If going home with dope photos from your travels is something you love, you need to visit Yogyakarta. It really doesn’t matter if you are an amateur or a veteran photographer, great sights aren’t hard to capture in a city as photogenic as this.
Here’s my attempt at using these 11 photo spots to prove why Yogyakarta is perfect for your next great escape!
1) Mount Merapi
No other props are needed when you have an actual active volcano as your backdrop. Pose with a jeep, and you look cooler ten folds instantly. The best time to visit Mount Merapi is at dawn so you might need to leave extra early in the morning but we promise the views will be worth it!
Address: Merapi Museum. Jl Kaliurang Km 22,6 Sleman Yogyakarta (an hour drive from the city)
Best Time to Visit: Slightly before sunrise, to witness the morning light illuminating Mt. Merapi.
Borobudur Temple is often the only reason why tourists visit Yogyakarta in the first place. This vast Buddhist temple compound consists of 72 stupas, the bell-shaped enclosures with Buddha statues in them. We got there at 5:30am and the good spots were already filled up! Although we hear the views are just as gorgeous at sunset and there’s close to no one at that hour.
Address: Jl. Badrawati, Borobudur, Magelang, Jawa Tengah, Indonesia
Best Time to Visit: Both sunrise and sunset.
Similarly to Borobudur, Prambanan Temple is one of the eight inscribed UNESCO heritage sites in Indonesia. These grandeurs of the past make excellent photo spots. Built in the 9th century, this majestic Hindu temple does bare an uncanny resemblance to Cambodia’s Angkor Wat — which was actually built later, in the 12th century. Our picture was taken in the afternoon, but we hear that sunset views at Prambanan are amazing too.
Address: Bokoharjo, Prambanan, Sleman Regency, Special Region of Yogyakarta, Indonesia
Best Time to Visit: Sunset
4) Taman Sari
Channel your inner Lara Croft at Taman Sari, an ancient palace that was once the recreational garden and prayer house of the Sultan of Yogyakarta. Get lost within its hidden chambers underground, and scout for the best photo spots where the sun rays hit. See how the locals do it by searching #sumurgumuling on Instagram. Best times to visit, just when it opens or just before it closes, as there will be fewer crowds and less chance of photo-bombers hijacking your tomb raiding pictures.
Address: Patehan, Kraton, Yogyakarta City, Special Region of Yogyakarta 55133, Indonesia
Best Time to Visit: When it first opens at 9am, or just before it closes at 3pm
*Pro-tip: Do not enter too late as there will be a lot of restrictions for picture-taking once operators start locking up the entrance to various parts of the castle.
5) Jomblang Cave
I swear, none of these magical sun rays are photoshopped in, its no wonder why the locals term it “Heaven’s Light”.
The ethereal rays shine into Jomblang Cave the nicest at 11:30am to 12 noon.
You do not need to be a pro-photographer to capture extraordinary views of this place, in fact, any point-and-shoot cameras will do. Nature frames the picture, and all you have to do is press the shutter.
Address: Pacarejo, Semanu, Gunung Kidul Regency, Special Region of Yogyakarta 55893, Indonesia
Best Time to Visit: Visitors must be there before 10am. Best views of rays are between 1130am to 12 noon.
6) Jurang Tembelan
Yogyakarta has many of such photo spots in the least expected places! So do keep a lookout for these lookouts, or simply check with your local guide/driver if he knows of any awesome photo spots like this (and don’t be surprised if he’s a secret Instagram superstar)!
Cost: Free entrance
Address: Mangunan, Dlingo, Bantul Regency, Special Region of Yogyakarta 55783, Indonesia
Best Time to Visit: During daylight.
7) Chicken Church
We finally found the chicken which crossed the road! It seems contented being there, so stop asking. Besides being one of the oddest buildings in the world, this place of worship was once a rehabilitation centre for troubled youth. The highest point of the Chicken Church is also a great lookout overseeing the Mangelang region, and you can even spot Borobudur temple in the distance. Stop being a cockanadan, and visit Yogyakarta.
Address: Jalan Raya Borobudur Salaman Km. 2.5 Wringin Putih, Magelang
8) Pinus Pengger
An area still relatively unknown to foreign tourists, Pinus Pengger is a prized attraction among locals. Random photo spots litter the pine tree forest, each conveying a deep message from the artists behind the sculptures. We especially enjoyed this place at night, when spotlights from the ground illuminate the sculptures, making our photos #litindeed.
Address: Terong, Dlingo, Bantul Regency, Special Region of Yogyakarta 55783, Indonesia
Best Time to Visit: Late afternoon just before the sun sets.
9) Timang Beach
Cable cart across the sea and capture this thrilling moment against the bluest waters! Originally used by local fishermen, this cable cart is now a tourist attraction at Timang Beach! Just be careful not to drop your camera into the sea while you’re on the rocky cable cart. Unlike Jomblang Cave, this cable cart activity’s fee does not include insurance, so do be aware of risks!
Address: 55881, Jl. Pantai Sel. Jawa, Purwodadi, Tepus, Kabupaten Gunung Kidul, Daerah Istimewa Yogyakarta 55881, Indonesia
Best Time to Visit: During daylight
10) Gumuk Pasir
Most cities have light pollution so bad the stars are hardly visible even at night. At Gumuk Pasir, however, it gets pitch dark at night as it is a beach area with no high rise buildings in its vicinity. You will need a tripod for stability, and your cameras on low ISO and long exposure settings to capture the hundreds, if not thousands, of twinkling stars in the sky. *cues Coldplay*
Before sunset, you can enjoy sandboarding activities at the beach. Do note that Gumuk Pasir is a little out of the way, so you might want to cluster your beach activities within the area on the same day!
Pro-tip: Share boards between people to save money
Address: Jl. Pantai Parangkusumo RT. 1, Grogol 10, Kretek, Parangtritis, Bantul, Daerah Istimewa Yogyakarta 55772, Indonesia
Best Time to Visit: Late afternoon, just before the sun sets
11) Sungai Oyo
I’m a 100% city girl, my natural habitat is the concrete jungle I grew up in. So, being close to nature and lazing next to such scenic waterfalls was a rejuvenating treat for me. Needless to say, pictures taken here look effortlessly great with the beautiful scenery.
Address: Wirawisata, Gelaran 2, Bejiharjo, Karangmojo, Gunungkidul, Daerah Istimewa Yogyakarta 55891, Indonesia
Best Time to Visit: 8am till sunset, not available on rainy days
This is only a short list of amazing must-sees in Yogyakarta with many more waiting to be uncovered.