Jogjakarta. Djogdja. Yogyakarta. This city goes by many names.
Located in central Java (the island that I currently abide in), Jogja is the heart of Indonesian culture. It also doubles as the backpacker center of the Indonesia.
This reputation considered, I was surprised by the lack of backpackers and hostels in the area. However, thanks to lots of helpful advice from colleagues, I had an incredible three days, loved the hostel I stayed in, met some great fellow travelers, and felt like I was able to fully experience the city. I would highly recommend the following itinerary!
Day 1. After getting settled in, I headed out to Malioboro, the main shopping street and general hubbub of the city. One of my goals on this trip was shopping (a rare desire for this girl!), and I enjoyed hours scouring the stalls and shops along this street. Jogja is famous for batik fabric and delicate silver, among many other traditionally Indonesian items. After crossing many items off of my list, I sat in on a nearby bench, reading and people-watching. I was interrupted a bit too often (ok, far too often) to take pictures with people, but other than that it was a great spot!
Day 2. Leaving at 5 a.m., we headed to Borobudur and Prambanan, two temples in the surrounding area (check out pictures here!). Though my alarm went off unfortunately early, it was nice to arrive before the crowds and the intense midday heat! Additionally, returning around 1:30 left much of the day free. We hid inside during the rainstorm, made dinner, then headed to the night market.
Day 3. We started the day a bit later to allow for some sleep, and then went in search of silver on Kota Gede. This long street is lined with countless silver shops! Thanks to some friends, I checked out HS Silver, a large store a bit off of the main street, and had the most success there. Having finished my wish list, we spent the afternoon at the Kraton (Sultan’s Palace) and Taman Sari (the water palace next door).
Finally, we headed to the bird market. It was actually quite sad – it seemed most animals were about the same size as their cages – but it was fascinating!
I stayed at Yogyakarta Backpacker, a hostel about 5 minutes walking from Malioboro, the main shopping street of the city. The hostel was 50,000 ($5) a night and had real, American mattresses! Downside: though the staff was very helpful, they did not speak much English. And there’s only one bathroom.
I also recommend Mirota Batik, an expansive store at one end of Malioboro. You can find anything there, and the fixed prices stop you from getting ripped off too badly for being a foreigner 🙂
Jogjakarta is a great city, and belongs on the to-do list for any trip to Indonesia!