Yogyakarta Travel Blog

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By the time I arrived in Yogyakarta (Jogja) is was getting pretty tired of traveling.  I was tired of the repetitive nature of south east asia, tired of packing every day, tired of sharing the same old travel stories, tired of packing every couple days, tired of showering out of buckets, tired of craping in squatters, tired of all of it and was ready to go home.  I could not have been bothered to see do anything else in Java so I just set up camp in the art capital of Java for more than a week, making it my longest stay anywhere other than Tonsai on my entire trip.

I spent a couple days exploring the Kraton area.  I thought the Sultan`s palace was pretty lame but I had recently been to Brunei which was a whole different league.

  The most interesting part was just walking through the streets taking pictures of smiling friendly local living their quiet artsy lives.

The bird park was an interesting visit.  Memoires of the bird flu problems flashed through my head as we explored the stink narrow passages.  Cages from floor to ceiling held everything from fruit bats, to rabbits, to deadly snakes, oh and birds too.  It was an interesting experience but most people can only stomach a few minutes of the stank before moving on. 

Batik is a traditional art method of Indonesia.  I spent a couple days taking some courses.  You start with a white sheet, place hot wax using a stick with a copper cup and tube where you want to stay white.  Then you pick your next lightest color and dye the whole sheet.

  You place the wax where you want that color to stay.. yada yada you get art.  I was actually quite impressed with my results for some early attempts.

I went to Jogja primarily for it`s proximity to Borobudur, the biggest Buddhist temple in the world.  Ian and I made a last minute decision to head to the temple on his last day.  He just decided that he was leaving the following morning so that he could tag along with some Swedish blondies who were heading back to Bali.  We had to take local transport because the tourist minibuses were booked.  I would not recommend going on your own.  We spent an hour on the local buses getting to the edge of town, an hour on the bus to Borobudur, fifteen minutes on a horse buggy, and were only left with about 45 minutes of daylight to explore the disappointing and expensive temple.

  The real adventure was the way home.  The information that we had was that local buses ran regularly back to Jogja until 7:00 pm.  This was clearly not the case.  Eventually Ian had to suck up his fears of motorbikes since we were out of options.  We caught a ride to the main highway in some dark and dirty town that I could not name.  Here there were several local who came out to help us try to flag down passing busses.  Somewhere around the 20th bus that passed without stopping I was wondering if we were going to have to spend the night in that dirt rat town.  Eventually a bus did stop, or at least slow down for us.  It was so packed that I had to hang out the door outside for the first fifteen minutes or so.  And if you have been to SE asia you know how many people they can fit in a bus before they won`t let one more slip in the door.
  All in all we were gone from 2:00 until 9:00 with only 45 minutes at the temple.  This trip was under on hour each way for about the same price using the A/C mini bus that we missed.

I was much more impressed with the Hindu temples of Prambanan.  I went there in the evening for a traditional Indonesia fire show / ballet.  The light up hindu temples made for a perfect backdrop for the show.  The show itself was pretty good and included real bow and arrows, the burning of a village.

Travbuddies: Ian (UK), Whiskey (Netherlands), Sweeds

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photo by: siscalustiawati