What to see in Yogyakarta? Extreme activities, the chicken church, and ancient temples in 48 hours

Even Bali can become boring, prompting a desire to fly somewhere for a couple of days. I and my friends executed our long-standing plan by taking weekend tickets to Yogyakarta, carefully planning the itinerary. Jumping ahead, I'll say that when we were sitting at the airport on the way back to Bali, each of us rated this trip a perfect 10 out of 10.
Photo: Istockphoto
So, first, you need to choose the dates. We took early Saturday (7:00) and Monday return flights at 13:00 with AirAsia. The flight takes about one and a half hours. The cost of round-trip tickets was 1.2 million IDR.
First Day
Early in the morning, we landed at Yogyakarta's new airport—large, beautiful, modern, pleasantly surprising us. Then we went to the Gojek counter at the airport exit and ordered a taxi to our first destination, Borobudur, through the app. It cost 330k.
Borobudur is Yogyakarta's iconic landmark and one of Indonesia's most famous tourist sites. It's the world's oldest Buddhist temple that has survived to our times, despite undergoing restoration with many modern elements. Nevertheless, the temple is magnificent and definitely worth a visit.
We were fortunate to arrive at the attraction early in the morning, avoiding the intense heat. Borobudur is situated on an elevation, in an open area, and it gets very hot during the day. Entrance tickets are 300k for foreigners and 120k for local tourists and KITAS holders. Groups with guides in English and Indonesian (included in the cost) are formed, and the visit takes about 2 hours, during which you can hear the history of Borobudur's construction and take photos.
The next stop on our journey was the Chicken Church, a unique structure in the jungle (20 minutes by taxi from Borobudur) with an interesting history.
Originally intended as a prayer house for all religions, it was also used as a rehab center for people with addictions and a place to help those with mental disorders. Inside, there are many anti-drug propaganda graffiti and photos depicting Indonesia's history and landmarks.
Currently, Gereja Ayam operates only as a tourist attraction with a cafe and a souvenir shop. From the chicken's beak, there's a splendid view of the jungle, Borobudur, and Java's most active volcano, Mount Merapi. The entrance fee is 40k per person.
One day is enough to visit these two attractions. Then, we took a taxi to the hotel, a journey that took 1.5-2 hours. Pro tip: to save on taxi expenses, it's more cost-effective to hire a driver for the day. We asked our taxi driver if he would be interested in taking us to the sights the next day, and he agreed. I'll leave the cost and contacts below.
I recommend staying in the city center, in the Malioboro area. Regarding accommodation prices, there are good hotels ranging from 600k-1 million IDR and above, backpacker options for 120-150k, and we chose a mid-range category for 350k.
The city center is very colorful. Malioboro is the district and the main street of the city. It feels like the entire city converges on it. A very pleasant and friendly atmosphere.
On the recommendation of my French friend, we went to a cafe owned by his compatriot. And we wasn’t wrong. It's an excellent urban restaurant with Mediterranean cuisine, with prices lower than the touristy areas, and the quality is superb. Besides this place in Yogyakarta, we didn't eat anywhere else.
Day two 
In the morning, our driver picked us up, and we headed to Prambanan. The journey takes about 40 minutes. It opens at 8 am.
Prambanan, like Borobudur, is a millennium-old temple complex, but it's Hindu, not Buddhist. It's located in a huge park, where Buddhist temples Sewu and Lumbung are also situated. The entrance with KITAS costs 120k, without KITAS, 400k. Tickets should only be purchased at official counters.
It will be very interesting for history enthusiasts and those who love taking photos. Allocate about 2 hours for visiting the complexes.
Then, we had lunch at a cafe with local cuisine. It's worth noting that prices on Java are about 30-40% lower in such places compared to Bali, but the quality is not as good.
The next stop on our journey was Goa Jomblang or Jomblang Cave in English, approximately 1.5 hours drive from Prambanan.
This place is definitely worth visiting for those who love extreme experiences, but I do not recommend it for those who fear heights. Upon arrival, we were provided with rubber boots, a helmet, and special gear to which ropes are attached. Several people manually lower you down from the cliff. It may look somewhat unsafe from the outside, but I relied on statistics: there had been no accidents recorded before. Nevertheless, I was a bit nervous before the descent, standing on the edge of the cliff, listening to the instructors' commands. The descent was quick, around 40 seconds. Then, with the guide, we ventured into the cave. First, we walked through a dark 250-meter tunnel with wet soil and a distinct smell—perhaps similar to a construction site when the subway is being built. Around the last corner of the tunnel, rays of sunlight started to shine through the cave's roof. It was breathtaking. The cave is of extraordinary size, and at the bottom, where tourists cannot descend, flows a mountain river.
Photo: Adobe
This place definitely makes it into my top 5 in Indonesia. Content creators will be thrilled. We spent about an hour inside. The entrance fee is 500k for everyone, and KITAS is not valid.
I recommend, just in case, bringing a spare t-shirt and shorts as you might slip or get muddy in the cave. Also, be sure to bring a water bottle. It's essential to book a visit quota in advance via WhatsApp at +62818629901.
Unfortunately, on that day, we didn't have shorts and swimwear, and we found out that we could have stopped on the way back to see a beautiful waterfall. Our driver, who spent the entire day with us, told us about it. Unfortunately, I didn't remember his name. His WhatsApp is +6281802228470. An excellent driver with basic English skills. Nine hours of his work cost 600k rupiahs.
On the next morning, before our flight, we managed to visit a free small gallery of contemporary art, Pendhapa Art Space, and headed to the airport. A great trip, and I would happily repeat it, including the places we didn't get to visit.
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