Borobudor Temple, Java, Indonesia

The 10 Best Things to Do In Yogyakarta


Yogyakarta; often referred to as “Jogja” is a place unlike any other on the island of Java. Renowned for education and fine arts you will find remarkable culture and diversity within this city.  Indulge in historic monuments and temples, traditional art and crafts, excellent cuisine and so much more while backpacking Yogyakarta.
For information on currency, budget, haggling, food, vaccinations, and more visit our page Traveling Indonesia.

Walk to the Top of Borobudur Temple

Make sure to visit the largest Buddhist monument in the world while backpacking Yogyakarta! It`s about a 1.5 hour drive from the city but absolutely worth the trip! There are many tours you can book to take you from Yogyakarta to Borobudur starting at around $975,000 IDR ($73 USD) per person.  Another option is to hire a car for 500,000 IDR ($37 USD) and pay the entrance fee of $325,00 IDR ($24 USD) to get in. Sarongs are provided at the entrance to cover your knees. You can also buy a 2 temple pass (Borobudur and Prambanan) for $520,000 IDR ($39 USD). Some tours combine Borobudur with other activities, so the best method of transportation depends on the amount of people in your group and what you want to see in the day.

We decided to make the most out of hiring a private car at 500,000 IDR ($37 USD) for an entire day. They picked us up at the airport at 7 am and we drove two hours to Borobudur. From there we went to Kalibiru National Park (1.5 hours drive) and finally back to our homestay in Yogyakarta that evening. This way we didn’t have to man the crazy taxi mob at the airport, we could leave our packs in the car while we were exploring and we ended up getting a steal of a deal for all the driving!

Borobudur, Indonesia

Shop for Local Batik

Batik is the art of decorating cloth using wax and dye. Hot wax is brushed over selected areas and the cloth is then dyed. The wax covered areas resist the dye and remain the original color. When creating multi-color designs this process is repeated several times. Finally the wax is removed before making the cloth into clothing, wall hangings, or textiles. Some of the finest batik cloth in the world is made on the Island of Java. Take a look through local shops and you are sure to come across some beautiful finds.

Visit Prambanan Temple

The largest Hindu temple in Indonesia was originally made up of 240 buildings; however many were destroyed or looted throughout the centuries. It has since been revitalized and was declared a world heritage site in 1991. You can take a tour or hire a driver to get you here from Yogyakarta. The entrance fee is 325,000 IDR ($24 USD) or you can buy a pass for 2 temples (Borobudur and Prambanan) for $520,000 IDR ($39 USD).

Prambanan Temple, Java, Indonesia

Walk Through the Taman Sari (Water Castle)

This is a former royal garden of the Sultanate of Yogyakarta. Stop here on your way to the local market and explore for about half an hour. It costs 12,500 IDR ($0.93 USD) to get in, plus an additional 20,000 IDR ($1.48 USD) if you want a local guide. Enjoy the small shops and food carts in the complex while you walk around!

Taman Sari Water Castle, backpacking Yogyakarta, Java, Indonesia

Take Some Crazy Photos at De Mata Eye 3D Museum

De Mata Trick Eye 3D Museum is a one of a kind museum offering a different approach to art. There are tons of unique three-dimensional paintings that make for brilliant photo-ops. Take your photo with superheroes or famous monuments. Stand in a volcano or on a rope bridge over a huge crevice. With over 200 pieces of art, this museum has something for everyone.

Get Creative With a Leather Workshop

Kaula Leather Workshop is a fun and creative way to spend a day while backpacking Yogyakarta. Abenk is extremely talented and very patient while you make your design from start to finish. We arrived at his workshop in the morning and picked out what we would like to make. From cutting and staining the leather to stitching and adding buckles we learned it all. David made a belt for $250,00 IDR ($19 USD) that took about 2 hours to complete. I made a purse that took 7 hours and cost $950,000 IDR ($71 USD). In a 1 day workshop you can make earrings, belts, wallets or small purses. In addition, he offers multi-day workshops  if you wish to make a bag or backpack.

Shop at Pasar Beringharjo (The Local Market)

Explore this traditional local market while shopping or having a bite to eat. Find food, clothes, spices, local Batik, trinkets and much more. You can still expect to haggle here but keep in mind that what they ask for is closer to local prices. We got food from one of the carts out front and it was tasty, just be sure to pick a cart with a lot of local customers.

Local market, backpacking yogyakarta
Local market in Yogyakarta

Try Some Monggo Chocolate

You have to find this chocolate while backpacking Yogyakarta! While we love to try chocolate everywhere we go; Monggo is one of our all time favorites. Watch them make the chocolate while you sample the different flavors at the factory.  Recycled paper is used to package the chocolate and 80% of the production is done on site. Another place to visit is the showroom closer to the main tourist area. Buy and sample the chocolate or stop in at their café for lunch.

Monggo showroom, backpacking yogyakarta, java, indonesia
Monggo Showroom

Climb a Tree at Kalibiru National Park

After a long drive up a steep, winding road you pay a small entrance fee of 10,000 IDR ($0.74 USD) to get in to the park.  Next, there are 4 or 5 platforms that you can wait in line to climb up. Each photo spot costs 10,000 – 15,000 IDR (around $1 USD) to enter and you get a few minutes at the top to take photos. Although it is not the kind of National Park we were expecting the views were beautiful and the photos were fun. I do want to make it clear that you are only going here to take photos; there are no trails or walking areas to explore.

Kalibiru National Park, backpacking Yogyakarta, Indonesia
Kalibiru National Parkyogyakarta

Stay at Omah Salam

Spacious rooms with great food and amazing staff! This homestay has a beautiful living area and is walking distance to anywhere you want to go. The staff go above and beyond to make sure you enjoy your stay and have great recommendations for food and what to do while you are backpacking Yogyakarta. backpacking yogyakarta

We hope you have a great time in Yogyakarta! For more information and destinations check out Traveling in Indonesia!

The 10 Best Things to do in Yogyakarta