Yogyakarta, or 'Jogja' for short, is located on the island of Java and is the busiest Indonesian city east of Jakarta. With a population of 3 million, the city carries the trademark buzz of an Asian metropolis, humming with the sound of motos and tuk tuks and street hawkers selling their wares.
But there is more to Yogyakarta than initially meets the eye. The city boasts a fascinating history, having played a vital role in the Indonesian National Revolution that waged from 1945 – 1949 and even having assumed the position as the country’s capital after Jakarta fell under Dutch control. This history has had deep implications for the city today, earning it unique status as a ‘special district’ for its contributions to national sovereignty that allowed it to maintain its ruling monarchy. Fascinatingly, Yogyakarta is to this day the only sultanate in Indonesia, with the sultan’s 'kraton' (Royal Palace) remaining a bastion of traditional cultural life.
Indeed, whereas Jakarta is the thriving capital of the country’s financial sector, it is in Yogyakarta that you will find the country’s cultural beating heart: the city boasts a kaleidoscope of cultural offerings, from world-class ballet to art galleries, batik textiles, wayang puppetry and Gamelan music. Many consider the city a place where traditions and Indonesian culture can be observed in their purest form. This passion for the arts and youthful population (Jogja is a popular university town and home of Indonesia’s largest university, Gadjah Mada University) is likely what makes the city feel as exciting and vibrant as it does. The high quality of living is indeed reflected by the city’s impressive HDI score, ranking it officially as a ‘developed city’.
Given its size and diverse cultural offerings, Yogyakarta itself has plenty to offer the foreign traveller that will enrich a cultural tour of Indonesia, yet it also acts as a fantastic base from which to visit some of the country’s most acclaimed archaeological sites. No tour of the region should be considered complete without a visit to Prambanan, one of Southeast Asia’s largest Hindu temple sites or Borobudur, the world’s largest Buddhist temple, whose stupas tower over the surrounding countryside producing magical panoramas.
Features in the following itineraries
- Jaime Benitez, South India
- Mr David Wallace, North India
- Mr Richard Stoughton, Sri Lanka
- Mr & Mrs Manson, North India
- Leslie Siben, India
- Matthew Annable, Rajasthan, India
- Mr Geoffrey Johnson, India
- Matthew Nicklin, North India
- Krista Weir, Sri Lanka