Written by Junanto Xu
Co-written and edited by Beverley Lennon
Need an adrenaline kick? Set your sights on Yogyakarta. Mountain hiking, coming face-to-face with crashing waterfalls and spectacular sunrise views. Crossing rugged waves, exploring majestic underground caverns and discovering mystical temples. These are just a few of the adrenaline-pumping activities that help make Yogyakarta top the list of best places to have an adventure vacation in Indonesia. Sounds rough? Then consider that, at day’s end, hot showers, ice-cold drinks, and feather beds await you in one of the city’s comfortable hotels.
If you ask us, this is pretty impressive for a city that’s better known for history than for adventure. With our 4D3N adventure itinerary around Yogyakarta you get to enjoy thrilling extraordinary experiences that challenge you without, well, depriving you.
Hey there! Do you want a convenient way to make this 4D3N trip happen? Look no further than Klook! Their services range from private car charters to customisable tours around Yogyakarta and much more!
Our one-stop guide to Yogyakarta for first-timers – things to do, where to stay, eat, shop, and more!
Yogyakarta and Central Java road trip: Scenic landscapes, mountains, secret beaches and sea of clouds!
From the most surreal UNESCO heritage sites, exotic caves, spectacular waterfalls and breathtaking beaches to thrilling ATV rides at Asia’s most active volcano and so much more, this must-do itinerary lets you discover the best natural and cultural sites of Yogyakarta.
Throughout the trip, you will also be able to unwind with a massage, shop for local souvenirs and indulge in authentic traditional food made with love! You better be ready 😉
Getting to Yogyakarta
Direct Flight from SGD 76
Take AirAsia, SilkAir, Singapore Airlines, or Garuda Indonesia from Singapore Changi Airport to Yogyakarta Adisutjipto International Airport. (Flight Time: ~2h 10 min)
Direct Flight from RM 256
Return flight starts at Rp. 680,000 (USD $45.80) via Lion Air, Sriwijaya Air, AirAsia (1 hour 10 minutes flight)
a. Executive: From Rp. 285,000 (USD $21)
– Departs from Gambir Station (Central Jakarta), and arrives at Tugu Station (City centre of Yogyakarta, about a 7-hour ride)
b. Economy: From Rp. 145,000 (USD $11) – Seats are cramped, and not recommended
– Depart from Pasar Senen Station, and arrive at Lempuyangan Station (about a 7-hour ride)
Discover a crashing waterfall and bask in glorious sunset views at a world heritage site!
📍Once at the airport
Want to stay connected with your loved ones and share your adventures? Get a local 3G/4G SIM Card from Klook and pick it up upon your arrival at Yogyakarta Adisutjipto International Airport to enjoy nationwide coverage! Once done, meet your driver for a convenient private airport to hotel transfer !
Ladies and gentlemen, welcome to Yogyakarta. We have landed at Yogyakarta Adisutjipto International Airport and you may now switch on your electric devices to peek at TripCanvas’ 4D3N Yogyakarta itinerary!
To immerse in the local way of life, you will enjoy your first day with a scrumptious lunch with beautiful views of Mount Merapi, explore a scenic waterfall and tick off the famous UNESCO-inscribed Prambanan temple at sunset. But, that’s not about it…
Have a taste of luxury with spectacular views only at the Abhayagiri Restaurant. Here, the view of Mount Merapi and Prambanan Temple from a distance will surely upgrade your whole dining experience. Wondering what’s good? We’ve often heard about their roasted salmon and mutton rica-rica!
Photo Via Blardanaa
Well traveller, it’s time to officially begin your adventurous journey with a visit to the secluded yet exotic Luweng Sampang waterfall, otherwise known as the city’s miniature Grand Canyon!
Here, you’ll be totally fascinated by stunning terrains that have been carved for centuries by the natural process of water erosion. Remember to soak up in the cold, crisp water to wash out all your tiredness after the flight.
Photo Via Iqbal_musawa
When in Yogyakarta, it’s often highly recommended to watch the sunrise at Borobudur Temple and catch the sunset at Prambanan Temple, Indonesia’s largest Hindu temple. Like Borobudur Temple, Prambanan Temple is also recognised as a UNESCO World Heritage Site. At the complex, you’ll find several individual temples surrounding one large towering central building and it is set on an expansive ground.
If you’re looking for a value-for-money option to visit the temple, check out Klook’s sunset tour and enjoy a hassle free experience with their convenient hotel pick up and drop off! You can also sign up for the Ramayana Ballet Performance to witness an epic story of Javanese culture!
We recommend you to reach here before 4.30pm to secure the best sunset spot and once at the temple, opt for a guide while visiting so as to get the real essence of the history and culture of this legendary Hindu temple. We did not manage to get a guide when we went so the experience was unfortunately not as culturally immersive as we hoped it would be!
Photo Via Goodsceneryco, Danang
Enjoy enviable views of the city when you dine at The Manglung. You’ll have a drop-dead accompaniment to local Indonesian cuisine. The venue is ideal for a romantic occasion or simply to enjoy a meal with a picture-perfect backdrop. If you’re lucky enough, you might get to relish on a sea of clouds in their airy setting. A feast for both eyes and stomach!
Photo Via Waris_sambodo, Wow_java, TripCanvas
We’ll bet this is one of the best yet most affordable gelatos you’ve ever tasted. For less than USD$2, you’ll get an enormous cone with two scoops of delicious gelato (you get to choose from more than 15 flavours), which they claim is made from 100% pure fruit with no added colourants and preservatives.
Our favourite: The Speculoos and Passion Fruit sorbet.
P.S. We loved this so much, we actually came here thrice!
Photo Via TripCanvas
Why travel far to seek tranquillity amidst nature when you can find it at Greenhost Boutique Hotel? Surrounded by refreshing hydroponic plants and lush hanging vines, this is where you get to check into a tropical haven. Besides a strategic location, the eco-conscious hotel also guarantees comfortable rooms!
TripCanvas Tip: Recommended for your whole trip (3 nights)!
Photo Via Adhyatama, Algaartalidia
Other hotel recommendations:
1. Budget travellers’ best option: Trava House
Photo Via Rindanisjunaida, Tmuslich
2. A night in Paris: Lafayette Boutique Hotel
Catch an iconic sunrise and adventure your way around Asia’s most active volcano!
Time to step into the real adventure. Start off the day with a mesmerizing sunrise at the famed Borobudur Temple before going on an off-road jeep tour around the majestic Mount Merapi. We’ve included some time for shopping and incredible local food spots too!
TripCanvas Tip: Do remember to pack your breakfast beforehand!
You must have heard that Borobudur Temple, also a UNESCO World Heritage Site, is a must-see if you are in Yogyakarta. We second this, and don’t forget to choose the sunrise tour! As the sky starts to lighten, the stupas turn into different hues with the sun rays reflecting and piercing through.
From our past experience, we would highly recommend you to book a sunrise tour package from Klook, which includes pick-up from your hotel at 3.30am (to reach the top of the temple by 5am) and drop-off services. It’s completely worth it. You will also be given a torch to help you climb the stairs followed by snacks and souvenirs!
If you prefer skipping the crowd at sunrise, you can also opt for a day tour to Borobudur Temple!
We highly recommend you to opt for a guide so as to truly immerse in the cultural experience and learn about the history of Borobudur Temple – the largest Buddhist monument in the world. When we were there, our guide was very knowledgeable and provided us with a lot of historical context so we could better appreciate the culture! (Note: Local guides are available at the temple itself.)
Photo Via Travelplusstyle
Have a fast-and-furious racing experience at the slope of an active volcano by riding a thrilling ATV! This exciting race is going to take you to witness Mount Merapi’s volcanic aftermath and show you just how powerful and majestic nature can be!
If you’re ready for such wild ride, why not opt for a hassle-free option and book your jeep tour with round trip hotel transfers from Klook?! Or simply get their Borobudur sunrise and Merapi Jeep tour combo for an all-in-one experience!
Photo Via Noveriarasyida
You must have heard all about the popular Indonesian buffet concept – all-you-can-eat, and just inform the cashier what you took to get the final price. And guess what, this must be one of the very best local buffets we had in Yogyakarta. It’s packed full of locals (yes, even on a weekday morning!) and of course the best seats are right outside by the rice paddy fields.
For the main courses, the Nasi Megono is what attracts the crowd here – rice cooked in seasoned coconut milk, mixed with vegetables and salted fish. Top this with their local in-house vegetable soup and don’t miss on their sambal (local chilly sauce) and tempeh!
P.S. We LOVED their Pisang Goreng (fried bananas), and don’t miss their signature Kopi Klotok! In fact, almost everything here tasted good to us, it was worth the queue!
Photo Via TripCanvas
Dip into refreshing clear oasis – Blue Lagoon (1- 2 hours)
The location’s name itself has an exotic appeal so just picture its looks! Jump into an azure clear lagoon for languid relaxation at this hidden oasis! The cold crisp water is pretty appealing to combat Yogyakarta’s heat and this natural habitat homes a school of fish too!
Photo Via Dita_angga_prastya
Get to know the quirkiness and wonders of Jogja at the legendary House of Raminten. Here, everything from the cuisine, interior, tableware to atmosphere portrays the local Javanese culture. Try their recommendation – crispy fried chicken, topped with sweet-and-sour sauce, that will seriously get you making newtravel plans to Jogja. And here, the drinks come in giant glasses!
The traditional Javanese music in the background adds to the ambience; waiters are dressed traditionally and on weekends, you’ll be able to catch their performances too.
Photo Via Adecheers
Take ‘a walk to remember’! – Malioboro (2- 3 hours)
Take a stroll along the famed Malioboro street to feel the liveliness of a night in Jogja! Here hunt for whacky souvenirs at Hamzah Batik and Danar Hadi, they have a collection of affordable to luxury high-end batik pieces from dresses for women to shirts for men. We personally felt Malioboro was a bit touristy (with lots of touristy knick-knacks), but these two quality batik shops are must-visits!
Don’t forget to drop by Lesehan Kopi Jos Lik Man to try out their exotic charcoal coffee (drink with moderation)!
Photo Via Savina_wong82_, Anggirika27
Immerse in a live culinary experience – Gudeg Pawon (1.5- 2 hours)
Just like you must try Nasi Lemak when you are in Malaysia, you must taste the legendary Gudeg in Yogyakarta. Gudeg Pawon is a legendary supper spot where locals and tourists alike seek to try the most authentic flavour of gudeg – rice covered with stewed unripe jackfruit, skin cow, boiled egg, chicken and more!
We were surprised to find that it’s a local’s house, and there was already a queue outside! A few steps later, we were right inside the kitchen, and it was burning hot, but the flavourful smell of the broth boiling and rice cooking kept us going!
We were not used to it at first – it was a little too sweet, but I must say, Gudeg has an acquired taste on the tongue, so after a few meals, we grew to enjoy it! But if you have a sweet tooth and love Indonesian spices, you would fall in love with it.
TripCanvas Tip: Be there early (by 10pm) or you risk to be the last one in the queue and possibly miss on a few items. We reached at 10.30pm and the chicken was already sold out!
Photo Via Hendrikferaldy, Gregorius_k
🚨Attention to all foodies!
Do you like to taste the world and join savoury journeys? Yogyakarta is a top foodie destination! Don’t miss on signing up for a food tour with Klook, with options ranging from day to night tours! Yumm!
Explore Yogyakarta’s most breathtaking natural sites!
Let’s keep the adventure rolling by exploring a mystical cave and beaches that were made for the adrenaline-seekers! You’ll also enjoy some relaxing time at Jogja’s most exclusive spa!
Start your day off with a splash of colour – Via Via (1- 2 hours)
Get ready for your adventure by having a hearty breakfast in this fun and colourful cafe that serves up great food and a fun spirit!
Via Via is famous for its wide collection of artisan breads, and for good reason – the falafel pita and melt in the sun sandwich will definitely make your day! We personally loved indulging on their smoothie bowls after several days of local food (which we loved too of course, but we needed some variety! ;)).
Photo Via Liapicauly, Aristya_vita
If you are up for some adventurous activity while in Jogja, give cave tubing a go. Although many might refer you to Goa Pindul Cave Tubing, we highly recommend Kalisuci Cave Tubing instead – it’s less crowded, less touristy and has clearer waters!
We had so much fun on the tube but had to be very careful where it got rocky – we even got stuck and fell out of our tubes but the guides accompanying you will always be nearby to help.
Throughout the whole tubing experience we passed through majestic caves with lush greenery for approximately 40 minutes.
Note: This activity is suitable for those above 12 years old, and we recommend it to people who are physically fit and adept at swimming.
Photo Via Kalisucicavetubing
If you love adventures and caves, this is one you must not miss in Yogyakarta. From the cave, you will be able to catch its light from heaven, piercing through metres and illuminating the depths of the cave with fairy-like rays – that’s what so many tourists flock here for! The vertical cave is about 60 metres down from where you will be geared up with necessary protection.
If you want to secure your spot for this thrilling activity, check out Klook private Jomblang Cave tour and enjoy a hassle-free option by skipping the long queue at the cave entrance. This includes a guide, lunch and more!
Photo Via Zexsen-Xie
Yes, this is the famous Timang Beach, where you can sit in a cable cart and be pulled across the sea, with the fierce crashing waves beneath you. Once a hidden spot, it’s now popularised after being featured on Korean variety show ‘Running Man’. We did both the cart and walked across the suspension bridge – it was a little scary walking across the raging waters but fun!
You can also opt to witness the natural beauty of Yogyakarta and visit three of the city’s gems in just one day with Klook. Join a tour that brings you to Timang Beach, Pindul Cave and Pengger Pine Forest to tick off your bucket list!
Photo Via Yangchang28
Introducing the one-and-only beach with a glass-bottom terrace – Nguluran! Come and test your inner acrophobia by standing above the open sea and watch the waves crash against the cliffs! Can you feel the adrenaline rush?!
Photo Via Jogjaimages
Dinner is a royal affair at Bale Raos (1.5 – 2 hours)
Want to know where the royal family used to dine at? Well, you may not be able to dine at the same spot, but here in Bale Raos, you can taste the same royal cuisine that was served to the Sultan’s family.
Photo Via Abiananthra, A2photography_indra, Andi_n_s, Pingkolie
Reward your tired muscles – Monggo Relax (2 hours)
After three long days of adventure across Yogyakarta, what could be better than a good relaxing traditional Javanese massage to relieve all of your stiff muscles? This spa is so exclusive, they only welcome 4 guests at a time! Get ready to be pampered in this small but charming environment.
We recommend making an appointment before your visit, as they are pretty popular and they only have 4 private treatment rooms!
Photo Via Junanto Xu
Take a step in the old Jogja and shop for souvenirs!
What better way to conclude this adventure than with traditional food, iconic historical places and some last minute shopping? We’ve got you covered!
Visit the oldest Gudeg seller in Jogja (with a recipe over 80 years old) – Gudeg Mbah Lindu Sosrowijayan (1 hour)
For your last breakfast here, pay a visit to the century-old Mbah Lindu who has been serving traditional gudeg since the colonial era! Although sometimes her daughter takes over the stall, you still get to taste the savoury and delicious gudeg made the old-fashioned way! (We did not manage to meet Mbah Lindu herself too, sadly!)
The sauce is creamy and spicy, the chicken is soft and falls apart easily as it soaks up the broth (if you opt for porridge instead of rice) while the egg is boiled to perfection! If you are for trying gudeg in Jogja (and you should!), this is one of the best stalls we recommend!
There are two Gudeg stalls on the road at Sosrowijayan – the other one is named Gudeg Mbak Lindu. But Gudeg Mbah Lindu is the legendary one that we recommend here!
Photo Via Vico.kuliner, Tasteofjogja, Mseputra
The location used to be a meditation and resting spot, but Taman Sari is now known to be an iconic historical remain where travellers can relive the glorious past of Yogyakarta’s royal family. The architecture here is a good mix of eastern and western, with an almost similar look to the riads in Morocco or beautiful temples of Jaipur too!
Photo Via Hotelrengganisyogya
Go on a final shopping spree to Pasar Beringharjo (1- 2 hours)
Before heading to the airport, make a non-so-quick stop at Jogja’s oldest traditional market, Beringharjo. This market (almost a century old!) offers tons of traditional handicrafts, merchandise and garments that will satisfy any last minute shoppers out there! We personally loved their artistic collection of bags at very affordable prices and bought quite a few each!
Note: The souvenir market is on the left of the wet market (Pasar Beringharjo).
Photo Via TripCanvas
Have an extra day?!
Sign up for a day trip to the well-known Dieng Plateau with Klook! (Many people did this and loved it!)
Best time to travel
Most recommended time to visit:
The best time to visit Yogyakarta is between late March and April, as it is right after the rainy season (not too hot). (Note: We once visited in April for 20 days and though it was hot, it was bearable and we only had two rainy days!)
The peak season is during June to mid-August, and December to early February, so you can expect crowds!
September to November is the hot season, which you can consider too if you don’t mind the heat! (Note that some waterfalls might be dry when it’s too hot.)
Least recommended time to visit:
The rainy season is from early March to mid-March.
Avoid the month of May as lots of students come to the city for college applications!