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...
Yogyakarta destination guides
Bali and Java Explorer
If you’re looking to free your spiritual side–with a backdrop of stunning beaches and jungles–Bali and Java are waiting. Travel by bicycle rickshaw to local markets and workshops, and get your “om” on at the Borobudur temple. Participate in a traditional cooking class with an expert chef.
Yolo Java to Bali
Home to 136 million people, the Indonesian island of Java is the most densely populated region on Earth. But while the teeming rivers of humanity that flow through Jakarta’s streets at rush hour can feel overpowering, there’s still a surprising amount of room to stretch out and explore.