can you find in there ;) But don't miss the architecture of the building and the old-fashioned stalls — it's definitively another highlight of the place.
Opening times: (roughly) from 5am to 7pm
5. ALUN-ALUN KIDUL
Keep this one for the night time: you don't want to miss the bizarre 4-people bikes in the shape of an old car (with neon lights!) or the delicious street food that is sold there. Locals gather in this square in the evening, join them for some fun! It's said that it's impossible to walk in between the huge twin banyan trees in that lay in the middle of the square with blindfolded eyes. Ready for a challenge?
Address: Jalan Alun Alun Kidul (City Center, next to the Royal City Complex)
6. MALIOBORO STREET
Join the crowds and stream into the chaos in the most lively street in the city! It's hard not to get overwhelmed by the colors, smells and noises in Malioboro. The right place to get a kitschy souvenir, it's also worth checking the crazy clothing stores around for good deals. Looking for some batik? Will be hard to choose a pattern after seeing so many!
Address: Jalan Malioboro (City center)