What to See in Yogyakarta
Java’s long history has resulted in countless heritage buildings and museums and Sri Sultan Hamengkubuwono’s Palace is a must-visit site. The Palace and the nearby three heritage buildings from the colonial era (BNI, Post Office, and Bank of Indonesia), all represent fine examples of Javanese structure.
Visitors should not miss the Candis or the ancient Hindu temples. The symbol of Indonesia, Candi Borobudur and Candi Prambanan are listed by UNESCO as World Heritage Sites.
Travellers should keep in mind that most museums in Yogyakarta close early in the afternoon and they are usually closed to visitors on Fridays.
Candi Sambisari is one of the most famous archeological structures in Yogyakarta. Uniquely set approximately six metres under sea level, it is believed to be built in honour of Siva during the ninth century. The site consists of one main candi and three auxiliary candis. Inside the main candi, visitors will see lingg and yoni, the symbols of males and females. Also, there are three Hindu statues of Agastya, Ganesha, and Dewi Durga on its wall. All are well worth visiting.
- Opening Hours: 06:00 - 17:00
- Location: Close to Adisucipto International Airport
Cerme Cave Walisongo
This cave was once a meeting place where Walisongo (Islamic preachers) taught Islam to the locals. It is an approximately 1,500 metre-long alley with spectacular stalactites and stalagmites. Several small caves nearby, including Dalang, Ledhek, Badhut, and Kaum, were often used as religious places. Generally, tourists spend from three to five hours looking around the caves.
- Location: Selopamioro Village, Imogiri district. Around 20km south of the city centre.
Museum Dirgatanra (aircraft museum)
This is an excellent aircraft museum, although it is little known amongst foreigner visitors. The museum displays some items from the World War II era and the aircraft are well maintained. Some of the highlights are a Catalina flying boat, a Badger bomber complete with air-to-ground missiles, Lavochkin LA-11, a biplane Boeing Stearman, MI4, L-29 Dolphin, and much more. The museum is situated at the Airforce base at Yogyakarta, and you are required to produce proof of identity such as your driver's license before entering the main gate. Museum admission is by donation.
- Opening Hours: Mon - Thurs 08:00 - 13:00 and Sat 08:00 - 11:00
- Location: Jalan Kolonel Sugiono.
Shadow Puppet Plays
Wayang Kulit or the Shadow Puppet Plays were designated by UNESCO as a Masterpiece of Oral and Intangible Heritage of Humanity. The Wayang are believed to have been around for more than half a millennium. The puppets are made of polished and gilded buffalo leather. Stories and tales are recounted by the puppeteers and they reveal many aspects of Javanese culture.
With accompaniment from a gamelan orchestra, the show starts every evening at the Museum Sonobudoyo, located on the northern side of the city's main square, in front of Sri Sultan’s Palace.
- Opening Hours: 20:00 – 22:00
- Location: Museum Sono-Budoyo, Jalan Trikora 6.
Sri Sultan’s Palace
Also known as Kraton Ngayoyakarta, the palace encompasses the main palace, the Sultan's residential area, two of the Sultan’s grounds, and a large servants’ residential area. The group of buildings where the current Sultan still resides was built during mid-18 century. The palace is a splendid example of traditional Javanese court architecture while the interior (added in the 1920s) offers a European-style feel.
A museum within the palace holds an extensive collection including gilt copies of the sacred pusaka (heirlooms of the royal family), gamelan instruments, and gifts from European monarchs. Much like a mini city, the palace complex is a walled community within a city with over 25,000 residents and it has many stunning sites. Besides notable attractions, Sri Sultan’s Palace also contains its own market, shops, batik and silver cottage industries, schools and mosques.
- Opening Hours: Daily 08:30 – 13:00 (Friday closed at 11:00)
- Location: City Centre