If Jakarta is Java’s financial and industrial powerhouse, Yogyakarta is its soul. Central to the island’s artistic and intellectual heritage, Yogyakarta (pronounced ‘Jogjakarta’ and called Yogya or Jogja for short), is where the Javanese language is at its purest, Java’s arts at their brightest and its traditions at their most visible.
Fiercely independent and protective of its customs, and still headed by its sultan, whose kraton remains the hub of traditional life, contemporary Yogya is nevertheless a huge urban centre (the entire metropolitan area is home to over 3.3 million) complete with cybercafes, malls and traffic jams, even as it remains a stronghold of batik, gamelan and ritual.
Put it all together and you have Indonesia's most liveable and lovable city, with countless hotels offering the best value in Java across all price ranges. Its restaurants are tasty and there are cultural attractions everywhere you look within the city and on the outskirts, where you'll find Indonesia’s most important archaeological sites, Borobudur and Prambanan.
Along with Angkor Wat in Cambodia and Bagan in Myanmar, Java’s Borobudur makes the rest of Southeast Asia’s spectacular sites seem almost incidental. Looming out of a patchwork of bottle-green paddies and swaying palms, this colossal Buddhist monument has survived Gunung Merapi’s eruptions, terrorist bombs and the 2006 earthquake to remain as enigmatic and as beautiful as it must have been 1200 years ago.
It’s well worth planning to spend a few days in the Borobudur region, which is a supremely beautiful landscape of impossibly green rice fields and traditional rice-growing kampung (villages), all overlooked by soaring volcanic peaks. Locals call it the garden of Java.
This region is establishing itself as Indonesia’s most important centre for Buddhism, and there are now three monasteries in the surrounding district. Visitors are welcome and you can even join the monks at prayer time for chanting.
Jaw-dropping and mystical, the spectacular temples of Prambanan, set in the plains, are the best remaining examples of Java’s extended period of Hindu culture and are an absolute must.
All the temples in the Prambanan area were built between the 8th and 10th centuries AD, when Java was ruled by the Buddhist Sailendras in the south and the Hindu Sanjayas of Old Mataram in the north. Possibly by the second half of the 9th century, these two dynasties were united by the marriage of Rakai Pikatan of Hindu Mataram and the Buddhist Sailendra princess Pramodhavardhani. This may explain why a number of temples, including those of the
Prambanan temple complex and the smaller Plaosan group, reveal both Shivaite and Buddhist elements in architecture and sculpture. But this is a Hindu site first and foremost, and the wealth of sculptural detail on the great Shiva temple here is the nation's most outstanding example of Hindu art.
Taman Sari also known as Taman Sari Water Castle is a site of a former royal garden of the Sultanate of Yogyakarta. It is located about 2 km south within the grounds of the Kraton, Yogyakarta, Indonesia. Built in mid 18th century, the Taman Sari had multiple functions, such as a resting area, a workshop, a meditation area, a defense area, and a hiding place.
Taman Sari consisted of four distinct areas: a large artificial lake with islands and pavilions located in the west, a bathing complex in the centre, a complex of pavilions and pools in the south, and a smaller lake in the east. Today only the central bathing complex is well preserved, while the other areas have been largely occupied by the Kampung Taman settlement.
Jogja Travel Mart
Jogja Travel Mart is a high-calibre forum at which Jogjakarta city and around providers can meet key buyers from the international travel industry. Providers and buyers specifically selected for the JTM, combined with highly professional organization, make the JTM the top event of the travel year – a season opener and a key event in its own right.
This highly efficient platform for buying and selling also presents the latest news and trends in Jogjakarta incoming tourism industry to selected local, national and international journalists, whose reports then generate additional impetus in the Jogja and around travel market.