Yogyakarta, Indonesia

Three Perfect Days in Yogyakarta

Some places you travel just feel good immediately – for me, Yogyakarta, Indonesia was one of them. Known locally as Jogjakarta (or, more often, simply “Jog-ja”), Yogyakarta is one of Indonesia’s most-visited cities  in spite of its relatively small size, due to the wealth of attractions that exist in and around it.

The number of things to do and see in Yogyakarta can make deciding how much time to spend here intimidating, to say the least. If you’re headed to Indonesia and haven’t laid out a specific Yogyakarta plan, use this three days in Yogyakarta itinerary as a starting point for your exploration of central Java.

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Day 1: Welcome to Jog-ja

No matter where in Indonesia you’re coming from, you’ll feel a unique sense of arrival upon getting to Yogyakarta, which most locals call “Jog-ja.” This is as much because of the incredible energy here as it is Yogyakarta’s status as a special region, a fact that has its roots in the Dutch colonial period and the local sultan – but more on him in a minute!

Use the first of your three days in Yogyakarta to settle in with the vibe of the city. Check in at cozy Hotel Ampoeng Djawa, a boutique guest house built in a traditional Javanese style, then explore delicious local eateries along Prawirotaman Road, the backpacker-friendly street where it sits.

 
 
 
 
 

My favorite restaurant on Prawirotaman Road is Warung Heru, which serves up Javenese specialties like Nasi Rawon, a rich beef noodle soup, as well as pan-Indonesian favorites like Mie Goreng. Make sure and chat with the restaurant’s owner, a woman who told me to call her “Wahyu” (she insisted her actual name was too long for me to remember), who’s got a lot of interesting stories to tell, particularly about her son, a local rockstar.

If you’re feeling especially adventurous, ask a local to direct you to the nearest Jamu stall, where a medicine woman will prepare a healing, herbal elixir for you. Try and get to sleep as early as possible though – you’ve got a lot to see on your second of three days in Yogyakarta!

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Day 2: Live Like a Sultan

Remember how I mentioned earlier that Yogyakarta is ruled by a sultan? His residence, the Sultan’s Palace or Kraton, is also the central attraction of Yogyakarta – the city is literally built around it! Hire a becak cycle rickshaw (call my friend Rubio at 087 8484 51076 if you want a really awesome guide!) and head for the palace starting from 8:00. Make sure and take your time exploring – it’s huge!

After you’re finished at the palace, take a walk over to the Taman Sari water palace, which served as the sultan’s holiday getaway in the 18th century. Home to sparkling baths where sultans of centuries past frolicked with as many as 100 virgins at a time, an open-air mosque known as the “Stairway to Heaven” and a 27-mile tunnel that leads all the way to the sea, it’s definitely a can’t-miss spot.

 
 
 
 
 

Speaking of things you can’t miss in Yogyakarta, you’ll also want to make sure and ask someone to direct you to Taman Kt I/240 Rt. 42 Rw. 10, where a man named Uwuh and his wife are taking on Indonesia’s trash problem with a decidedly artistic solution.

Or, if you’re into more traditional local art, have your becak driver take you to the Kota Gede silver village. This area of the city is huge (and, if you explore it extensively, you’ll realize there’s a lot more to it than handmade silver), so make sure your driver waits for you while you’re there.

Day 3: The Wayback Machine

Yogyakarta’s city center is filled with history that’s impressive and, by any stretch, pretty darn old. But if you want to get the full story on Central Java’s past, head out to Prambanan and Borobudur, a pair of temples that are each about an hour away from the city center. (Hotel Ampoeng Djawa, or wherever you choose to stay, can organize a very affordable transfer for you.)

Although both temples date to the ninth century, their stories are decidedly different. Prambanan, which is also a great spot to take in a traditional Ramayana ballet if you have the time, was built to honor the principle Hindu gods, while Borobudur is one of the world’s largest Buddhist temples. Both are UNESCO world heritage sites and are absolute must-sees in their own right.

 
 
 
 
 

If your interest in local history around Yogyakarta also includes that of the geological sort, pay a visit to nearby Mount Merapi, an active volcano that last erupted in 2011. Click here to read about another nearby volcano that erupted during my three days in Yogyakarta!

Alternatively, If you want to continue exploring Indonesia’s Dutch colonial past, take a stroll around Bebteng Vredeburg in the city center, which is full of buildings that could just as well have been built in Amsterdam. However you spend your three days in Yogyakarta, you’re sure to leave wishing you had three more. There’s something about this place that’s impossible to resist!

About The Author

is the author of 723 posts on Leave Your Daily Hell. Robert founded Leave Your Daily Hell in 2010 so that other travelers would have an entertaining, reliable source of information, advice and inspiration at their fingertips. Want to travel more often? Subscribe to email updates today!

 

informs, inspires, entertains and empowers travelers like you. My name is Robert and I'm happy you're here!

 
 
 

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{ 42 comments… read them below or add one }

Bella March 3, 2015 at 4:23 am

Love all your photo! inspired me to going to JogJa

Robert Schrader March 4, 2015 at 5:40 am

I would love to come!

Bella March 4, 2015 at 8:24 am

Have a great day, Please share more your photo’s… =)

DJoy M March 14, 2015 at 11:12 am

Thanks so much for such helpful information! My friends and I plan to go there during our term break. God bless.

Keshvin March 17, 2015 at 10:06 am

Hi Robert. Ill be visiting Jogja in May 2015. Do you have any local English speaking tour guide contact no? Will be useful for my trip. Thanks. Regards, Kesh.

sheida March 27, 2015 at 11:03 pm

Hi alice yes jogya is very safe for a female solo traveler. I have been traveling to jogya many times on my own and its waaay more safer..the people are polite and helpful. Just be more mindful of your personal belongings and do dress casually and some places required you to be decently dressed. enjoy jogya as much as i do!

i stayed at a beautiful place near mt merapi called The Cangkringan. It was awesome..

Im traveling again on 16th april and will be staying at The Tentrem Hotel..

Please enjoy Beringharjo market..Parangtritis sunset and the horse ride at the beach and their local street food…

I love jogya!

And this blog is awesome!

sheida March 27, 2015 at 11:06 pm

Do u have any guide for sri getuk? xx

Robert Schrader March 31, 2015 at 7:47 am

I love it too 3

mutiara April 2, 2015 at 11:15 pm

Nice picture dude 🙂 and thats also one of thousand reason why i live in jogja. Im glad you enjoy jogja that much. Come over again next time and explore more jogja . 🙂

Robert Schrader April 6, 2015 at 11:04 am

Thanks for your comment!

Steve Collier April 11, 2015 at 10:39 pm

Marlana, the blue flame volcano is Kawah Ijen and can be explored along with a midnight trip to nearby Mount Bromo. Easiest way to get there is with a tour from Surabaya. You can fly there cheaply from most Indo cities. You can get the bus however it is a looong bus ride and although an experience not necessarily one for a honeymoon! 😉 Enjoy.

Steve Collier April 11, 2015 at 10:47 pm

Hey Rob, great tips here. One thing I’d add though is if you are a white traveller, be prepared to have your picture taken at Prembanan and Borobudur with literally dozens of school kids, men, women etc. School kids are asked by teachers to practice English and take a photo as proof however many will simply take pics, often without asking. Many school trips on the weekend. Be courteous and when they say “thanks” be sure to reply with a polite “sama sama” essentially meaning my pleasure. They’ll love it. It can become tiring when all you want is to explore. My advice, go to the temples as early as possible on weekdays. It’s cooler then anyway and the light is better for photography.

Robert Schrader April 13, 2015 at 6:51 am

Hi Steve:

I think that goes without saying in Indonesia, though 🙂

Katie Diederichs April 22, 2015 at 9:23 pm

Amazing pictures! Love the stories of the locals you meet. Are the locals in Indonesia friendly to travelers? I keep hearing great things. My friends and I are actually heading there in August. I can’t wait!

common javanese April 24, 2015 at 7:10 am

I recommend you to visit Museum Ullen Sentalu near Kaliurang/mount merapi…there’s so much history contained in it bout the royals of jogja and also javanese tradition and philosophy…you can’t miss it!

Robert Schrader April 26, 2015 at 1:33 pm

I will definitely go next time! Unfortunately, this trip to Jogja got cut a little short due to the eruption of Mt. Kelud!

Robert Schrader April 26, 2015 at 1:34 pm

The locals in Indonesia are so friendly you almost think you’re dreaming. I frequently found myself near tears due to the outpouring of hospitality – and I’m not even much of a crier!

Yanie May 7, 2015 at 11:36 am

Hi Robert, I will have a 3-days vacation to Yogyakarta next weekend, and this blog is pretty helpful. Do you still live in the US? I’m an Indonesian, but I live in Chicago right now. I was wonder if we can meet someday and talk about promoting trade and cultures between two countries. I’d like to invite you to some events too around Chicago and the U.S. Let me know 🙂

love_bvb May 20, 2015 at 5:57 pm

I travel a lot to Jogja by myself, slept at the station few times to catch early train, arrived at bus station at dawn, but it’s always pretty safe. tips i can give you: 1) if it’s your first time there and you want to travel around by rickshaw, it will be better to ask your hotel’s front desk to make the order. They usually know good local rickshaw driver and give more reasonable tariff 2) be careful with your belongings especially when you’re on public transportation (i choose not to fall asleep, not showing off gadgets except i must answer the phone) 3) better ask locals first about pricing before buying things and services, because you will likely to bargain for almost everything there.*unless you shop at store. 4) don’t be shy to ask locals about anything you need to know before starting day trip. Jogja people are known very friendly.

Nuraini June 4, 2015 at 1:22 am

was looking for 3-day itinerary ideas and came across your page. good stuff, really helpful! now I just have to decide on a) 05.50am flight from jakarta, b) 10.45am flight from jakarta, or c) 08.00am train from jakarta.

Robert Schrader June 4, 2015 at 8:49 am

I would go ahead and take the 5:50 am flight from Jakarta! Then you can get an early start in Jogja.

Savio Fernandes July 16, 2015 at 9:57 am

Brother, I some how stumbled upon your blog and its very informative and nicely written. I am departing to Jakarta in a few hours (last minute travel as its a local holiday here in UAE). Nothing planned but I would like to go Jogia and the 2 templea as I am a photographer. My first question if you could help me please… How do i book a train or bus ticket to Jogia? Can I book the same once I am in Jakarta? Thanks

Robert Schrader July 26, 2015 at 4:45 pm

I’m sorry I didn’t respond to this earlier – was in Cuba away from the Internet. Hope you found your way 🙂

Khairul Rizal Hasan September 6, 2015 at 7:55 am

Hey, I see your upcoming trip in Japan on 10th Nov.. I will be there on that time as well.. From 10th to 21st nov.

Robert Schrader September 7, 2015 at 8:25 am

Awesome. Enjoy yourself!

Acel September 12, 2015 at 12:52 pm

I am traveling to Indonesia in October and included Yogyakarta in my itinerary. As a female traveling solo as well, I am kinda anxious but will do it anyway. I was just wondering if I can cover all important places here in one day? My trip is going to be short (only 6 days excluding arrival and departure) and I still want to go to Bali. Actually, Bali is what I am going for but I’d want to make a few stops in major places like Yogyakarta. A litlle help please? Thank you!

Narmio Kris September 15, 2015 at 10:17 am

Hi … do you want to vacation to yogya? many sights of interest. the hospitality of the citizens will welcome your arrival. contact (Kris: +62 811295995), I will accompany you to enjoy the beauty of yogya.

Narmio Kris September 15, 2015 at 10:26 am

Hi … do you want to vacation to yogya? many sights of interest. the hospitality of the citizens will welcome your arrival. contact (Kris: +62 811295995), I will accompany you to enjoy the beauty of yogya.

Robert Schrader September 16, 2015 at 8:05 am

You can cover all important places inside the city in one day, but if you want to see Prambanan and Borobudur (you should!), you will need two days.

Donny Mahendra October 6, 2015 at 8:07 am

Hi Robert,

Thank you for telling about Yogyakarta with it very well.
I am a professional freelance photographer, for your additional information to your friend who wanted to capture the moment with a maximum image results while traveling in Yogyakarta can contact me at la@gioia.web.id. I will strive to deliver great results and special prices for as a beautiful memories. 🙂

Indah DK April 28, 2016 at 11:48 pm

Hi Acel, already go to Yogyakarta? You can visit about Yogyakarta here on my link also 🙂 I hope u have a great trip in Yogyakarta
http://emkatourjogja.com/tourism-village-of-puton-watu-ngelak-yogyakarta/

Best Regards

Indah

roni kuncoro May 24, 2016 at 11:47 pm

Thank you for interesting and useful articles.
Your photos so colorful and looks alive. Amazing! 🙂
Check also the similar content that you can visit, it’s truly backpacker guidance, more detail and updated.
You can get info about public transport to the sights, entrance fee, best time to visit, cell phone coverage, cafe, even info about restroom.
Yogyakarta Backpacking Guidance:
http://www.yogya-backpacker.com

Dean Tripstar Rose June 13, 2016 at 8:03 am

I will be staying in Yogyakarta for a month, starting this week, with a lovely woman I know there and her family home and so I don’t need to budget for Hotels or anything, but just for eating, traveling, and sight seeing, how much do you folks think I will need for the trip? I have IDR 12.5 Million rupiah, about £650 GBP or $900 USD, will this be a good amount? Thanks in advance 🙂 Good article BTW, I will be checking all these things out (y)

Robert Schrader June 14, 2016 at 7:08 am

Hi Dean! I think if you only need to spend money for eating, sightseeing and day trips, that should be enough. Unless you plan to do something expensive, like Kawah Ijen Volcano.

Nisha July 24, 2016 at 11:50 pm

Love your photos and the description. Looks like a good place to spend time. How is the public transport within the town? And what mode?

Robert Schrader July 26, 2016 at 1:08 pm

Public transport is like most of the rest of Southeast Asia, i.e. tuk-tuks and taxis. I liked to walk a lot, too.

Masakan Enak August 22, 2016 at 4:39 am

It is a great moment when we can spend to visit Jogjakarta. I have visit Jogja too. All the places in Yogyakarta is great. Robert Have you visit Pelem Golek, Banyu Mili, Lemah Ledok Garden Reston? as in http://www.foody.id/article/7-tempat-makan-bernuansa-alam-terbaik-di-jogjakarta-643.
It is also recommended to be visited especially when you want to eat and get great ambiance…

we are leaving traces August 23, 2016 at 9:02 am

We felt exactly like you did: “Some places you travel to just feel good immidiatly – Yogyakarta”. This place is so historical and has its own rythm. The surrounding of Yogyakarta offers plenty of tours. We went on some tours you also went on (Borobudur, Water temple, Sultan´s palace). Still we guess that every traveller finds his or her own way of exploring a city. Maybe you would also like to read our report on Yogyakarta:

https://weareleavingtraces.com/2016/08/15/yogyakarta-indonesia/

Robert Schrader August 30, 2016 at 5:48 am

Thanks for sharing your post—it’s excellent!

Robert Schrader August 30, 2016 at 5:49 am

I haven’t visited any of those places, but they’re definitely on my list now!

Sanne Meijboom November 7, 2016 at 3:32 am

Hi, your pictures are indeed stunning! When you are in Yogyakarta next time you might like some of these places http://blog.i-likelocal.com/17-hidden-treasures-yogyakarta/ as well. They are more off the beaten track.

Robert Schrader November 8, 2016 at 5:43 am

Thanks for the input!

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