TL;DR – Not for the fainthearted.
Yogyakarta is not a common holiday destination for many but there are a number of reasons why you should include this soul of Indonesia with its amazing natural, cultural and historical attractions.on your bucket list.
Psst, don’t be confused when you hear people saying Jogja. Yogyakarta is actually pronounced ‘Jogjakarta’ and called Yogya (‘Jogja’) for short.
1. Sunrise at Borobudur
Borobudur Temple is, without doubt, one of the most beautiful sites in Yogyakarta. This UNESCO World Heritage Site is the largest and one of the most stunning Buddhist temples in the world. Dating back to the 9th Century, it is still a key pilgrimage site for Buddhists from all over the world today. Watching the sunrise over the temple grounds is sure to be a very magical and memorable experience.
2. Hike up Mount Merapi
Mount Merapi is dubbed the most active volcano in Asia with its record number of eruptions, with its last eruption in 2010. It literally translates to “Fire Mountain” in Javanese. Getting to the lookout point is fairly easy with the help of a guide and a chartered jeep. Zip through the gravel-filled paths against the cool breezy winds and you can assured of an extremely trilling journey like no other.
3. Explore Jomplang Cave
… 60 metres underground. If you are up for an adventure, Jomplang Cave is definitely where you should be heading to. This place is actually a collapsed forest turned vertical cave and you get to abseil down 60 metres off the cliff into pitch darkness. And then at exactly 12 noon, prepare yourself for the stunning ‘light from heaven’ as seen in the image above. What a sight!
4. Go underground cave tubing
For just $7.50, you can go on a 3-hour adventure on an inflatable tube through a river that runs through the Goa Pindul caves. You will get to come up close and personal with the gorgeous natural stalactite and stalagmite formations and sleeping bats hanging above. Don’t worry, you will be following with an experienced cave tour guide who will help you navigate down the cave river and the waters are so gentle, even children can join in on this experience.
5. Go on a gondola ride at Timang beach
You might not expect this at Jogja but there are many activities to do if you just brace yourself! For just $20, you can go on a wild ride on the famous beach gondola, which is basically a rustic-looking cable car is made of wood and attached to a rope pulley system, allowing guests to zoom across the waters.
Located at Menoreh Hill, approximately 1 to 2 hours drive from Yogyakarta city, is Kalibiru National Park. Unlike most parks, this national park offers beautiful views of mountains, lakes and fun outdoor activities like fully scaled rock climbing, tightrope walking and a flying fox. For the less daring, you can explore various walks ranging from 1.5km, 3km, 5km or the longest path of 7km.
7. Hit the sand dunes at Gumuk Pasir
Who knew you could go sandboarding in Jogja? Get your sandboards ready as you slide down the giant mounds of sand! Don’t worry if it’s your first time. There will be someone to guide you and there are also different ‘routes’ that you can sandboard down.
8. Cheap street food
What better way to enjoy Indonesia than through its cuisine? There are lots of cheap, local food at street stalls lined along the roads. Nasi Padang, Mee Bakso, Ayam Penyet and the list goes on.
9. Cheap massagesvia
No trip to Indonesia is complete without at least one session of Javanese massage.
There are not that many venues for partying in Yogyakarta but the eclectic Taphouse Beer Garden set within a crumbling, stylised, ruined-brick courtyard is definitely worth checking out.