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Yogyakarta

The cultural center of Java, Yogyakarta is home to approximately half a million inhabitants. Unique to Indonesia, Yogyakarta is a special region ruled by a sultan - the result of clever diplomacy and supporting the right factions at the right times. While the city has, in recent years, seen substantial development and construction, it has managed to preserve its cultural heritage.

Traditional arts such as batik making, puppet shows, and gamelan music, which features a variety of instruments including xylophones, drums, gongs and bamboo flutes, are celebrated here, as is contemporary art. Yogyakarta has a thriving art scene, and it is home to independent film communities, musicians, as well as performance and visual artists. As a result of these efforts, as well as its proximity to the magnificent Borobudur, Yogyakarta has become the premier tourist destination in Java.

Must-see sights and activities include the Buddhist monument of Borobudur; the sumptuous, well-rehearsed Ramayana ballet, held amidst the ruins of the imposing Prambanan temple complex; and the huge, beautifully built palace of Kraton Ngayogyakarta.

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