Luxury holidays in Yogyakarta
The name’s pronounced ‘Jogjakarta’, with inhabitants calling their home simply ‘Jogja’. The clear draws are the city's royal palace, colonial architecture, and traditional arts and crafts, such as gamelan music, Javanese shadow puppetry and classical dance. Away from these touristy pleasures, visitors can make the most of finding themselves among so many students, joining up for short courses in language or dance. Better still, explore the 500,000-population city on random excursions, shopping, eating and relaxing like a local. Beyond the city limits, the ancient temples of Borobudur and Pramnanan provide a fascinating glimpse of times past. The architectural heritage of the centre was largely spared by the 2006 earthquake, but in residential areas, recovery is still ongoing.
When to go
Daily temperatures don’t vary wildly, but if you want to catch festival time, hit the city during high season (June–October).
PlanesDomestic Indonesian airlines such as Garuda, Lion Air, Adam Air and Batavia Air run daily flights from Denpasar (Bali), Surabaya, Balikpapan, Jakarta and Lombok to Yogyakarta’s Adisutjipto airport. Arrange airport transfers in advance with your hotel.
TrainsIf you’re travelling to Yogyakarta from one of Java’s major cities, and time is absolutely on your side, a scenic rail route is feasible. Tugu, the central train station, has good connections with Solo, Surabaya, Jakarta and Bandung. Ring Yogyakarta’s train information line on (+62 (0)274 514270) for details. If you’re coming from Jakarta, the Argo trains are by far the best and most comfortable, getting you to Yogyakarta in seven or eight hours, instead of the usual 10–12 hours.
AutomobilesIn Yogyakarta, taxis are cheap and plentiful, but if you want to explore the villages and temples beyond the city, a car is useful; rent your wheels from Avis (www.avis.co.id), with self-drive or chauffeur options on offer.
TaxisWithin the city, metered taxis are abundant and relatively easy to flag down. After dark, minimum fare is Rp 10,000. Traditional means of transport like becaks (three-wheeled pedicabs) and andongs (horse-drawn carts) are quaint and fun for a quick whirl. Feel free to haggle enthusiastically: tourists are overcharged, more often than not.