Ullen Sentalu Museum – A Gem Of Yogyakarta

While I was in Yogyakarta, I took the opportunity to visit the Ullen Sentalu Museum in Kaliurang. I read a few online recommendations on Ullen Sentalu and some dubbed the museum as one of the best museum out there. My curiosity got the best of me as I decided to explore to museum myself and boy oh boy was I impressed! I was literally amazed during the whole duration of the tour!

Before that, let’s talk about getting to Ullen Sentalu Museum first. Situated 25km away from Yogyakarta, the museum can be reached by:

Public Transport

Take the Trans Yogya bus (2B and 3B) and get off at Kentungan Ring Road. From there, walk towards the traffic light and turn right from there. There will be sweeper van’s there that will take you to Pasar Pakem (IDR8000). Just get on board and tell them Pasar Pakem. One way to identify the van is it’s dark colour and it can be quite old. They will stop when they see you beside the road, so don’t worry.

pasar pekam van
There will be a lot of locals in the van as well. That wooden thing? That’s a chair in a van.

The ride takes about 30 minutes (uphill) and you will be dropped off at Pasar Pekam. From Pasar Pekam, there will be a lot of GoJek’s around. GoJek from Pasar Pekam to Ullen Sentalu costs only IDR10,000 and is the fastest way to get there. The ride is uphill as well but the drivers there will have no problem maneuvering the curves.

pasar pekam
You will be dropped here. It’s a market for the locals and there will be a lot of GoJek’s waiting outside.

By Car

  • From Jalan Kaliurang street (takes 30 – 45 minutes): take Jalan Kaliurang street and drive north about 18 km will arrive at Kaliurang gate. Follow the street and going up about 2 km will see Shrimp monument junction. Take left street, go up north about 2 km will arrive to the museum compound.
  • From Jalan Palagan Tentara Pelajar street (takes 25 – 35 minutes): take Jalan Palagan Tentara Pelajar street and drive north about 10km will arrive at Pulowatu junction. Turn right and going down about 3 km will see Pasar Pakem market. Take left street and going up north about 2 km will pass Kaliurang gate and another 2km will pass Shrimp monument junction. Take left street and go up north about 2 km will arrive to the museum compound
  • If you are hiring a driver, high chances he knows about this museum so just let him know where you are going, sit back and relax. That is the easiest way of course.

The Museum

Ullen Sentalu starts to amaze you starting from it’s entrance. Looking like it is taken out from an Indiana Jones movie, the entrance is built under a wall or trees and have seen the test of times from it’s mossy walls.

entrance to ullen sentalu museum
Nope, you are not at the wrong place. This is indeed the entrance to the Ullen Sentalu Museum

Ticket can be purchase at the entrance. As of March 2016, the entrance fee is as follows:

Local Visitors:
Adult: IDR30,000
Children (6 – 15 years old): IDR15,000

International Visitors:
Adult: IDR50,000
Children (6 – 15 years old): IDR30,000

There will be a experienced tour guide assigned for you and it is included in the price. (yes, I know, the charges are really cheap) Each tour takes around 60 minutes and a special complimentary drink will be served during the tour. The drink, Wedang Ratu Mas is a special mix of herbs which is believed to be what the queen of Java used to preserve her youthful looks. So, keep a lookout for this drink. You do not want to miss it.

Because I was alone, I was assigned to one guide, Ambar (pronounced as “Ember”) who was a real good sport, made good jokes, extremely knowledgeable and speaks really good English. We had no problem communicating and she made the knowledge transfer to me really effortless. Talk about passion during the job! If you ever get to meet Ambar, tell her I said “HI”!

Photos are not allowed in the museum due to copyright issues. Most of the items in the museum are original and are property of the Javanese Kingdom, therefore, photograph taking are strictly prohibited.

The Museum Experience

There are several areas in the museum in which the assigned guide will guide you along. I wouldn’t go too systematic on this but in the museum, you will learn a lot about the history of Java, including their musical instruments, their dance, their Kings/Queens/Princess and their dressing. There are a lot of meaning behind the dressing and dances especially and if you are one that loves to learn about culture, this could be heaven for you!

Their music rooms consists of real musical instruments that are used during the royal performances including Gender, Gambang, Kempul, Sharon, Rebab, Siter, Kempyang, Kendang and Kethuk among many others. Each of these instruments carries its own history and are a pre-requisite to our modern musical instrument. They are still used in shows such as the Ramayana Ballet as Pusrawita.

The rooms are filled with oil painting on canvas that could be as large as 6ft by 4ft. It’s huge and it depicts the life in the Javanese Kingdom during the Dutch colonization. Fun fact: ask for the painting where the eyes will follow you at every direction. 

Details in the paintings will be explained by the assigned guides, such as symbols used in their dress or what is colour of the ribbon used by the maids. There are a lot of knowledge in here so please prepare your thinking cap.

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Break room. Pictures are allowed from here


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Wedang Ratu Mas drink – secret drink of the royalty family

After a short break, guest will be introduced to dresses of the royalty and during the post-colonization era. There are even meanings behind the batik design that many doesn’t know and what really makes it impressive if the effort that the museum puts in to preserve their artifacts. It makes you feel that the entrance fee that you pay was worth every penny!

Traveler's Review: Ullen Sentalu Museum, PTT Outdoor, Y TL2SDso3eSngvzbfxzNgg0AhJcDPsK ha3vncJMDAiVm3F3FmfBQ rsS ZVxie3RZThDyD5KPkuZfvW1T7NkpPdmi NfiGs4L2w7qRoFauzIc9CSHUZs1G2DoWp9KnPPVZL51XxyFgiI1a6MqwDUDO6xBYZ08IlinXZdpnSycLXC0HtgR4E7wEyHwSfMMEc59xywcr9B0y6aEVWh HTZcqXeajiJW1Kgc9zlePcyXtHvOILARGSEyHcGKqu5 IsAxbnaGq4SqG3z5crmptwU8EzvCFvUQJ3os6lAJdV8O xo mhy4tYxVnmu9n4b4lVvATPe0I4smbDEBq7KbaNqfSkFaCh 2fkhuIY3UaxmP IIeEkS2FTWcNHxB8imHxDrjXFPu2JWpz izmXr6AXca2i rT78pIG QijO0lzckFE2s9iVFmWQ52DZRoRkUPMcRkNBpuP0liZafoJFXqOQW5mRFqIrNRzWY09AJHcSCE3t3aovp czHylhbIVlQi51voHksSRyjAn8S Ziip4Wv5bcF4afI5zF0PPZBLcY0wog8ZjckUM0FvgB6tHlEpA3=w1144 h643 no,
No wonder why they call it the museum in the forest! That’s how they designed it!

The last part of the tour shows you a piece of encryption from the Borobudur temple which is what people call the lost piece (hidden piece in Borobudur Temple). If you are curious about the story, ask the guide. I am not going to spoil it for you here.

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The “hidden” piece of Borobudur temple

A trip to the Ullen Sentalu Museum not only opened my eyes culturally but I am really impressed at the museums effort to preserve what belongs to their country. Ullen Sentalu Museum should be something that you put a priority to when you are visiting Yogyakarta. They say that there is not much in Yogyakarta aside from temples, I would be more than happy to say otherwise.

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My guide, Ambar and myself at the exit

More details on Ullen Sentalu Museum:

Museum : Ullen Sentalu Museum
Address : Boyong Street KM 25, West Kaliurang, Sleman, Yogyakarta
Telephone : +62 274 895161
Website : ullensentalu.com
Email : [email protected]
Facebook : Museum Ullen Sentalu
Twitter : @ullensentalu


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