Yogyakarta Travel Guide
Ramayana ballet © Jim Maez
'Yogya', as it is affectionately known, is one of the most attractive and ancient historical cities in Indonesia and undoubtedly one of the most popular and rewarding tourist destinations the country has to offer. It was established in 1755 when Prince Mangkubumi built the Kraton Palace, called himself Sultan, and created the most powerful Javanese Kingdom since the 17th century. Today it remains a symbol of resistance to Dutch Colonial rule, as well as the centre for classical Javanese art and culture, including batik, Ramayana ballet, shadow puppetry and traditional music.
Yogyakarta is a special city to explore and rates far more highly with tourists than the capital, Jakarta. Whereas Jakarta is a sprawling melting pot of all things Indonesian, Yogya is a typically Javanese centre with an individual charm. Also unlike Jakarta, Yogya has a lovely city centre where a number of attractions are clumped together within easy walking distance for visitors. It's a great city for shopping, with many markets and craft centres, and the perfect base for exploration further afield.
With its ancient historical city, museums, cultural performances, lively atmosphere, and an abundance of accommodation and restaurants, as well as its proximity to two of the most impressive religious monuments in the country, it is no wonder that this splendid city is a major stop on the tourist route.