Yogyakarta, or nicknamed as Jogja is a wonderful Indonesian island of Java. The city is a cultural centre and was once a seat of power who produced the magnificent temples which is a sight to behold. You can visit the most active volcano Mount Merapi or Mountain of fire which erupted in May 18 recently. You can have an adventurous Jeep tour to visit this Mountain of Fire and you would be amazed by the vastness of the mountain and the devastation it causes. Cave explorations, temple visits and food tasting can ensure the best itinerary jogja. There is so much to ,let me help you decide what would be a good 3 day itinerary for Jogja? what to do in Yogyakarta?
Bali is another lovely place to visit in Indonesia, and you can read about my experiences here Bali, Indonesia
But if you would love a small little place like yogyakarta, a relaxing cultural trip then visit Kota Kinabalu, Malaysia Top interesting places in Kota Kinabalu to visit in two days.
How to reach Yogyakarta?
From Singapore, a long weekend is a perfect time to visit Jogja. The flight is just a 2 hours flight and is around SGD160 return. There are a lot of airlines which fly to Yogyakarta for cheap. For other countries, the direct flights might be a little expensive, but if you plan ahead , you would not regret visiting Jogja.
Where to stay in Yogyakarta?
There are wonderful unique Boutique hotels in Yogyakarta which are very reasonably priced and add to the experience of the Jogja trip. We stayed in Java Villas Boutique Hotel and resto. We paid 120SGD for 2 people for three nights. It included Breakfast and the hotel staff were very friendly. The place is very close to the main road and has wonderful cafes and restaurants and all the necessary facilities nearby.
There are some more Boutique hotel which we passed and looked into and they are good suggestions for you next trip to Yogyakarta.
One of them is GreenHost Boutique hotel which is a very beautiful place to stay. You could also try Adhisthana Hotel. H-Boutique or Adya Nalendra Boutique hotel. They are all contemporary hotels with a unique theme and very reasonable price.
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What to do in Yogyakarta? Some wonderful place for your Itinerary,Jogja.
What to do in Yogyakarta? Do not worry there are plenty of things to choose from. We had a three day trip for Yogyakarta and managed to do a lot of activities. I would be describing and detailing the activities which we enjoyed, however I would also suggest some activities which we could not fit into out itinerary.
The very touching experience of Mount Merapi Volcano Jeep tour.
a must for your Itinerary Jogja. One of the most heartfelt thing to do in Yogyakarta.
Mount Merapi is an active volcano in island of Java, Indonesia last erupted in May 18 causing harm to settlements and farmlands in its vicinity. The Jeep tour provides you a close look at mount Merapi and experience of the volcanic eruption.
It’s hard to imagine what an erupting volcano would be like up close. . In 2010, the lava flows from Mount Merapi reached speeds of up to 110 kilometres an hour and went as far as 13 kilometres. Ash was falling more than 30 kilometres away. It makes you feel scared and also makes you want to have a closer look and that is what we wanted as well.
We had booked a pickup from the airport, by the jeep tour operators and made our way direct to the tour starting location. The cost for the entire jeep for us for two people was IDR800K. Ours was the evening tour, the trip lasts for 4-5 hours and the operator provides helmets and nose-mouth masks and a drop back to the hotel.
On the lower sloped there is a small museum Museum Sisa Hartaku which shows the extent to which things are damaged. It has small houses which are ruins and filled with volcanic ash. There are some skeletons, kitchen utensils , broken and damaged and wall clock showing the time of eruption. It is a heart touching site. Burnt, twisted everyday things makes shudder at the thought of what people have suffered.
The jeep tour takes you to the highest point to a village called Kaliadem. It’s just 4 kilometres from the top and was destroyed by lava. A bunker dug into the ground, designed to protect anyone left behind, has survived. However , there were two persons who had taken shelter there and were burned by the lava.From here you can see the top of Mount Merapi. You see the enormous gorge that has been cut into the ground by the hot plummeting lava.
Once done with the tour, you can have pictures taken in the jeep and they are some good pictures. One of the most interesting thing I felt about the people of Yogyakarta is they are very friendly and love suggesting you poses and also clicking good couple pictures. We had a few nice frames taken for us throughout the trip. The pose, the idea , all given by our guides for the trip.
The long drop to the Jomblang cave and the magical halo light viewing.
The magical and adventurous addition to your itinerary Jogja.
The Jomblang cave experience is an experience you must do ,but please ensure you are fit and do not suffer back or knee injury. It is one of the must to things in Yogyakarta.The cave experience is unique and can get very busy, there is a restriction on the number of people who can go to the cave at a given time which is around 40 guests and so you need to arrive early and book your tickets. We had reached around 7:00AM and were tenth people to book our tickets. We had a group of 36.
It is a 90 minutes drive from the city of Yogyakarta, we had hired a car for our journey. The price for this wonderful experience is IDR45K per person which includes lunch/tea/coffee, however we did not take the lunch. The time you spend in the cave is around two hours. They drop using a pulley kind arrangement 2 people at a time. Its first come first in line arrangement. You go down first and you come up first, so waiting time is less. However for us it was ok, as we were in the middle.
The tie a harness around you, and helmets are provided, however it is scary to feel that you would be dropped 60M into this sinkhole. I was super scared in anticipation of the drop. Both Vish and I are a little healthy and it was scary to think how well the rope will take our wight. The drop was very exciting and safe. It was very exciting to have done that.
Once everyone has reached the bottom, there are two guides who guide you inside the cave. The cave is pitch dark and very very muddy and slippery. For me it was quite a difficult walk, where I had a feeling i would slip on every step. The people and the guide were very helpful. I had vish to slowly walk me to the most interesting point of the cave.
Here at this point there is another cave, covered with a tree, and with noise of water gushing around its sides. When the sun comes directly on top of this hole at around noon the light stream vertically into this cave giving you the most magical view. All you feel is a sense of wonder at this beautiful phenomena which takes place and you are lucky to witness it. It feels like the heavenly lights are shining at you. We were very very lucky to have a perfect view and the 300 mt muddy walk was completely worth it.
One more interesting and scary bit of this adventure is when they pull you back from the cave, there are around 15-20 people pulling you up with the help of pulley rope arrangement. We were sure that these people would remember us for a long time because of the effort they put in to pull us up.
The Prambanan Ramayana Ballet Performance
The cultural experience of your itinerary Jogja.
One of the must do things in Yogyakarta is to enjoy a Ramayana Ballet performance. There are two location where the Ramayana Ballet performance takes place. One is at the Prambanan Temple, with the temple as the backdrop of the stage, and while the sun is setting, making it a perfect experience where you enjoy both the ballet and the view of the majestic temple lit with sunlight. There are specific dates for the performance and you need to book tickets in advance. You have dinner included in the ticket.There are two theatres one is Indoor and one outdoor which are open during different months.
We had booked our Ramayana Ballet show in Purawisata where we were staying. The place was beautiful set and had Indonesian music playing while guests were enjoying their dinner. We had opted the option without dinner. The show was for around 2 hours and was an experience in itself. Ramayana which an epic story for the Hindus was depicted very well through ballet performance. The music, costumes and the stage presence was a sight to see and enjoy. We really enjoyed the evening experiencing this cultural aspect of Yogyakarta. The price for 2 person was around 40 USD without dinner. We did not book the tickets online, as the reviews said, that the website generally crashed. Our driver helped us get the tickets for us.
Sunrise Visit to the world’s largest Buddhist temple Borobudur
The grand cultural experience of your itinerary Jogja!
You would have read it anywhere, and may be Borobudur is the reason why you chose to visit Yogyakarta. Believe me , you won’t be disappointed an it is indeed a must do thing in Yogyakarta. Borobudur temple was built in 9th century and is a UNESCO heritage site at present, maintained and restored.
The temple has a unique structure with nine stacked platforms, six square, three circular topped by a central dome. with unique extraordinary carving tell the story. There are stupas, both large and small guarding the Buddha statues and giving a wondrous view of the surrounding. There are 504 Buddha statues in the temple. Borobudur has one of the largest and most complete ensembles of Buddhist reliefs in the world.There are three temples Borobudur, Pawon and Mendut which are positioned in straight line. Borobudur lay hidden for centuries under layers of volcanic ash and jungle growth.Presently it is one of the most visited tourist attraction in Indonesia.
We did the sunrise tour, which cost a little extra than a normal visit and is completely worth it. The crowd at this time and less and the view of the temple when the mist lifts and the sun shines illuminating the stupas is a sight to behold. The price was around 475K IDR for one person, included a beautiful souvenir of a red bandana and breakfast. We left our hotel at around 3.30 AM to reach Borobudur temple on time. Around 4:30 we made our way to the top of the layer to enjoy the sunrise. We then viewed each of the levels. Visiting Borobudur was a truly emotional experience.
The fun part was that the you can have your own temple run in the square layers of the temple. It looks like that the Temple Run game app was inspired by this Buddhist temple and it was quite fun to take photos as such. The temple is beautiful , grand and the statues and stupas magnificent.
Sunset tour of the largest Hindu temple in South-East Asia – Prambanan Temple
The storytelling experience of your Itinerary Jogja.
Another must do thing in Yogyakarta is a visit to the Prambanan temple, which was built-in the 9th century and is the largest hindu temple in the south-East Asia. The temple is 20 mins away from the yogyakarta city and a must see attraction. My best attraction experience was a sunset visit to this temple. It is characterized by its tall and pointed architecture, and by the towering 47-metre-high central building inside a large complex of individual temples.
The temple is dedicated to Trimurti, the expression of God as the Creator , the Preserver and the Transformer with their vahanas (transportation which are worshipped as Gods as well). I would suggest you take a guide, we did, and the experience was enhances because of the subtle things the guide pointed out about the temple, which we would not have seen on our own. An instance is the Shiva temple, where with a help of the torch the guide showed how the shivling is formed from the statue, and for me that was a beautiful experience.
The temple is huge and the open wind and wonderful area visible from the temple makes the experience beautiful. Most of the small temples are still to be restored and Unesco is supporting the excavation in the various spots to find all the stones and pieces required to rebuild. The ones which has been re-built are beautifully restored.
The sunset was another experience which I would suggest you not to miss The sun setting at the backdrop of the temple enhances the beauty of the temples. We wish we could have seen the Ramayana Ballet here but unfortunately the open theatres were not in use at this time.
Overall Yogyakarta was a wonderful experience and a must visit place in Indonesia.
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