With two days in Yogyakarta, you can do more than just check off the region’s signature temples—Borobudur and Prambanan—and sample the city’s delicious street food. Natural attractions such as the sacred volcano Mt. Merapi and majestic Jomblang Cave come into reach. Here are our top tips for a 2-day itinerary.
Day 1: Temple Touring
Morning: The 8th-century Buddhist temple of Borobudur is a UNESCO World Heritage Site, and watching the sun rise over the misty jungle as its sacred spires come into view is an experience that easily repays the early start. Explore the temple and perhaps some nearby villages, too.
Afternoon: Head back closer into Yogyakarta town to explore the vast Prambanan temple complex, another UNESCO World Heritage Site, albeit a little younger than Borobudur. A guide can accompany you around the complex’s star attractions, particularly Prambanan itself, Indonesia’s answer to Angkor Wat.
Night: After watching the sun set behind Prambanan’s spires, settle in for a timeless performance of the Ramayana Ballet, a retelling of ancient Hindu myths and legends using dance, drama, and music. Savor dinner as brilliantly costumed dancers replay the ancient epic.
Day 2: Natural Adventures
Morning: Start the day by discovering the sacred slopes of the ancient volcano Mt. Merapi. Sunrise hikes can be magical, if energy permits, or tour the lava-strewn slopes by 4WD. Some Merapi packages include trips to one of Yogyakarta’s signature caves, such as Jomblang or Pindul.
Afternoon: Make your way back into the city and explore its historic heart: the Yogyakarta Palace, the royal cemeteries, the silversmithing old city of Kota Gede, and the crumbling water gardens (Taman Sari). A becak (cycle rickshaw) is a classic way to discover Yogyakarta’s old quarters.
Night: Yogyakarta’s street-food scene is known across Indonesia. Discover classics like gudeg (jackfruit stew) or nasi kucing (rice parcels wrapped in banana leaf) as you stroll Jalan Malioboro—or join a tour for insider info. Wrap up the evening with live music in one of the city’s bustling, grungy bars.