Yogyakarta is a Special Region of Indonesia, in the central region of the island of Java. It is the only modern Sultanate within the country’s borders.
Every week, the Sultan’s Palace in Yogyakarta hosts gamelan (traditional music), dance and wayang (puppet) performances. This group of young musicians are very serious and quite good. It’s a slow style of music and take a little getting used to for most Western ears. The dance part of the performance is equally slow and the dancers show amazing control.
We’ve also included a few other highlights from the Palace grounds. We’ve been told that the giant rolling pin Tim is standing next to is not used to make giant pies, but a drum-like signaling device that’s used to spread news around town.
Throughout the day, groups of kids kept coming up to us, asking to interview us for a school assignment. They were on break and this happened to us in a number of places we went. Admittedly, they only asked when we were in touristy places where everyone was already taking pictures. There were always photos involved. The kids were great, though, and we had a lot of fun interacting with them. They loved it when they found out we liked their food.
The Sultan’s Palace is a great place to visit in Yogyakarta. While there are plenty of historical and gorgeous architectural aspects to admire, there are also nice courtyards for sitting and enjoying the day.
Yogyakarta itself can be a bit of a zoo. Sometimes the traffic is so intense that going even a short distance can take a ridiculous amount of time. But it’s not always like that. It’s good to consult your hotel and/or taxi driver about going certain places at certain times of day. If your hotel is near the Sultan’s Palace you have no excuse for missing out. Check with locals to find out when performances are.