Taman Sari - The Enchanted Royal Baths of Yogyakarta
Updated: Apr 28
Built in the mid-18th century during the reign of the first king of Yogyakarta Sultan Hamengkubuwono I - the water castle located near Kraton really makes you feel like royalty - plus it is HUGE so well worth the small entrance fee of only 15,000IDR (£0.75).
The architecture captures European, Chinese, and Indian concepts, boasting 4 main areas and 57 buildings to visit. You will indulge in history as your tour guide unravels the unique story of the resting place of the Sultan and his Princesses named Umbul Pasiraman.
The main area opens up to a large bathing complex where the king himself would bathe with his mistresses, and today the baths are considered a relic, perfectly maintained by the staff.
Above the water is a tower where the king would throw down a flower to one of his mistresses in the water. Whoever caught it got to spend the night with the king.
Within the settlement lies the picturesque underground mosque (Samur Gamuling). As you walk down the stairs guided only by sunlight beaming through architectured openings, you can really feel the ambience that once lived within the walls.
When you get down to the bottom, it opens up into many underground tunnels with an exposed centre consisting of five staircases converged together with large arched walls. The five staircases represent the five prayers performed each day.
Unfortunately, I was not able to go onto the stairs as I visited during the COVID-19 pandemic, so there were some restrictions in place.
Encased within the cobbled streets lives the Kampung Taman settlement - be sure to try some local snacks and embrace the handmade arts & crafts made by the local people - plus they make great souvenirs!
The whole experience was ‘instagramable’ boasting natural pastel colours, natural lighting, and elegant clear water pools that reflect the surrounding buildings. It is open 8 am - 3 pm and I recommend setting aside at least 2 hours to see everything!
Written by Darby Bonner