Yogyakarta: de leukste tips & restaurants
This is where Javanese art and traditions play the most significant role. Not only will you find the magnificent temples of Borobudur and Prambanan here, but the city also bursts with trendy hotspots, street art, and plenty of creative venues.
Yogyakarta is also known as the cultural capital of Java and is indispensable during your Java trip. The atmosphere, the surroundings, and the food: everything is perfect in this city. You can easily spend a few days here.
In this article about Yogyakarta
- To do
- Where to eat
- Best time to travel
- Practical Information
- Where to sleep
- How to Get There?
What to do in Yogyakarta
Yogyakarta is a delightful city in Indonesia to wander around. Visit Malioboro and enjoy great bargains and delicious street food. Or stroll through the streets and discover cool street art everywhere.
#1 Borobodur & Prambanan
On the corner of every street and every hostel or hotel, you can arrange a tour to Borobudur and Prambanan. These two iconic temple complexes are among the most impressive monuments in Indonesia. Borobudur is a Buddhist sanctuary dating back to the 9th century. It is built in the shape of a mandala, consisting of nine platforms, the upper six of which are square and the top three are circular, with a dome-shaped stupa in the middle. Each platform is adorned with beautifully carved reliefs depicting the life story of Buddha and offers breathtaking views of the surrounding rice fields and mountains.
You often have the option of a sunset tour, departing for the temple at 3 o’clock. You can then witness the sunrise from a viewpoint (somewhere on a hill) or from the Borobudur temple complex itself. The latter will cost you an extra 10 euros. Unfortunately, the chance of actually witnessing a beautiful sunrise is not always the case. It was very cloudy for us. Therefore, no beautiful sunrise, but still a beautiful misty atmosphere.
We decided to only visit Borobudur, but that was mainly a budget choice. The prices for visiting the temples are on the high side. For two people, you can easily spend over 100 euros, and often you are back before noon. But a visit is definitely worth it. The Borobudur temple was beautiful, and I have heard even better stories about Prambanan. If I could do it differently, we would not have booked a tour and would have preferred to go in the afternoon when it is quieter.
#2 Eternal Happiness at Yogyakarta Square
Visit Yogyakarta Square in the evening. The square is lively with countless street food stalls and two large trees in the middle. For 5000 rupiahs, you can rent a blindfold. If you can walk blindfolded between the two trees, you will have eternal happiness. Sounds super easy, but due to the chaos around, it’s quite a challenge. Not up for eternal happiness or walking around like a crazy person with a blindfold? Just watching all the attempts is definitely worth it. After many cheats and adjustments, I succeeded.
Around the square, colorful bikes drive around, transformed into strange cars with LED lights. Sounds strange, well… it actually is. You’ll be amazed, as the local people love it. A tremendously fun spectacle to admire.
#3 Spot Street Art
You can find beautiful street art everywhere in Yogyakarta! It’s the perfect city in Java to stroll around. The most popular district for spotting street art is Mantrijeron.
#4 Book a Street Food Tour
Yogyakarta is a street food heaven! If you want to learn more about Indonesian cuisine and discover the best hotspots and dishes, we highly recommend booking a street food tour. This is our favorite way to explore a city. Book the trip right at the beginning of your stay, so you know where to go for the next few days and where you want to eat. So far, I find the street food tour via Withlocals the most enjoyable. Book your street food tour for Yogyakarta here >
#5 Sri Gethuk Waterfall
We decided to book a day trip with a private driver and four others for a whole day to explore the surroundings of Yogyakarta. We spent about 40 euros for the two of us. One of the stops during this day trip in Yogyakarta was the beautiful Sri Gethuk waterfall. Although we as tourists may have been the biggest attraction, it was a beautiful place with an impressive waterfall.
#6 Tubing Through a Cave (Pindul Cave)
Floating around on a giant rubber tire. Yes! I’m sold. It may have been a bit crowded, but it was a lot of fun. Together, you float through a cave where you can admire beautiful rock formations and lots of bats. After the cave, you float on peacefully and get the chance to jump from a rock into the water. Leroy couldn’t resist.
Okay, I’m not a fan of heights, so I crawled here on my hands and knees. Still a bit exciting on such a bamboo platform floating above a huge abyss. But the view is beautiful. It’s also fantastic to see how the local people have complete photoshoots, and everyone (including us) needs to be in the photo. As you can see, I really enjoyed taking the picture ;p
#8 Taman Sari
Taman Sari is a former royal bathing complex in Yogyakarta, Indonesia. It is a fascinating example of architecture that shows a mix of Dutch and Javanese influences.
#9 Book a Cooking Class
This is simply the ultimate gift for yourself: a cooking class! This way, you’ll take Indonesia home with you forever. It’s the perfect way to dive deeper into Indonesian culture, as everything revolves around food. Book your cooking class here >
#10 Visit Malioboro Street
Malioboro Street is the place to be in Yogyakarta! It’s the largest and most famous shopping street, packed with market stalls and shops. Yes, it can be quite touristy, but it’s still a must-visit and fun to stroll through in Yogyakarta.
And these are just a few of the many things to do in Yogyakarta. You can also visit the Sultan’s Palace or make your own jewelry at one of the silver factories.
Hotspots & food in Yogyakarta
You can enjoy delicious food everywhere in Yogyakarta. After a few weeks of eating nasi, we were especially craving something different, so we mostly visited modern restaurants. There’s plenty of choice, in any case. If you’re in the mood for traditional food, head to Malioboro and enjoy street food or dine at one of the many traditional Warungs.
Super popular and always busy is the restaurant Via Via. In the evening, live music is often played here, and you can enjoy Western and traditional dishes at a very reasonable price. We had lunch here and came back for dinner one evening. Both times, we spent about 15 euros including drinks.
Not only can you have a good lunch or dinner here, but you’ll also find a bakery, souvenirs, and they arrange various tours. Definitely recommended.
Unfortunately, we didn’t manage to get in, but everyone says this is the best place to eat. The food here is so fantastic that making a reservation is a must, or else you might have to wait a long time. Unfortunately, we couldn’t get in, but if you get the chance, you should definitely eat here.
Take a seat in the cozy garden of Pizza Nanamia. And yes, the pizza is deliciously delightful. For dessert, we strongly recommend the tiramisu.
The Best Restaurants in Yogyakarta
Best time to travel to Yogyakarta
If you want to make the most out of your trip, avoid the rainy season from November to March. The best time to visit Yogyakarta is from April to October. However, the months of July and August can be a bit busier due to the high season. Try to avoid these months if possible.
Transportation in Yogyakarta
You can explore a large part of Yogyakarta on foot. It’s actually a lot of fun to wander through the city. This way, you’ll discover the nicest streets.
Another option is Grab, the Asian Uber. This option is very fast and cheap.
The perfect way to explore the surroundings of Yogyakarta on your own is by scooter. It gives you the freedom to explore the city and the surrounding areas at your own pace. If you prefer not to drive yourself, you can use the many taxis, becaks (bicycle taxis), or ojeks (motorcycle taxis).
Public transportation is also an option, but keep in mind that the buses are often crowded and irregular.
Which budget do i need in Yogyakarta ?
Yogyakarta is the perfect budget destination. It’s bursting with street food and hostels. You can easily get by here on a small budget. Here’s a small indication of the costs:
- Stay in a budget hostel: 5-10 euros per night
- Meal in a local warung (food stall): 1-3 euros
- Street food (nasi goreng or satay): 0.50-2 euros per serving
- Eating in a Western restaurant: 5 euros per person
- Cup of coffee in a café: 1-2 euros
- Beer: 2 euros
- Entrance fee for attractions: 1-5 euros
- Taxi or Grab ride within the city: 1-5 euros
Practical information about Yogyakarta
- It’s convenient to use Grab for quick and cheap rides around the city.
- Having a credit card is handy because not all places accept cash payments.
- It’s always wise to carry cash with you, as not all shops and restaurants accept credit cards.
- A currency conversion app is not a luxury, considering the millions you carry with you.
- Don’t drink tap water, but buy bottled water to prevent health issues.
- Wear proper attire when visiting temples and other religious sites, out of respect for the local culture.
- Be cautious when eating street food; make sure it’s fresh and well-cooked to avoid illness.
- Always negotiate the price when buying souvenirs at markets and shops; it’s a common practice in Indonesia.
What are nice places to stay in Yogyakarta ?
Finding a nice place to stay in Yogyakarta is a breeze. There are so many fun and affordable options here. Unfortunately, because we couldn’t book another day at our first hostel, we had to move to a different hostel on the second day. Both were great!
How to get to Yogyakarta?
From Bandung, we hopped on the train to Yogyakarta for a journey of about 7 to 8 hours. To make the journey as comfortable as possible, we opted for the most luxurious class.
From Bandung to Yogyakarta
In Java, you usually have three options for travel: by public bus, minivan, or train. Since it was a long journey, we opted for the train again. The cost was around 25 euros per person, which is quite expensive in Indonesia.
Traveling by train in Java is always an adventure in itself. As you peer out the window, you’ll enjoy the beautiful landscapes and local scenes flashing by. And with different classes, from economy to executive, you can choose the level of luxury that suits you best.