The Heart of Java: 6 Awesome Things to do in Yogyakarta
Yogyakarta is definitely one our favourite cities in South East Asia. That’s a pretty big claim, but we have our reasons; from the wonderful temples on the outskirts of the city, to rural village life which exists just a short bike ride from the central hustle and bustle.
As the cultural hub of Java, Yogyakarta has so much to offer. Whether you enjoy perusing the eye-catching graffiti covered walls, getting arty in a batik class, or exploring the surrounding area for a flavour of local life. Adventure enthusiasts can also get their thrills, with the choice of jeep rides up nearby Mount Merapi, rafting, and caving.
Here are a few of our favourite things to do in this awesome Indonesian city.
Take a trip outside the city to the beautiful Borobudur. About an hours drive from the central area, this is a Buddhist temple with eight levels to explore featuring statues of Buddhas, stories carved into the walls, and gigantic bells on top. Perhaps what is so fascinating about Borobudur temple is that for centuries it was abandoned, and hidden beneath overgrown jungle, and volcanic ash from an eruption of nearby Mount Merapi, which you will see looming over the horizon, or peeping out above the clouds.
2.Explore the villages
Immerse yourself in rural village life -we are talking lush green agricultural land, and plenty of local smiles.Why not try your hand at brick making, see how tofu is made, or try peanuts fresh from the ground (yes they grow underground – it was news to us too!).
3. Soak up the art
Art junkies will be in their element exploring the art scene here. From murals based on traditional Indonesian art to cartoon graffiti which a political edge, there is a feast for the eyes to be had. In fact non art junkies alike will appreciate the wonderful walls!
4.Take to two wheels
Ride a bike through the backstreets. The best way to get around is by bike; within ten minutes you will find yourself riding down winding backstreets with quirky houses, and expansive paddy fields. Locals are sure to take an interest in you, whether they want a picture with you, or want you to take a picture of them! At one point in our ride, four cheeky children joined us on their bikes riding beside us and showing us their tricks, along small winding tree-lined roads, dropping down to agricultural farmland beside us. As Intrepidites, we just can’t get enough of those real life experiences!
5. Get your fill
Treat yourself to some delicious local cuisine in the quirky restaurants, where you can tuck into Satay or Nasi Goreng (fried rice) among other Asian dishes. Or, if you need a western food fix – the best Margarita pizza and pesto penne you will probably ever taste.
6. Take a rickshaw adventure
Explore the maze of central Yogyakarta from the comfort of a rickshaw. If it’s a hot day, your driver will even provide a sunshade. We found ourselves at an art gallery, where we spied some weights outside and ended up having an impromptu weight lifting session – the rickshaw drivers laughing at us of course! At as cheap as $0.50 cents USD for your own rickshaw and driver, you can’t really go wrong. Just be sure to negotiate the price before departing.
Whatever you thirst for on your travels, there’s something for everyone in Yogyakarta, which is why we rave about it. So, what are you waiting for? Get yourself there now!