Yogyakarta… thank you for being kind.

I went to Yogyakarta before my usual getaway to Bali last week. Felt quite a bit bloated with works in the office and I decided to take a long leave. Why Yogyakarta? I don’t know actually. It is a tourist kind of city and quite far away from beaches, which is the kind of place I rarely go to. But looking at how my friends went there before kind of made me want to go to. So far, the only reason I chose Yogya just because of the food. Something made me go. I just didn’t know what it is.

I chose to go with a train. It took me around 7 to 8 hours from Jakarta, which for some people it might be a waste of their time. Not me though. I really like going around with train. It’s totally a different feeling than going with a plane. You get to enjoy the sceneries around you, and especially in Indonesia where you will mostly see lots and lots of rice paddy fields, corn fields, hills, trees, and other stuff that you will never find in a city. Honestly, I had my doubts. I brought a lot of gadget to keep me company along the journey, but I ended up only using my phone to play some songs. Somehow looking at all those sceneries couldn’t bore me even a bit. So yeah, for the whole seven hours on the train, I just kept looking through the window, devouring all the things I couldn’t see once I got back to the big city. 🙂

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Gambir Station – Jakarta, waiting for my train..
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Stopping by on Cirebon Train Station!
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Loving the view..
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I mean.. damn!

So, since I was going on a solo trip (yeap, just me and myself 😎 ), I preferred to stay in a hostel, which was way-way cheaper than a hotel room and I got to meet other travelers as well. Though, for the last night, I moved to an Airbnb house managed by the locals.

I arrived around 5 pm in the afternoon, and I was thinking since I already arrived quite late, probably better if I stayed in a hostel nearby that was walking distance from the train station. Since I got off in Tugu Train Station, I chose to stay in Wake Up Homestay. Been looking at this hostel for quite some time since it’s newly renovated and pretty close to the train station. Took me around 3-5 minutes by walking to reach the hostel. Location wise, other than really near the station, it’s quite awesome for tourist. Well, I positioned myself as a tourist since I’ve never been to Yogyakarta for more than 15 years. Hahaha. Anyway. It’s near Malioboro street, just two minutes of walking from the hostel. Malioboro street is…. well, it’s the famous street in Yogyakarta. Some locals said that if you go to Yogyakarta and not visit Malioboro street, then you’re not officially been to Yogyakarta. Haha.. It’s kind of like Kuta or Legian in Bali. That well known street full of shops and local delicacies and where the tourist (and locals) hang out at night. The “it” street, one might say.

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Cool coffee vendor at Malioboro Street! Coffee’s not bad also.

Ok, back to the hostel. It’s a really clean one. The bed was good, they also put up a curtain on each bed so privacy was top notch. They even have a rooftop lounge for you to hang out and, surprisingly, you could see the sunset from there. Not bad.

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Front view of the hostel.. picture belong to WakeUp Homestay Website
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My bed, with the curtain!
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Panoramic view from the rooftop lounge
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Sunset view from the rooftop

The only possible bad thing from the hostel was that it’s next to a pub that plays live music every single day at night. Somehow the music passed through the hostel wall and you can clearly listen and sing along if you want. 😛 I wasn’t really bothered with it, but some of you might.

I only booked for one night in Wake Up Homestay, so the next day I checked out and move to Adhistana Hotel near the center area. Heard a lot of good stuff about the place. It’s a boutique hotel but they also have dorm rooms. Since I was quite interested to see the hotel, but still prefer a hostel kind of room, I booked one bed on the dorm room instead of a regular room.

Totally loved the building and the interior. It’s a nice boutique hotel with a touch of vintage and country-inn feeling? Maybe. I’m not really good at interior. >:D Location wise, it’s really close with everything. A lot of good restaurants and bars were in walking distance from the hotel.

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Exterior of the hotel
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Dorm Room!
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Outdoor lounge area
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Pool
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Game area
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Outdoor lounge area..
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Indoor lounge area
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Lounge area..

I stayed in Adhistana for two nights. My plan was to stay for 5 days and 4 nights in Yogyakarta. So, for the last night, I moved again. This time to an Airbnb house I mentioned earlier. But hey, I will share about this in a separate post. Why? I really enjoyed my stay there, I wanted to give them a special mention. 🙂

What is the best way to go around Yogyakarta? If you like to have a steady transportation for the whole trip, renting a motorbike or a car would be a good idea. I did rent a car for a day to visit the temple since it’s quite far from the city. But for me, honestly, the best way to go around is using Gojek (online motorcycle taxi) or Uber. Just download the app into your phone and you’re set! I’m from Jakarta so I’m used to Gojek and Uber, but I didn’t expect the hospitality from them. I mean, I just wanted to go from one place to another. That’s all. Instead, I was greeted by very friendly and kind people every single time I rode with Gojek. And I do mean every single time. There was not a single driver that didn’t greet me and stroke up a conversation with me asking where I’m from and giving me an insider tips about the good place around Yogyakarta, or just talking about the locals and how they live. Same thing happened with every Uber driver I came across with. Even the one I ordered very early in the morning to catch a flight. He was kind enough to show me where to find a particular Gudeg seller that I wanted. I really felt the kindness and it just made the whole trip even better and so memorable. Something that has been missing from where I’m coming from.

Then, what did I do in Yogyakarta?

Well, one thing for sure: FOOD GALORE. Yeah. Yogyakarta is full of delicious food, and it’s not from the high-end places like in big city. Nope. It’s the humble street vendors or small local restaurants that really made the best food there. I will share the places I went to in a separate post yes? It would be too long if I wrote them here. Just wait.

I also went to the temples. This is one of the reasons I went to Yogyakarta. I wanted to see the temples again. I think I was around 11 or 12 years old the last time I saw them. I didn’t even remember what it looks like.

The first temple in my list was Borobudur Temple, the one and only. One of the seven wonders of the world and also recognized by UNESCO. It’s one of the greatest Buddhist monument in the world and it’s really magnificent. You just couldn’t grasp the idea on how people in the past built the temple without any advanced technology that we have right now. It totally blew my mind.

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Borobudur Temple
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The other side of Borobudur Temple..
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One side of Borobudur Temple

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The location is not in the city of Yogyakarta. This is actually has been a misunderstanding for a lot of people since Borobudur Temple is always being associated with Yogyakarta. Actually the temple is in Magelang city, around 40 km northwest of Yogyakarta. It took around 1 and half hour from Yogyakarta by car. You can reach the temple by bus if you want a cheaper option, but it will take you longer for sure. I recommend to go there early in the morning, around 8 or 9 AM would be great, still not that many people on the site. The peak hours would be around 11 – 2 PM based on my experiences and information from the locals. It usually opens at 6 AM in the morning but you can join the sunrise tour to see the sun came up in the horizon from the top of Borobudur Temple. I myself haven’t got the chance to do the sunrise tour, but people said that it was quite magical. Just contact the local travel agency or tour guide to help you arrange the trip, or you can also call Manohara Hotel inside Borobudur Temple area to arrange a package for you.

On the same day I went to Borobudur Temple, I also went to Prambanan Temple and Ratu Boko Temple. Both of the temples are located in Yogyakarta but totally the opposite way from Borobudur. This was the reason I rented a car on that particular day so it would be easier for me to move around.

I didn’t really go inside Prambanan Temple to see the temple, since I only wanted to see the Ramayana Ballet at night that took place in Prambanan Temple area. It’s a traditional show that using dance movement to portrait the whole story. If you’re into history and traditional show, this would be a great thing to see while you’re in Yogyakarta. The show took place in an open air theater so it really gave you a different feeling somehow than a regular dance show.

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Prambanan Temple at night as the background of the open air theater..
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One of the fighting scene..
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Fireeeeeee…

The show started around 7.30 PM at night, but I arrived there around 4.30 PM so after I bought the ticket for the show, I drove to Ratu Boko temple near Prambanan Temple to see the sunset. It’s famous for sunset viewing, and it totally worth your time. The temple was actually an archaeological site that full of ruins, which is located around 196 m above sea level. You could see the landscape of the city from there, and sometimes there were also fogs covering the city, which made the whole view really incredible. Visiting the temple was really the highlight of my day. The breeze winds… the quite moments… the view… it was just perfect. 🙂

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View from near the entrance.. love it!
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The entrance of the temple..
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Panoramic view of the temple, though it didn’t cover the whole area
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Sun was almost ready to set..
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Lights between the trees…
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Sunset at Ratu Boko Temple

Any other things beside the temple? Of course!! Yogyakarta is full of arts! I was lucky enough to be in Yogyakarta in the same time with Art|Jog, the famous annual contemporary art exhibition in Yogyakarta that showcasing a lot of talented artist. By the time I arrived in Yogyakarta, the exhibition had just had their grand opening the day before. Yogyakarta is known to have a lot of art exhibitions around the year. It might be worth your time to see what kind of exhibition that they are having in Yogyakarta and arrange the trip to match the date. And if you can’t find the right date, don’t you worry. There are a lot of museums in Yogyakarta that were really recommended by a lot of people. I really wanted to go to Ulen Sentalu Museum but I just couldn’t find the time. Let it be for my next visit. Hehe.

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Sculpture at Art|Jog
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One of the showcase in Art|Jog
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Sculpture at Art|Jog
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One of the showcase in Art|Jog
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One of the art in Art|Jog

Other than that, I walked around the neighborhood and few wet markets just to explore the city. There are actually a lot of other place that you can visit, but I just didn’t have the time, so I guess I will need to visit Yogya again eh? I might not be alone next time. Who knows? 🙂

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But hey… I guess looking back at things that happened in Indonesia this past few months really take you back and somehow you lost faith on kindness among people. I guess.. my trip to Yogyakarta was somehow to show me or in particular, to remind me that you just can’t lose faith and we just need to look around to see that a lot of people still know the real meaning of being kind with another.

Yogyakarta… thank you for being kind.

I will definitely be back.

PS:

I just want to share something that I came across with in Bali. I was there on the first day of the fasting period. Usually the Muslims will go to the mosque at night to have their prayer called Tarawih. There is a mosque near my hotel, and that day I drove by around the time they finish Tarawih. And you know what I saw? I saw the locals and the Pecalang (the traditional police of Bali), which I know that mostly are Hindu, were helping to keep the mosque safe and helped arranging the traffic so the Muslims friends can cross the road safely.

This is exactly why I love Bali. It doesn’t matter what religions you believe in or what race you came from. People in here respect each other and appreciate each other with kindness.

So yeah, just a reminder to being kind to each other. Always. Yes? 🙂

Erwin.

 

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