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Water Castle (Taman Sari)
Water Castle (Taman Sari)

Water Castle (Taman Sari)

Jalan Taman (Kraton), Yogyakarta, Indonesia

The Basics

Taman Sari is easy enough to visit independently, but time-pressed travelers or first-time visitors may prefer to visit as part of a Yogyakarta tour that features other historic and regal attractions such as the Kraton (Sultan’s Palace) and Kota Gede. Some Yogyakarta tours also cover the Borobudur and/or Prambanan temple complexes in addition to the downtown sights. Sadly, swimming is not allowed in the bathing pools where the sultan and his concubines once frolicked.

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Things to Know Before You Go

  • Taman Sari is a must for history buffs, photographers, and anyone with a passion for architecture.

  • There's a small charge to enter Taman Sari, with an additional token fee to bring a camera.

  • The name “taman sari” means “beautiful garden,” although Taman Sari is also called “Water Castle” for an old Dutch article that referred to it as a “waterkasteel.”

  • The pools we see today are only a small part of the original Taman Sari, which once included a vast artificial lake and a complex of pavilions and pools.

  • Taman Sari is unfortunately not fully accessible for wheelchair users.

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How to Get There

Just west of the Kraton, Taman Sari sits in the heart of downtown Yogyakarta, close to other historic attractions. It’s an easy and scenic walk from the Kraton, and the district around is fascinating. However, some prefer to beat the heat by picking up a becak pedal rickshaw on the street.

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When to Get There

Taman Sari is open from morning to early afternoon seven days a week. The underground mosque in particular is an extremely popular selfie destination, with long, patient lines at most times of day. To beat the biggest crowds, eschew weekends and public holidays, and arrive soon after opening in the morning.

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Sumur Gumuling: The Underground Mosque

Perhaps Taman Sari’s most unique attraction, Sumur Gumuling (Coiled Well) is a selfie mecca for its five M.C. Escher–style stairways, which may represent the five pillars of Islam. Most believe this extraordinary underground structure with its circular atrium was originally used as a mosque—after all, the acoustics are perfect for a call to prayer.

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