Who doesn’t know Malioboro? You can ask everyone in Indonesia where Malioboro is, and they can appoint you to the right direction. Yes, the place is located in Yogyakarta. In fact, Malioboro is known as the street in the heart of Yogyakarta. What makes it so popular and most visited? Why it becomes one of the most popular tourist destinations in Yogyakarta? What kind of appeal does it have?
Malioboro and Its History
Malioboro isn’t always popular. In fact, the road was originally quiet back in the days. It stretches from north to south, providing access for those who want to visit government buildings (like Gedung Agung or Vredeburg Fort) as well as Royal Residence. Those who wouldn’t visit those places wouldn’t be accessing the street.
But then, things have changed because of the Chinese community (residential) area, which is located in Ketandan, as well as Beringharjo traditional market. Because of their existence, economic situation around the area has increased progressively. Slowly, people have started to come to the street, making it one of the most popular in the city. Not only it has become the city’s trade center, but it has also become one of the most popular (and also busiest) business spots in Yogyakarta.
Malioboro and Its Special Appeal
If you are into shopping so much, Malioboro would be the right spot for you. Along the street, you will find tons of different retailers, selling different merchandise, goods, and products. Are you looking for traditional wearables, like batik clothes or batik skirts? Or you are probably looking for souvenirs and handcraft items? What about household appliances? You can find them easily in Malioboro.
You can also find various street vendors offering affordable stuff. Finding batik stuff would be a breeze as batik can be made into different stuff, like pillow covers, table cloths, bags, curtains, wallets, and so much more. Several years ago, Malioboro might be dubbed as one of the best places for souvenir-hunting, but now, you can basically do everything there. It is a regular view to see couples do a pre-wed shots by the side of the street. People nowadays like to make contents for their social media, and having them do selfies or take live videos in the area is a common view.
Want to enjoy the vibe of the street? You should explore it on foot. It’s a long road, but it’s perfectly doable. Plus, you get to see what’s available on the side of the road.
You can enjoy the atmosphere while doing some exciting window shopping activities. Do you see anything you like? Feel free to stop and take a look around. You can also bargain. Who knows? Maybe you can get something you like with affordable price. There are also many street food vendors along the street, which means that you can enjoy having a bite while cruising down the road.
For a lot of people, this street is basically a paradise for shoppers. But as it was mentioned before, there are tons of other things you can do (or find) there. If you don’t feel like walking, you can always hire a pedicab (or becak) or andong. The latter is a four wheeled cart that is drawn by a horse (or two). It also provides another fun experience, where you can enjoy the street while marveling the view from the cart.
When compared to other big cities in Indonesia (like Medan, Jakarta, or Bandung), the atmosphere in Yogyakarta is somewhat more relaxed and laid-back. People aren’t rushing, getting caught up in the hustle and bustle of a big city. It’s one of the appeals that you can immediately feel when exploring Malioboro.
Plus, the place is packed with colonial architecture along with its unique traditional atmosphere that you can’t find elsewhere. Finding the (historical) evidence of Dutch colonization in the area would be easy-peasy. Finding colonial architecture, still in its pristine condition, would be super easy. Benteng Vredeburg (or Vredeburg Fort) is one of those colonial architectures still ‘decorating’ the area.
Want to have a culinary exploration? Yogyakarta isn’t only famous for its traditional gudeg, but you can actually find other cuisines there, like songgo buwono, bakmi Jowo, bakpia, and so many more. Want to have traditional cuisine? Finding the street vendor or the vendor would be quite easy.
If you prefer the street food options, you can enjoy dawet ayu, rujak es krim, or sate kere. This is especially applicable at night where the street would turn into a culinary market. Food sellers or merchants will open up tents for selling food. You will enjoy the food by doing lesehan or sitting down with cross-legged fashion.
Another unique and signature beverage of the city is Kopi Joss. How they make the drink is what makes it unique and different from other types of coffee. The seller would brew the coffee by simply putting a charcoal (still hot and burning) into the cup.
Although the food is mostly affordable, it’s highly advisable that you ask for the price first before ordering anything. There have been scam reports where the merchants are selling overpriced food. If you want to have a safer option, go to a vendor or restaurant that has a price list right on the menu. It will prevent you from being scammed.
Staying in Malioboro
You can also find hotels dotted the street, meaning that you can find a perfect accommodation around the area. Although it’s nice to stay in one of those hotels in Malioboro, they can be quite costly.
Another alternative is to find a local lodging not far from Malioboro. There are many small alleys not far from Malioboro, and the locals usually offer their rooms for travelers and tourists. Many of the houses are also available for rent. At least their prices are more affordable than those hotels located right in Malioboro.
Spending your holiday in this area can be fun although you should also visit other places. In short, Malioboro offers a unique and memorable holiday experience for those coming to Yogyakarta – and it doesn’t have to be costly.