Yogyakarta in Indonesia (Java) is well-known for the two temples: Borobudur and Prambanan. These are amazing and you should definitely visit them, but there are also other places to check out. Besides the cave tours and rafting places that are advertised everywhere, I found a little hidden gem, which isn’t as popular as the rest – so it is a true off-the-beaten-path insider tip for Yogyakarta.
Let’s start with the essentials
Yogyakarta is a city as well as a region in the South of Java.
We took the train for 8 hours to get from Jakarta to Yogyakarta. You can also fly – that’s what we did for the return.
If you want to explore the city on your own, you should rent a motorbike. Otherwise, taxis are relatively cheap as well. We always rent a moped, but only because my partner knows how to drive it.
Why isn’t Borobudur an insider tip for Yogyakarta?
When you are in this area or even on Java, everybody will advertise the beautiful sunrise at the Borobudur temple. No kiddin, at a certain point I was sick of seeing it. It is already an obvious indication for mass tourism. We did it anyway because the photos online are really promising.
In reality, the sunrise is stunning, but you can share this wonderful moment with 500 other people – sorry for exaggeration. However, you can also walk around a little bit to have your own space.
Why Prambanan isn’t an insider tip for Yogyakarta either
This temple is located in the South-East of Yogyakarta. In contrast to the Buddhist Borobudur temple, Prambanan is Hindu.
Of course, this temple was crowded too and at this place, I had the additional pleasure of being a sightseeing attraction as well. Many people wanted to take pictures with me. One person sat basically on my lap to fit into the photo as well. However, the temple is very impressive and interesting to see!
As you can see in the picture, the temple consists of single temples. The main temples are shrines for the gods (Shiva, Brahma, Vishnu). Those main temples have the most interesting details.
Here it comes: My insider tip for Yogyakarta
After we got stuck in Yogyakarta because there were no flights or train tickets available at the end of the Ramadan holidays, we wanted to explore a different side of Yogyakarta. We have seen a lot in the city and many different temples, so we needed some nature.
In our homestay (Tiga Lima Homestay) which is, by the way, a gorgeous place to stay, I encountered an area with many waterfalls and caves on a map. The staff told us that the national park just opened and they don’t know much about it.
So one morning, we took our moped and drove to the mountains in the West of the city. It is a few hours away from Yogyakarta, but it’s totally worth it! If you rent a motorbike, make sure it has enough power. I had to walk uphill for a while because the steepness and two persons were too much for the poor little moped that had a lack of horsepower.
To get there: Drive the Jalan Godean and you will get to the mountains.
Like I mentioned before, you can explore many waterfalls, caves, and viewpoints in this area. We probably haven’t been to the best ones because we just explored without having an actual plan. However, it was still an amazing day and one of my favorite exploration trips!
Feel free to check out Google maps beforehand. You will see how many sights there are and then you will also understand, why I don’t exactly remember the name of the little park we have been to. I guess we were at or nearby the Taman Sungai Mudal.
It was a freshly set up little garden with picnic areas, bamboo bridges, and a view tower.
There are probably taller waterfalls but we had only one afternoon to explore. You can also jump into the blue pools and swim to cool off.
If you love exploring, this area is totally something for you. The area is very calm and almost nobody else is there. To some extent, it was a bit scary 😀
Tips for the trip to Yogyakarta’s West
- Have many small bills with you to pay for parking, as well as donations to the parks, viewpoints etc.
- If I ever make it back to Yogyakarta, I would stay in this area for a couple of days to explore the area better. The ride from the city is not exactly short, so your bud will hurt if you are renting a moped like we did. I really regret that we only had one afternoon there!
- If you want to stay in Jogja though, I can highly recommend the Tiga Lima Homestay (click here to reserve your room). It has large and beautifully decorated rooms with an outside bathroom and bamboo beds. It’s very picturesque!
What about you? Have you been to Yogyakarta? Do you have some other insider tips that you want to share with me? Or are you going to travel to Jogja soon and have any more questions? Let me know in the comments!
[This article has been updated on 16th Mar 2018]