Refined, royal city
Yogyakarta Travel Blog› entry 10 of 56 › view all entries
Among Javanese Jogja is stereotyped (and perhaps rightly so) as the most cultured and refined city in the country. The Sultan, Hamengkubuwono (the Tenth), is widely respected around the island and in political circles, and aside from being the administrator of this historical district, he is the protector of high Javanese culture. The way of speaking here (in Javanese, of course) is much more formal than the rest of Java. This high culture concept, thus, seems like an odd pairing for the numerous backpacker tourists that flock to the region each year. But Jogja has wide appeal for all types of tourists as it boasts an impressive colonial and pre-colonial history, two of the largest ancient monuments in the world (the Hindu Prambanan and the Buddhist Borobudur), and an eclectic, young population, drawing from its moniker as the "City of Students." The shopping around the lanes in the Sosrowijayan and Prawirotaman areas can be a fun experience and is an easy spot to grab souvenirs. Jogja also has several palaces to explore, a number of art shops near the Kraton, and a bustling silver industry. Food here can be incredibly cheap if you don't mind eating alongside the road in a partially-tented "warung" while sharing a wooden bench with others or sitting on a mat on the ground. It does make for an interesting experience to take home with you to try it once. Oh, and while you are here, you should try one of my favorite foods: nasi gudeg. This rice dish is topped with sweetened jackfruit cooked in coconut milk. Try not to think about it too much...just try it!