news tips 24 hour guide: What to do in Yogyakarta

All articles

24 hour guide: What to do in Yogyakarta

It’s not hard to see why Yogyakarta is one of our favourite Indonesian holiday destinations. It’s a great place to visit for those looking to bask in the rich culture and ancient history of this iconic place. While Yogyakarta is most well-known for being the epicentre of Indonesia’s religious heritage, with the likes of Borobudur, a Buddhist temple, and Prambanan, a Hindu temple, Yogyakarta’s lively arts and cultural heritage stretch beyond just the temple ruins. Here’s Skyscanner's guide to making the most of Yogyakarta's attractions in 24 hours.

Compare & book cheap flights to Yogyakarta here

What to see and do in Yogyakarta in the Morning?

Experience a glorious sunrise from the top of Borobudur Temple

The Borobudur Temple in Magelang, just an hour and a half outside the city, is a must see for any traveller visiting Yogyakarta. Visiting the temple during the day is what most tourists opt to do, but the real treat is to go in the early hours of the morning to watch the sunrise. Find a spot between the stupas of the Buddhist temple and experience a transcendental moment as the misty fog over the valley lifts, rays of sunlight burst through, and the beautiful Merbabu and Merapi volcanoes are revealed in the distance.

![A Buddha statue surrounded by stupas in the early light of morning] ( "Ahh, seeing the sunrise at Borobudur is a perfect start to a day in Yogyakarta.")

Ahh, seeing the sunrise at Borobudur is a perfect start to a day in Yogyakarta.

Abseiling into Jomblang Cave

Nature lovers and naturalists should not miss out on Gunung Kidul. This regency in the south-eastern part of Yogyakarta abounds with massive caves, mighty waterfalls, beautiful hills, and pristine beaches. The Grubug and Jomblang Caves deserve a special mention: enter Jomblang cave by abseiling 60 metres through an opening into a dense ancient forest. Adventure through the cave by walking through a dark tunnel stretching about 250 metres. You’ll soon be greeted by rays of sunlight peeking through the forests of Grubug Cave, inviting you to your exit.

Compare & book cheap flights to Yogyakarta here

What to see and do in Yogyakarta in the Afternoon?

Try the local delights. Don’t miss Gudeg

Indonesia is known for its iconic dishes like rendang and gado-gado, and Yogyakarta is no gastronomic exception. There are many signature dishes of Yogyakarta that you should try, but if you only try one, make sure it’s gudeg. This dish consists of unripe jackfruit boiled for a few hours with coconut milk and palm sugar, and is typically served with rice, crispy beef skins, chicken, egg, and tempeh (fermented tofu). There are many variations of gudeg to try too, such as gudeg pawon, guden yu djum, gudeg Mbarek Bu Hj Ahmad, and gudeg yu djum.

Get lost in the Water Palace / Taman Sari

The beautiful and tranquil Taman Sari Water Palace is like an oasis at the core of Yogyakarta. The grounds belongs to the Sultan of Yogyakarta, and passing through the gates will allow you to see the private bathing houses and pools once reserved for the sultan’s harem. Following your visit to the Water Palace, walk over to the underground mosque of Sumur Gumuling. Along the way, you might find yourself lost in the maze of small alleyways that formed the network of old Yogyakarta, all that come as part of your adventure!

![A concrete walled complex with a large pool surrounded by potted plants]( “Experience Yogyakarta’s past by learning the history of these pools and the people they were built for.”)

Experience Yogyakarta’s past by learning the history of these pools and the people they were built for.

Learn how to make Batik

Apart from the scenic temples, Yogyakarta is also famous for producing beautiful textiles and jewellery. Join one of the many Batik workshops, where you will learn how to make this traditional cloth using wax and dyes. Not only is this a fun way to spend an afternoon, you will learn about this unique art form, the history and culture behind it, and (most importantly!) you will leave with your very own batik to keep or give away as a thoughtful souvenir.

![A pair of hands close-up making batik designs on a cloth]( “Join a batik workshop and leave with a memorable keepsake that is truly your own!”)

Join a batik workshop and leave with a memorable keepsake that is truly your own!

Compare & book cheap flights to Yogyakarta here

What to see and do in Yogyakarta in the Evening?

Explore the Hindu temple, Prambanan

Prambanan is the largest Hindu temple in Indonesia, and its grandeur as well as history have granted it the status of a UNESCO world heritage site. The temple complex used to contain hundreds of small shrines are spread over a large area, but time and nature have left most of these in ruins. Only the largest shrines remain standing, and the best time to see them is in the cool of the evenings.

Enjoy the Sunset from Ratu Boko Palace

Just as you watched the sunrise from the temples of Borobudur, head on over to Ratu Boko Palace for the best sunset views in Yogyakarta. The view from the palace is unforgettable as it sits on a hillside and overlooks the serene farmland in the lowlands. The iconic gate to the palace casts a picturesque silhouette as the sun goes down, creating a moment to remember. Arrive at the palace a little early if you’d like to explore the complex area before sunset.

Beach time at Parangtritis Beach

Hoping for some beach action? Then Parangtritis Beach is the one for you! It’s about 25 km outside of Yogyakarta, actually making it the closest beach to the city. What’s really unique about this beach is its black volcanic sand which stretches as far as the eye can see. While the strong rip tides and large waves does not make this a good beach for swimming, there are plenty of other fun activities to do such as ATV-ing, paragliding, sand-boarding, and even pony-riding.

Hang out at night at the South Town Square

There are actually two town squares in Yogyakarta — the North, and the South. The South Square comes alive at night with brightly and colourfully lit pedicabs zooming about the town shuttling tourists to and fro. Afterwards, just for fun, take a walk between the twin banyan trees there. Legend has it that if you close your eyes and keep silent, while passing straight through the two trees, your wishes will be fulfilled.

Experience the Ramayana Ballet performance

A performance by the Ramayana Ballet is a great way to cap off the day for those who are into culture and the arts. This famous Sri Lankan ballet tells a thousand-year old love story between Rama and Sita. If you’re visiting during dry season, you can catch the 200-strong dance troupe perform the ballet at Prambanan Temple.

Stay at one of the well-preserved old buildings: Phoenix Hotel

Return after a long day out to the Phoenix Hotel Yogyakarta – MGalley Collection. This colonial building dating back to 1918 is one of the best-known 5 star hotels in Yogyakarta. The beautiful compound boasts architecture that blends Eastern and Western elements, making your stay a mixture of both the traditional and the modern. And its prime location makes it convenient to get into the city, for you to spend more time exploring all of what Yogyakarta has to offer.

Book Phoenix Hotel here

Compare & book cheap flights to Yogyakarta here

Ready for your mystic Yogyakartan adventure? Then head over to Skyscanner to get the best deals on flights, hotels and car rental. Download our mobile app for on-the-go convenience today.

Read more:

Published in April 2017. Any prices are lowest estimated prices only at the time of publication and are subject to change and/or availability.