Jakarta might be Java’s financial hub, but Yogyakarta is the island’s artistic and cultural heart. Home to about half a million people, Yogyakarta, or “Yogya” for short, serves as the jumping off point for excursions to Java’s most important archeological sites, Prambanan and Borobudur. As such, the city’s packed with hotels, restaurants, cafes and shops.
As one of Indonesia’s oldest cities, Yogya offers plentiful historical buildings, monuments and temples worthy of exploration. At the heart of it all is the Kraton Complex, a Javanese palace complex where the sultan still lives. Originally built in 1790, many of the structures now house museum collections, including gifts from foreign dignitaries, family heirlooms, old photographs and the sultan’s horse-drawn carriages.
Visitors interested in Yogya’s religious heritage will find half a dozen ancient temples in and around the city. It’s also an excellent destination for experiencing traditional Javanese dance, puppetry and music.
Yogya’s Adisucipto International Airport is served by frequent daily flights from Jakarta and Denpasar (Bali).