Yogyakarta is one of the Indonesian cities which never fails to surprise us; it’s a city with plenty of activities to do and yummy food to eat. This time, we’re taking you to 9 of the most gorgeous spots there, which will guarantee you amazing photos 😍 Arm yourself with a decent camera and get ready for postcard-perfect photographs to spice up your Instagram feed!
As a bonus, each of these spots have Muslim-friendly eateries nearby, so you can top off your experience by enjoying nice halal treats after visiting the spots.
1. Borobudur at sunrise or sunset
Borobudur in itself is a majestic man-made structure built more than 1,200 years ago and did you know it was in the original list of the Seven Wonders of the World? 😱 But Borobudur at sunrise or sunset is another level of beauty. From any angle, rays of sunlight turn this great Buddhist temple into an out-of-this-world view.
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Whether you’re an early bird or prefer to enjoy the sunset, the view at Borobudur is always breathtaking.
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Address: Jalan Badrawati, Kawasan Candi Borobudur, Magelang (40 km northwest off Yogyakarta)
Opening hours: 6am – 6pm, daily
Admission fee: IDR 40k per domestic traveler or IDR 125k per foreign traveler
Regardless what time you visit, make sure you unwind and have a meal at one of the good Muslim-owned eateries nearby, Sekar Kedhaton. With its extensive menu of traditional Indonesian and international food, coupled with elegant ancient Javanese architecture, this restaurant is a hot favourite!
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Whether you’re craving for Indonesia’s national dish, Nasi Goreng, or feel like having Ayam Penyet (crushed chicken), you’ll be treated to a delightful meal 🤤
Address: JL Borobudur, Km. 2, 5, Pabelan, Mungkid, Pabelan Satu, Pabelan, Mungkid, Magelang, Jawa Tengah 56512, Indonesia
Opening hours: 8am – 9pm daily
Contact No: +62 293 789429
2. Taman Sari Water Castle
Ever wondered how it feels to live in a castle? Or a water castle? 😱 Well, now you have the chance to get a glimpse of just that, at Taman Sari Water Castle, a former royal garden of the Sultanate of Yogyakarta. Though you can only visit a limited number of areas now, rest assured you’ll still be able to take insta-worthy photos!
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There are two pools in the area, which were once used by the Sultan and his wife. Also, the rooftop offers a fantastic view in the afternoon with the structure bathed in golden sunlight, and the old mosque underground will be a beautiful surprise. Explore this gem at your own pace and have fun creating your own photo collection at this ancient water castle 😍
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Address: Jl. Kampung Taman Kt 1, Patehan, Kraton, Yogyakarta
Opening hours: 9 am – 2 pm, daily
Admission fee: IDR 7.5k per domestic traveler or IDR 15k per foreign traveler; IDR 3k per camera if you bring your own
3. Parangkusumo Sand Dunes
Compared to many other attractions in Yogyakarta, Parangkusumo Sand Dunes is one that is relatively not so crowded. This is one of the only few places in Indonesia where you can find sand dunes, so here’s the perfect chance for you to admire the scenery here and feel like you’re in an Arabian desert 😝 One thing you shouldn’t miss while you’re here is to try sandboarding. And make sure you stock up on great photos here which you can use to spice up your Instagram feed later on 😍
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Parangkusumo’s scenery is magical both in the day and at night. When it’s dark, you get to stargaze at the clear sky free of any light pollution. Stand in awe of the grand milky way which will definitely remind you of Allah’s greatness 😍
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Address: Jl. Pantai Parangkusumo, Parangtritis Beach, Kretek, Yogyakarta
Admission Fee: IDR 10k per car or IDR 3k per motorbike for parking, IDR 100k per sandboard rental for sandboarding
4. Kampung Code and Kali Code Riverside
Kampung Code had previously always been known as a slum area, but thanks to the hard work and generous efforts from a reputable architect, the area has now been transformed into a colourful art village. It’s even received the Aga Khan Award for Architecture in 1992 😱 You can enjoy the best views from Gondolayu bridge at Kali Code riverside.
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Today, as you walk through the small alleys in the village, skillfully-painted murals can be found everywhere. Strike a pose with them or simply just admire their beauty; it’s really interesting to see how the local villagers live their lives too 😊
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Address: Jl. Jend. Sudirman No.44, Gowongan, Jetis, Kota Yogyakarta, Daerah Istimewa Yogyakarta 55233, Indonesia
If you need to fill your tummy while you’re at Kampung Code, head over to Roaster And Bear, a hipster cafe specialising in a variety of local and Western dishes. Continue your photo shoot here with their bear-themed or sink your teeth in their delightful dishes. Try out their yummy dishes like Nasi Goreng Salmon or Ayam Bakar Bumbu Bali 😋
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Address: Jl. P. Mangkubumi No.52, Gowongan, Jetis, Kota Yogyakarta, Daerah Istimewa Yogyakarta 55233, Indonesia
Opening hours: Sun – Thur, 7am – 11pm, Fri – Sat, 7am – 11.45pm
Contact No: +62 274 2920027
5. Beringharjo Traditional Market
Beringharjo Traditional Market is the place for, perhaps literally, everything. It’s called Pasar Beringharjo locally (the word “pasar” means market) and inside this humble old building you will find rows and rows of everything from local snacks and desserts to Batik clothes. You can also get exotic fruits or vegetables and traditional herbal drinks called “jamu” plus local handicrafts and silver jewelry.
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To satisfy your craving for Javanese food, there are many halal stalls to choose from. Among the most legendary and well-loved by locals are Bakmi Pentil (tapioca noodle), Soto Pithes Mbok Galak (clear chicken soup with fresh chili peppers), Sate Kere Mbah Suwarni (fatty beef satay), and Es Dawet Mbah Hari (their version of ice chendol). Not to mention the traditional snacks that keep calling you at every turn!
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At this market, seizing the day means capturing the daily lives of the sellers, sharpening your food photography skills, sampling every treat you haven’t tried before, and shop till you drop. A day at Beringharjo Traditional Market is a sure way to enjoy Yogyakarta 🤗
Address: Jalan Margo Mulyo No.16, Ngupasan, Gondomanan, Ngupasan, Gondomanan, Kota Yogyakarta, Daerah Istimewa Yogyakarta 55122, Indonesia
Opening hours: 8.30 am – 9 pm daily
6. Kalibiru National Park
Kalibiru is arguably one of the most unique national parks in the world, as it was built entirely by the initiative of the local community. It was originally a badly damaged area due to irresponsible farming but thankfully with the help of locals and several non-profit organizations, it’s been refurbished as a state forest. Today, it is beautiful and green space with many local and international visitors.
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It has several dedicated photo spots, each with different views but no matter where you’re at, rest assured you’ll be able to get a wonderfully scenic view. With picturesque views of the mountains and lake, you’re guaranteed that picture-perfect backdrop 😍
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But, photo-taking is not the only thing you can do at Kalibiru. The national park also offers options for adventure activities like trekking, flying fox, and paragliding among others, and you are more than welcome to enjoy delicious snacks, food and drinks around the area. Head over to Muslim-owned eateries, Warung Makan Pawon Ndeso Kalibiru and Rumah Makan Gunung Rebab for a quick meal.
Address: Jl. Waduk Sermo, Hargo Wilis, Kulon Progo, Yogyakarta
Opening hours: 6.30 am – 5 pm, daily
Admission fee: IDR 10k per pax for entry; IDR 15k-35k per spot for access to dedicated photo spots and IDR 5k per photo to copy the photos taken by the official site’s photographer
7. Kraton Ngayogyakarta Hadiningrat
A trip to Yogyakarta is simply incomplete without a visit to the Sultan’s palace: Kraton Ngayogyakarta Hadiningrat; or in short, just Kraton. This palace complex is the official residence of the reigning Sultan and his whole family, as well as the centre of Javanese culture. In the area, you’ll feel the heartbeat of the Javanese people in Yogyakarta through the architecture, museum, traditions, and many more.
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One of the wonders of Kraton in Yogyakarta is the staff members, or as they are locally called, the “abdi dalem”. These are the fulltime workers of the palace complex, working exclusively and for the best interests of the Sultan and his family. Take time to capture their daily activities in the Kraton area and sit with them to listen to their stories, which are often enriching for the soul.
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Don’t forget to make time for the magical “wayang orang”, traditional dance show accompanied by full “gamelan” music held regularly on Sunday evenings. It’s free and open to public. Besides watching the show, have dinner in a royal setting at nearby halal restaurants, Ndalem Ngabean or Bale Raos Kraton.
#HHWT Tip: Be aware that visitors are expected to avoid any misconduct (e.g. littering, uttering swear words, and the likes) in the area.
Address: Jalan Kauman, Panembahan, Kraton, Panembahan, Kraton, Kota Yogyakarta, Daerah Istimewa Yogyakarta 55132, Indonesia
Opening hours: 9 am – 2 pm on Saturdays-Thursdays, 9 – 11 am on Fridays; cultural show areas are also open during show schedules (check online for the most recent schedules)
Admission fee: IDR 7k per domestic traveler or IDR 12.5k per foreign traveler for entry; site tour guide may charge another fee.
8. Jomblang and Grubug Caves
Jomblang and Grubug caves are unlike any other caves – they are vertical caves naturally formed due to the collapse and dissolution of limestone layers from the seafloor millions of years ago. Jomblang is now 60-metres deep and Grubug is 90-metre deep, and it’s the deepest vertical cave in Java 😱 To experience the best of the caves, you’d need to engage a local tour operator to head into the caves.
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As part of the guided tour, you’d get to go down into the caves and rest assured, there’ll be safety equipment such as helmets, shoes, and vests. Plus, did you know that proceeds from these guided tour fees go straight to helping the locals?
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If you’ve spent all your energy exploring the caves and feeling a little hungry, head over to nearby halal restaurant, RM Bu Tiwi Tan Tlogo and feast on their delectable traditional dishes.
Address: Jetis Wetan, Semanu, Gunung Kidul, Yogyakarta
Opening hours: 8 am – 2 pm, daily
Admission fee: IDR 500k per pax (on average) for guided tour to the two caves, usually starting from Jomblang cave and end at Grubug cave.
9. Pentingsari Village
Pentingsari may be a tourism village, it is always overlooked by visitors. Located in Sleman regency in Yogyakarta, it has green rice fields and cool rivers. You can stay at the guest houses run by locals here and of course, enjoy yummy local food too. Not only will you be able to experience daily activities of the locals, you’re also free to join them 😉
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With a back-to-nature vibe, this village offers so many Instagrammable spots, one of which is this happy, colourful backdrop 😍
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All in all, what you can enjoy in Pentingsari Village is some peace and quiet, and maybe the best way for you to rejuvenate amidst your busy schedules. After that, continue your journey to find halal food. Besides the available local eateries in the village area, you can also head to Omah Palgading Resto, which is well-known for their wonderful halal Javanese food.
Address: Pentingsari, Umbul Harjo, Sleman, Yogyakarta
So, what are you waiting for? It’s time get your cameras ready and head to Yogyakarta for an unforgettable vacation filled with gorgeous pictures!