Although located in Central Java, Borobudur temple is one of Yogyakarta’s main tourist attractions. (Burufly)
ASIDE FROM Bali, Yogyakarta is another one of Indonesia’s favorite destinations. As a special province wherein the Sultan leads local government, a thick traditional atmosphere is palpably felt amongst the gentle-mannered Yogyakartans. From the streets of Malioboro to the rural villages of Gunung Kidul, Yogyakarta is rich in Javanese culture.
The Keraton, or palace, still functions today as the formal residence of the Sultan and his family. Regally placed at the center of the city, Yogyakarta’s antique buildings and ruins are spread around it. From Kota Gede, famed for its silver handicrafts, to Taman Sari water palace, where the royal princesses of past times would have come to bathe, the list of historical sites in Yogyakarta has only just begun.
Added to these is the assortment of candi, or stone temples, which include Prambanan, Ratu Boko and Borobudur – the last of which is actually located in Central Java province but can be reached easily from the city.
One of the highlights of a trip to Yogyakarta is visiting Ullen Sentalu Museum. Up in the tourist area of Kaliurang, the museum is located in a castle’s dungeon, its unique collection uncovering a different side of the life of Javanese royal families. Accompanied by a museum guide, a one-hour visit allows tourists to browse through personal belongings of noblemen from long ago, ranging from daily attire to private letters.
Yogyakarta also offers beautiful sights of nature. The recently-erupted Mount Merapi is an interesting volcanic travel destination. Additionally, one can visit several scenic beaches along the South Java sea. Then there is Nglanggeran, a prehistoric volcano-shaped like a gigantic chunk of rock in Gunung Kidul. This volcano provides a great perching place to watch sunrises and sunsets.
Several colorful destinations await those who enjoy shopping. When walking along the Malioboro strip, which leads towards Beringharjo market, hundreds of shops sell a plethora of batik, as well as other handcrafted souvenirs. Areas like Bantul, Kota Gede and Kasongan each proudly sell its own local handicrafts. After all the sightseeing and shopping, your trip will be made complete by trying the local cuisine and delicacies such as gudeg, wingko and bakpia. Burufly