Stumble Into Indonesia's Unseen Places
Having been to Jogja (short for Yogyakarta) a lot of times, we’ve been to many places in the city and the greater area, the D.I. Yogyakarta province. So we try to align one week in Jogja itinerary for you. We’ve been to most of these activities and places, only a few we have only heard good reviews from friends (marked with a *).
– Candi Prambanan
– Lunch at Ayam Goreng Mbok Berek
– Breksi Cliff Park
– Ratu Boko sunset
– Ramayana Ballet
Candi Prambanan is an important historical site in Jogja, being one of the oldest Hindu temples in Indonesia. Much of the complex are still intact, you can get there by TransJogja bus if you don’t rent any vehicle. More about it here.
Have lunch at Ayam Goreng Mbok Berek, a Javanese fried chicken restaurant, founded in 1969. One of the branches is located at Jl. Raya Solo Yogya km 8, not far from Candi Prambanan. It’s been a long time since I had a Mbok Berek chicken, but I remember it was finger licking good.
Or, have a late lunch there after visiting Taman Tebing Breksi (Breksi Cliff Park)*. It’s not far from Candi Prambanan. See how this prehistorical cliff looks amazing after a few local sculptors did some magic to it.
Spend the late afternoon at Ratu Boko, the remains of a palace or a resort for the royals. The site is also popular for the sunset view. I’ve written a story about my first visit to Ratu Boko, read it for a reference (it was in the morning though).
Go back to Candi Prambanan for the Ramayana Ballet starting at 7.30pm (this is a website where you can check the schedule, while the tickets can be bought online or on the spot). The plot of the show is from the Indian epic that greatly influenced the Hinduism in Indonesia. You can read about our experience watching the Ramayana Ballet in Prambanan on this post.
For the dinner, just go wild. Look for something near your accommodation or on your way back from Prambanan.
– Candi Borobudur sunrise
– Ullen Sentalu museum
– Beukenhoff restaurant
– Hamzah Cabaret show
Start the day by going out of Jogja a little bit. Experience the sunrise at Candi Borobudur. The gate opens at 6 a.m. We’ve only posted about it on our Instagram, but we have written about the Borobudur sunrise viewed from Setumbu Hill. Either spot you want to experience the Borobudur sunrise is great, both in Magelang – one has a lot of stairs and the other requires a more natural hiking. After either one, check out the meticulous reliefs of Candi Borobudur, and check the brief video of it on our YouTube channel.
If you’re too hungry to eat later in Jogja, grab something to eat just outside Candi Borobudur area. There are a lot of diners providing local Javanese food.
Back in Jogja, visit the Ullen Sentalu museum. We’ve been there more than once, I can’t believe we haven’t updated our story since the last one. Basically, it’s a museum about the history of Yogyakarta sultanate, complete with its paintings, old batiks, and family trees. Visitors aren’t allowed to take pictures inside, but I’m telling you, the interior is awesome in an elegantly traditional kind of way.
Sit a while at Beukenhoff Restaurant, in Ullen Sentalu complex. They serve big meals, western and Indonesian, snack and beverages, set in a really pretty colonial architecture. My favorite seat is on the balcony, looking down to the museum’s garden.
At night, have a laugh watching the Hamzah Cabaret, used to be known as the Raminten show, in Malioboro. These drag queens aren’t just funny, they are talented and the show goes on partly for a really good cause. We’ve written about it recently, do check it out.
– Keraton Jogja
– Bu Ageng restaurant
– Taman Sari Water Castle
– Via Via restaurant / Prawirotaman
Feed your Instagram with photos from Warungboto site, or simply visit it for the history. It’s relatively small, you could go around it only for about 15 minutes. Best visit for photography is in the morning, to avoid backlight on the main platform. Our info about Warungboto is on this post.
The Keraton Yogyakarta is one of the sites I’ve taken for granted since my visit when I was little. So now we don’t have a post about it. But if you’re a first timer in Yogyakarta, visit the palace because it’s rich in history and the only sultanate that still rules for real in Indonesia. Check out what Travelfish had to say about it.
For a hearty lunch, try the Javanese dishes at Bu Ageng restaurant on Tirtodipuran street.
Visit the beautiful Taman Sari Water Castle, the history and the “what did I just hear?!” information the guide would tell you about the past kings (or sultans). We have more info about Taman Sari, just click this link.
At Prawirotaman area, you’ll have a lot of choices for dinner and a drink or two after it. One of my recommendations is Via Via, which had developed their café business to guesthouse, gift shop, yoga and a few more, in a big concept that would most likely attract hipsters and backpackers in general. My writing about the restaurant isn’t so relevant anymore, so just check out Via Via official website.
– Sandboarding at Gumuk Pasir Parangkusumo
– Sundak beach and other beaches around
– Kasongan, pottery making
– Sate Klathak Pak Pong
Wake up early and do sandboarding at Gumuk Pasir Parangkusumo (Parangkusumo sand dune) located almost at the south coast. Rent a board for about IDR150,000 for the whole day (it can be used by more than one person). It’s really fun and doesn’t require any skill other than unleashing the inner child in you. Avoid coming here when the sun is too high up because the sand would be super hot. This is the kind of fun I’m talking about.
Next, might as well hit the beach for further sandy session, this time add some salty water too. Honestly, aside to the black-sand Parangtritis beach, the only beach in Jogja that I’ve been to is Sundak Beach. It’s almost 52 km eastward from Parangkusumo, but you might find other similar beaches closer than that. The south coast current is known to be strong, not all beaches are safe for swimming or surfing and here is a reference about Sundak beach.
Go back westward for a pottery-making lesson in Kasongan, an area popular for the pottery craft among others. Better book ahead via any app you trust for local experiences. I’ve posted a story of my experience.
I couldn’t recommend any special meals for the day, except Sate Klathak Pak Pong. It’s yummy without having applied too much spices but still rich in taste. A little bit of explanation of sate klathak (or klatak) you can check here.
– Malioboro Street
– Wijilan Street
This is a day of walking and relaxing. Stroll down the authentic alleys of Kotagede, where the original kraton used to be. It’s also known for the silver-making, the market, the graveyard of Mataram kings, and an old mosque with Hindu style architecture in the complex. Why am I in love with Kotagede? Read here.
Try the various street food at Lapangan Karang in the heart of Kotagede. My favorites would be the tongseng ayam (chicken in sort of curry soup).
Next, check out the most famous street in Jogja, the Malioboro Street. The vendors along the street offer from accessories to traditional toys, to bakpia—local snack—and printed batik clothes. Everything is on the cheap.
Then take a becak ride down to Wijilan Street, where you’ll have abundant choices of gudeg diner. Gudeg is Jogja’s most popular traditional food, you just gotta try it at least once when in Jogja. There are several kinds of gudeg, mostly on Wijilan Street is the sweeter kind.
– Bumi Langit Restaurant
– Kebun Buah Mangunan
Visit the Kebun Buah Mangunan in the Bantul district. Translated to Mangunan Fruit Plantation, you can buy the ripe fruit during the season of your visit for an affordable price. Fruits are mainly tropical. On a particular side, you can walk to the viewpoint of the valley which is breathtaking. Visit during the morning for your fresh dose of fruits and that perfect golden morning light. It is said to be open at 4 a.m.
Drive your rented car or motorbike to Bumi Langit Restaurant also in Bantul district. Perched on a highland-ish part of south Jogja, it’s got a lovely natural green view. The whole concept is green, cooking ingredients from their own garden, all organic and spiritual. Come earlier than your usual lunch time because food preparation could take a while. Bumi Langit (translates to Earth Sky) is more than just a restaurant, learn about it in their official website. It’s open every day except Monday, 9am-4pm.
– Mount Merapi tour
– Jejamuran restaurant
– Or just chill and pack up
I suggest you empty the last day for anything that just comes up. Give room for the unplanned.
But if nothing comes up, you might want to try the Mount Merapi tour. Some organizers offer a few options, ranging from 2 hours to all-day long tours, some offer a sunrise tour. We haven’t tried it but our friend Firsta might have an idea which tour you should take, just visit her blog.
Jogja is starting to jam-pack with vegetarian, organic and those new-age eateries. I’m not updated on this, but I did love the Jejamuran. Jejamuran means ‘all types of mushroom’, and expectedly their menu is all mushroom based, in various Indonesian type of cooking. Deep fried mushroom, rendang mushroom, mushroom soup, and so many more.
So, are you ready to explore Jogja?
Or if you’ve been to Jogja and have other recommendations on what to do in Jogja, just put your comment below. Who knows another reader might want to add it in their itinerary.