After our time in Malaysia it was time to move onto the next leg of our journey, the island of Java, Indonesia, and to the town of Yogyakarta, pronounced (Jogjakarta). On arrival at the tiny airport it was immediately noticeable that this was going to be far different from Malaysia, because as we walked down the steps of the plane, there were no buses to take us to the terminal, no one guiding us as to where to go, it was just a case of ambling any way you wanted to the terminal building. Quite funny really. Also as we were making our way to the terminal planes were taking off some 50 yards away, bizarre. We made our way to the official taxi rank (ignore the touts in the arrival hall) and found a nice taxi driver named Hermanto, who spoke good English, to take us to our hotel, Duta Garden. Duta Garden hotel is a really nice tranquil place in a very busy city, and I would not hesitate to recommend it. We decided to split our time in Java between the two towns of Jogjakarta and Borobudur, as we wanted to explore the large Buddhist temple there. After settling into our room it was time to explore our surroundings. Our first impression of Indonesia was that we were really going to like this place, the people were nice also another contributing factor was that the prices here were a lot lot less than that of Malaysia. Our first full day in Yogyakarta was just getting our bearings. As it was the weekend it was recommended to visit the very large central market called Beringharjo, what a manic place. Lots of shops and street food vendors and a very large indoor market with an absolute warren of narrow lanes to walk through. It was extremely hot outside “about 32 degrees, so who knows what it was in the market,” it seemed the whole island had decided to visit, it was manic, needless to say we didn’t stay long. After our ordeal we decided to head off to the Kota gede suburb which is a very historic neighbourhood of Yogyakarta and has been the hub of Yogya’s silver industry for many years.
Our next day we visited Prambanan Temple complex. This along with Borobudur is a Unesco world heritage site and is a must see. Prambanan was built in the 9th century, and is a Hindu temple. Originally there were some 240 temples on the site, but most were destroyed by a major earthquake in the 16th century, now there are just eight of the largest temples standing. “There is an ongoing restoration project to rebuild the temples that were destroyed.” Inside each structure is a stone figure of the various Hindu gods. Click here for more info.
Borobudur. Now you can visit Borobudur on a day trip from Yogyakarta, a lot of tour companies will combine Borobudur & Prambanan in a day. In my opinion this is just too much to cram in, (especially if you want to see the sunrise) in just a day as you wouldn’t get much time at each site and would be a bit rushed. So we decided it would be better to stay in Borobudur for a couple of nights as that way it gave us the opportunity to get up early, I mean early, 4am, and witness the sunrise over the temple. To see a spectacular sunrise it is very dependant on the weather. Unfortunately for us it was quite cloudy, and not as good as we hoped, but just being there in complete darkness and seeing the dawn was amazing enough, a very serene and magical moment. The other advantage of staying in Borobudur and going for the sunrise is you beat the coach parties of tourists arriving and the droves of visiting school children, who seem to arrive at around 7:30 so the whole complex gets very busy indeed. Another Top tip is once the sun has risen most of the early organised sunrise trips are taken back to there hotels for breakfast so for the few people that are remaining you have the place to yourself. I would like to mention our accommodation we stayed in, Cempaka Villa It was very cheap £37 with breakfast for two night, and is only a couple of minutes walk from the temples main entrance. Now Yogyakarta is called “The Special Region of Yogyakarta.” This is because is still has a sultan as its ruler. So one other sight worth seeing is the Sultans Palace. At certain times of day they have performances like music and dance, and a nice museum with lots of interesting artefacts on display “although some of them could do with a good dust.”
Top Tips In the markets, bargain hard, take 80% of off what they ask for, as they do ask for some stupid prices, but be fair these are poor people and are just trying to get by. If your happy with what they want just pay it.
Taxis Make sure before getting into the taxi, they put the meter on, if not negotiate a price before hand, but don’t take their first price, haggle. But not to hard, as after all they are trying to make a living.