Yogyakarta Travel Guide

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Yogyakarta Travel Guide

Yogyakarta Local History

The earliest recorded history dates from the 9th century which was dominated by Hindu and Buddhist kingdoms that gave rise to the magnificent temples such as Prambanan, Borobudur and Ratu Boko found in the area.

Yogyakarta itself dates back to the 18th century when the Muslim Mataram Kingdom was ruled by Paku Buwono II. After he passed away, there was a conflict between his son and his brother which was encouraged by the Dutch who were trying to colonize the region on a 'divide and rule' basis. The kingdom was eventually divided into two regions namely Surakarta Hadiningrat kingdom (under the rule of Sunan Pakubuwono III), and Ngayogyakarta Hadiningrat kingdom (under the rule of Sultan Hamengku Buwono I) The second kingdom was later called Yogyakarta, now better known as Yogya.

After the independence of the Republic of Indonesia was proclaimed, Yogyakarta Special Region and was given provincial status in 1950 in recognition of its important role in the fight for Independence. The area is now a self governing district answerable directly to Jakarta and not to the governor of Central Java.

Yogyakarta Attractions

Top Attractions

Kalasan Temple - The temple was built in honor of the marriage between King Pancapana of the Sanjaya Dynasty and a princess of the Cailendra Dynasty, Dyah Pramudya Wardhani. It is beautifully ornamented with finely carved relief and coated with "Vajralepa", a yellowish material made of the sap of certain tree. The Vajralepa functions as an adhesive and as protection against moss and mildew. This unique Buddhist temple is located on the south side of the main road between Yogyakarta and Prambanan.

Imogiri Royal Cemetery - Built in 1645, the tomb of Sultan Agung Hanyokrokusumo (the third king of the Mataram Kingdom), is on the peak of the cemetery. Sultan Agung became famous for his courage in fighting against the Dutch colonialists in 1628. All the kings of the Mataram Kingdom and their families are buried in Imogiri. You have to climb 345 stairs to reach the top of the hill where the tombs are located. Please note that visitors are obligated to wear traditional Javanese clothes. The cemetery is located on a beautiful hill about 12 kms from Yogyakarta.

Dirgantara Mandala Museum - The museum keeps pictures and models of aeroplanes. Some are models of aeroplanes left by Japanese army (which then were used by the Indonesian air-force), the other models are fighting, transportation, and exercise aeroplanes. Please note that visitors have to inform the officer in charge at least one day in advance to visit the museum. The museum is located in the Lanuma Adisucipto complex.

Cerme Cave Walisongo - The 1200 m long cave was used as a meeting place for teaching Islam in Java. Beside the main cave with a beautiful collection of stalactites and stalagmites you will find some smaller caves. The complex is located in Srunggo, Selopamioro, 22 km from Yogyakarta in the Bantul Regency.

Batik Research Centre - Situated on the eastern outskirts of the city, it has an interesting permanent exhibition of batiks in classic and modern designs The process of batik can also be seen here, both the hand drawn and hand stamped.

Dewantara Kirti Griya - The former home of Ki Hajar Dewantoro (founder of the Taman Siswa Institute, the oldest national education institute), was established in 1932. He was both an educator and a fervent patriot fighting for independence, and a close friend of Rabindranath Tagore (an educational figure from India). The building style, carving, reliefs and the very attractive statues bring the image of harmony and dynamism of Indonesian cultural artwork.

The Borobudur Temple - This 1,200 year old Buddhist temple, is a place of art and architecture and is one of the most famous temples in the world. The Waicak ceremony is held at both the Borobudur temple and Mendut temple in Magelang regency Buddhist followers from around the globe take a part in this religious ceremony that usually takes place in May. It is a 'must see' for everyone visiting the area and simply should not be missed. The temple is located 42 km from Yogyakarta.

Dragonfly Lounge I miss Dragonfly restaurant
submitted by Mandoro, 10/10/07

Yogyakarta Shopping

Shopping in Yogyakarta is like shopping no where else on earth. Here you will find treasures to take home with you that will please you for years to come. Traditional Indonesian arts and crafts are popular as souvenirs. Batik, the oldest traditional Javanese art is done as hand painted or hand-woven fabric. Their usefulness is endless, from a simple beach-wrap, to a baby hammock or future wall hanging or cushion cover. Due the important role of batik painting in the daily life of the people in Central Java, Yogyakarta has plenty of Batik Schools and Colleges. NOTE: These offer batik painting courses for foreigners. Woodcarvings and paintings are easily available. In the smaller shops, bargaining is accepted; however, in larger shops, prices are fixed. The Yogyakarta leather craft industry traditionally uses the hide of water buffaloes, cows and goats. The most famous leather craft product is the Wayang Kulit, the puppet used for the well known Javanese Shadow Play. Beside this, leather is the basic material for producing room decorations, bags, sandals, and souvenirs. Electronics goods are both high quality and inexpensive with all major brands available. Signature 'Prestige' fashion goods are available at very competitive prices.

Jalan Malioboro - Despite the growing appeal of the new shopping street Jalan Urip Sumoharjo, with its up dated commercial trapping, the vibrant life of the city is still centered along Malioboro and Ahmad Yani street, extending from the railway to the public square facing the Sultan's Palace. The shops open from 9am to 2pm and 6pm to 9pm including Sundays. There are dozens of cozy restaurants with reasonable prices and serving wide selections of dishes.

Kota Gede - If you are interested in exploring the local silver craft production, it is worth visiting Kota Gede, about 6 km south of Yogyakarta. There are two kinds of silver craft produced: white and black silver. The best is to walk around Kota Gede and visit so as many shops as possible to assess the best place to buy your favoured pieces at reasonable prices.

Kasongan - A village 7 km to the south of Yogyakarta, is the number one location for pottery craft as well as earthenware and ceramics. Due the influence of long staying foreigners, the pottery industry these days offers a broad spectrum of pottery items and ceramics, from giant vases to little funny souvenirs.

Yogyakarta has plenty of galleries and studios, among them the famous Affandi Gallery and the Amri Yahya Gallery. Here you will be able to find lovely modern paintings, at a reasonable price, to take back home.

Yogyakarta Activities

Gembira Loka Zoo - This relatively small zoo has an interesting collection of local and foreign animals. In the compound, there are recreational facilities such as a pond for boating and a children's playground. During school holidays, gamelan and musical entertainment are performed in the grounds. Located on the bank of river Gajah Wong, 3 km east of main Post Office.

Batik Courses - Not only for the older generation, children also get a lot of pleasure partaking in this activity. It is suitable for all ages and what better way than to go on holiday and take your own, personally made, souvenir back with you?

Kids Fun Parks - A recreation park with international standard, built in 1998. It consists of 2 ha of fun. Some of the facilities include: Dune Buggies, Gnome Land, Adventure Mini Golf, and Go-Kart, amongst numerous other child related activities. Situated on Jl. Wonosari, Yogyakarta.

Purawisata Amusement Park - The Purawisata has several facilities that children of all ages will enjoy. Not only do they have performances of Ramayana Wayang Wong (human wayang), every evening, but there is also a children's playground and fair games. You will be able to buy some souvenirs at a reasonable art market, and there is food-stalls and a restaurant serving local and Western cuisine. Located on Jl. Brigjen. Katamso, east of Karaton.

Layang-layang - or kite flying is a very popular pastime for Indonesian children. Provinces throughout the country have their own designs. There are two distinct types of kites: the first is those that are just to be used for flying (which have a tailed attached to them to balance the kite), and those that will be used for one-on-one dogfights, a favourite pastime amongst kite flyers.

Yogyakarta Parks & Gardens

Kiskendo Cave - This area lies about 700m above sea level. To the east, vast lowlands extending around the Progo river can be admired and to the south, in the distance one can see the Indian Ocean. The cave can be reached by road but those using big vehicles, are advised to stop at the Kecamatan Girimulyo (district) and proceed by smaller vehicles because of the narrowness of the road. The views of the mountainous area and the terraced rice fields en-route are a beautiful sight. The cave is located in the Menoreh mountain, Kulon Progo Regency.

Sendangsono - Lies on the slope of the Menoreh mountain range, in the Kulon Progo Regency. The word 'Sendang' means a spring, whereas 'Sono' is the name of giant tree. Sendangsono means a spring under a Sono tree. It is considered to be the holy place for the Catholics, and it can be regarded as the Lourdes of South-east Asia. Pilgrimage to Sendangsono May and October are considered as holy months to honour Maria, Mother of Jesus Christ. Thousands of Roman Catholics from all over Indonesia and abroad, make their pilgrimage to Sendangsono in these months. Located some 40km north-west of Yogyakarta.

Taman Sari - Built in 1758, the ruins of a water castle was once a splendid pleasure park of the Sultans and Royal Families. It was badly damaged due to an earthquake in 1865. The bathing pools have been restored and the rest is an interesting place of eerie ruins, underground passages and a large subterranean mosque. Nowadays, it has a kampung (village) where small houses and art galleries stand. Taman Sari is located west of Karaton.

Mount Merapi - Stand in awe of this 2.920 m volcano, which is one of the active volcanoes found in Indonesia. During its time of rest (when it is not puffing out plumes of sulphur-laden smoke), mountaineering is a popular activity on its slopes. From the observation post located on Plawangan hill that can be reached through the forest resort of Kaliurang, you will see the incredible sights of molten rock oozing over the rim, sometimes accompanied with hot lava pouring out regularly and leaving a long trail of smoke. Telogo Muncar Waterfall is found on the slopes Mt. Merapi and is a perfect place to get away from it all while traveling.

Yogyakarta Beaches

Glagah Beach - . The Serang river, which runs to the South sea, empties at this beach. Running alongside the river, is a green field with shady coconut trees which is a convenient place to camp or just to relax. The beach is located some 40 km south-west of Yogyakarta, in Kulon Progo Regency.

Parangtritis Beach - Long famous, not only as a beach resort but also a historical place which is closely related to the mysterious legend of the Queen of the south sea. " Kanjeng Ratu Kidul ", who together with her confident, the feared Nyai Loro Kidul, reign over sea nymphs and spirits. The Legends say that Kanjeng Ratu Kidul was married to one of the Mataram Monarch, Panembahan Senopati whom she visited and communed with on certain occasions. From the wall of one of the hills, water containing calcium continuously dripped down and finally formed a pool with very clear water. Sri Sultan Hamengku Buwono Vll found and took care of it. The pool is now used as the bathing pool. Those who are interested can travel by bus from the Umbulharjo bus station in Yogyakarta. Please note that it is not recommended to swim on the southern coast of Java.

Baron Beach - Unlike Parangtritis, Baron Beach is still a beautiful and quiet place. Baron bay offers a great panorama view over the steep coast to the east. You can take a walk to the nearby Krakal Beach (2 km) or drive to Kukup Beach (9 km) to the east. The beach forms a bay which protrudes between two green coral ridges. To reach it, you travel down a winding road through the mountain with lovely views over the green valleys and terraced limestone hills. It features the mouth of an underground river. Located about 60 kms to the southeast of Yogyakarta.

Krakal Beach - It is said that a long time ago, this place was below sea level. In the remaining coral bed, many fossils can still be found. Among all the beaches that stretch along the coast of Java, Krakal with its white sandy beach, surrounded with mountainous rocky hills, is considered the most beautiful. Located about 38 km from Yogyakarta.

Parangkusumo Beach - According to people's belief it used to be the meeting place between the kings who reigned the Mataram Kingdom and Kanjeng Ratu Kidul. Every year, on the 30th day of the Javanese month, " Rejeb ", offerings to the Queen of the south-sea are held on the shore of Parangkusumo, coinciding with the commemoration of the inauguration of Sri Sultan Hamengku Buwono X.

Yogyakarta Restaurants and Bars

The Indonesian staple food is rice, steamed boiled or fried. Some accompanying dishes can be pepper hot-big red pepper or small green ones - so it is advisable to ask before ordering. There are many restaurants specializing in European, American and oriental cuisine. A variety of beverages are available everywhere including very good Indonesian beer. Keep to bottled drinks if doubtful of water served in restaurants. Pork is forbidden for the Muslim population and beef for the Balinese Hindus but they are available at many restaurants and markets.

Eating out in Indonesia can be a rather engaging experience, as the food varies with the region in which it is found.

Generally speaking, Indonesian food can be described as being hot and spicy. Coconut milk is generously used in the making of curries, for example, sayur lodeh (vegetable curry) and rendang (casseroles of beef, mutton, chicken or fish). Beef features widely in the diet of the Sumatrans, while Javanese cuisine comprises of a range of vegetables, meat and poultry. In the eastern regions of Indonesia, seafood is popular. Balinese food is spicy and peppery. Try the spit-roasted suckling pig with savoury stuffing, or if you can stomach it, flying foxes, rice-field eels, worms, lizards and dragonflies cooked in spices and vegetables.

Yogyakarta Restaurants

BuTjitro Restaurant - The good taste of the Javanese traditional food , with its continual innovations recently has equipped their menu variations with a range of Indonesian food, seafood, Chinese food, and European food. Using the traditional, special processing technique makes the Gudeg Kendil Bu Tjitro durable in 48 hours (2 days, 2 nights) and make it become practically an exclusive gift for family, best friends and business partners. Jl. Janti 330 Yogyakarta. Tel: 274/564734.

Dragonfly Resto Lounge - While enjoying delicious dishes, you may enjoy the strains of boutique music daily performed by a live DJ. No other restaurant serves dishes in modern European-Asian fusion and is guaranteed not to disappoint your taste buds. Various choices of special appetizers, desserts, and beverage make your lunch and dinner unforgettable. Daily lunch and dinner are available from 12.00 to 24.00.

Jl. Mataram No. 36A Yogyakarta. Tel: 274/547656.

Ayam Bakar Wong Solo - It has fancy meals of Javanese style and Indonesian (Nusantara) taste, as well as of modified Chinese one ala Wong Solo. The special menu of Ayam Bakar Wong Solo includes: roasted chicken, roasted gurami fish, tumis kangkung Wong Solo, tom yam, polygamy juice and special Wong Solo juice. Jl. Monjali 103 C Yogyakarta. Tel: 274/625412.

Some restaurants in Yogyakarta provide European and Indonesian food. These restaurants were designed to give special nuance, where people can enjoy both meal and comfort, with music, nice interiors, and comfortable seats.

Yogyakarta children's activities

Gembira Loka Zoo - This relatively small zoo has an interesting collection of local and foreign animals. In the compound, there are recreational facilities such as a pond for boating and a children's playground. During school holidays, gamelan and musical entertainment are performed in the grounds. Located on the bank of river Gajah Wong, 3 km east of main Post Office.

Batik Courses - Not only for the older generation, children also get a lot of pleasure partaking in this activity. It is suitable for all ages and what better way than to go on holiday and take your own, personally made, souvenir back with you?

Kids Fun Parks - A recreation park with international standard, built in 1998. It consists of 2 ha of fun. Some of the facilities include: Dune Buggies, Gnome Land, Adventure Mini Golf, and Go-Kart, amongst numerous other child related activities. Situated on Jl. Wonosari, Yogyakarta.

Purawisata Amusement Park - The Purawisata has several facilities that children of all ages will enjoy. Not only do they have performances of Ramayana Wayang Wong (human wayang), every evening, but there is also a children's playground and fair games. You will be able to buy some souvenirs at a reasonable art market, and there is food-stalls and a restaurant serving local and Western cuisine. Located on Jl. Brigjen. Katamso, east of Karaton.

Layang-layang - or kite flying is a very popular pastime for Indonesian children. Provinces throughout the country have their own designs. There are two distinct types of kites: the first is those that are just to be used for flying (which have a tailed attached to them to balance the kite), and those that will be used for one-on-one dogfights, a favourite pastime amongst kite flyers.

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