Yogyakarta, the cultural city

Yogyakarta (also Jogjakarta, or Yogya and Jogja for short) is the capital city of the Yogyakarta Special Region (Daerah Istimewa Yogyakarta) in Java, Indonesia. It is famous for its tradition, culture, and arts. It is every traveler’s paradise and shopper’s delight. When visiting this cultural city, make sure you do not miss these 8 must-visit spots.

Malioboro Street

Malioboro Street is the biggest shopping street in Yogyakarta. Around one-kilometer long, Malioboro Street offers  different choices of shops, hotels and restaurants for its visitors. The shops vary from traditional local shops, to big shopping centers. Local vendors are spread along the sidewalks in Malioboro, and you can choose from many types of souvenirs: batik clothes (traditional cloth painted with wax), wayang (Javanese puppets), and much more.

Kraton Yogyakarta

Kraton Yogyakarta (or ‘Yogyakarta Palace‘ in English) is the heart of Yogyakarta. It is not only a palace complex, but also where the Sultan of Yogyakarta and his family live. Be prepared to be amazed at the Dutch-style stained-glass windows which decorate the palace, or the intricately decorated roof and marble floor. Here, you can find several small museums which display artifacts from the different sultanates, as well as other Javanese artifacts from different eras. You can also find old photographs of former Sultans of Yogyakarta.

Taman Sari Water Castle

Taman Sari is a water castle located approximately two kilometers south of Kraton Yogyakarta. It is an old royal garden built in the 18th century. The complex includes a workshop area, a resting area, a meditation area, a defense area and a hiding place. Basically, Taman Sari can be divided into four different zones: the Segaran Lake area in the west, the Umbul Binangun bathing complex to the south of Segaran Lake, the Pasarean Ledok Sari and Garjitawati Pool in the south of the bathing complex, and the remaining parts of the complex.

Prambanan Temple

Being one of the largest Hindu temples in south-east Asia, Prambanan Temple was also believed to be the testimony of love from a powerful young man named Bandung Bondowoso to Princess Roro Jonggrang. The temple itself was built in the 10th century as an tribute to Shiva. Visitors will be mesmerized by its many magnificent structures. The temple opens daily from 7:30 am to 5 pm. Tickets are classified by domestic or foreign visitors. The latter are charged USD 18.

Borobudur Temple

Borobudur Temple is clearly the crucial destination to visit when in Yogyakarta. Being the largest Buddhist temple in the world, visitors will be delighted with a breathtaking view from the top of this 800-AD temple. Beat the crowds and the heat by visiting the temple at sunrise, at approximately 4:30 am. The local guides will help visitors understand the ornately decorated relief walls around the temple. Foreign visitors are charged USD 18 to enter.

Ullen Sentalu Museum

The Ullen Sentalu Museum is a private museum on art and Javanese culture. It is situated in Kaliurang, Yogyakarta. Established in 1994, the museum belongs to four of the central kingdoms of Java: two kingdoms in Yogyakarta and the other two in Surakarta. It displays a wide range of paintings, artifacts and relics from royal houses and palaces (kraton) of Yogyakarta, Surakarta, Pakualam and Mangkunegaran.

Mount Merapi

The beautiful yet terrifying Mount Merapi is the perfect tourist attraction for adventurous travelers. This very active volcano in Indonesia has erupted 68 times since 1548. Dare to hike the mountain to shoot spectacular photos while grooving on amazing scenery. A ticket booth is available before the village of Selo, and it is the only way to hike to the summit of the mountain. Most climbers start their hike at 1 am to be able to reach the summit by sunrise at 5:30 am.

Beringharjo Market

Being the oldest market in Yogyakarta, Beringharjo Market upholds the town’s historical and philosophical values. It is a multi-level market with diverse sellers, offering different items from fabrics, clothing, herbs and spices, to wedding supplies and souvenirs. It is also the land of batik in Yogyakarta, especially inexpensive stamped batik (batik cap). The market opens daily from 7:30am to 4pm. Visitors are advised to bring cash and to utilize their bargaining skills when shopping in the market.

source : http://theculturetrip.com/

The best place in Indonesia is not only Bali

If you come to Indonesia, do not forget to visit the best places below.

When we think about Indonesia, we often think about Bali. But Indonesia is much more than that. It’s a country rich in cultural diversity, home to around 300 ethnic groups and 700 languages. It is one of the largest countries in the world, counting around 17,500 magnificent islands, some of which are still unexplored. This list will explore the top ten places to see while you are traveling across the country.

Dieng Plateau, Central Java

Formed after the eruption of the mountain Prau, the Dieng Plateau is a caldera complex situated at 2,000 meters above sea level. Its location makes it one of the coolest destinations in Indonesia, and the change is easily noticeable coming from the surrounding lowlands. The major sights to visit there include a multicolored lake, a hot spring, breathtaking sceneries from the peaks and ancient Hindu temples. Different in character from the rest of Java, trekking through the lush rolling hills, passing by beautiful plantations, and breathing in the fresh air while looking at the mountains in the horizon, is one of the most fascinating journeys to be taken in the area.

Lake Maninjau, West Sumatra

A little off the beaten path, in a region where many unspoiled natural wonders can still be found, lies the beautiful Lake Maninjau. The lake is located in a volcanic crater, 461 metres above the sea. To reach the end destination, the journey involves negotiating 44 hairpin turns on the steep road down from Bukittinggi. With all the twists and bends, the ride can be eventful, but with the breathtaking views over the blue lake and the surrounding hills, it is worth the effort. The lake Maninjau is one of the most serene and quiet places in the country, far away from the hustle and bustle of big cities. The area is one of the best spots to relax, restore inner peace and live a slow paced life.

Thousand Islands, DKI Jakarta

Who would have thought that heaven on earth could be so easily accessible from the overwhelming capital city of Jakarta? Just a 90 minutes speedboat ride from the marina in Ancol lays the beautiful Pulau Macan, namely the Tiger Island. For breathtaking views, crystal clear water, white sand, great snorkeling spots in a well preserved environment, mouthwatering and fresh food, and a chilled atmosphere, this is the place to be. There is one resort on the island: the Tiger Islands Village & Eco Resort. The staff there makes sure everything is provided and runs smoothly. The resort engages in conservation activities by planting corals and mangroves, aiming to be a model for other eco-resorts nationwide.

Yogyakarta and Surroundings, Central Java

It would be no exaggeration to say that Yogyakarta is the arts and culture and culinary hub of the island of Java. Days could be spent exploring its streets in search of the best batik, puppet makers, gamelan concerts, food vendors, street art and much more. But it does not end here. The city is also the main hub for the more historical Java, constituting the perfect base to go explore the nearby temples of Borobudur and Prambanan. Dating back to the ninth century, the former is one of the oldest Buddhist temples, with more than 2,000 relief panels and 500 Buddha statues. Dating back to the same time, the latter is a Hindu temple where you can enjoy beautiful evening dance performances staging the Ramayana, one of the greatest Hindu epics of all times.

Komodo Island, East Nusa Tenggara

Close to Timor Leste, the Komodo Island is home to one of the most fascinating creatures on earth: the Komodo dragon. The dragon is native to Indonesia, and these islands are the only place where they can be found living in the wild. It is the largest lizard in the world, sometimes growing as tall as three meters long and weighing up to 70 kilograms, with sharp claws and poisonous saliva. Their natural habitat is the tropical forest where they live in groups. The Komodo National Park is a protected site in Indonesia, and it has become illegal to hunt or harm these deadly dragons. With the permission of the local government, local and foreign tourists alike visit the islands every year.

Bandung, West Java

Bandung, commonly referred to as the Paris of Java, is a green and cool city situated in West Java. Scenery lovers will be delighted with the breathtaking views, especially around the tea plantations, volcanoes, and Kawah Putih – the turquoise sulfur lake. And food lovers will fall in love with all the culinary delicacies. Bandung is famous for its cuisine, and many locals from all around the country go there just for the food. The city is also a commercial one, where cheap fabrics can be bought from the markets, and fashionable branded clothes from the outlets. Last but not least, it is a great place to enjoy the traditional music of Sunda played with the local instrument called angklung.

Lombok Island, West Nusa Tenggara

Similar in density and size to neighboring Bali, and sharing some cultural heritage, Lombok has developed as one of the main tourist destinations in Indonesia. It is around Senggigi that most facilities have developed, and it also from there that the three very popular Gili Islands – Gili Trawangan, Meno and Air – are most commonly accessed. Even though they can be said to be increasingly changing in character, the Gili Islands still have enough diversity to provide for all tastes. From luxury resorts, to laidback backpackers’ retreats, the islands have it all. Other tourist spots south of Lombok include Kuta Beach, famous for its quasi-deserted white sand beaches, and as one of the best surfing spots worldwide, and Mount Rinjani, an active volcano.

Manado, North Sulawesi

Formerly used as a Dutch stronghold, and cultural center of the Minahasa ethnic group, Manado was, for a long time, a prosperous city trading with neighboring Philippines, and the rest of the world when it came to spices. However, most of the older buildings did not make it through WWII. The city is still worth a visit though as it is home to the biggest and most important churches in the region. Contrary to the rest of Indonesia, which is predominantly Muslim, Christianity here is the main religion. Other interesting sights include the impressive Lake Tondano and Lake Linow, the nearby volcanoes, and the Christ statue in a flying posture in the Citraland Park.

Pontianak, West Kalimantan

The second longest in the world and the longest in Indonesia, the Kapuas River in the jungles of Borneo brings you all the way into the hinterlands, home to the indigenous Dayak people. Deep in the rainforest, traditional ways of life have survived throughout the years. In an incredible natural setting, rich in diversity, boat rides starting from Pontinanak are the ideal way to explore the region. You can also experience the Dayak way of life by staying in traditional longhouses. In the villages, elders still use traditional medicine, perform rituals, mark bodies with intricate tattoos, and wear heavy earrings. Borneo is also the best place to spot black orchids, orangutans, and fresh water dolphins.

Raja Ampat, Papua

Situated in Papua, the archipelago of Raja Ampat, comprising more than 1,500 small islands, is a diver’s dream destination. The underwater scenery is incredibly beautiful, and includes one of the richest coral reef ecosystems on earth. It also includes around 1,300 different species of fish, 530 species of coral, and around 700 species of mollusk. The islands remain remote, and are hard to access, which makes them relatively undisturbed by human activity and expensive to get to. But for divers, this place is highly recommended.

source : http://theculturetrip.com/