Photo: Gifts for friends back home.

Things to see and do

Yogya's student scene

Yogyakarta is home to the highest concentration of universities and higher education colleges in Indonesia and is renowned across the country as a scholastic hub. While most travellers aren't keen to hit up a Biology 101 class on their holiday, the huge concentration of students has created a hip scene that is worth checking out, especially for those travellers who may still be students ... Read more about Yogya's student scene .

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That's largely because the Kraton is still used as the current home for Yogyakarta's sultan, Hamengkubuwono X, so most areas are off limits. The lack of informative signs is also a problem. However, the large open-air pavillions for cultural performances are quite beautiful, and if you are lucky, you may catch a puppet performance or a dance show on some mornings. The schedule is very fluid. ... Read more about Kraton (Sultan's Palace) .

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The small complex hosts several bathing pools, canals, as well as rooms used for leisure and relaxation by the Sultan and his family — and also, allegedly, secret rooms for his concubines. No swimming is allowed, not matter how tempting the water looks. The European-styled complex, built in the 1750s and adorned with Javanese motifs, has the potential to be jawdropping, if only more ... Read more about Taman Sari (Water Palace) .

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The historic bird market might be a bit of a shock for those who have never set foot in a crowded and dirty Indonesian traditional market, but the rows and rows of wooden traditional bird cages make it a great haunt for photographers. It's also much cleaner than some of the other traditional markets around town. Located close to the Kraton and Taman Sari, it's worth a visit. But it has to be ... Read more about Pasar Burung (Bird Market) .

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There's also a large shopping mall, Plaza Malioboro, and the government tourist information office. At the market, you can buy batik fabric by the metre as well as readymade clothes. There's also an array of handbags (many masquerading as designer brands), shoes and more. Upstairs, there are spices for sale and some antiques. Most of the batik at the market is of the mass manufactured type, ... Read more about Jalan Malioboro and Pasar Beringharjo .

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10km south of Yogyakarta

It is also historically significant as the site of the capital of the ancient Mataram Islam kingdom. Traditional Javanese architecture abounds, and it's also possible to see how batik and silverware are produced using methods passed down through generations in small stores and workshops, often built in the front part of people's homes. Around 10 kilometres south of the city centre, Kota ... Read more about Kota Gede .

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40km from Yogyakarta

While there are no written records that detail the construction of Borobudur, it is believed to have been founded and constructed in the 8th and 9th centuries during the height of the Sailendra dynasty in central Java and the building is thought to have taken around 70 years to complete. Within a century of its completion the site was abandoned. While the reasons for the abandonment remain ... Read more about Borobudur .

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15km from Togyakarta

Home to some 224 individual Hindu temples, Prambanan is the largest complex of its kind in Java. Three main towering constructions dominate the park, which lies 15 kilometres from Yogaykarta, and these are the Brahma, Visnu and Ciwa temples. Prambanan is the legacy of the original Mataram empire, which established itself as a powerhouse in Central Java around 732AD, before being overthrown ... Read more about Prambanan Temple Complex .

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But if you're craving some sea air, this black volcanic sand beach can put on a spectacular sunset. It is a fun place to spend a quiet hour or so, eating corn cobs cooked over charcoal on the sand, flying kites or taking rides around on horse-drawn carts or horseback and wandering through the small village. But this beach is not safe for swimming, so don't even think about it. The strong ... Read more about Parangtritis Beach .

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Where to next?

Where are you planning on heading to after Yogyakarta? Here are some spots commonly visited from here, or click here to see a full destination list for Indonesia.

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