Malioboro, Yogyakarta’s Icon of Tourism

Long time ago, Malioboro was just a name of the road. Years passed and nowadays, Malioboro become the most iconic area for Yogyakarta. It’s on the top of the list for almost every tourist that planning to spend the holiday in Yogyakarta. Even all my friends and fams from outside Yogyakarta always put Malioboro in their must-visit list. 

From government-strategic to tourism-strategic

Malioboro have been popular for Yogyakarta’s people, even at the beginning of this Republic’s existence. It’s the main road where lies city’s strategic facilities, such as main market, governmental offices, military stronghold, and even presidential palace.


The 19-something Malioboro. My guess is 1947. (Credit to; visit that site for more pictures about Malioboro)

Malioboro itself actually isn’t a whole street starting from Tugu Train Station to Point of Kilometer Zero. Yes it is started from Tugu Train Station and ended just before Malioboro Mall. The next part is called Margo Mulyo St. But today lot of people mistakenly believe that the whole road is called Malioboro.


East for passerby, west for pass-and-buy

The east side of the road, or the left side if you arrive from the north, has a wide sidewalk. It’s intended to facilitate tourist to explore Malioboro on foot. There is also lot of benches for anyone who wants to enjoy the scenery.


These poles are necessary to keep away stupid drivers that park the car on the sidewalks.

While at the other side, you’ll find lot of stores and lapak (semi-permanent store). They sell various items from souvenirs, traditional dress, Batik, and many more.

Lot of Becak drivers stand by on the area.  Every time you are going to pass them, they’ll offer their service, which is a tour package to Keraton (Sultan’s palace), Taman Sari (water castle),  and Dagadu (iconic creative cloth and merchandise maker). You can see the price list at the end of this writing.

A memorable 100 meters

Starting from the beginning of the road, you’ll see street name sign. Local tourists always take their picture along with this sign.

You’ll immediately see so many Andong, a traditional transportation mode of Yogyakarta. It’s like a unique-shaped wagon, pulled by two horses. So does the Becak, a two-people transportation with one driver. I think this Yogyakarta’s becak are unique. You sit in front of the driver! See the picture below.


Andongs on the left, becak on the right


Andongs in action. Credit to Pradit (@pradita_dt), my old college friend

Going to south, you’ll notice a Chinatown called Ketandan. The foods here are pretty good. You can find various culinary with pork meat.

This Chinatown also contribute in tourism, for instance, they regularly held festival every Chinese New Year or other special events. Lots of people are having fun in this festival. Too bad I didn’t attend the last festival.


Also famous for the jewelery shops. There are bunch of jewelery shop inside this Chinatown.

After Ketandan, you’ll encounter the main gate of Pasar Beringharjo (Beringharjo market; used to be biggest, main market in Yogyakarta). At the front of it, you’ll find a mid-age woman selling traditional foods like pecel (vegetable salad with peanut sauce), gembus, and some other. Her lapak is selling well. Locals and foreigner eats together in here. Since I’m very familiar with the foods, I didn’t try it. But seeing from the food presentation, I can say it’s pretty tempting. Maybe next time.


The very first entrance gate of Beringharjo Market. Those twin tower are older than this Republic.

Some stores are modern stores. For example CircleK, a retail store , 7Eleven-like. There are some drugstores, Chinese medical stores, department stores, and plenty of ATM. Oh yes, There is a mall called Malioboro Mall.

At the end of the road, there is interesting points. On the east side lays an ex-military stronghold from Dutch colony era, called Vredeburg, the fortress of peace. It’s now converted into history museum.

On the west side, there is an ex presidential palace. Well maybe not really ex palace, since it’s still maintained and used for presidential activities, even though just in yearly basis.


Once used for presidential palace.

To please every tourist

There are lot of well-known hotel around Malioboro, such as Novotel and Ibis. You’ll also find tourism information center managed by government branch of tourism in the area. Smaller hotel and guest house are lot more.

Beers like Guiness, local Bintang or Bali Hai, and some other available in CircleK, although those beers are just around 3-5% alcohol.


It’s government-managed tourist information center

For me, Malioboro is considered safe area, which mean, criminality in the area will be a very rare case, even the petty one. You’ll see lot of cops patrolling around in group of three, sometimes by bikes. To prevent the inconvenience, they don’t bring firearms, just baton.


So many culinary you can try here. From traditional snacks, salads, to Nasi Gudeg.

I’m interested in one small snack lapak. It looks clean and lot of people gather around it. Turn out it was Lumpia. Well this one actually isn’t really  originated from Yogyakarta. It’s from Semarang.

Short story, I’m ordered one chicken lumpia. Didn’t need to wait a long time, my order was ready. It’s lumpia with onion sauce on top of it, and green chilli along with chopped cucumber.


The presentation aren’t as great as its taste.

Anyway, one bad thing here is lack of hand washing facilities. So if you’re going to hunt some snacks, I advise you to bring tissue and hand sanitizer gel.


Malioboro was once a capitol icon, and once was an economic icon. Nowadays, it’s once again become an icon, the tourism icon of Yogyakarta. Regardless, Malioboro has always been special in many terms.


Motorbike parking Per unit IDR 3,000
Becak Tour Package Per becak (for local) IDR 15,000
Becak Tour Package Per becak (for foreigner) IDR 25,000
Chicken Lumpia Per piece IDR 3,500
Special Lumpia Per piece IDR 4,000



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