Yogyakarta Tourist Attractions and Sightseeing

(Yogyakarta, Central Java, Indonesia)

Many people now consider Yogyakarta to be Indonesia's number two tourist destination, after only Bali, since this city has so much to offer in the way of cultural attractions, Javanese tradition, colourful markets and general sightseeing.

A very walkable and manageable city, Yogyakarta's main tourist attractions are best reached by foot and generally located relatively close to each other. Especially appealing to families is the Gembira Loka Zoo, while other attractions in Yogyakarta include the Taman Sari (Water Castle), and the suburb of Kota Gede (Kotagede), which is known for its thriving silver industry.

Walking Tours

Popular walking tours of Yogya start at the Tugu train station and lead onto the busy shopping street named the Jalan Malioboro. From here, head in a southerly direction towards the Jalan Suryatmajan and the Jalan Jenderal Ahmad Yani. At this point, the Pasar Beringharjo market is likely to be of interest, along with the neighbouring Dutch fortress, the Beteng Vredeburg. From here, continue southwards and cross the Jalan Senopati and onto the Jalan Trikora, where the Alun Alun area is located. Turn right and pass the Museum Sono Budoyo and then south, past the Mesjid Besar mosque. The entrance to the kraton is just a stone's throw to the left, while further tourist attractions are close by and based around this area, such as the Bird Market on the Jalan Ngasem, and the Taman Sari gardens off the Jalan Polowijan.
Open hours: daily
Admission: free

Water Castle (Taman Sari)

Address: Jalan Let Sen S. Parman / Jalan Polowijan, Yogyakarta, Indonesia, ID
The Taman Sari is to be found on the western side of the kraton and is a magnificent pleasure park, designed for the use of the sultan and his large family and extensive entourage. Better known to tourists as the Water Castle, the Taman Sari is a spacious park, comprising a mixture of grand palaces, waterways, large ponds and even some bathing pools. This 'no-expense spared' retreat was designed and built in the middle of the 18th century, being created by a Portuguese architect, who it is said was executed by the sultan soon after the park's completion, so that he could be sure that this indulgent attraction could be kept a secret from the world. Damage to the complex was suffered during Diponegoro's Java War, and again after a severe earthquake in 1865, the Taman Sari is a mixture of ruins and restoration projects.
Open hours: daily - 08:00 to 14:00
Admission: charge

Bird Market (Pasar Ngasem)

Address: Jalan Polowijan / Jalan Ngasem, Yogyakarta, Indonesia, ID
For something a little different to the more obvious attractions on Yogyakarta, take a wander around the bustling bird market, which is better known to the local Indonesians as the 'Pasar Ngasem'. This colourful and noisy menagerie features a mixture of exotic birds, such as budgies, parakeets and song birds, as well as hens, turtledoves and a huge quantity of pigeons. There are also further creatures sold at this unusual market, including reptiles and small cuddly animals.
Open hours: daily - 08:00 to 18:00
Admission: free

Main Market (Pasar Beringharjo)

Address: Jalan Jenderal Ahmad Yani, Yogyakarta, Indonesia, ID
Situated on the southerly continuation of the lengthy Jalan Malioboro, the Pasar Beringharjo is definitely a lively spot to hang out. This indoor market is certainly the place to come if you are looking to purchase some inexpensive batik (wax-dyed) fabrics, most of which have their designs stamped, rather than painted on by hand. Upstairs at the Pasar Beringharjo you will find a mixture of shoes and clothing, and lots of colourful spices (rempah rempah), while at the back, local produce and cheap snack food is available.
Open hours: daily - 08:00 to 18:00
Admission: free

Kota Gede (Kotagede)

Address: Kota Gede, Yogyakarta, Indonesia, ID
A relatively quiet and understated suburb of Yogyakarta, Kota Gede has been famous in Central Java for its silver industry since the 1930s. Kota Gede has an especially interesting history, being founded in 1582 and was once the capital of the entire Mataram Kingdom. Today, the main attractions of Kota Gede really do revolve around its plentiful silver workshops, many of which line the Jalan Kemasan and sell stylish silver jewellery, boxes and dishes. There is also a much-visited sacred tomb here at the old mosque, which is where the actual founder of Kota Gede, Panembahan Senopati, is buried. This tomb is open to the public on Sunday, Monday and Thursday at 09:00 to 12:00, and on Fridays between 13:00 to 15:00.
Open hours: daily
Admission: free

Gembira Loka Zoo

Address: Jalan Kebun Raya, Yogyakarta, Indonesia, ID
Sited some 5 km / 3 miles to the south of the Jalan Jenderal Ahmad Yani and set within the vast Gembira Loka park, this popular zoo contains many exotic creatures. Attractions at Gembira Loka Zoo include Sumatran elephants, rhinos, tigers, orangutans and other primates, deer, crocodiles and of course, Indonesia's very own breeding Komodo dragons, the biggest reptile on the planet. Whilst a number of the enclosures at Gembira Loka Zoo are a little on the cramped side, in general, this is a pleasant place to spend an afternoon. Close by and still within the park there is also a large, artificial boating lake, as well as lots of places to take a stroll or simply sit down and relax.
Open hours: daily - 08:00 to 18:00
Admission: charge, discounts for children