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Jogja, as Yogyakarta is universally known, is still ruled locally by a sultan, just one of many traditional aspects of life in this city of half a million. Not just the spiritual heart of Java, Jogja is the center for Indonesian culture from all across the archipelago. On any day, you'll see vast hordes of uniformed schoolchildren learning about the rich heritage of the diverse people's of the nation. Yes, many of the museums and displays have the stilted charms of attractions that are "good for you," but many more are surprising and entertaining. Gamelan music, batik textiles and shadow puppets are Indonesia's primary cultural icons. The ...

Jogja, as Yogyakarta is universally known, is still ruled locally by a sultan, just one of many traditional aspects of life in this city of half a million. Not just the spiritual heart of Java, Jogja is the center for Indonesian culture from all across the archipelago. On any day, you'll see vast hordes of uniformed schoolchildren learning about the rich heritage of the diverse people's of the nation. Yes, many of the museums and displays have the stilted charms of attractions that are "good for you," but many more are surprising and entertaining. Gamelan music, batik textiles and shadow puppets are Indonesia's primary cultural icons. The city has deep intellectual roots and the universities were the center of resistance to and revolution against the colonial Dutch. But it's also important to remember that Jogja is not just about authentic culture. It is also a modern Indonesian city for better and worse. Few places offer so much high-minded mixed with the low-brow. International chains proliferate. But just when you start to question the new, you can leave town for the old: UNESCO-recognized 1200-year-old Borobudur is not far down the road.

Ryan Ver Berkmoes
About the Expert

Ryan Ver Berkmoes has written many books for Lonely Planet, including Bali & Lombok and the Southeastern Alaska and Western Canada sections for LP's Canada guide.

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Ryan Ver Berkmoes for Triporati

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Facts at a Glance

  • Location: The Special Region of Yogyakarta is located on the island of Java. It is the only province in Indonesia that is still formally governed by a precolonial Sultanate.
  • Language: Indonesian, Javanese
  • Currency: Rupiah
  • Research: Wikitravel | Wikipedia
  • Current Time:

Climate

  • Best Time to Visit:

    The "wet" season (October to April) is only a bit more moist and not any cooler than the rest of the year.