Yogyakarta (often shortened to Yogya or Jogja) is one of Indonesia's oldest cities. It's a hub for Javanese arts and culture – you'll see intricately carved, weather-beaten stone temples and hear the chimes and gongs of open-air gamelan music shows. Traditional Javanese dancing and shadow puppets bring the region's heritage to life with vibrant and memorable performances. Alongside its ancient roots, modernity thrums through the city's streets, with numerous cafés and bars catering to its student population.
There are plenty of Yogyakarta hostels throughout the city centre, close to main attractions, with a mix of traditional and contemporary design. Stay in a serene Yogyakarta hostel with classic Javanese wood carvings, a Dutch colonial house or a poolside bungalow. Choose from mixed or female-only dorms and private rooms, some with playful touches like murals or a slide. Staff can usually help arrange transport and tours and hostels sometimes offer car and scooter rental if you'd rather drive yourself around. For the eco-minded traveller, you'll find complimentary vegetarian and vegan food and unlimited mineral water refills.
The core of the city is Jalan Malioboro, a long street which includes several city landmarks. It's always busy and you can buy everything from traditional crafts to street food here. The neighbourhood around Prawirotaman is known for arty cafés and boutique shops, while European-inspired Kotabaru has Dutch colonial architecture. Quirky Sosrowijayan has plenty of hostels, as well as lively bars and shops.
Yogyakarta is full of art and Indonesian culture. You'll see royal treasures at the ornate Palace of Yogyakarta, an expansive complex constructed in 1755 that's still in use by the Sultan today. For souvenirs such as handmade leather goods and batik fabric, visit the city's busy markets. You can discover Yogyakarta's modern face at contemporary Jogja National Museum (as well as exhibitions, performance art and rock concerts) or explore Indonesia's struggle for independence at the Fort Vredeburg Museum.
Adisucipto International Airport is a 25-minute taxi ride from Yogyakarta centre. You can also take bus number 1A to the Malioboro area, which takes around 40 minutes. Yogyakarta Railway Station (Tugu Station) has links to Jakarta, Bandung and Surabaya and is located in the city centre. Giwangan Bus Terminal connects the city to numerous other Javanese destinations. Within Yogyakarta, you can easily walk between many attractions, catch a local bus or hail a metered taxi.