The cultural capital of Indonesia is famous for its historic sights of Borobudur, Prambanan and the Keraton. But as the adventure centre of Java, there are also plenty of exciting outdoor activities to try. Here are five adventures for the next time you’re in Yogyakarta.
Explore a subterranean cave
For a Jurassic Park-like experience, strap on your safety gear and rappel down a rope under the watchful eyes of experienced climbers to 80m below the earth’s surface into the prehistoric Jomblang Cave. The cave was formed thousands of years ago when erosion caused it to collapse in on itself. The dense rainforest that has grown within offers an abundance of giant ferns, mosses and ancient trees, making you feel like you have stepped back in time. From 10am to 12pm daily, sunlight streams into the cave from the entrance above, making for a dramatic and Instagram-worthy photo.
As the cave is an ecologically delicate habitat, the number of visitors per day is strictly limited, so be sure to make a booking with a tour agency ahead of your visit.
Take a pre-dawn trek up an active volcano
With a crater that rises 2,930m above sea level, Mount Merapi – the most active volcano in Indonesia – offers a stunning vantage point to view the sun rising across Yogyakarta’s sweeping vistas. This is why, despite recent eruptions in 2006 and 2010, it remains popular among trekkers who embark on night-time hikes up the volcano in order to reach the crater in time for daybreak. It’s certainly thrilling to know that you’re climbing an active volcano, but it’s recommended that you hire a local guide for your ascent, as he will be able to point out stable paths on the way up and down.
Do also spend a little time at the Sisa Hartaku Museum at the foot of the volcano, where items salvaged from the 2010 eruption are on display. Relics include melted home appliances and furniture, as well as a clock that stopped at the time of the eruption, making it a sombre but important reminder of Mother Nature’s power.
Jump off a waterfall
If you’ve always dreamed of taking a daredevil plunge into the deep blue waters of a waterfall, this is your chance. The stunning Sri Gethuk waterfall, which is surrounded by lush green rice fields, is a popular local hangout but is never overcrowded. To get there, you can either take a pleasant jungle trek to the top of the waterfall, or hop on a wooden raft to go upstream. At the waterfall, you can clamber onto the large boulders and leap into the deep waters below. Before you leave this picturesque spot, take a few moments to find some inner zen by sitting and listening to the sound of the falling water.
Dangle over crashing waves
Timang Beach, located in the Gunungkidul region of Yogyakarta, offers plenty of dramatic coastlines and cliffs to admire, which makes it a worthy day trip in itself. To get your heart racing, take a daring ride over the crashing waves on a wooden one-man gondola to the rocky outcrop just off the beach. This gondola was traditionally used by lobster-seeking fishermen to get to the nearby outcrop where they would set their traps. Now, however, it is more popular among adventure seekers. The fabric rope cables add to the sense of excitement, but they are actually changed regularly to ensure they do not become worn. Hop on for a real-life thrill ride!
To get your heart racing, take a daring ride over the crashing waves on a wooden one-man gondola to the rocky outcrop just off the beach
Conquer your fear of heights
Located in the Menorah mountain range is the Kalibiru National Park, where there are plenty of activities to challenge your vertigo. This park, which was built by locals and continues to be managed by the community, is known for its unique array of activities high up in the forest canopy, such as tightrope walking, rock climbing and a swinging suspension bridge. It’s not for the faint-hearted, so take it as a challenge, especially if you have a fear of heights.
The highlight of the park is its flying fox ride over the treetops, which ends at a wooden treetop deck overlooking a lake. It’s a gorgeous spot to take in the panoramic view, but remember to have your camera ready so you can preserve this memory for posterity.
With adventures galore, visit Yogyakarta now to experience the ultimate adrenaline rush of your life.
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Best Time to visit
The climate is hot and humid all year round but the best time to visit is during the dry season from July to September.
Becak, or cycle rickshaws, are commonplace and useful for short rides. Do settle on a price before hopping on – a 10-minute ride should cost about 25,000Rp.
Otherwise take a metered taxi, which starts from 6,000Rp, but note that if you get stuck in traffic, the price may jump quite quickly. Most hotels can also make arrangements for a private driver for a day.
Indonesian Rupiah (Rp). Major hotels will accept credit cards but smaller shops, restaurants and street vendors often only accept cash so bring some along with you. Tipping is not customary in Indonesia.
SilkAir and AirAsia offer direct flights from Changi Airport to Yogyakarta multiple times a week. Search for airfare deals and book your tickets now!