Yogyakarta is one of the must-visit place in Java, Indonesia. It is also known as Jogjakarta or Jogja or Yogya (you decide!) by travelers and locals alike. From all the places you must visit in Java, this is the one place you cannot miss.
If you have 3 days to spend in Yogyakarta, your itinerary would definitely include an in-depth tour of this interesting city plus visiting the two famous temples of Borobudur and Prambanan.
Here is our suggested itinerary in Yogyakarta for 3 days.
Day 1 : Yogyakarta city center
It is good to stay near the city center, as it helps for quick access to all the tourist attractions in Yogyakarta. It includes the experience living in a bustling city of Indonesia. If you arrived early in the morning from an overnight train, grab a typical Indonesian breakfast at one of the food mongers spread along Malioboro Street. Also, check out the famous Pasar Beringharjo (market), where you can find souvenirs. Bring out your bargaining skills here!
Without wasting more time, head to the famous Keraton Palace, a well-mainted palace from the days of the Sultans. Here you will find unique architecture and heirlooms of the days of glory. Everyone will be accompanied by a local guide who can speak all kinds of languages, and it is indeed a good experience as it gives you insights into the rich history and culture of Jogja.
Next head on to Taman Sari (Water Castle) which is not far from the palace. Use a back way from the other side of the castle and try to sneak your way in through rundown defense walls and scattered village houses. Once you got in, you will find yourself in mazes of underground water holes, secret chambers and gardens and pools. This castle is a huge complex that used to be a former royal garden of Sultanate of Yogyakarta used for various functions including bathing place.
After that, it is time to test your luck. Head to Alun-Alun Kidul (South Square park) in Yogyakarta, where an urban legend has it that anyone who successfully crosses between the two huge banyan trees blindfolded will get what they wish for. The amazing thing is apparently many people failed at this attempt despite the huge gap.
|-> Check out Top 10 Things to Do in Yogyakarta|
Day 2 : Museums, Gudeg and chill at a cafe
One of the popular museums here in Yogyakarta is the Art museum. It features the works of the Indonesia’s legendary painter Affandi, where he spent most of his life here producing many masterpieces while keeping it away from other painters.
Sneak in a lunch at a long standing establishment Gudeg Yu Djum for possibly the best Indonesian dish ever called Gudeg. This unique Indonesian dish is a stew made from young jackfruit (nangka) with palm sugar, coconut milk, meat, garlic, and spices. The special taste came from the slow melding of flavors and textures to the right perfection.
After that head to Sonobudoyo Museum,, another museum worth visiting. Do not forget to also watch the special leather puppet show featured here, available every day from 8- 10 pm. It is accompanied by Javanese Gamelan music and language. While waiting for the show, you can take a look at the collection of artefacts and collections of batik, keris, wayang, and antique weapons.
In the evening, return to Alun-alun Kidul park and find the new trend of bling-bling car. They are small cars decorated with bold lightings that will bring you around the city. The price is IDR 15,000 for one loop of the ride. Many locals love to give this attraction a try.
For dinner, head to a traditional food stall, north of Malioboro street in a small alley, called Angkringan Lik Man. Angkringan is a typical roadside stall in Yogyakarta that you can find in almost every corner of the city. Lik Man is the most special as it has an anti-mainstream coffee to warm up your night, which is coffee served with a flaming charcoal. You must also try the Nasi Kucing and other side dishes here, such as chicken intestines satay, chicken gizzard satay, quail eggs and satay.
|-> Check out the Best Places to Stay in Yogyakarta|
Day 3 – Borobudur Temple and Prambanan Temple
Now it is time for our day trip to the two anceient temples of Java, Indonesia. Borobudur temple is located 1-hour drive from yogyakarta and it is well worth the trip. Try to get there early to avoid the crowd, and to enjoy the silent beauty of the place with respect. This 9th-century temple is an Indonesia UNESCO Heritage site and one of the largest Buddhist temple in the world, consisting of six square platforms with 2,672 relief panels and 504 Buddha status. Thousands of Buddhists do their pilgrimage here in Borobudur during Waisak day.
-> Read our Guide to Borobudur Temple
After visiting this temple, you can grab a quick lunch in Borobudur city before heading back to Yogyakarta but with a stop at the next temple – Prambanan Temple.
It is a well known ancient Hindu Temple in Indonesia built during the 9th century for Trimurti as an expression that God is the Creator (Brahma), Preserver (Vishnu) and also the Destroyer (Shiva). It is also one of the Indonesia UNESCO World Heritage Site, being one of the largest Hindu temple architecture in Southeast Asia. At the same time, don’t forget to check out Candi Sewu, located just 15 minutes walk from Prambanan temple. This place is a good respite from the crowds of Prambanan, featuring many hidden structures and carvings for self-exploration. If you are here on the right day, there would be a Ramayana Ballet show, with 200 artists playing a role and dancing to classsical Javanese music. This show does not run every day so check online if you want to catch it. The ticket price starts from IDR 125,000 and the show begins at 19.30.
-> Read our Guide to Prambanan Temple
With that is the end of your full 3 days itinerary in Yogyakarta. There is always something more to explore in Yogyakara if you have the time, there are a lot of cafes to check out in the city and there are a number of options for day trips, such as to Mount Merapi, Gunung Kidul, Jamblang Cave or Mangunan Fruit Garden. Check out our Yogyakarta 5 days / 4 nights Itinerary for the expansion.