Yogyakarta, often lovingly referred to as Jogja, is a cultural and historical gem located on the island of Java in Indonesia. This vibrant city offers a perfect blend of tradition and modernity, making it a prime destination for travelers from around the world. With a rich history, stunning natural landscapes, and a thriving arts scene, Yogyakarta has something for every type of traveler. In this guide, we will explore 10 of the must-visit tourist attractions in Yogyakarta, each offering a unique perspective on the city’s culture and heritage.
1. Borobudur Temple
Borobudur Temple is a 9th-century Mahayana Buddhist temple in Magelang Regency, not far from the city of Magelang and the town of Muntilan, in Central Java, Indonesia. It is the world’s largest Buddhist temple.
The temple consists of nine stacked platforms, six square and three circular, topped by a central dome. It is decorated with 2,672 relief panels and originally 504 Buddha statues. The central dome is surrounded by 72 Buddha statues, each seated inside a perforated stupa.
Borobudur was built in the 8th and 9th centuries by the Sailendra dynasty, a Mahayana Buddhist dynasty that ruled Central Java. The temple was abandoned in the 14th century, after the fall of the Sailendra dynasty and the spread of Islam in Indonesia.
Borobudur was rediscovered by the British in 1814, but it was not until the early 20th century that it was fully restored. The temple was declared a UNESCO World Heritage Site in 1991.
Borobudur is a sacred place for Buddhists, and it is also a popular tourist destination. Visitors can climb the temple’s many stairs and explore its many relief panels and statues. The temple also offers stunning views of the surrounding countryside.
Here are some of the things to see and do at Borobudur Temple:
- Climb the temple’s many stairs to the top. The view from the top of the temple is breathtaking.
- Explore the temple’s many relief panels and statues. The relief panels tell the story of the Buddha’s life and teachings, and the statues are beautifully carved.
- Visit the central dome. The central dome is the most sacred part of the temple, and it is home to a large statue of the Buddha.
- Enjoy the views of the surrounding countryside. Borobudur is located in a beautiful valley, and the views from the temple are stunning.
2. Prambanan Temple
Prambanan Temple is a 9th-century Hindu temple complex located in the Prambanan subdistrict of Sleman Regency, Special Region of Yogyakarta, Indonesia. It is the largest Hindu temple complex in Southeast Asia and is a UNESCO World Heritage Site.
The temple complex is dedicated to the Hindu Trimurti, the three supreme deities of Brahma, Vishnu, and Shiva. The main temple is dedicated to Shiva, and is the tallest and most impressive temple in the complex. It is surrounded by eight smaller temples dedicated to Shiva’s consort Nandi, the bull, and the gods Ganesha, Durga, and Agastya.
The Prambanan Temple complex is decorated with hundreds of intricate bas-reliefs and sculptures, which depict scenes from Hindu mythology and the Ramayana and Mahabharata epics. The bas-reliefs are also thought to have a didactic purpose, teaching Hindus about their religion and culture.
The Prambanan Temple complex is a popular tourist destination, and is known for its beauty and historical significance. It is a must-see for anyone visiting Indonesia.
Here are some additional details about Prambanan Temple:
- The temple complex was built in the 9th century by Rakai Pikatan, the second king of the Mataram Kingdom.
- The temple complex was abandoned in the 10th century after the eruption of Mount Merapi, and was rediscovered in the 18th century.
- The temple complex was severely damaged by the Yogyakarta earthquake in 2006, but has since been restored.
- The Prambanan Temple complex is a UNESCO World Heritage Site.
3. Sewu Temple
Sewu Temple is a 9th-century Mahayana Buddhist temple in Yogyakarta, Indonesia. It is the second-largest Buddhist temple in Indonesia, after Borobudur. The temple complex is located on a hilltop overlooking the surrounding countryside, and it consists of over 200 temples and shrines.
The main temple at Sewu is a three-tiered structure that is over 30 meters tall. The temple is decorated with intricate carvings of Buddha and other Buddhist deities. The temple complex also includes a number of smaller temples and shrines, as well as a large pond.
Sewu Temple is a popular tourist destination, and it is known for its beautiful architecture and its peaceful atmosphere. The temple complex is also a sacred site for Buddhists, and it is often used for meditation and prayer.
Here are some tips for visiting Sewu Temple:
- Be prepared to walk. The temple complex is located on a hilltop, and there is a lot of walking involved in visiting all of the temples.
- Wear comfortable shoes. The temple complex is large, and there is a lot of walking involved, so it is important to wear comfortable shoes.
- Bring sunscreen and water. The temple complex is located in the open air, so it is important to protect yourself from the sun and to stay hydrated.
- Be respectful of the temple complex. Sewu Temple is a sacred site for Buddhists, so it is important to be respectful of the temple complex and its visitors.
4. Taman Sari
Taman Sari, also known as the Taman Sari Water Castle, is a former royal garden of the Sultanate of Yogyakarta in Indonesia. It is located about 2 km south of the Kraton, the royal palace of Yogyakarta. Built in the mid-18th century, the Taman Sari had multiple functions, such as a resting area, a workshop, a meditation area, a defense area, and a hiding place.
The Taman Sari consisted of four distinct areas:
- A large artificial lake with islands and pavilions in the west.
- A bathing complex in the center.
- A complex of pavilions and pools in the south.
- A smaller lake in the east.
Today only the central bathing complex is well preserved, while the other areas have been largely occupied by the Kampung Taman settlement.
The bathing complex is a series of pools and fountains connected by a network of canals. The pools were used by the sultan and his family for bathing and swimming. The fountains were used for irrigation and for creating a cool and refreshing atmosphere.
The Taman Sari is a beautiful and well-preserved example of Javanese architecture and landscape design. It is a popular tourist destination, and it is also a sacred place for the people of Yogyakarta.
Here are some interesting facts about the Taman Sari:
- The Taman Sari was built by Sultan Hamengkubuwana I, the first sultan of Yogyakarta.
- The Taman Sari was designed to be a secret garden, and it was hidden from view from the outside world.
- The Taman Sari was used by the sultan and his family for bathing, swimming, and relaxing.
- The Taman Sari was also used for meditation and for religious ceremonies.
- The Taman Sari was a popular place for the sultan to entertain his guests.
5. Kraton Yogyakarta
Kraton Yogyakarta, also known as the Yogyakarta Palace, is a royal complex located in the city of Yogyakarta, Indonesia. It is the official residence of the Sultan of Yogyakarta and his family, and is one of the most important cultural and historical sites in Indonesia.
The Kraton was built in the 18th century by Sultan Hamengkubuwono I, the first sultan of Yogyakarta. It is a vast complex of buildings, gardens, and courtyards, and is home to a number of important cultural artifacts, including the Yogyakarta Gamelan Orchestra, a collection of traditional Javanese musical instruments.
The Kraton is also a center for Javanese culture and tradition. A number of traditional Javanese ceremonies and festivals are held at the Kraton throughout the year.
The Kraton is open to the public, and visitors can take a guided tour of the complex. The tour includes a visit to the main palace, the gardens, and the Yogyakarta Gamelan Orchestra.
Here are some of the things you can see and do at the Kraton Yogyakarta:
- Visit the main palace: The main palace is a beautiful example of Javanese architecture. It is home to a number of important cultural artifacts, including the Yogyakarta Gamelan Orchestra.
- Visit the gardens: The Kraton gardens are a beautiful and peaceful place to relax and take in the scenery. The gardens are also home to a number of important cultural artifacts, such as the Taman Sari water castle.
- Watch a traditional Javanese performance: The Kraton is a center for Javanese culture and tradition. A number of traditional Javanese performances are held at the Kraton throughout the year.
- Learn about Javanese culture and history: The Kraton is a great place to learn about Javanese culture and history. The guided tour of the complex includes a visit to the museum, which houses a collection of Javanese artifacts.
The Kraton Yogyakarta is a must-see for anyone visiting Yogyakarta. It is a beautiful and important cultural site, and it offers visitors a chance to learn about Javanese culture and history.
6. Gembira Loka Zoo
Gembira Loka Zoo is a zoo located in Yogyakarta, Indonesia. It is the oldest zoo in Indonesia, and is home to over 500 animals from over 100 species. The zoo is divided into several sections, including a primate section, a reptile section, a bird section, and a mammal section.
Some of the most popular animals at Gembira Loka Zoo include:
- Komodo dragons
- Sumatran elephants
- Birds of paradise
Gembira Loka Zoo is a popular tourist destination, and is a great place to learn about the wildlife of Indonesia. The zoo is also a popular spot for school trips and family outings.
Here are some tips for visiting Gembira Loka Zoo:
- Wear comfortable shoes, as you will be doing a lot of walking.
- Bring a hat and sunscreen, as the zoo can be very hot and sunny.
- Bring a water bottle, as there are not many drinking fountains in the zoo.
- Be sure to check the zoo’s website or social media pages before you go, to find out about any special events or exhibits that may be happening.
- Be respectful of the animals and their environment. Do not feed the animals, and do not litter.
7. Pinus Pengger
Pinus Pengger is a tourist destination located in the village of Nganjir, Samigaluh sub-district, Kulon Progo district, Yogyakarta, Indonesia. It is known for its pine forest and its many photo spots. Pinus Pengger is also a popular destination for camping and hiking.
The tourist destination was initially a forest plantation owned by the local government. However, in 2016, the local government decided to open the forest to the public as a tourist destination. Pinus Pengger quickly became popular with tourists, especially among the youth.
The main attraction of Pinus Pengger is its pine forest. The pine trees are tall and lush, and they provide a cool and refreshing atmosphere. Pinus Pengger is also home to a variety of other plants and animals, making it a great place to enjoy nature.
In addition to its natural beauty, Pinus Pengger is also known for its many photo spots. There are a variety of platforms and other structures that have been built in the forest to provide visitors with places to take photos. Pinus Pengger is also a popular spot for pre-wedding photography.
Pinus Pengger is also a popular destination for camping and hiking. There are several campsites located in the forest, and there are also a number of hiking trails that lead to different parts of the forest.
Here are some tips for visiting Pinus Pengger:
- The best time to visit Pinus Pengger is during the dry season, which runs from May to October. During the wet season, the forest can be muddy and slippery.
- Be sure to wear comfortable shoes and clothing. You will also want to bring a hat and sunscreen to protect yourself from the sun.
- If you are planning on camping, be sure to bring your own camping gear. There are no stores or restaurants located in the forest.
- Be respectful of the environment. Do not litter or damage the plants and trees.
8. Kalibiru National Park
Kalibiru National Park is a nature reserve located in Kulon Progo Regency, Yogyakarta Special Region, Indonesia. It is known for its stunning views of the Menoreh Hills and the Sermo Reservoir. The park is also home to a variety of flora and fauna, including monkeys, snakes, and birds.
There are many activities that visitors can enjoy at Kalibiru National Park. Some of the most popular activities include:
- Hiking: There are a number of hiking trails in the park, ranging from easy to difficult. Some of the most popular trails lead to viewpoints where visitors can enjoy panoramic views of the surrounding area.
- Camping: Visitors can camp in the park’s designated camping areas. Camping is a great way to experience the beauty of the park at night.
- Birdwatching: Kalibiru National Park is home to a variety of bird species, making it a great destination for birdwatchers.
- Photography: The park’s stunning scenery makes it a great place to take photos.
- Adventure activities: Kalibiru National Park also offers a variety of adventure activities, such as rock climbing, zip-lining, and treetop walking.
Kalibiru National Park is a great place to visit for people of all ages and interests. It is a great place to relax and enjoy the beauty of nature, or to get active and try some of the park’s adventure activities.
Here are some tips for visiting Kalibiru National Park:
- The best time to visit is during the dry season, which runs from May to October.
- Wear comfortable shoes and clothing, as you will be doing a lot of walking.
- Bring sunscreen, insect repellent, and a hat to protect yourself from the sun and insects.
- Be aware of your surroundings and watch out for wildlife.
- Leave no trace. Pack out all of your trash when you leave.
9. Jomblang Cave
Jomblang Cave is a vertical cave located in the Gunung Kidul district of Yogyakarta province, Indonesia. It is approximately 50 meters wide and 80 meters deep. The cave was formed thousands of years ago when the soil and vegetation collapsed beneath the surface of the earth, creating a sinkhole.
- Jomblang Cave is a popular tourist destination for its unique features. The cave is home to a dense forest, which is different from the forest above the cave. The cave also has a natural light beam that shines down from a hole in the ceiling. This light beam is known as the “heavenly light” and is a popular spot for visitors to take photos.
- To visit Jomblang Cave, tourists must first descend into the cave on a rope. Once inside the cave, visitors can explore the forest and take in the sights. Visitors can also take a zipline across the cave to the “heavenly light” spot.
Here is a description of a visit to Jomblang Cave,
- You arrive at the Jomblang Cave entrance and are greeted by your guide. You put on your safety gear and are lowered into the cave on a rope. The descent into the cave is both exciting and a little bit scary. As you descend, you can see the forest below you getting bigger and bigger.
- Once you reach the bottom of the cave, you are greeted by the lush green forest. You can hear the sound of birds chirping and the river flowing. You start to explore the forest, following your guide. You see trees that are hundreds of years old and plants that you have never seen before.
- After a while, you reach the “heavenly light” spot. You look up and see a beam of sunlight shining down from a hole in the ceiling. The light beam is so bright that it is almost blinding. You take some time to admire the sight and take some photos.
- After you have finished exploring the cave, you take the zipline back to the entrance. The zipline ride is exhilarating and gives you a bird’s eye view of the cave.
- Visiting Jomblang Cave is a unique and unforgettable experience. The cave is beautiful and the forest is amazing. If you are looking for an adventure, We highly recommend visiting Jomblang Cave.
10. Ullen Sentalu Museum
The Ullen Sentalu Museum is a private museum located in Kaliurang, Yogyakarta, Indonesia. It is dedicated to the preservation and presentation of Javanese culture and art. The museum was founded in 1994 by Haryono Haryoguritno, a descendant of the Pakualaman royal family.
The museum is housed in a complex of buildings that were originally built as a summer residence for the Pakualaman family. The buildings are set in a beautiful natural setting, surrounded by lush gardens and mountains.
The museum’s collection includes a wide range of Javanese artifacts, including:
- Batik: The museum has a collection of over 11,000 batik cloths, dating from the 17th century to the present day.
- Wayang kulit: The museum has a collection of over 1,000 wayang kulit puppets, which are used in traditional Javanese shadow plays.
- Gamelan instruments: The museum has a collection of over 100 gamelan instruments, which are used in traditional Javanese music.
- Other artifacts: The museum also has a collection of other Javanese artifacts, such as sculptures, masks, and ceramics.
The museum offers guided tours in both English and Indonesian. The tours take visitors through the museum’s collection and provide information about Javanese culture and art.
The Ullen Sentalu Museum is a must-visit for anyone interested in Javanese culture and art. It is a beautiful and informative place to learn about the rich history and heritage of the Javanese people.
Here are some tips for visiting the Ullen Sentalu Museum:
- Book your tickets in advance, especially if you are visiting during peak season.
- Wear comfortable shoes, as you will be doing a lot of walking.
- Bring a camera, but be aware that photography is not allowed in all areas of the museum.
- Be respectful of the museum’s artifacts and exhibits.
- Take your time and enjoy the experience!
In conclusion, Yogyakarta, with its wealth of cultural, historical, and natural attractions, is a destination that captivates the hearts of travelers from all walks of life. From the ancient wonders of Borobudur and Prambanan to the vibrant streets of Malioboro, this city provides a truly enriching experience. Whether you’re interested in exploring archaeological sites, immersing yourself in traditional arts and culture, or seeking outdoor adventures, Yogyakarta has it all. The 10 tourist attractions mentioned in this guide merely scratch the surface of what this remarkable city has to offer. So, pack your bags, immerse yourself in the wonders of Yogyakarta, and create lasting memories in this Indonesian gem.
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There are two airports in Yogyakarta, Indonesia:
- Yogyakarta International Airport (YIA) (IATA: YOG), also known as Kulon Progo International Airport, is the largest international airport in the Yogyakarta Special Region. It is located in Temon district, Kulon Progo Regency, approximately 40 kilometers west of Yogyakarta city center.
- Adisutjipto Airport (JOG) is a domestic airport located in Maguwoharjo, Depok subdistrict, Sleman Regency, approximately 8 kilometers east of Yogyakarta city center.