Both places in Indonesia, Bali and Yogyakarta are about 730km apart. They are also well known places for culture, food and things to do. You might have some questions like:
- What are the differences between Bali and Yogyakarta?
- Which place should I visit?
- Which is more for me?
By the end of this post you will know the differences and what would be suitable for you so you can make a plan which place to visit. I hope you will have time for both.
Culture and Religion
In both places culture and religion is very important to the locals and both are very visible towards the visitor of the place. In Bali you would see temples and offerings everywhere and in Yogyakarta you would see mosques everywhere and most places would have a “musholla” for the people to pray.
With more than 270 million people living in Indonesia and about 87% is Muslim. This makes it the largest Muslim country in the world. Bali has about 4.3 million people living on the island about 87% of this island is Balinese Hindu. This total makes about 2% of whole Indonesia. (source: Religion in Indonesia)
Bali is filled with temples and the people made sure to make plenty part of the sight seeing. It is very common for tourists to enjoy a day of temple visiting. Soaking in the culture and experience gives them often a story to tell about back at home.
In Yogyakarta you would have Borobudur and Prambanan temple which are worldly famous. Both super large structures and visited by millions of people. Even I have been there multiple times and it’s a part of my Yogyakarta guide as well.
The difference is that in Bali you would see, experience the culture now at the temples and in Yogyakarta you would see a piece of unique history.
Places to stay
When it comes to accommodation I do like both. Yogyakarta is more urban and modern style where Bali would be more tropical, contemporary. This of course depends where you stay at. Villa’s could be very cheap in Bali because the amount of Villa’s and Hotels there are a lot (really a lot!)
Yogyakarta would have tall buildings for their hotels, fully equiped with gym, swimming pool and comfort. There is just less accommodation available for tourism, but still plenty! Wherever you stay in Yogyakarta, you would be able to use Gojek or Grab but in Bali’s more remote places this would not be possible.
We’re talking about after Bali reopened and I do think the prices in Bali are significantly more expensive for accommodation, food and in general the holiday itself due to the many activities there are. The prices have been going up where some villa’s would go for 2000 to 3000 US dollars per month!
Of course it depends how luxurious you want to have it for yourself. If you want to do it super deluxe, with all the pampering and finest wines and dines, this is going to be costly. You could also just take a simple homestay or hotel below the 20 dollars a night.
Prices for food are in both places equal. When we compare the street food of Yogyakarta and the street food in Bali, they would be on par for pricing. The expectation from locals is that Yogyakarta is more cheaper.
Dining in a warung or restaurant both have significant awesome places to eat and try. Yogyakarta caters more to the local taste and cuisine but there are also restaurants to try that make excellent foreign dishes. In Sleman, you would see Brazilian, Korean, Dutch and Japanese restaurants pop up. Going around in either Bali or Yogyakarta there is no shortage of places to eat.
Bali would have a more variety in their options, but Yogyakarta is not far behind, and in I would think that Yogyakarta will surpass Bali with this very soon. So gastronomical tourists would enjoy both places!
The clubbing and nightlife is concentrated more in Canggu, Seminyak, Kuta and Legian in Bali. The dresscode is often very relaxed, and you would often see a lot of tourists dressed touristy. The nightlife in Yogyakarta doesn’t have that much tourists (yet), and people dress to impress each other. It’s a huge difference and one of the things I caught on.
In Sleman you can find Mythoz, The No Beach Beach Club and Tip Tap Toe. These places dominate the night life scene, where one of them would always have a party. The nightlife and clubbing scene in Yogyakarta is evolving fast. It’s interesting to see and compare these two places when it comes to this scene. For you party goers out there, Yogyakarta surely has something to offer that would amaze you.
Due to a way larger population and that Yogyakarta is a city I like shopping there more than Bali. THe shopping malls are bigger and there is more choice. I could always resort to online shopping, but for walking around the shops, malls and places I do like Yogyakarta better.
This is kind of a no-brainer here. Bali wins this part as this island is surrounded by the sea and has an abundant of choices which (hidden) beach to go to. Look no further for the best beaches of Bali. Yogyakarta’s beaches are more in the south, but most parts are not recommended to swim due to it’s dangerous. It is nice to there as there are plenty local establishments selling food.
Bali is the more popular choice, but don’t dismiss Yogyakarta that quickly. It’s worth a visit and take your time to explore. Bali can be felt as overcrowded by tourism, and if you feel you want to avoid that, consider Yogyakarta.
This is easy for a foreigner in Bali. You could easily rent a scooter in Bali or even a car. But for locals and in Yogyakarta, this idea is not that well received yet. This is because of the theft the owners experience. It’s a hard (financial) blow when your asset get’s stolen, and unfortunately because of that, there isn’t that much renting going on in Yogyakarta. But don’t worry, Grab or Gojek is a viable alternative.
Making the choice between Bali or Yogyakarta
So have you made your choice already? The main reasons to choose between these holiday destinations would be
- (in)experience of the place
- goals and things you want to do and see
Some people would prefer one over the other, it really depends what you want of course. A beach vacation or not? Have you already experienced Bali several times, perhaps you could try out going to Yogyakarta too. Let me know in the comments below which vacation destination you prefer and why.