The Yogyakarta Kraton, Palace of the King
The Yogyakarta Kraton, Palace of the King

If there’s one thing that I remember most about my trip to Central Java, Indonesia, it’s the very hospitable Indonesians that I have encountered. Yes, there may be dodgy ones like my motorbike misadventure in Solo, but it was the affable stranger in Yogyakarta that stuck in mind. I was shooting at Candi Prambanan when I did a little chat with a local photographer that seems to find good angle of this temple complex. Finding that I don’t seem to have a ride when the park closed, he offered me a ride on his bike and even treated me to a delicious street-side nasi goreng. In Solo, the neighboring city of Yogyakarta, I remember being invited in a gamelan rehearsal room to fully enjoy the mesmerizing music and soaring vocals of this Javanese culture. So traveling Central Java for me is more than the archaic temple complex but also immersing with the local culture and its people.

Dusk at Candi Prambanan
Dusk at Candi Prambanan

Yogyakarta Stay

Yogyakarta (also written as Jogjakarta), with a population of more than half a million, is a semi-autonomous region of Central Java. The city is an ideal hub for those who want to visit the grand UNESCO World Heritage site of Borubudur. Staying in Yogyakarta, I’d recommend choosing a lodge along the bustling Jalan Malioboro. Like the interiors of Whiz Hotel Yogyakarta, the lively street is colorful with numerous shops, souvenir stores, and eateries.

Wondrous Borobudur
Wondrous Borobudur

Getting Around Yogyakarta

I enjoy the convenience of travel in Yogyakarta. Getting in, I flew to the small but busy Adisucipto International Airport. From there it’s easy to hop on a Prameks (train) to nearby City Solo. Buses heading to Magelang (Candi Borobudur) are also near the airport complex.

Within Yogyakarta, I admire the Trans Jogja Bus Rapid Transit system they have. Not only was it cheap to go around the city but comfortable with minimal traffic. I easily made my way to nearby Candi Prambanan taking the 1A Bus line. Not looking too far and just a stretch from Whiz Hotel Yogyakarta at Jalan Malioboro is the Yogyakarta Kraton, the Palace of the King. The walk itself is rich in local color and the palace is in a better state to learn more about Javanese culture and history.

Traveling to Yogyakarta is rich in experiences cultural, historical and natural. I enjoyed my brief stay here using it as a hub to explore nearby provinces.

Walk the colorful street of Yogyakarta
Walk the colorful street of Yogyakarta

Getting In and Out of Yogyakarta

  • By planeAdisucipto International Airport is the domestic and international air hub of the city. Found 8km east of town, the airport connects locally to major cities like Jakarta, Denpasar, Java, Sumatra, Kalimantan and Sulawesi. There are also international flights from AirAsia to Kuala Lumpur and Singapore, Malaysia Airlines to Kuala Lumpur, and TigerAir from Singapore.
  • By Bus: Terminal Penumpang Giwangan is the main bus terminal in the city located 4km southeast of the city center. There are regular buses serving Jakarta (12 hours), Bandung (10 hours) and Surabaya (8 hours). Contact: +62 274 378288/ +62 274 7482222
  • By Train: From Jakarta, there’s a 7-8 hours train travel to Yogyakarta’s Tugu Station. There are two main express companies serving the route: Argo Class ( IDR 380,000) and Taksaka (IDR 265,000). Both classes connect to Jakarta with both daytime and overnight trains. Reservation can be done online.
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Ferdz
Ferdz Decena is an award-winning travel photographer, writer and blogger. His works has found print in publications such as Singapore Airlines’s Silver Kris, Philippine Airlines’ Mabuhay, Cebu Pacific’s Smile and Seair InFlight. He has also lent his expertise to various organizations like the Oceana Philippines, Lopez Group Foundation, Save the Children and World Vision, contributing quality images for their marketing materials.