Tourism of Yogyakarta
Yogyakarta is one of the most popular tourist destinations in Indonesia. There have been so many world leaders, celebrities and other renowned people have visited the second oldest province in Indonesia. Art, culture and tradition of Yogyakarta is still strongly felt thanks to its cultural heritage such as temples, traditional buildings and diverse cultural activities.
As the city of tradition and culture, Yogyakarta is known for both its traditional and modern art. Traditional dances, shadow puppets performances, batik cloths and so on are available to be enjoyed by the tourists. With such great hospitality shown by the locals and its cultural wealth, this city is certainly a nice place to pass the leisure time.
People and Culture
The majority residents of Yogyakarta are Javanese whose language derives from ancient Sanskrit. However, as Yogyakarta is considered to be “Indonesia’s academic city” due to the numerous centers for higher learning, many of the inhabitants are student who come from all over Indonesia to study. As the capital and the center of several kingdoms in the past, this region and its people are very rich in variety of cultures. The cultural heritage from the past includes the magnifi cent temples, the ruins of palaces and monasteries, the various kinds of traditions, cultural events, traditional folk and performing arts, architecture and other traditional activities. Because of its culture richness and heritage, Yogyakarta has long been known as the cradle of Javanese culture.
Visiting Yogyakarta, you may not just buy and enjoy the marvelous batik artwork, but you have the opportunity to learn the technique of its production. The valuable opportunity packed in an interesting tour package with quite short duration and affordable cost will surely be fun.
Batik patterns you can learn involve hand-made batik, printed batik and painted batik. Each place usually has its special batik pattern to teach. For one day course, it is usually divided into two sessions; you will learn all processes of batik making that generally consist of pattern making, cloth coloring, wax dying and drying.
Batik cources in Yogyakarta provide professional instructors to make you competent even though with short course only. Some places also have instuctors speaking, foreign languages, especially English, to ease you understand the lesson. One of the places providing batik course in Kampung Taman, at the west of Tamansari. There, you can learn painted batik. If you prefer to learn hand made and printed batik, Balai Batik is the right place. They provides special staff and room for learn batik. In addition to learning batik, you can also enjoy the activity and the works of batik atisans in Kampung Taman that 30 years ago has been developing painted batik. You can also see various batik styles exhibited in Balai Batik.
BANYUSUMURUP (center for Kris Accessories)
Banyusumurup is a village located in Bantul, the Yogyakarta Special Province. This village is known for the craftsmanship of its people in making this traditional weapon. So it is not strange that this village turns into the center for the making of kris (wavybladed ceremonial dagger) accessories.
In this village, tourists can enjoy and observe the making of various kris accessories and the process of kris decorating. Here, tourists have the chance to get complete picture of how to create this traditional weapon along with its accessories.
This area can only be reached by private vehicle or taxi because public transportation such as city buses are not available for this route. Whatever the condition is, try to visit and get the opportunity to see and experience firsthand the practice of making kris accessories such as warangka (sheath of kris) and pendok (kris handle).
NGAYOGYAKARTA HADININGRAT PALACE
Yogyakarta Palace is located in the centre of Yogyakarta city. Once, the area of this palace was a swamp area called Umbul Pacetokan. Prince Mangkubumi transformed this swamp area to a resting house called Ayodya. As the Kingdom was separated into two administrations in 1755, Ayodya Resting House was reconstructed to become Yogyakarta Kingdom Palace.
Inside this palace perimeter, in a higher ground which is called Siti Hinggil, stands a palace hall named Manguntur Tangkil. It is used as a meeting room. Deeper inside this palace area, there is a Sri Manganti yard with Danapratopo entrance that is guarded by a pair of Dwarapala: Cingkarabala and Bala Upata. Traju Mas room and Sri Manganti room are used as storing rooms for several sets of antique gamelan (traditional Javanese music instrument). These gamelans produce a melodious key tone.
TAMAN SARI or WATER CASTLE
Taman Sari means a beautiful garden. It is located around 10 minutes of leisure walk from the Sultan’s palace to the southwest. Built by His Royal Highness Sultan Hamengku Buwono I in 1757 it has mixed architecture of Portuguese and Javanese styles. This place used to be a fascinating water park. Taman Sari was also a unique defence system. When enemy attacked this Kingdom, Sultan and his family escaped through underground tunnels to a save place. When they were saved, the water gate was opened and the water flooded this garden and inundated the enemies.
The official cemetery of the royal descendents of the Yogyakarta and Surakarta Sultanates, is located about 17 kilometers southeast of Yogyakarta and easily accessible by bus or car. The tombs lie within three main courtyards on a hilltop. Only visitors wearing traditional Javanese dress are allowed entry into the smaller courtyards housing the tombs of the princes. Open on Mondays from 09.00 am to 12.00 pm and Fridays from 13.00 pm to 16.00 pm. The cemetery is closed during the Moslem month of Ramadhan.
Kaliurang. A popular mountain resort 24 kilometers from Yogyakarta on the slopes of Mount Merapi, Kaliurang is surrounded by vistas of the enchanting countryside. Merapi is an active volcano which is 12,968 meters above sea level. It takes 10 hours to reach the top.
If you are interested to batik, you could spend your leisure time in Beringharjo traditional market. It is located in Malioboro Street, near Vredeburg Fort.
Beringharjo comes from the word bering (banyan tree) and harjo (prosperity). It was once a banyan tree forest, and there is a hope that this former banyan tree forest could give prosperity to the people there. Beringharjo market in one of tourist destination and a centre for batik cloth or batik garment trade with vary prices, from the cheap one to the expensive one. A good bargain skill is needed here. Do not hesitate to compare the prices to get the right one.
Malioboro is the heart of Yogyakarta. This street is famous around the world. Street vendors along Malioboro Street sell unique souvenirs of Yogyakarta. It is also quite easy to find hotel or motel in Malioboro area, from 5 stars hotel to jasmine type of motel. Tourists could also enjoy Yogyakarta’s food and other Indonesians food along Malioboro Street in “sitting on the fl oor” restaurants. Plenty of street musicians, from a singer with a guitar to a group with complete musical instruments, usually entertain restaurants customers while they enjoy their meal.
Agung Building is located at the rights side of south of Malioboro. It was once a resident house of Dutch administrator (1946-1949) during Indonesian independence fight era. It was also a house for Indonesian First President, Soekarno
Agung Mosque is located at the west of north alun-alun (square fi eld). It is a worship place for Moslems, and a place where syncretism rituals (a combination between Islam and local belief) are regularly conducted r, especially to celebrate Moslem Holidays. This Mosque was designed following traditional architecture style. It has a special roof called “Tajug”, a roof especially made for religious buildings. The architectural style is the most interesting part of the mosque.
Vredeburg Fort is situated only hundreds of meters from Yogyakarta Palace. It was built in 1765 by the Dutch, in order to watch and to intimidate Yogyakarta Palace. This Fort is surrounded by trenches that still could be seen until now. It has a rectangular shape with four watching towers in its corners and thick walls that allowed Dutch soldiers to walk around it and shot the enemies. Tourists could see the palace and other historical buildings from this fort. This fort could be reached by walk from city centre.
Sonobudoyo Museum is located in the north side of Yogyakarta Palace North Alun-Alun. It was built in 1935 with Javanese architecture style. The entrance is similar to the Kudus Mosque’s entrance. Kudus is one of the oldest towns in Java.
This museum has the most complete cultural artefacts after Central Museum in Jakarta. The collections are ceramics from Neolithic era, bronzes and other artefacts from Central Java’s temples from 8th, 9th, and 10th centuries. It also has various types of Masks, shadow puppets, sets of gamelan (traditional Javanese music instruments), antique weapons, woven tools and artefacts from Bali. This museum also has a library. The library has the collection of old books related to Javanese culture.
NGASEM BIRD MARKET
Songbirds are highly praised by the Javanese, who love to sit for hours listening to their songs. Many species of birds and other pet animals are sold in this ‘Javanese style’ market that is open everyday. Located south of Taman Sari, the market offers a unique and memorable local experience.
Set in a lush garden off the main road between the airport and the city stands the Affandi Museum on the banks of the Gajah Wong River. Affandi was Indonesia’s foremost impressionist painter who built a private museum for his own paintings. Open Monday-Friday from 9 am - 4 pm, and on Saturday from 9 am - 1 pm.
This unique Buddhist temple is located some 16 kilometers east of Yogyakarta and off the main road between Yogyakarta and Solo. It was built in honor of the marriage between King Pancapana of the Sanjaya Dynasty and the princess of the Syailendra Dynasty, Dyah Pramudya Wardhani. It is elaborately ornate, with finely carved relief preserved with ‘vajralepaa’ made from the sap of a local tree.
Kotagede is a picturesque town about five kilometers southeast of Yogyakarta, once the seat of the mighty Mataram Empire. Since the 1930s, Kotagede has become famous as the center of Yogya’s silverwork industry. Kotagede is easily reached by four-wheeled horse drawn cart, taxi, bus, or car.
SEWU HILLS KARST
Sewu Hills Karst covers about 13,000 square kilometers, with unique conical limestone, domes, valleys and caves with stalactites and stalagmites and underground rivers. For its unique scientific values and social function, the Sewu Hills area in Gunung Kidul regency was nominated as a World Natural Heritage. Enjoy rock climbing at Siung Beach (Seropan and Watu Grupit), caving (Cerme, Seropan, Bribin, Grubug, Jomblang and Kalisuci Caves) and historical and religious tours (Rancang Kencono, Braholo and Maria Tritis Caves).
A popular seaside resort 28 kilometers south of Yogyakarta on the Indian Ocean, Parangtritis combines rocky hills, dunes, and white sandy beach. It is famous in Javanese mythology as the home of the Goddess of the South Seas, who married Panembahan Senopati, founder of the Mataram Empire. Every year the sultans of Yogyakarta make special offerings to her in a beachside ceremony called ‘Labuhan’.
This magnificent Hindu temple derives its name from the village where it is located. Locally known as the Roro Jongrang Temple, or the Temple of the Slender Virgin, it is the most magnificent and beautiful Hindu temple in Indonesia. Located some 17 kilometers from Yogyakarta, it is open daily from 6 am to 5 pm.
RATU BOKO PALACE
Ratu Boko Palace is located in Boko Hill, 19 km to the east of Yogyakarta City (to Wonosari), and 2 km from Prambanan Temple to the south. Based on its architecture and the inscription, Ratu Boko Complex was at fi rst a Buddhist Vihara named Abhayagiri. In 856 AD, this vihara complex was used as a Palace by Rakai Walaing Pu Khumbayoni, a Hindu King. The elements of Hinduism and Buddhism are blended in this Temple. This building complex is referred to as a Palace in the inscription, and we could also see the elements of Palace there.
Prambanan temple & Ramayana epic Ballet
The Ramayana Ballet is performed at the open-air theatre in Prambanan Temple on every full-moon evening from May to October. The performance starts at 7.00 pm.
Prambanan Temple is a temple-type construction built in 10th century of unmatched architectural beauty. Towering up to 47 meters to the clear blue sky of the Prambanan Village, this temple is a proof of the golden days of the Hindus in Java. This temple is off 17 km from the Yogyakarta city center and only 10 minutes walk from the Adi Sucipto Airport in Yogyakarta.
Prambanan temple has three main temples located in the main court: Vishnu, Brahma and Siva Temple and abut thousands of statues. Those three templessymbolize Trimurti ‘the oneness of Brahma, Siva and Vishnu’ in Hindu teaching. Prambanan also boasts reliefs taken from the Ramayana epic.
In this Prambanan Temple complex we can also find a beautiful park just for the guests. In this complex, the Ramayana epic dance performance is held three times in a week, every Tuesday, Thursday and Saturday from 7.30 to 9.30.
Ramayana Ballet Performance
KETOPRAK (every saturday night)
Ketoprak is a traditional theatre art of the Javanese people. Similar to human puppet, kethoprak presents a play alternated with songs and gamelan music. The difference is kethoprak doesn’t use stories from Mahabharata or Ramayana but it uses legends or other stories.
JATHILAN KUDA LUMPING
Jathilan Kuda Lumping (or, Hobby-horse Dance) at Bugisan Village near Prambanan Temple.
Karawitan performance (every monday and Tuesday) A combination of gamelan music and singing performance, karawitan originates from the word Sanskrit “rawit” meaning “fi ne”. Attending this performance is like absorbing the ideal value of Javanese music on site, Yogyakarta Palace.
Sekaten is the commemoration of Prophet Muhammad SAW date of birth which falls on the fi fth day of Javanese Mulud month (Rabiul awal Hijrah year) in the North Square (and at the same time in Surakarta Square). This tradition was once used by Sultan Hamengku Buwana I, the founder of Yogyakarta Palace to invite people to convert to Islam. The summit of this Sekaten tradition is the Grebeg Muludan which falls on the 12th of the month of the day of birth of Prophet Mohammad SAW. This ceremony starts at 8 am.
The most interesting part of this tradition is the Gunungan – made of glutinous rice, food and fruits and vegetables – which are carried in the procession from the palace to the Great Mosque. This Gunungan is considered sacred and it is worth fi ght for. They take part of “gunungan” home and plant it in the fi eld so that their fi eld will have abundant harvest and free from all kinds of disasters and calamities.
YOGYAKARTA ART FESTIVAL
Festival Kesenian Yogyakarta (FKY) or Yogyakarta Art Festival is an annual event of art and culture in Yogyakarta. It is held by the Cultural Offi ce of the province. It is held for a month and many programs are included such as Cultural Procession, Art Performances, Traditional Ceremony in Yogyakarta Cultural Park and Puro Pakualaman, Visual Arts Exhibition in Vredenburg Fort, Art Dialogue in Yogyakarta Cultural Park (locally known as TBY).