The back road to Borobudur
You can use the back road to Borobudur, there's no need to use the main road which is busy and uninteresting. How to do it? Here we go:
Follow the directions to Borobudur, there are clear signs in Yogya town center until you arrive at Jombor Bus terminal, a few km north of the city.
You will be near Sleman, an area full of art shops. Immediately after Jombor terminal take the junction left, it's the road to Cebongan and Seyegan.
At first you will pass more art shops and galleries but soon you will be in the padifields. There's very little traffic.
There are many villages here and many are not on maps. When you arrive in Seyegan, ask for the road to Bligo, a tiny village.
This will lead you to Sungai Ancol, some old canals build by the Dutch more then 100 years ago. From here it goes all the way north through small roads, sometimes through a bit of forest, sometimes through padifields and little villages.
The hills in front of you are the same hills on which the Borobudur is build, on the north side. Follow for a while the road to Muntilan but take the junction to Mendut otherwise you end up at the main road from Yogya to Magelang.
When you arrive at the junction in Mendut, do not forget to have a look at the temple ruin in town before you move to Borobudur, a few km further on the road. Although it is a small temple, it's worth the little time here.
The total distance of this shortcut is about 50km, slightly more then taking the main road but it is a much nicer and much more quiet road then the main road the buses take.
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An interesting day out of Yogya can lead to Parangtritis Beach, about 20 km south of the city. The beach is full of legends of the Queen of the South Sea. It's a nice day out of town.
My favorite city in Java, full of culture and plenty to see, and not crazy busy as for example Bandung, Surabaya or Jakarta.