Versi Bahasa Indonesia: https://indonesia.tripcanvas.co/id/jogja/tempat-wisata-alam-seru/
Written by Stephanie Peeters
Co-written by Matin Firas Harahap, Candice Neo and Dawn Pillay
Hidden natural attractions in and around Yogyakarta
For those wanting to go astray, how about wandering away from nicely paved roads and heading into the wilderness of Yogyakarta?
You may have heard about the extraordinary activities and attractions you can check out and considered planning an affordable weekend getaway there with your family and friends, but if you are a traveller who seeks to explore the unexplored nature, you’ve arrived at the right place.
Here, we’ll bring you on a journey to the hidden depths of Yogyakarta, bound to enchant you!
1. Cross a suspension bridge over crashing waves: Sinden Beach & Kalong Island
Up for some adrenaline-inducing adventure?
Photo via budi.bf
Sinden Beach is not your typical romantic white sand beach, but a rugged one flanked by a high cliff right next to the sea.
Photo via rezha_patty
You can explore the adjacent Kalong Island – an untouched coral island overgrown with wild flora – by crossing a suspension bridge high up with the ferocious waves crashing beneath you. As the sea breeze shakes the bridge and the salty waves kiss your cheeks, take every step with caution – one misstep can be very costly!
Photo via saiffuul
After you complete your thrilling journey, don’t forget to take a deep breath and admire the beautiful landscape all around you.
Are you up for the challenge?
Photo via titosuprayoga
There are many exotic secret beaches hidden around Jogja, and Watu Lumbung Beach is one of them.
Watu Lumbung Beach has very interesting rock and coral formations. Duck through a huge stone with a hole in the middle creating an arch and carefully pick your way over the rocks, this beach is surrounded by small green hills too!
Photo via jagadhj
There’s plenty of exploration to be had – just be sure to be really careful when adventuring through Watu Lumbung Beach.
Photo via simontoong
3. Surround yourself with the raw nature of Java: Air Terjun Kedung Kandang
You’ll stop in your tracks when you set your eyes on this jaw-dropping scenery. The combination of rice paddies, gently cascading waterfalls and turquoise water is simply idyllic.
The tranquil Air Terjun Kedung Kandang, located in the village of Mount Butak, cascades down 6 levels of the terraced rice fields.
You’ll only get to see this wonder of nature during the rainy season.
To get there, a bit of trekking is required. But don’t worry, it is a scenic walk along a nature path where you will be treated to views of the mountains, hills, rivers and farmers in the rice paddies. Make sure you bring water and light snacks along with you.
4. Did the Mayans visit Watu Giring?
This enchanting place is decorated with high limestone rocks, caves and amazing views.
The varying heights of the limestone rocks allow you to climb up to the top and gaze at the magnificent view. Watu Giring is actually a former mining site, but the stone structures resemble ancient ruins or even Mayan temples.
On sunny days, when the sky is clear blue, you can see Mount Merapi rise up in the distance – a stunning backdrop to an epic photo-worthy moment.
5. Sunrise and sunset from dramatic mountain peaks: Batu Miring
Batu Miring is the place to go for breathtaking panoramic views of Java Island. Go early to watch the enchanting sunrise colour the landscape or in the late afternoon to watch the sun set over the island.
Batu Miring is surrounded by endless mountains, limestone rocks and lush greenery. There’s no public transport here, so you’ll have to take your motorbike and drive up yourself for a good old adventure.
From the parking lot, a short 200-meter walk will lead you to the foot of the majestic mountain, Gunung Kukusan.
There are two paths to choose from, which lead to two different peaks. The path on the left leads to Dempok Summit and the other to Kendeng Summit, the highest peak of the two. From both summits, you will be mesmerized by the magnificent mountain views and the peaceful valley below.
Breathe in the fresh mountain air, listen to the birdsong and reconnect with nature!
If you’re here early in the morning, be sure to wear a sweater as it’s cold! You will surely enjoy watching the landscape rise out of the morning mist.
6. Hang on a Thread on a ‘Cable Cart’ at Timang Beach
Everyone knows that the Gunungkidul Region is home to the most beautiful beaches of Yogyakarta, including the Timang Beach, which is located 35 kilometres south of Wonosari. It exhibits a fulfilling sight of white waves crashing into coral stones and cliffs.
Photo via cendanaoktaviani
And that’s not all of it – if you’re an adrenaline junkie, you’ll love to try this out:
Photo via Yunaidi Joepoet
Visitors can test their courage by crossing onto Watu Panjang Island on a wooden ‘cable cart’ tied together on pulleys that are not made with the usual steel cables, but with fabric rope!
Photo via alvin.effendy
Originally used as a means of transportation by local lobster fishermen, those brave enough to endure dangling above treacherous waves can even bring back a lobster for dinner!
Photo via Listiaevalinas
Take a 1-2 hour’s drive westward from the city and you will immediately notice the decrease in temperature and vanishing buzz of motorcycles. So here, it’s all fresh, cool air and quiet roads – very much best for a retreat from work.
Past the hairpin turns and up the Menoreh mountain range lies Kalibiru National Park, which is built and run by the local residents since 2009, and is gaining a lot of attention from travellers everywhere.
Photo via Affi Nizar
Unlike most parks that offer the regular outbound activities, the rock climbing and tightrope walking at the Kalibiru National Park is fully scaled and comes with an amazing view from the top of a mountain.
Photo via: Nofendi Syaifudin, emelianalian
Photo via: MahardikaGilang
To finish it off, the flying fox ends at a deck on top of a tree with a view overlooking Lake Sermo, and if you are lucky enough, you might just see the white waves of the south seas crashing on sandy beaches!
Photo via: emelianalian, amala vika
8. Chill in a Lagoon by the Sea: Wedi Ombo Beach
Always wanted to take a relaxing dip in the ocean but end up getting washed to and fro by the constant waves? At the Wedi Ombo Beach in Gunungkidul, you can soak peacefully in the salt water as you watch the sun sink into the horizon.
Photo via a_revan
Surrounded by neatly stacked coral rocks, you might even start to think that the lagoon at Wedi Ombo Beach is man-made.
Photo via soga soegiarto
Be wary of the tide levels here though.
Photo via Syiwaaaank
Photo via Nita Thalia
High tides have been seen to overflow into the lagoon, bringing its violent waves along. In a worst case scenario, the sudden gush of water creates a current strong enough to pull people towards the sea, possibly hitting coral rocks and causing injuries.
Photo via ant_droid, Nita Thalia
9. Seasonal 45-meter waterfall oasis: Curug Setawing
Nestled in the Menoreh mountains lie a waterfall oasis called Curug Setawing. This stunning sight is located in the traditional Javanese village Jatimulyo, behind the market of Jonggrangan.
Curug Setawing has a majestic height of 45 meters and the water comes straight from the mountains, so it’s wonderfully cool and fresh. Take a swim if the weather allows it!
Curug Setawing is a natural sight that you can enjoy only during the rainy season. During the dry season, it’s almost a drought here!
From the parking lot, you’ll get to enjoy a scenic walk down that leads directly to the waterfall. On the way, you will be surrounded by beautiful lush green nature and emerald rice paddies. If you’re feeling peckish, grab a snack and drink from the roadside stalls and rest on the bamboo benches or gazebo while you take in the scenery.
To get there, prepare for a road that goes up sharply through Mount Menoreh. Make sure you get your motorbike ready before you go! On the way there, you will pass by mini waterfalls and caves that are well-worth a visit, such as Goa Seplawan and Goa Kiskendo.
10. Meditate Behind a Watery Curtain at the Luweng Sampang
Here, you can appreciate the contoured lines made by layers of rocks stacked thousands of years ago, only to be sculpted beautifully by the humble power of water, continuously running and eroding curves that resemble the canyons of Colorado.
Photo via: iqbal_musawa
Dip your feet and splash around in the cool refreshing water straight from from the mountains of the Sewu Mountain Range. Satisfy your curiosity and explore the chambers and tunnels hidden behind the eternal curtain of water.
Photo via serene.way_
Unlike most of its kind, Luweng Sampang is so secluded that you don’t need to pay an entrance fee, not even a donation for the upkeep (yet)!
So make time to visit this exquisite spot for some solitude while you still can.
Photo via a_adinugroho
11. Risen from the ashes: Plunyon Kali Kuning, Sleman
Plunyon Kali Kunung has been a well-known tourist attraction long before it was destroyed by Mount Merapi’s eruptions in 2006 and 2010.
Hot and cold lava had spread across these fertile lands, and the only thing surviving this catastrophe was Plunyon bridge and the dams.
Although the bridge carries scars from the eruptions, it still stands tall and is perfectly safe to cross. Don’t forget to stop for a photo opportunity here!
You can also trek, cycle and camp here too. The land is green again with scented pine forests, and the river flows gently through the scenic landscape with majestic mountains as the backdrop.
12. Of waterfalls and blue lagoons: Grojogan Lepo Dlingo
Grojogan Lepo Dlingo has three waterfalls that flow gently downhill, creating four natural pools coloured in different hues of calming blue.
You can enjoy a bath in the clear blue water while surrounded by lush tropical greenery and rocks. Climb up there only to jump back into the refreshing water!
But make sure you know where to jump! The first pool has a depth of two meters, just perfect for a cliff jump but the second is only waist-high. The third is a shallow pond with turquoise water and the fourth is also two meters deep but narrower.
You can even rent a tube to float away on the water.
The site is managed by the locals and it’s kept superbly clean. Around the pools, you can lounge around in the comfortable hanging chairs.
Feeling peckish? Sit down at one of the many roadside stalls and get a noodle soup and a drink!
13. Romantic scenic walk through heart-shaped bridges: Wisata Hutan Mangrove
Wisata Gutan mangrove, located near Congot Beach (7 kilometers away), is a wonderful place to visit.
Handcrafted bamboo bridges have been built among the greenery, allowing visitors to walk above the water in the mangrove swamp, which covers a total of 3 hectares. If you’re tired after a nice scenic walk, you can rest in the hanging chairs and snap some photos.
Photo via anwarroesdy007
Photo via intansaputri_
Photos via anwarroesdy007, pm747adventure
In the late afternoon, when the hottest time of the day is over, you can take a sunset walk over the mangrove with your sweetheart – it’s actually very romantic! Some bamboo bridges are even heart-shaped.
Photo via syivamld_
An intimate boat ride over the mangrove water costs only Rp. 5.000 (approximately USD 0.37).
14. Natural bath and waterfall ‘spa’: Blue Lagoon springs, Sleman
The crystal clear, turquoise-coloured water of these Blue Lagoon springs, also known as Tirta Budi, is a dream come true for every traveller.
These natural blue lagoons are fed by natural springs way up in the mountains and the water is super fresh and cool. Perfect for swimming during another hot tropical day in Indonesia!
You can hang around all day, swimming, climbing up the rocks and jumping into the water again and again. Massage your back with the natural waterfall and take in the peaceful natural surroundings as you relax in a gazebo by the side of a lagoon.
Want to meditate? The environment is perfect for total relaxation of the mind!
15. Fresh mountain air and the scent of pine forest: Puncak Becici
This secret of Yogyakarta sits high up on a hill in a pine tree forest. A beautiful ride from the city brings you to this secret spot in no time. Here, you get to breathe in the fresh mountain air, away from the noise and smog of the city.
Puncak Becici is managed by the locals independently, so your visit actually helps to support the local community.
From the parking lot, a 15-minute walk through the scented pine forest will bring you up to the hilltop where you can see magnificent views over the countryside of Java. On the way there, you will pass by little huts where you can buy some snacks, and if you’re tired, take a break on the pine wood benches or in the gazebos along the way. You can even enjoy a picnic stop in the wonderful natural surroundings of Puncak Becici.
The best time to go is in the early morning when you get to see a clear view of the city, rising up from the early morning mist.
On clear days, you can even see Mount Merapi and Mount Sindoro rise up in the background. If you drop by in the late afternoon, you’ll be greeted by a magical sunset view just before a sea of stars appears in the night sky. So romantic!
You can sit on the treetop platform for the best views and an amazing experience (and slightly scary for some) as you gaze down into the valley below. Prepare to wait for your turn for this photo opportunity – but trust us, it’ll be worth it! Along the way, there are many scenic spots perfect for Instagramming too – on the edge of the roadside (protected by an iron fence), in the gazebos or on the swings.
There is also a camping site on the premises.
16. See the sun rise over distant Borobudur and the city of Yogyakarta: Puncak Suroloyo
You’ve probably already visited Java’s main tourist attraction – Borobudur.
But surely, you haven’t seen these ancient Hindu temples from the summit of Puncak Suroloyo. It’s mystical, beautiful, and way less touristy than the temples themselves!
Puncak Suroloyo is the highest peak of the Menoreh Hills, 2000 meters above sea level. The best time to come here is in the early morning, just before sunrise. Watch the island get sprinkled in sunlight and you’ll see not just Borobudur but the city of Yogyakarta too, from high above in the clouds, surrounded by the hills and endless stunning tea plantations of Java.
There are three viewing posts at Puncak Suroloyo – Suroloyo, Sariloyo and Kaendran. To get to these peaks you have to walk up hundreds of steps, which are thankfully shaded by trees.
You can stay overnight at one of the basic yet charming homestays around Puncak Suroloyo, so you can catch an extra hour of sleep before dusk or dawn.
The best time to come is during the dry season.
17. Magical views of a tri-coloured lake: Telaga Biru Semin
In the hills of Bukit Ngentak, on the border of Central Java and 400 meters above sea level, lie this beautiful blue lake.
Telaga Biru Semin was formed by the white-stone mining in the hills of Candirejo. While the mining still continues today, travellers have started to discover this beautiful blue lake as a place of rest and recreation.
Tourism is slowly developing, which may put an end to the mining. The lake is stunningly blue and the ponds in the lake transform into different colours, so it’s a magical view to take in.
The blue lake is surrounded by lush tropical greenery, just the perfect setting for a day of ultimate relaxation.
18. Adventure on underground rivers: Kalisuci Cave Tubing
Here’s an underground river adventure that awaits you at Kalisuci Cave Tubing.
Watch a video here.
You will be going down the river, tubing and body rafting, passing caves and fast river currents while surrounded by raw nature. A true outdoor adventure indeed.
You’ll be equipped with a life jacket, headlamp, helmet, knee and foot protection and you will be accompanied by a guide.
This river adventure costs 70.000 (approximately USD 5.22) per person with a minimum of 5 people. Otherwise, the minimum price is Rp. 350.000 (approximately USD 26) for a private boat with a guide.
Complimentary noodles and hot tea are offered after finishing this river adventure.
19. Take in incredibly lush green views – Bukit Panguk Kediwung, Bukit Watu Lumbung
There’s something to be said of vast verdant natural views and how spectacular they are. Bukit Panguk Kediwung delivers that in spades and more.
Make your way to the viewing platform that will give you ample photos to fill your Instagram feed with. To get there, you’ll have to make your way through a winding path and similarly great views.
Photos via khalpong_, kondisikan
Once there, you’ll find that the winding stroll is more than worth it thanks to the unforgettable sight Bukit Panguk Kediwung provides!
20. Beach waterfall that flows directly into the sea: Jogan Beach
Hidden behind the Sewu Mountain Range lies a rarity that’s hardly seen elsewhere in Indonesia – a waterfall by the beach that falls directly into the sea.
Photo via DediWahyudi
Known as Jogan Beach, it sits humbly on the south coast of the Gunungkidul region of Yogyakarta, facing the vast Indian Ocean.
Located two hours’ drive away from Yogyakarta city, Jogan Beach is often overlooked by most visitors as it requires an additional several hundred metres’ walk from the more commonly known Siung Beach parking area.
Photo via Maspeot
Perfect for those looking for a bit of privacy.
The waterfall flowing into the sea is not just an astonishing sight.
Visitors brave enough can enjoy a freshwater shower beneath the waterfall by either rappelling or climbing down the rocks. But be careful – although the rocks have been installed with wooden hand-and-foot grips, they may still be slippery, especially during the rainy season.
Photo via yosafatyeka
The obstacles don’t just end there – past the jagged coral rocks is the habitat of thousands of tiny crabs that won’t hesitate to snip at your feet! They may be only a painless pinch at first, but a few dozen might just become a nuisance.
Are you still up for the challenge?
21. You don’t need to Visit Africa to See Sand Dunes: Gumuk Pasir Parangkusumo
Stare into the sunset as you recline back on sand dunes with your toes buried beneath the sand, as calming winds carve linear patterns as far as the eye can see. Here, time stands still and you forget that you are in Central Java.
Photo via Dune StefanusAjie
Photo via: bang tora
Ever wanted to try sandboarding? Save yourself from planning an expensive trip to Africa or the Middle East. Simply travel here in Yogyakarta for a more accessible alternative. You can also rent ATVs, and instead of camels, there are horse rentals too – so it’s time to unleash your inner Indiana Jones!
Photo via: purnomo paris beach, dwisaktisetiawan
And yes, you can also take pre-wedding photos here (many couples have done that before) – Gumuk Pasir Parangkusumo is a unique photogenic sight rarely found anywhere else in Indonesia.
Photo via: prewedding poetrafoto
To end the day, you can head over to the nearby infinity pool of the Queen of the South resort and enjoy the sunset.
Photo via: jessinovia, tintinpic
22. Descend into Jurassic Park at the Jomblang Cave
Jomblang Cave was formed thousands of years ago when a patch of land measuring 300 metres across dropped into a sinkhole. Till now, the vegetation in the cave consists of weeds, mushrooms, ferns and even large trees that remain untouched and preserved over hundreds of years.
Photo via: Fakhrul Aizat
Descending down to almost 80 metres from the mouth of the cave, you can start to smell the damp aging trees standing by layers of rocks built up over the centuries, both a thrilling and exciting experience!
Photo via: JetjepRusyandi
During the right time of the day (somewhere between 10am to 2pm), the sun’s rays shine through the opening, illuminating the forest below, creating a mesmerizing sight to feast your eyes on.
Photo via: Zexsen Xie
Because of the remote location and limited daily visitors, make sure you make a reservation with the contact person for a tour package (including transportation) beforehand, since not many locals know about the place. Bring spare clothes to change into, including an extra pair of socks, unless you don’t mind lugging a smelly lump of dirt home.
Check out Firsta’s blog about her Jomblang cave experience!
23. Daredevil’s Trek Towards a Mystical Cave: Langse Cave
(Warning – this trek is extremely dangerous. We do not encourage readers to try it unless you are very experienced in rock climbing in dangerous places.)
Self-proclaimed adrenaline junkies might even think twice before jumping onto this one – the path to the Langse cave has claimed countless number of lives over the years, but that still hasn’t stopped the most dedicated monks from reaching their sacred place for meditation.
Stretching about 750 metres in length, the pathway might not seem to be much of a difficulty at first. Visitors are greeted with a stony pathway surrounded by vegetation. After that comes very short and steep staircases along the sides of limestone cliffs and a 400-metre-drop into despair on the right. So, a flat but very narrow ledge equipped only with wooden handles nailed on the walls is what stands between you and the cave.