Yogyakarta is a perfect weekend getaway for people living in Singapore and other surrounding regions. However, to make the most of the city in such a short span of time, you must have the right plan in place.
Below I have created a simple four days three-night itinerary to help you explore all the vital points of the city when spending a weekend in Yogyakarta. Here, you must note that the best time for visiting the city of Yogyakarta is during the dry months between April and October. This would ensure that your plans don’t get impaired due to heavy rains.
Day 1 – City Tour;
Day 2 – Borobudur Temple and Prambanan Temple;
Day 3 – Goa Jomblang; and
Day 4 – Candi Ratu Boko.
Witnessing the mesmerizing sunrise from the Borobudur Temple.
The Borobudur Temple, which was built during the ninth century, is the biggest Buddhist temple in the world. To witness the amazing sunrise you’ll have to reach the temple by around 4.30 am. The sunrise in this part of Indonesia takes place usually between 5.15 am and 5.30 am. So, to see the gradual change in the colour of the sky, you would need to reach the place around an hour before the sunrise. Borobudur is located around 40 km away from the city of Yogyakarta, which makes it a 1 hour 15 minutes’ drive from the city center. This means, your ideal starting time from the city should be around 3 to 3.15 am in the morning.
For the general public, the temple complex opens at 6am i.e. almost half an hour after the sunrise. The only way you can view the sunrise from the temple complex is by buying a special package offered by Manohara Hotel; the package would allow you to enter the temple complex from 4.30 am. You will have to spend 400,000 IDR or around $31 USD for buying the package. Here, it must be noted that staying at the Manohara hotel is not mandatory for participating in this paid tour.
Sunset in Prambanan Temples.
Ideally, you should reach Prambanan by 3 pm. This would allow you to have enough time to explore the entire compound and prevent you from being late for the sunset.
Prambanan covers miles of parkland and consists of numerous temples; it’s the biggest temple complex in the country (Indonesia). The trees enhance the beauty of the place even further by adding a sense of calm and serenity to it. The densely carved towers made out of dark stone are, however, the actual attractions of this temple complex.
Goa Jomblang or Jomblang Cave.
You will need around 1 hour 40 minutes to reach Goa Jomblang from Candi Ratu Boko by car. This attraction consists of a series of beautiful caves. Make sure you reach the place by 9 am in the morning to make the most of your visit. That’s because you would need to leave the city on the same day. The highlight of the trip would obviously be the visit to the main cave, which has a massive hole in its roof. The hole allows sunrays to enter the cave and light it up, creating a truly spectacular view for the onlookers.
Candi Ratu Boko.
Candi Ratu Boko is situated on the hills overlooking the Prambanan Temples. If you stayed back in Prambanan during the previous night, you will need just 20 minutes to reach Candi Ratu Boko by car the next day.
Candi Ratu Boko is basically the remains of a destroyed half Hindu palace. The Palace premises cover a huge area and a guided tour can offer you some amazing information about the country’s culture and history. Many people give this site a miss as it’s much less talked about compared to other two temple complexes of the area, Prambanan and Borobudur. There is a large field (padang) within the palace complex where locals go for a picnic. You can bring along your lunchbox and sit by the field for people watching, relax and enjoy the surrounding view.
Where I stayed – Tentrem Hotel.