From Surabaya to Yogyakarta
Driving from Surabaya to Yogyakarta takes 4 hours 52 minutes. Flying from Surabaya to Yogyakarta takes 1 hour and 10 minutes and this is the fastest way to reach Yogyakarta.
What to do in Yogyakarta? Ideas for visits and good addresses
The city of Yogyakarta is located south of the special territory of the same name, in the center of the island of Java in Indonesia.
Beringharjo market is a huge covered market in Yogyakarta where you can find everything: a huge choice of batik (printed clothes and fabrics), spices, fruits and vegetables, wicker baskets, trinkets…It’s open in the morning only (from 8 a.m.), and you meet many locals who come to shop there (from the purchase of peppers to the wedding dress). The atmosphere is really nice, we walk with pleasure in the aisles. No attempt to sell us anything but just smiles. We even got a little lesson on the different spices at a stand!
The Beringharjo market is located in the Malioboro area, Yogyakarta, Central Java, Indonesia. PL09Puryono, CC0, via Wikimedia Commons
Sultan’s Palace (Kraton)
The sultan still resides in Yogyakarta. He is the governor of Central Java and has a large palace in the city center, which is open for visits every morning. The Sultan’s Palace is a beautiful place, but don’t expect anything lavish, the whole thing remains rather simple. Inside, objects and photos on display, generally without much explanation. It’s worth going there but we don’t come out impressed either.
Every day a different show is held at the Sultan’s Palace depending on the day of the week. We were there on a Saturday, the day of the wayang kulit, the puppets, which are an integral part of the traditional culture. A bit boring when you don’t understand Indonesian but the backstage area, with the orchestra dressed in traditional attire, is worth seeing.
The Sultan’s Palace and the surrounding streets form an entire district called Kraton. Far from the hustle and bustle of the rest of the city of Yogya, the streets of Kraton are very quiet and green. There are merchants and craftsmen there, it’s pleasant.
Taman Sari (Water Castle)
Formerly, the Water castle of Yogyakarta was the place where the Sultan and his Court came to bathe. The place could be superb but lacks maintenance. There was almost no water, too bad for a water castle. So it’s a bit sad.
There are a few shops within the grounds. We took the opportunity to watch the work of making traditional wayang kulit puppets, in chiseled leather, as well as batik. Patience work!
Imagine a huge outdoor pet store. There you are, you are at the Yogyakarta bird market (where not only birds are actually sold, but rabbits, cats, dogs, mice, reptiles, fish…).
Visit Yogyakarta surroundings
Borobudur and Prambanan temples
The famous temples of Borobudur and Prambanan, both listed as World Heritage by Unesco, are located near Yogyakarta. Take advantage of your stay to visit them, preferably at sunrise!
The temples of Borobudur and Prambanan are two sites located on the island of Java, Indonesia, and classified as World Heritage by Unesco. they are located near the city of Yogyakarta and are a must-see during a trip to Indonesia. Witnessing a sunrise over Borobudur Temple is truly a must!
The temple is an imposing monument that sits in the middle of a large park. It has several floors, the first decorated with sculpted bas-reliefs then the last decorated with stupas housing statues of Buddhas. Really beautiful and impressive!
From up there, you can enjoy a magnificent view of a landscape of fields and mountains. The place would encourage serenity if there were not a crowd of tourists, whose attitude is sometimes not very correct. I don’t know how many times the guards have to remind visitors that no, they shouldn’t climb the stupas, even if it’s to take the selfie of the year. We are here in a sacred place for Buddhists!
Do not forget to visit the lower floors as well. Calmer, they are full of superb bas-reliefs. The level of detail is impressive: we understand well the 75 years necessary for the completion of the Borobudur temple!
Sunrise over Borobudur temple
The next morning, we chose to go watch a sunrise over Borobudur. This has a price, since the temple normally opens only at 6am, which is too late to attend.
Prambanan Temple, another must-see temple near Yogyakarta. From the bus terminal, it takes 10 minutes to walk to the park where the temple is located. The park actually has many Hindu temples, the most impressive of which is Prambanan on the island of Java.
The monument is superb, imposing and fully sculpted. The different temples of the complex are very far apart, which allows the crowds to spread out: an advantage compared to Borobudur, where visitors all gather on the top floors of a single temple.
Prambanan Temple, which is located on the border of Central Java and Yogyakarta (Klaten-Sleman), is the most beautiful Hindu temple in Southeast Asia. Anggara Wikan Prasetya, CC BY-SA 4.0, via Wikimedia Commons
Prambanan is a very visited site by Indonesians, who do not always come from regions where tourism is very present.
It is possible to rent bicycles and tandems for IDR 40,000.
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