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.

Need help planning your trip to Indonesia? Hire me as your Travel Coach!

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!

Read More About Indonesia

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 731 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!

 
 
 

Get Email Updates

Like what you're reading? Sign up to receive my weekly email newsletter – it's like a trip around the world to end every week!

Upcoming Trips

  • Singapore March 27-28
  • Kyushu, Japan March 29-April 5
  • Middle East TBA April
 
 

{ 49 comments… read them below or add one }

Karisa Blake February 17, 2014 at 9:12 pm

I’m sold! Sounds fantastic. Love your pictures 🙂

Robert Schrader February 20, 2014 at 2:03 am

Thanks for the kind compliment, Karisa!

LatinAbroad.com February 27, 2014 at 3:17 pm

I am SO happy about this, especially since I applied for a full year scholarship to study in Yogyakarta! OMG, I really hope I get it!

-Maria Alexandra

Robert Schrader March 3, 2014 at 7:45 am

I hope you get it too, hun! I think you would LOVE Jogja and the friendly people there.

Gabriella Dina Sumual May 28, 2014 at 12:23 pm

Thanks heaps! I’ll be having my 3day trip to Jogja next month. This article is genius!

Robert Schrader May 29, 2014 at 8:03 am

Thanks for the kind compliment. I <3 Jogja!

judywuu July 11, 2014 at 2:09 am

I’ll be going there with my boyfriend end of this year for more than a week. Do you think that’s a bit too long? Love your pictures btw. Great job!

Robert Schrader July 11, 2014 at 8:29 am

I don’t think that’s too long – I’d have stayed longer if I could. Thanks for the compliments about my pictures, by the way!

Ann August 5, 2014 at 12:15 pm

Really enjoyed Yogyakarta! I’m still in touch with the local CouchSurfers I met while in town. In addition to the stuff you mention above, I took a silver/jewelry-making class. And found plenty happening at night: http://www.eastvillagenomad.com/2012/05/those-wild-yogyakarta-nights.html?q=yogyakarta

Robert Schrader August 6, 2014 at 9:12 am

Thanks for sharing your story! Due to the eruption of Mt. Kelud volcano, I didn’t get to visit the silver smiths. Next time!

zie September 6, 2014 at 3:08 am

i plan to visit jogja but im thinking to explore jogja on my own, is it safe there?

Robert Schrader September 7, 2014 at 12:23 pm

Very!

Ryan, Philippines September 10, 2014 at 8:35 am

I’m planning of going to Yogyakarta soon and I find your site very helpful. Great pictures, BTW!

Robert Schrader September 11, 2014 at 6:16 am

Yay! I hope you have a great time – one of my favorite places.

Abbi October 6, 2014 at 8:11 am

Awesome Robert – thanks! I have just got to Jogja, and have 5 days here, but plan on spending a few by the hotel pool and a spa for my birthday, but these ideas for our other three days are great.
Brilliant photos. Can’t wait to explore!

iAn | freedom wall October 18, 2014 at 11:21 am

This is very helpful, Robert. Will be visiting Jogja in November. Glad I found this. Thanks!

Robert Schrader October 19, 2014 at 10:02 am

Glad to have been of help 🙂

thomas rahmadi October 23, 2014 at 9:31 am

visit jogja,..

Robert Schrader October 23, 2014 at 10:43 am

Yes!

Princess October 24, 2014 at 6:07 am

Will be going in November, Robert. What’s there to shop? Any cultural village or cultural shows available for the public to see?

Robert Schrader October 27, 2014 at 7:38 am

How exciting! There are lots of places to shop, but the most interesting “local” place is the Silver Smithing village, Kota Gede. Unfortunately, I could not go, due to the eruption of Mt. Kelud!

r patel October 28, 2014 at 9:55 am

Thanks Robert! I will be headed to Yogykarta in november and glad to have come across your blog.

Endah Silvianingrum November 6, 2014 at 2:08 am

You can also go to Pasar Beringharjo. It is a traditional market sells crafts, batik and local food. 🙂

Robert Schrader November 6, 2014 at 8:15 pm

I wanted to go there, but unfortunately Mt. Kelud erupted!

Seles Ng November 10, 2014 at 6:29 am

Robert, this is really helpful! What do you think the weather would be in January? I’m planning for a week around Yogyakarta, probably going to Mount Bromo as well.

Robert Schrader November 10, 2014 at 5:28 pm

Hi Seles:

January is technically the rainy season, but weather in Indonesia is highly variable anyway.

Marlana November 13, 2014 at 1:45 pm

Your blog is truly amazing! My husband and I will be spending our honeymoon in Indonesia for 2 weeks! 🙂
Is Yogyakarta where you saw the volcano with the blue flames? And hotel that you mentioned under Day 1, how far was that from the temple?

Sincero November 13, 2014 at 4:04 pm

The first sentence in this article is so true, i got the same vibe when i was there. It has been voted as the Indonesian best city to live in few years back.

Holi D'Jumino November 14, 2014 at 12:48 am

hi, i’m from jogja and the volcano with the blue flames is not in this city, it is in another city. both temples are located in different cities too but you can reach borobudur temple in an hour (from the hotel) and thirty minutes to reach prambanan. 🙂

Holi D'Jumino November 14, 2014 at 12:58 am

great pics! i like the way you see this city and indonesia… 🙂

Pariwisata Oke January 15, 2015 at 2:16 pm

Thank you sir, we from yogyakarta always smile seen your photos. Your experience to indonesian very complete writed
in your blog. we will share for you beautifull location in Yogyakarta
indonesia to your reference when you will tour to Yogyakarta, Indonesian
again. please visit http://www.triptojogjakarta.com Thank You 🙂

Robert Schrader January 17, 2015 at 6:48 am

Thank you! Terima kasih!

Ann Stark January 18, 2015 at 10:18 pm

Thanks Robert. Its very helpful.
I am travelling to Yogyakarta in February for 3 days. Which place/area do you suggest for hotels which are decently located to all attractions?

Robert Schrader January 19, 2015 at 7:35 am

Hi Ann:

The hotels and restaurants on Jalan Prawirotaman are all excellent. I particularly loved Hotel Kampoeng Djawa – it was wonderful!

Ann Stark January 19, 2015 at 9:01 pm

How is this hotel or Jalan Prawirotaman placed from Mount Merapi, Borobudur, Prambanan etc?

Robert Schrader January 20, 2015 at 7:51 am

Hi Ann:

This is in the city of Jogjakarta, so it’s not very close to the other sites, which are scattered around the city in different directions. However, many travel agencies exist on this street, so you can get competitive prices on transfers to these tourist attractions.

Ann Stark January 21, 2015 at 12:00 am

Hi Robert,
Thanks for all the info. I’m really looking forward to this trip. My first solo trip 🙂
Yes, Borobudur, is it more beautiful in sunrise or sunset? I know its difficult to tell 🙂

Robert Schrader January 21, 2015 at 7:21 am

Aw well congrats for taking the plunge! I would recommend Borobudur at sunrise and Prambanan at sunset.

Ann Stark January 22, 2015 at 12:05 am

Okay Sir 🙂 Thankyou. How about Mount Merapi? Sunset?

Robert Schrader January 22, 2015 at 9:30 am

I wasn’t able to go due to the eruption of another nearby volcano lol

Ann Stark January 22, 2015 at 7:45 pm

Oh, okay. Internet says sunrise. Can’t wait. Thanks again, Robert 🙂 !

Robert Schrader January 26, 2015 at 9:54 am

Enjoy!

Ann Stark January 26, 2015 at 11:31 pm

One last thing sir……an idea of expense for 3 days (including all entrance fees) in Jogja in USD?

niner559 January 27, 2015 at 10:02 pm

I’m going to be traveling to Yogyakarta mid february for 5 days, thanks for all the information. I’m still making all my reservations and was trying to decide on staying in town or on the outskirts…what are your thoughts? Easy to get to and from my hotel if I stay in the outskirts?

Firsta January 30, 2015 at 10:00 am

All beautiful photos! I love your itinerary since you gave each day a focus. Well thought through itinerary. 🙂

Alice February 16, 2015 at 12:16 am

Hi, I love your photos!
Do you think it is safe for a female solo traveler?

Robert Schrader February 16, 2015 at 7:03 am

Hi Alice:

Jogja is absolutely safe for a solo female traveler. Thanks for the compliment!

Jasmine February 22, 2015 at 6:23 am

We just visited Jogja after reading this and I gotta say a huge thank you- incredible place. Check out Sri Gethuk waterfall if you haven’t already 🙂 Love your blog, keep inspiring us! (my take: okjasmine.blogspot.sg/2015/02/centered-again.html)

Robert Schrader February 22, 2015 at 9:39 am

Thanks for the link – I’ll be sure to check it out!

{ 1 trackback }

Previous post:

Next post: