What to buy:
Although you can buy batik in many parts of the world, in Indonesia it's a national art form and a good place to pick up some is in Central Java. Batik can come in patterns or some very impressive pictures. It is made by placing wax either beeswax or paraffin or a combination on a cloth then dying it. You repeat the process by placing wax in different areas and dying it in different colours of dye. The dye will not penetrate the wax so that's why it's used. You then melt off all the wax by placing the batik in hot water as hot water will not damage it or in chemicals. Batik comes in either cotton or silk. To make an interesting effect, they crack the wax to make a nice background.
What to pay: Well it depends on if you get cotton or silk batik. Silk batik costs more. The one in the photo is cotton and cost US $16 in a batik school. If you get them in a dealership, they can be considerably more expensive.
What to buy:
The kris is one of the more important accesories of traditional dress in central Java. It's more than just a weapon for protecting oneself. There's the social meaning where it's passed on from father to son when he is ready or gifts from the sultan to loyal workers. Ceremonially it is apart of every ceremony and festival. And a cosmic meaning or supernatural where there are powers from ancestors to protect the person weilding the kris and his family. In the Kraton area you will see men walking about their daily business wearing a kris.
It is a beautifully ornate item that has different meanings depending if the blade is straight or has curves and how many curves. You can find them in some stores in Yogyakarta that are designed for tourists. I got mine from a house of a guy who works for the sultan. The krises that he had were much more authentic looking and some of them were really quite old. He even had one that was partially made from a meteorite if I remember correctly.
What to pay: It can vary. I'm sure the ones you get in the standard stores are not too much. The one I got I believe worked out to US $150. I found it to be quite nice. I even got a bag to carry it in, oil for the blade and even a binded report on the meaning and history of kris.
What to buy:
This was one of the souvenirs I was looking forward to buying the most. Wayang Kulit are a flat puppet carved out of buffalo hide that are used to perform the Ramayana (an ancient Sanskirt epic quite common to the Hindu faith). They are chiseled and painted and some can become quite ornate. Quite often they are performed behind a sheet to give it a shadow puppet feel. You can buy ones to be used in plays which are more plain or ones that are for display that are quite amazing. High quality ones should be quite flexible and won't break. There are many stores in Yogyakarta that sell them but I went to place where they are made.
What to pay: It varies. I probably got ripped off a bit but I paid $200 for 3 large puppets.
Yogya is one of the foremost cultural centers of Java, therefore it's almost impossible to visit this city without coming across at least a few batik stores. You can watch the batik being designed and crafted, wonder around the galleries and possibly purchase something to take home.
What to buy: OK, batik is not for everyone, but even if you don't want to wear one or hang one on your wall back home, we found some nice little orginal batik cards - something different to send your loved ones.
What to pay: Be careful, there are touts all over (working on commission) who will try to tell you they know the best place to buy batik. The best option is to do a bit of investigation yourself and get to know the prices along the way.
They have a wide selection of puppets here.
The also have any other nice gifts for you or your friends.