The city of Yogyakarta in the cultural heartland of Java was chosen at no. 20 by The New York Times among the paper’s recommended “52 Places to Go in 2014”.
Embellished with a large panoramic photograph of the mighty Borobudur temple, The New York Times had this to say:
“A volcano, a temple, a shrine
and now a place to stay.
This central Javan sultanate draws crowds for its proximity to bewitching attractions: the monumental, wedding cake-esque Buddhist temple Borobudur, the soft-serve-ice-cream-shaped Hindu shrines of Prambanan, and pre-sunrise hikes to summit Indonesia’s friskiest volcano, Mount Merapi (which most recently erupted in 2013). But finding a decent room has never been easy, until now. Thanks to tax breaks for hotel development, 20 new starred hotels, to complement the city’s existing 30, will open through 2015. Among them are Zest Hotel (a Swiss-Belhotel brand) in 2014 and, according to a director of the Tourism Promotion Agency of Yogyakarta, three new properties from Accor, whose brands include Sofitel and Ibis.— SANJAY SURANA”
Located in the shadows of the active Merapi Volcano, Yogyakartais a pleasant city, seat of the Sultan of Yogya. Imbued with Javanese cultural traditions, Yogya’s royal palace carries a visitor back to a past era of refined behavior, of deep philosophical thoughts, grace and serenity.
Today surrounding the palace, Yogya is a bustling university town and also a popular tourist destination, great for its culinary dishes and shopping for hand-drawn Batiks and fine silverwork. A few hours ride from here is the wonderful Buddhist Borobudur temple on a hill that was a site for pilgrimage. And a little further away are the elegant Hindu Prambanan temples built in the 9th century. Here, the magnificent Ramayana epic is re-enacted on a giant stage every dry season, with as background the full moon slowly rising above the slender temple structures.
Mount Merapi which erupted violently in 2010 has now also become a favorite adventure destination where tourists can witness first hand lava flows and the devastation wrought by one of nature’s most awesome powers.
Photo CourtesyJustin Mott for The New York Times
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