Photo: You don't get more Javanese than buying a blangkon on Yogya's Jalan Malioboro.

Jalan Malioboro

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If the Kraton (Sultan’s Palace) is Yogyakarta’s heart, Jalan Malioboro is its main artery, pumping 24/7. This heaving boulevard, Yogyakarta’s main thoroughfare, runs on a north-south axis that follows an important mystical line in Javanese cosmology, linking Mount Merapi, the Kraton and the southern ocean.





Originally conceived by Sultan Hamengkubuwono I (who reigned 1755-1792 and is considered Yogyakarta’s founding father), it was a ceremonial route for royal processions running from the palace towards the sacred mountain. Ironically today, this busy one-way street runs in the opposite direction, although we have heard rumours that plans are afoot to remove motorised vehicles altogether and turn it into a pedestrian thoroughfare.

Puppets for sale along Jalan Malioboro. Photo taken in or around Jalan Malioboro, Yogyakarta, Indonesia by Sally Arnold.

Puppets for sale along Jalan Malioboro. Photo: Sally Arnold

What is essentially one street running just over two kilometres from the Tugu monument in the north, to the Kraton in the south, actually has a few different names, however these are modern designations as is “Malioboro”. We’ve found numerous versions of the etymology of the name Malioboro. The most romantic (yet unlikely) is that it comes the Sanskrit “malya bhara” meaning bearing garlands, fitting with the notion of a flower strewn royal cortège. We giggled at the joke that it’s a contraction of modern Indonesian slang “mari yok borong” which translates to something like “come on, let’s shop”.

Starting at the northern end of the city centre, a leisurely wander to discover the delights of the Jalan Malioboro is a way to spend a pleasant couple of hours. The Tugu monument (at the intersection of Jalan Mangkubumi, Jalan General Sudirman, Jalan PM Sangaji and Jalan Diponegoro), was erected to mark the founding of Yogyakarta in 1755. The current obelisk is not the original, but a replacement re-erected by the Dutch in 1889 after it was damaged in the 1867 earthquake. The locally iconic but not hugely impressive monument is a popular selfie stop for local tourists. Moving south, the Yogyakarta railway station (formally Tugu Station), built by the Dutch, has been welcoming visitors to Yogya since the ... please log in to read the rest of this story.


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Location map for Jalan Malioboro

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