Malioboro is the most famous street in Yogyakarta. Located in the heart of Yogya, this is the city’s main street, and was once the ceremonial avenue for the Sultan to pass through on his way to and from the Keraton. During such occasions, Malioboro would be festively decorated with flowers. Some say that the name “Malioboro” derives from the name of the British governor Marlborough from the era when Britain ruled the archipelago, between 1811-1816.
Near the north gate of the Keraton or palace are grand Dutch colonial buildings that are now the Central Post Office and the Bank Dagang Negara. Walking further north is the well laid out State Guest House, which was once the home of the Dutch Resident, but which after Independence became the presidential palace when Yogya was the capital of the young Republic. President Soekarno stayed here between 1946-1949.
Across the road is the Vredenburg fort, which used to be the barracks of Dutch soldiers and is now a center for arts and painting exhibitions.
On the same side of the road is Beringharjo market, Yogya’s crowded main market, where you can buy batik and souvenirs at cheap prices.
On Malioboro you will also find Yogyakarta’s oldest hotel, the Garuda Hotel, built in Dutch colonial architecture.
While steeped in history, today, Malioboro is the place to come to shop. It packed with shops selling curiosities, and street vendors offering souvenirs at affordable prices, so you’re bound to find something of interest in this street.
If you’re after some batik to take home as a souvenir, then Malioboro is the right place for you. From house dresses to formal batik wear, this street has them all. Batik can also be made into bags, table cloths, bed sheets, pillow covers, curtains, and a whole lot more.
At night, the street comes alive with merchants opening up tents serving all kinds of local cuisine. You need to sit down cross-legged in the tents, which the locals refer to as “lesehan”. Enjoy your meal while taking in Malioboro’s vibrant nightlife. It’s an experience you shall not forget.
Some of the local specialties include:
Gudeg, a Yogya speciality, this is a curry of jackfruit, served with chicken and egg on rice. Nasi Langgi (Langgi Rice), this is warm rice served with various side dishes. Kipo, bite size snacks made of green colored tapioca dough filled with sweetened grated coconut. This dish can be found in Kotagede. Jadah Tempe, a sandwich of rice cake and sweet beancake. This can be found in Kaliurang.
Batik, batik and have we mentioned batik? There is no shortage of batik merchandise on sale in Yogya and it’s only increased since batik was formally declared as Indonesian heritage by the UNESCO (on October 2nd, 2009). There are batik tablecloths, sarongs, pillow cases, clothes (even batik ties!), paintings, the list goes on. While silver jewelry and silver-plated items can be found in Malioboro it is better to ask around for directions to Kota gede, where the silver workshop center is located. Malioboro is the place to buy souvenirs with jewelry, bags, keychains, posters as well as a lot more that you’ll find here. Why not try local cookies? Bakpia is filling, tasty, and sweet.
If you plan to spend a night in Malioboro, there are hotels and inns to suit all budgets here. Accommodation services range from bed and breakfasts to star hotels.
The best way to take in the sights of Malioboro is on foot. Stalls and stores line up the streets. You won’t need a car when the next stall to browse is right next door. There are so many wares to choose from here, that you just might need to return the next day to finish all your shopping.
Malioboro is within walking distance from Stasiun Tugu (Tugu Railway Station). You can get here on foot or ride a becak (pedicab) or the ubiquitous four-wheeled horse-drawn carts called “andong”.
This street tends to be packed with locals and tourists, so take care with your belongings.
For more exclusive items, visit stores such as Mirota in Malioboro.
If you buy hand drawn batik, or even machine-printed ones make sure you wash it separately first, using lerak (available on this street) or mild detergent as it may run.
Malioboro is the perfect place to use your bargaining skills so remember to haggle.
Bring a backpack to store the items that you’ve bought. It’s more environmental friendly than carrying things in plastic bags. And let’s face it, if you come here for shopping, you won’t be leaving Malioboro before you’ve bought enough to fill up an entire backpack anyway.