One thing that has inspired me to create this blog was this conversation with my ex-coworker who was based in Malaysia and planning to travel to Yogyakarta some time in this month.
She was interested in visiting Bangka-Belitung Islands after she saw my pictures on Facebook, but then as it turned out the ticket to Bangka-Belitung was quite expensive when she was about to book it. Since she would come to Indonesia for her husband's business travel anyway, they decided to re-route their destination to Yogyakarta (or Jogja, if you please!) and she asked me what is it there beyond the temple as they have been there before and they want to explore more.
Sure, if we talk about Jogja, I think Borobudur temple as the world's biggest Buddhist temple will be the first to come to mind. The second one will be Prambanan temple, the Hindu one. For some domestic tourists, of course they also set Malioboro in mind as the perfect place to shop and buy some souvenirs. And for the international travelers, Yogyakarta is probably known as the cultural capital of Java as well.
But what's beyond that?
The Beauty of Yogyakarta
To be fair, after the booming of Ada Apa Dengan Cinta 2 (AADC2) The Movie, Indonesian tourists and some others from Malaysia, Brunei or Singapore already have some places in mind to visit Yogyakarta. The movie itself, ironically, I haven't watched it yet so I kinda have no idea what places there are to visit according to it. :p
But for others who are like my coworker (she's a Japanese woman married to a French guy btw!), I suppose she's got the idea about how worthy it is to visit Jogja, yet she doesn't know yet about what more Yogyakarta can offer than the temples. So here I am, hoping that this post will give you some ideas what to visit in Yogyakarta! 🙂
What's Beyond the Temples?
Yogyakarta, in my opinion, it has its own beauty they can offer in which they have cultural sites like the temples or kraton. Kraton itself is a castle whereby the sultan lives as Yogyakarta is a special region whereby the Sultanate has existed since a long time ago. Hence, the kraton and the monarchy in the region.
However, apart from that, Yogyakarta has also so many natural beauties that it can offer. To name a few, it has Kalibiru and Gua Pindul (Pindul Caves) to offer. But in this post, I will focus on some beaches along the southern coast of Yogyakarta. Located in the district of Gunung Kidul, it takes around 1.5 hours by car or motorbike from the city center. You can easily rent a motorbike and a car (plus driver!) from the city center with affordable price!
The standard price to rent a car there was around IDR 250,000 plus driver (minus tip for the driver), although you could also rent a motorbike for less than IDR 100,000. If your budget is limited and you can rely on your skill at reading map or GPS, then you could always choose the latter. 😉
There are at least 4 beaches that you could visit in the southern coast of Yogyakarta, those beaches that I have visited as below.
The first one is Krakal Beach, a white sand beach providing some areas similar with some small rocks. Krakal in Javanese itself means small rock, so it is only understandable that the beach is named after the similar shape of areas.
To get to this Krakal beach, each visitor needs to pay the ticket for only IDR 2,000/pax. I mean, for those who earn USD, the price would be pretty much like heaven since it would be equal to less than 2 cents!
The next beach you could also visit is Drini Beach, the beach with a small island floating in which somehow reminds you a bit about Ha Long Bay. Although instead of a bay, it's a beach!
What a stupid statement, isn't it? :p
At Drini Beach, you don't have to pay for the ticket except for some parking ticket (around IDR 5,000 per car) but you need to buy something to get to sit under the umbrella by the beach
and also to look a little fancy at the same time. So then we decided to buy coconut for only IDR 10,000.
Our next destination after Drini was Sepanjang Beach. Panjang in Bahasa Indonesia itself means ‘long', and it is called Sepanjang as it has the longest coastal lines of all beaches in Gunung Kidul. The beach was rather quiet when we came there. And very hot.
But you know what's hotter? Moi. *lol*
Anyway though, the good thing about this Sepanjang beach is that we don't have to pay for anything. Not even parking ticket. But honestly, in my opinion, this is the most boring beach of all beaches that I have visited in Gunung Kidul.
Yes, there are some food stalls where you can buy Indomie or any random snack you want, but the view is only the white sand and the seas. No rock like Krakal, or the mini island like in Drini. Not even the umbrella stall where you could chill by the beach, looking fancy! *lol*
The last, but not least, and pretty much the best of all beaches that I have been in the area, Kukup Beach. When I got there, I kinda got used to the existence of cliffs here and there around the beach in the area. But what makes it different is the gazebo located up around the cliff which is so instagrammable. *lol*
The ticket to get to Kukup Beach is around IDR 10,000 per pax, but apparently not like other beaches where there are some food stalls around, the food stalls in Kukup Beach are located not around the beach, but instead there are a lot of options for food stalls on the way to and from the parking area.
I suppose when you hear Indonesia and beach areas, your mind will go around Bali. But then what I need to emphasize here is that Indonesia is not only Bali. Yogyakarta is not only Borobudur.
If you're in to go to the beach with the lower budget than Bali, then Yogyakarta is a perfect place for you. It will be a plus if you're also interested to explore the culture there, or maybe to get to know more about the sultanate there. In fact, there are many places to see in Central Java in general, not just in Yogyakarta!
Meanwhile, if you're up to see the beauty of nature there, hope this post will attract you to explore more. Yes, I have only mentioned 4 beaches in Gunung Kidul but the truth is there are still more beaches around there that I haven't even visited yet like Baron Beach, Indrayanti Beach, etc.
So, if you happen to explore more beaches around, share your comment below and cheerio!