Nearly a half million people call the town of Yogyakarta home. The city is a mecca for arts, culture, education and shopping, as well as a gateway to some of the nation’s most impressive and historic temples. Three days in Yogyakarta is enough time to explore the city, get out of town, and make a trek to at least some of the major attractions nearby.
Day 1: Visit the Largest Buddhist Temple on Earth
Rise before the sun and head to Borobudur, a UNESCO World Herritage site that’s also recognized as the largest Buddhist Temple on Earth. Watch golden rays peek up above towering stupas and take the day to explore the 2,500 relief panels and 500 statues of Buddha that make this one of the most decorated temples on earth. Spend a couple of hours wandering the two museums that are located on site and included in the cost of admission.
Day 2: Hike Mt Merapi
Set another early alarm and venture to the Mountain of Fire—Yogyakarta’s most active volcano—at 1 a.m. The impossibly early start time insures travelers catch the rising sun as it lifts above the mountain’s peak. Hire a guide to help navigate the trails, which can be challenging in the dark, and revel in the beauty that’s Indonesian hillsides waking up to brilliant morning light.
Day 3: Explore Yoyakarta
Because it’s one of the oldest cities in Indonesia, travelers will find plenty of historic sites tucked between more modern establishments. After stopping by the famous sultan residence—a peaceful palace that proves a welcome escape from city hustle—venture to Benteng Vredeburg. The Dutch fort near the Presidential Palace is the perfect place to learn more about the nation’s colonial past. Afterwards, check Imogiri, located just southwest of town. The vast graveyard is the final resting place of numerous royal families and nearby craft villages are the perfect place to pick handmade souvenirs.