people and cultures – inspiring journeys
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Central Java is home to the soul of Javanese culture and heritage. A visit to Yogyakarta will bring you to the ancient sites of 8th century Borobudur – the world’s largest Buddhist monument, and to Prambanan – the largest Hindu complex of Indonesia which dates back to 9th century.

Today, Islam blends into the layers of Kejawen culture where shadow puppet plays and the Ramayana perform at royal court rituals. The walled city of the sultan’s palace known as the kraton is a fascinating place to explore. The city is also filled with batik and craft artisans and has a great local street food culture.


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Located approx 1.5 hour drive north of Yogyakarta city. It is very worthwhile to overnight near Borobudur to allow easy early morning access. It is very special to experience first light before the bigger crowds of visitors arrive. There is also much to explore in the area so a few nights in Javanese countryside can also be very relaxing.

Borobudur Ship Museum – also located within the Borobudur grounds is very interesting to visit. Here you can see the Samudra Raksa, a replica of one of the ships found on the reliefs of Borobudur was created to retrace the ancient spice voyages from Indonesia to Madagascar.

Accomodations near Borobudur:

Manohara Hotel – located directly within the Borobudur has been undergoing renovations and no news yet as to when it will re-open.
However for those wishing to access Borobudur for sunrise need to enter via the Manohara Resto complex.  Sunrise entry tickets include breakfast or refreshments.  There is also a sunset package.

Other accommodations close by Borobudur:

Wanurejo Village:
a short drive from Borobudur is a peaceful village along the Progo River where you will find small hotels, homestays and artist homes.

Rumah Boedi  –  the feel of a private residence in nature.

Plataran Heritage –
a gorgeous property short drive from Borobudur in countryside:   Click Here


Try to visit Borobudur on weekdays avoiding the bigger crowds on the weekends.

Close by Borobudur, be sure to include a visit to the smaller temples of Mendut and Pawon which were on the ancient pilgrimage routes. You can explore this area by local horsecart. At Mendut, there are also the peaceful gardens of the Brahma Vihara Buddhist Monastery.

For an Introduction to Borobudur, CLICK HERE.

Prambanan Hindu Temple Complex:


Prambanan is located 18km east of Yogyakarta city, or a short drive from Yogya Adi Sucipto airport. (JOG) See more on new YIA airport below…

It is also very worthwhile to explore nearby Ratu Boko and other smaller temples such as Candi Plaosan.

For an Introduction to Prambanan, CLICK HERE.

Certain times of the year visitors can enjoy stunning performances of the Ramayana Ballet at the Prambanan open-air stage.

The link below includes more information on Borobudur as well as Prambanan:

Nearby Prambanan, also worthwhile to visit Kali OpakPak Suryadi’s place who offers an introduction to shadow puppets and where you can see his private keris collection. Pak Suryadi offers local youth training in the art of shadow puppetry and gamelan. Very nice for either lunch or tea. All the drivers will know this place.

NEW Yogyakarta International Airport-  YIA
has replaced the Adi Sucipto Airport ( JOG) in early 2020.
Approx 1.5 hours drive southwest of Yogyakarta City in Kulon Progo.
Traffic can be quite congested within Yogya city and eventually a train service will be available to the new airport.
Visitors to Borobudur will find the road conditions from YIA much calmer for now- also approx 1.5 hour drive, so visiting Borobudur from and to YIA will feel more convenient.

Transport  and Guide:

Reliable Driver in Yogyakarta:
Contact Pak Joko email:

Several good reports from the services of Pak Joko’s drivers but note that not all drivers may speak English.

An excellent local guide with great knowledge of archeology and local culture:
Contact Pak Imam by email:   who can also assist with transport.

Yogyakarta Accomodations:

Within the City:

The Phoenix
A Landmark Yogya Heritage hotel:

Budget accomodations:

Jalan Prawirotaman area is a travelers hub filled with small guesthouses and cafes.

Duta Garden Hotel and new Boutique Villa:
Tucked down a quiet lane in a garden off Jalan Prawirotaman.
The original budget Duta Guesthouse is right on Jalan Prawirotaman:

Via Via Cafe –  a few steps from Duta Guesthouse:
Travelers Cafe with information on Events and a Fair Trade shop:

Batik and Crafts:

Brahma Tirta Sari:  Learn about the work of Nia and Ismoyo who express their beliefs in the very essence of batik with stunning work on silk. Workshops also available at their new space:

Lurik Weaving:

House of Lawe is a project preserving the tradition of lurik hand weaving and women;s support group.
Showroom on Jl. Prof Dr. Ki Amri Yahya next to a contemporary art gallery.

approx 2 hours drive east of Yogyakarta. Also a comfortable local train ride.

Royal Surakarta Heritage Hotel:

In Solo, be sure to visit Museum Batik Danar Hadi to see an amazing private collection!

More on Batik:

Ann Dunham:  The Story of Obama’s Mother in Indonesia.
Her story is so unknown in the US and in the outside world.
Read: “The Singular Woman who raised Barack Obama”  by Janny Scott:

Ann Dunham’s Batik Collection at Textile Museum in Washington DC:

East Java, Mt Bromo and Ijen

Ijen Resort and Villas   at the foot of stunning rice terraces and Ijen Crater:

Nearby cross over to Northwest Bali on the local ferry close to Pemuteran and
Taman Sari for diving and snorkeling.


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