Everything you Need to Know about Sleman

Sleman is a regency in Indonesia that is found on the north west border of the Yogyakarta Special Region Province. Its capital is a town of the same name, located between the city of Yogyakarta and the regency of Magelang. Sleman is flanked by Central Java on the north and east, and Gunung Kidul on the south east. It is also bordered by Kulon Progo, Bantul and Yogyakarta on the south. Sleman, which has an area that covers almost 600sqkm, is home to approximately 900,000 people.

In the 8th century, Sleman was governed by the Buddhist Sailendra Dynasty and this is the reason why there are many temples to be found in the area, including the Kalasan Temple. Afterwards, the Mataram Kingdom took over, only to be replaced by the Sanjaya dynasty. Sleman became a regency on August 8, 1950.

Sleman is most famous as the location of Mount Merapi, the volcano that erupted in 2010 and killed almost 400 people.

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Sleman Attractions

Sleman is home to many religious attractions. There are several temples to be found in the area, including Kalasan, Sari and Prambanan. Kalasan Temple is an 8th century Buddhist temple found 13km east of Yogyakarta and is one of the oldest temples erected in the Prambanan Plain. The temple is decorated with Buddhist figures (such as bodhisattva and gana), and the Kala Face found on top of its southern door has often been photographed and used in a number of academic books as an example of ancient Central Javanese artistry. The Sari Temple was built about the same time as the Kalasan. It is said that the structure was originally built as a vihara or a dwelling place for Buddhist monks. As for Prambanan, it is a ninth century Hindu temple dedicated to Trimurti and is the largest Hindu temple in Indonesia and a UNESCO World Heritage Site.

Sleman also has plenty of museums. These include Affandi Museum (the former residence of the painter Affandi which also houses his works) and Merapi Museum (which exhibits collections about Merapi and volcanology as a whole).

Ratu Boko, the ruins of an ancient palace, is also worth visiting.

Sleman Restaurants & Dining

There are a number of fine restaurants and other dining establishments in Sleman, and the real delight lies in trying out the unique local delicacies.

Take the rabbit satay, for instance. Different kinds of meat are used for satay, including chicken, crab, lamb and goat however, rabbit meat is different in taste and texture. The sauce used in rabbit satay is the same as other types, though: peanut sauce combined with garlic, onion, sweet ketchup and lime juice. This dish is served in restaurants as well as food stalls.

Another must-try dish in Sleman is the salak pondoh chips. This sweet snack is made from the fruit of a palm tree species native to Indonesia. For this snack, the pulp of the fruit is sliced, fried and dried. When packaged properly, the crunchy salak pondoh chips can last as long as a year.

Sleman has another crunchy snack to offer: eel crackers. It may not seem appealing to some in terms of appearance (since they look like snakes), but the taste is something to be experienced. The eels are coated with protein-rich flour before frying.

Sleman Nightlife

Sleman is not known for its nightlife scene and those who find themselves in the regency will not find a large number of clubs or pubs. In fact, some hotels in Sleman do not even have a bar or club as part of their facilities.

The best way to spend the evening in Sleman is by watching a cultural show. The most notable cultural show to see in the regency is the Sendratari Ramayana or the Ramayana Ballet. It is actually an art exhibition that fuses drama and dance to narrate the story of the Ramayana. The performance is based on the sculpture found on the wall of the Siwa Temple. The ballet performance is divided into four chapters, beginning with the kidnapping of Sita and ending with the reunion of Rama and Sita. Viewers will not be treated to a dialogue spoken by the dancers; the only thing they will hear is a female's voice singing the narration in Javanese. The entire story is told by dance movements and steps performed to the sounds of the gamelan. Indonesian and English narrations are available.

Sleman Shopping

Sleman is an agrarian region, but the development of Yogyakarta has also urbanized it. This is why there are malls and supermarkets being built in the regency. However, the best places to shop in Sleman are still the traditional markets. After all, this is where shoppers can enjoy the lowest prices, since haggling is the norm.

The Pakem Traditional Market, which is found in Pakem District, is the one-stop shop for almost everything. As expected, this is where one can find fresh produce, including Sleman staples like salak and dragon fruit. Those looking for rare fruits and vegetables like torch ginger, agati, babunci and yellow-peel salak will find what they need at this market. The market also sells the freshest seafood like catfish, carp and shrimp. Crafts, farming tools, ornamental plants, pets, spices, poultry products and milk are also sold here.

Then there is the Sunday morning market established along Notonegoro Street near the Gadjah Mada University. The market, which is open only from 05:00 to 12:00, consists of booths that sell different kinds of merchandise. Aside from food, other items sold in this weekend market include toys, clothes and footwear.

Sleman Activities

One of the activities to be enjoyed in Sleman is camping. The regency is where one will find the Bumi Perkemahan Senolewah, or the Senolewah Camping Ground. This green hilly area with pine trees is located in Cangkringan, on the lower slope of Mount Merapi. High school and college students mostly frequent the place, and even people from other countries come here to camp.

Those who are interested in either swimming or trekking (or both) are advised to visit Kaliurang Resort. This area has forest paths for trekkers to follow, and the chances of getting lost are slim because all paths are interconnected. Kaliurang is also where one will find the Boyong River and the Telogo Putri Lake. There are other facilities that tourists enjoy in this area, and these include a playground, a view point and a swimming pool.

Meanwhile, families can also enjoy quality time together in Denggung Park. This is the perfect recreational space for kids, thanks to the playground facilities. Aside from playing, kids (and adults) can also have fun driving around in rented vehicles.

Sleman Information

Sleman can be reached by rail and also by plane, as the Adisucipto International Airport is located within the regency's boundaries. Like most areas in Yogyakarta, getting around the regency can be done with any of the following means of transportation: taxi, becak, andong or dokar (horse cart), bus, rented car and motorbike.

Sleman has a tropical monsoon climate. The wet season is significantly longer than the dry season. The dry months are from July to September, while the wet months are from October to June. Heavy rainfall is usually experienced from November through April. The temperatures remain constant throughout the year, though slight variation can be expected. While the southern area shares the same climate with Yogyakarta, the northern areas (those closer to Mount Merapi) are cooler because of the higher altitude. Tourists are advised to visit the regency during the dry season.

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