Yogyakarta is not the prettiest girl in town, but you will surely find some hidden gems if you decide to spend some time here. Undiscovered by tourists, this city boasts of unique sights and attractions. Friendly people, local food, synagogues with muslim prayer and incredible art are keywords describing this lovely city. Check out our recommended itinerary below on how to spend 3 days in Yogyakarta, Indonesia.
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3 days in Yogyakarta, Indonesia
Most tourists skip Yogyakarta and head directly to the white sandy beaches of Bali. However, if you look beyond the blue paradise that Bali offers, you may stumble upon a few cool places in Yogyakarta as well. What surprised us the most, was how few other tourists we saw.
Yogyakarta, also known as Jogja, is located on the island of Java. It is often described as the cultural heart of Indonesia, with unique landmark temples, art schools, markets, forests and mountains. It was a great starting point for our Indonesian adventure. Even though we are not huge fans of historical sights, it still gave us a good introduction to Indonesian culture 🙂
Day 1 – Exploring the City
We recommend starting your first day off with a little city exploring. Yogyakarta has tons of city highlights such as street art, markets, food stalls, a unique underground mosque with more. What truly surprised us about Yogyakarta, is how few other tourists we saw, and how incredible friendly the locals are.
When in Yogyakarta, you simply can’t miss the famous Maliboro Street. Food vendors, art shops, souvenir and clothing stores – you name it! Before you know it, you have spent hours pacing down the popular shopping street.
Try looking for some murals whilst walking down the street as well. Yoygkarta is known for their creative hub, and you can therefore spot some pretty impressive street art pieces if you look around.
If you are into art, we highly recommend you to visit the local art school. It is located a block from Maliboro Street. Here you can both see and learn how they make the impressive traditional Bukit. They hold classes, and you can of course purchase one or two pieces of your own 🙂
Tip! Try to avoid the locals asking you to visit their art shop. These are mostly scams, and if you would like to buy a Bukit – please check out the local art school and support them instead.
Taman Sari Water Castle
This stunning complex opens at 9am, and is one of your highlights during your 3 days in Yogyakarta, Indonesia. This place is known as the Sultan´s garden in Yogyakarta. It was originally built as a place to rest, to work, to meditate, to hide and the defend the family of the Sultan. Today it is the home of many locals, and a resting and bathing space.
A place for Princesses to bathe and to be ‘hunted’ by the Sultan
Entrance fee: 33,000 IDR for 2 persons, including photo
Underground Mosque – Sumur Gumuling
From Taman Sari, you can locate the underground tunnel and begin exploring the underground mosque. Previously, the tunnel worked as a hideout, but not it is used by both residences and tourist to get around the complex.
This is without a doubt one of the most interesting places in Yogyakarta. Once you enter, there are walkways leading you to the center of the mosque. The centre is three stairs forming a pyramid shape with a huge open ceiling.
You should plan to spend between 60-90 minutes for both Taman Sari and Sumur Gumuling 🙂
If you would like to continue exploring the grounds of Taman Sari and Sumur Gumuling, there are some impressive ruins to check out as well. You can walk between rocks and stones, and enjoy the beautiful rooftop views of Yogyakarta.
Day 2 – Mountains and Viewpoints
On your second day in Yogyakarta, we recommend to explore the cooler mountain sides of Yogyakarta. You can rent a driver for the entire day, and this should cost you approximately 800-900K for 12 hours. We drove all the way up the mountains, and the views are truly mesmerizing. Our favorite spots are Becici Peak and Serebu Batu.
Kindly note that this isn’t the most authentic experience, as most of the viewpoints are made to attract tourists. It is a great experience, but it might be a good choice to prioritize something else if your are short on time 🙂
However, if you are looking to maximize your instagram game, then look no further. Check out our Instagram guide below for 6 amazing spots you can visit during this day!
TIP! Rise super early to enjoy the amazing sunset from the top of Yogyakarta.
Read more: 6 Instagram Spots in Yogyakarta, Indonesia
Day 3 – Borobudur and Prambanan
By now you hopefully have an idea on how to spend 3 days in Yogyakarta, Indonesia, and we have as always saved the best for last. Please promise us that you include a visit to the famous temples of Borobudur and Prambanan. These grounds are magical, and simply can’t be missed!
Rise and shine at 3am for one of the best sunrise experiences in Indonesia. Overlooking lush, green fields and distant mountains, makes this temple nothing but spectacular. The temple itself does not open before 6am, and you therefore need to have prebooked your tour in advance. We had our hotel organize it all. Make no mistake though: the sunrise at Borobudur Temple is one of the most popular tours on offer in Java, and it is crowded!
Entrance ticket: IDR 950.000 or USD 70 incl. breakfast (2 persons)
Read more: Sunrise at Borobudur Temple, Yogyakarta
Since we are talking about sunrises, we also need to talk about sunsets. And what better place to enjoy it than from the top of a temple? This is definitely one of the highlight from how to spend 3 days in Yogyakarta, Indonesia Travel Guide.
We arrived at Prambanan temple at 4pm, which allowed us approx. 1 hour the explore the grounds before sunset. There are a lot of other tourists and locals here as well, but not nearly as bad as other temple grounds we’ve been to.
The entrance ticket includes a welcome drink, and also make sure you roam through the local market on your way out. There are local handicrafts, clothes, painting and other things being sold.
Entrance fee: 350.000 IDR per person + 15.000 IDR for parking.
Read more: Sunset at Prambanan Temple, Yogyakarta
Recommended hotel: Grand Aston, Yogyakarta