Cultural capital, shopper’s paradise
and vibrant university city
Yogyakarta is an attractive city filled with tree-lined streets. Home to many of Indonesia’s most prestigious universities, it is also known for its performing arts, and handicrafts such as locally woven dyed batik.
The city’s lively downtown area around bustling Malioboro Street is a shopper’s delight, where local general stores in colonial-era buildings rub shoulders with modern glass architecture. The street is alive with vendors by day and night – pop into a mall to check out the latest batik designs or haggle for bargains in the pasar malam night market.
If jewellery is more your thing, head to the Kota Gede district, where you can watch skilled silversmiths craft their wares before your eyes. When done with browsing, pop into a family-run warung restaurant to enjoy a plate of gudeg, a spicy stew of young jackfruit, egg and coconut milk that locals consider their signature dish.
At the centre of the Kraton district is the magnificent Sultan’s Palace, still home to Indonesian royalty. Around the palace area are outdoor pavilions where you can take in displays of Javanese dance, listen to the hypnotic percussion of a gamelan orchestra, or be enchanted by a traditional wayang kulit shadow puppet show.
The nearby Taman Sari water gardens, once the Sultan’s private domain, are now a peaceful retreat for everyone to explore. Or for something altogether more contemporary, visit Prawirotaman Street. The city’s trendiest nightlife district is the place to drop into a modern vegetarian restaurant or hang out in a cool coffee bar.