As the only Indonesian region still to be ruled by a monarchy, it would be remiss not to seek out Yogyakarta’s royal spots. Indonesia’s first president granted the Sultanate permission to retain its power over Yogyakarta in the 1940s, in gratitude to the royal family’s contribution in fighting the Dutch in Indonesia’s War of Independence.
The obvious place to visit first is the Palace of Yogyakarta, also known as the kraton. The literal and metaphorical heart of the city, the kraton is the current sultan’s place of residence. Built between 1755 and 1756, the palace is made up of gorgeous courtyards and intricately-decorated pavilions. While the sultan’s quarters are off-limits and the palace is closed in the afternoon, visitors can explore some of the courtyards and small museums before the heat of the day.