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 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, Yogya is now the site of an uneasy truce between the old ways of life and the onslaught of modernity. Still headed by its sultan, whose kraton remains the hub of traditional life, contemporary Yogya is nevertheless a huge urban centre (the Yogya conurbation is 1.6 million) of cybercafes, malls and traffic jams, as it is a stronghold of batik, gamelan and ritual.
Yogya remains Java’s premier tourist city, with countless hotels, restaurants and attractions. It's also an ideal base for exploring nearby attractions, including Indonesia’s most important archaeological sites, Borobudur and Prambanan.
Best places to stay in Yogyakarta
Yogyakarta: the beating heart of Javanese culture
From the all-night shadow-puppet performances to the bold and socially aware graffiti covering many a wall, Yogyakarta, the cultural and spiritual capital of Java, Indonesia, is above all a city of art and culture...