Ways to Experience Javanese Culture in Yogyakarta

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Jakarta might be the capital of the Indonesian island of Java, but Yogyakarta is its historic and cultural heart. Here’s how to experience Javanese culture and traditions while visiting “Yogya.”

  • Visit Borobudur Temple and Prambanan Temple—both UNESCO World Heritage Sites—on a group or private tour from Yogyakarta.
  • Shop for Indonesian handicrafts such as batik and pottery at the atmospheric Pasar Beringharjo and Pasar Klithikan Pakuncen markets.
  • Tuck into delicious street food such as bubur ayam (chicken porridge) and fish dumplings along Malioboro Street.
  • Explore the markets and artisan workshops of the Kota Gede neighborhood, renowned for its silver craftsmanship.
  • Marvel at Javanese art and cultural artifacts during a tour of the Ullen Sentalu Museum.
  • Cycle around Yogyakarta’s rural villages, historic temples, and rice fields on a scenic bike tour. 
  • Attend a traditional dance performance, Ramayana ballet, or a Wayang Kulit show—a shadow puppet show accompanied by an Indonesian orchestra.
  • Ride around the city in a traditional becak (cycle rickshaw) or andong (horse-drawn cart), and hop off to explore the Kraton Sultan Palace and Taman Sari Water Castle.
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