Traveling will become unique and memorable once you immerse yourself in cultural experiences and discover the destination’s historical heritage. Two famous areas known for their rich traditional cultures and activities in Indonesia are Central Java and Yogyakarta, providing a complete paradise for culture seekers alike. With their historical landmarks, intricate batik arts, and delicious culinary dishes, you can directly observe the locals' livelihoods and understand the beauty within the area.
So if you want to take a new approach to a cultural trip, here's a list of 7 top cultural activities you can savor in Central Java and Yogyakarta.
1 | Morning breakfast with Borobudur view and a touch of Javanese culture
Though you might not be an early bird, catching a stunning sunrise while having morning breakfast in the view of Borobudur will surely be worth going out of bed early. Nothing is more beguiling than to sight the bright hues of the sun as it unveils near the tier silhouettes of Borobudur.
Once you have enjoyed the spectacular sight in the morning, you can continue your cultural experience with a tour of the Buddhist temple discovering its origins and history. Learn the tale behind the majestic landmark built during the Syailendra dynasty's reign as you hear more Javanese stories.
2 | VW Tour to Karanganyar village and learn to make pottery
While you are still on your cultural trip to Borobudur, why not add Karanganyar village as your next destination? Just 3 km away from the grand Borobudur temple, Karanganyar village offers a beautiful natural landscape exhibiting the Menoreh Hills. The area is also a popular place to buy as well as learn to make the village's authentic pottery as they are well-known for making these handicrafts. You can get a closer look at how locals do their daily activities as you learn the intricacy behind their pottery craftsmanship. To add to the excitement, we also recommend you and your family to take a VW tour as you wander around the area and experience cultural tourism like never before.
3 | Enjoying the marvelous sunset at Ratu Boko
If you think you'd enjoy the sunrise at Borobudur, wait until you catch a glimpse of the sunset at Ratu Boko! Prepare to be mesmerized as you set your eyes on the panoramic view, situated just 3 km away from Borobudur Temple. Before observing the area during the golden hour, you can learn about this monument's background history and uncover its hidden legends.
Constructed in the 8th century AD by the Syailendra dynasty, the story began with the Buddhist regime bringing the monument to life. However, they were overshadowed as the Hindu Mataram Kings overpowered the dynasty. Due to this, Ratu Boko has architectural elements of both Buddhist and Hindu references. Learn similar facts like this by unraveling the stories behind this historical landmark.
4 | Learn how to make Batik and try on traditional Javanese clothes
It wouldn't be a cultural trip without learning how to make Batik in Yogyakarta. This beautiful piece of art is crafted using wax and dyes to create dots widely arranged with stunning patterns. Though many tourists buy intricate traditional batik as souvenirs, a handful of others prefer making batik to add to their cultural tourism journey.
There are multiple spots in the area that facilitate this cultural activity. However, one popular site for batik workshops is the Tembeh village, just around 10 km from Malioboro.
To add to your cultural experience, you can also have a photoshoot wearing traditional Javanese costumes at Yogyakarta's famous batik store, Hamzah Batik. The traditional nuance of classical Javanese in this store is perfect for capturing memorable moments. So after having a shopping spree in Malioboro Street, you can go to its photo studio while wearing your newly owned batik.
5 | Taste the delicious Indonesian food at Nanduto Home Cooking
When you stroll around Yogyakarta, you will discover mouth-watering foods in their legendary hawker stalls just waiting for you to try. On the other hand, if you want some Indonesian comfort food with a modern touch, then Nanduto Home Cooking is the spot to go on your cultural trip. Numerous delicious menus are offered, from the city's famous gudeg to satay. Take a bite of Yogyakarta's authentic foods, and you'll find out why they are craved by so many.
6 | Fun sandboarding at Gumuk Pasir Parangtritis
Spike your adrenaline with some sandboarding at Gumuk Pasir Parangtritis. Situated just 700 m from Parangtritis Beach, this tourist attraction offers an enthralling experience as you sandboard the hills of Gumuk Pasir Parangtritis. You can rent a sandboard and explore the sand dunes all day long.
Keep in mind, the sun becomes blazing hot in the afternoon. So it is recommended to go there in the morning or late afternoon. This area also provides a stunning Instagrammable location to add to your photo album. Whatever the reason, the place is perfect for your next thrilling activities.
7 | Enjoying afternoon coffee at Filosofi Kopi or taste the yummy gelato at Tempo Gelato
Cold refreshing afternoon coffee is perfect after your travel around Yogyakarta and Central Java. Coffee lovers are recommended to try a cold brew from Filosofi Kopi, a famous coffee shop created by the movie flick of the same name. Located at Jl. Pandhawa No.001/17, Filosofi Kopi offers city vibes that you can enjoy while sipping their delicious cup of manually brewed coffees.
Fill your sweet cravings in the hot summer travels with some gelato in Yogyakarta. Though there are several locations of Tempo Gelato in the city, try visiting the one located at Prawirotaman and get your scoop of this famous sweet tooth delicacy. A cultural trip to Yogyakarta is incomplete without it!
Immersing yourself in a country's diverse culture will gain a sense of respect towards locals and their traditions. With a plethora of cultural experience to explore in Central Java and Yogyakarta, your future travel will be more exciting and inspiring. So, what are you waiting for? Already have your itinerary planned out for your next cultural trip?
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