The city of Yogyakarta or Yogya as it is commonly known is often said to be the cultural capital of Indonesia so it’s perfect if you want to spend a few days learning all about Indonesia’s arts scene. Yogya is a university town and there is definitely a buzz and a sense of optimism that comes from the young crowd that live here and you will find live music, cozy coffee shops, and handicrafts studios all over town.
Yogyakarta Batik Factories
If Yogya is famous for anything it has to be the Batik factories, a textile technique that involves dying fabrics that have been outlined using wax. If you want to know firsthand how these gorgeous patterns are made then you can tour these factories, try Batik making yourself, and buy traditional Batik dyed clothes or accessories. If you want a unique experience in how centuries old patterns are made then this is definitely a must-visit, and there are few other places in Indonesia or Southeast Asia where you can dive into the culture so easily. Tours to the factories are advertised all over town and all offer pretty much the same deal so just go with whichever one looks good on the day if you feel like it.
Borobudur Buddhist temple is actually in Magelang in Central Java but it’s easy to make the trip there and back in a day if you are staying in neighboring Yogyakarta. For many visitors to Indonesia, Borobudur is the highlight of their trip, so you definitely shouldn’t miss it if you are in the area. Borobudur dates from the 9th century, so if you love history, you will definitely enjoy it here, and the central dome of the complex has 72 sculptures of Buddha, making this the largest Buddhist temple in the world. Not only is the stonework pretty breathtaking but you can climb up the central platform and look out over the lush landscape that stretches before you. The surroundings of Borobudur are arguably as beautiful as the temple itself. If you can make it there at sunrise, morning mist covers the lowlands around the temple making you feel like you are floating above the clouds. It’s one of the most magical and calming experiences you can have in all of Indonesia.
Yogyakarta has a lot going for as it has a feeling unlike other cities due to its student population. It also has lots of fun culture attractions, as well as being the home of batik making which will keep you busy, and travelling around Java or anywhere in Indonesia is not always easy, and many places are simply not worth the trouble. Yogyakarta is not one of them however, and if you have to cut down your itinerary in Indonesia because of lack of time then make sure not to leave this one off the list.