Gadjah Mada University is located in Yogyakarta, one of the most wonderful cities in Indonesia. The fertile plains of Yogyakarta cradle the heart of the Javanese culture, where local Hinduism is strongly bound to Islamic values. Yogyakarta city is also known as a center of classical Javanese fine art and culture such as batik, ballet, drama, music, poetry and puppet shows. It is also famous as a center for Indonesian higher education. Countless masterpieces of Asian architecture can be found, both natural and manmade, including the Buddhist temple of Borobudur and the Hindu temple of Prambanan.
The area of the city is 32.5 km². At Yogyakarta’s center is the Kraton or Sultan’s palace. Surrounding the Kraton is a densely-populated residential neighborhood that occupies land that was formerly the Sultan’s sole domain; evidence of this former use remains in the form of old walls and the ruined “Tamansari” (The Water Castle), built in 1758 as a pleasure garden. No longer used by the sultan, the garden had been largely abandoned, and was used for housing by palace employees and descendants. Reconstruction efforts began in 2004, and an effort to renew the neighborhood around the Kraton has begun. The site is a developing tourist attraction.
Yogyakarta is a twenty-four-hour city. Life runs in a quiet and subtle way and the gentle touch of Javanese culture seems to dominate the city. While the city sprawls in all directions from the Kraton, the core of the modern city is to the north, site of a few buildings with distinctive Dutch colonial-era architecture, and the contemporary commercial district. Malioboro Street is the bustling heart of Yogyakarta, lined with an array of shopping venues, ranging from a sea of little make-shift market stalls to department stores and shopping malls, it is a shoppers delight and a major tourist attraction. At the southern end of Malioboro, on the east side is the large local market of Beringharjo, not far from Fort Vredeburg a restored Dutch fort. Around 6 p.m. when the street lamps are brightly lit, street vendors, amateur artists, and a variety of entertainers work for the crowds the best they can in order to make their ends meet. As soon as the shops, department stores, supermarkets, and malls close their doors around 9 o’clock, the streets are taken over by hundreds of instant traditional restaurant lesehan setting up along the side-walks and serving as convenient places for leisure seekers. They are open until dawn. Solo Street, further north, is a shopping district more frequented by locals.
In general Yogyakarta experiences only two seasons that are a wet season (October through April) and dry season (April through October). The temperature varies 25-32 oC. The living cost in the city is considered one of the lowest in the world. A typical international student needs only around USD 5,500 a year to finance both the tuition fees and living expenses.
The city has an extensive system of public city buses and is a major destination for inter-city buses to elsewhere on Java or Bali, as well as taxis, andong, and becak. Motorbikes are by far the most commonly-used personal transportation, but an increasing number of residents own automobiles. Yogyakarta is a one-hour flight from both the Ngurah Rai International Airport in Bali and the Soekarno-Hatta International Airport in Jakarta (the Capital City of Indonesia). The city is also efficiently linked with Jakarta by train, and bus services operate daily to both Jakarta and Bali.