Getting around Yogyakarta in the island of Java is a breeze because this tourist city is quite small. There are plenty of metered taxis, a total of 19 city bus lines, and bus stops that offer a list of connecting buses so that tourists won’t get lost. For a small city, Yogyakarta’s transport system is sophisticated and highly efficient.
Pronounced as “Jogjakarta” and more easily referred to as Jogja, this city is Java Island’s most important tourist destination and is one of the leading destinations in all of Indonesia. Its two primary attractions are the nearby temples of Borobudur and Prambanan. With a population of about 500,000, this bustling city is quite crowded and full of promise as Java’s center of art and education. Tourists are treated to a number of tourist facilities and a lot of shopping.
Bus is the main form of transport. There are two types of buses – regular and the “patas”, which are air-conditioned buses run by TransJogjas and operating from 6:00 AM to 10:00 PM. They are generally safer than the regular rides. For short distances, a leisurely walk or the traditional horse-drawn rickshaw is quite an experience.
The colorful horse-pulled carts are called “andong” or “dokar”. Their most common stops are the Tugu train station, Keraton and the Malioboro shopping district for 20,000 Rp roundtrip. Haggling is widely accepted. Andong drivers would typically ask for 30,000 Rp but settle at a much lower price. They may also be rented at an hourly rate. The ride is not only a cultural experience but is also very helpful since the drivers normally take tourists to the most happening and cheap shopping areas. An andong can take five passengers at a time. The horseless version of andong is the becak (pronounced beh-chak), a pedal-powered tricycle-rickshaw that can carry three adult passengers at a time. A ride on a becak also involves plenty of haggling; average fare to Malioboro area from anywhere in the city should not be more than 20,000 Rp. For a return trip, a becak driver would patiently wait as his passenger goes to shop.
Meanwhile, metered taxis are very reliable. The initial flag rate is 5,000 Rp, and a trip around the city is about 15,000 Rp on average. Taxi drivers are very friendly but most do not speak English. Other options are car rentals and scooter rentals. A scooter costs around 18,000 Rp for a day plus gasoline. Cruising around an exotic and tropical Asian city on a scooter may sound cool but it is extremely dangerous to the inexperienced since Yogyakarta traffic is often very crowded and chaotic.
Getting around Yogyakarta on land is quite safe and people can just walk to nearby city attractions even at night. It is much safer than Jakarta, Indonesia’s capital city, although tourists should still be watchful of pickpockets, especially on the busy, crowded streets of Malioboro, which is the city’s shopping Mecca. Getting around Yogyakarta by plane is not possible since this small city only has one airport.
Yogyakarta is a very scenic tourist spot. Travelers to Indonesia must take time swinging by this city and checking out its many heritage buildings and monuments. The most important building is the Sri Sultan Hamengkubuwono’s Palace. Locating the palaces and tourist facilities is easy when getting around Yogyakarta since all andong, becak and taxi drivers know where they are.