My Long Weekend in Jogja: Day 1
April 27, 2016 nandrawr 0 Comments
Last weekend, I took a short trip to Yogyakarta (also known as Jogjakarta or Jogja), just because I can and was feeling exhausted of Jakarta. Also, I had one day off that I could use and I thought what better way to use it than to take a small trip to one of my favourite cities in Java. I have a soft spot for Jogja, and the last time I went there was for a less-than-12-hours business trip. Plus, I thought I’d show Alex around while he’s still in Indonesia. So, with only one week to plan, we booked our flights and packed our backpacks.
Day 1: Prambanan, Gudeng and Raiding a Batik Store
We took the first flight out of Jakarta, leaving home at 4am, when the sky was still dark and there was no traffic in sight. I’m never a fan of early flights, but we really wanted to make the most of this short trip. Our plane landed at 7am, and the sun was already scorching hot. Since we were so close to Prambanan, and it was still early to check into our hotel, we decided to go straight to Prambanan, backpacks and all.
I found out that there is a Trans Jogja bus that costs a measly 3,600 IDR to go to Prambanan from the airport, and it was only supposed to take 30 minutes to get there. The bus shelter was really easy to find from the airport, and I just asked the ticket guy which bus can take us to Prambanan. We had to take bus 1A and Prambanan is the last stop, so it’s really not hard to miss.
At the Prambanan stop, we were greeted by becak (rickshaw) and andong (horse-pulled carts) drivers offering to take us there. We wanted to walk, but wasn’t sure how far away it was, so we decided on taking the offer of an ojek who was willing to take us there for 10,000 IDR. Not bad and it saves us the trouble, so we hopped on. It was an easy 5 minute drive, apparently.
I had thought we arrived pretty early to beat the crowds at Prambanan, but I was wrong. There were hoards of tour buses carrying schoolchildren and tour groups at the parking lot. Though, when we entered it didn’t turn out to be as bad. We bought tickets, and as usual, we face extreme price discrimination between local and foreign tourists. I only had to pay 30,000 IDR, Alex paid 125,000 IDR (equivalent to 10 USD), and that’s because he nabbed a student prize thanks to our never-expiring Zhejiang University student cards. I still don’t understand the 4-fold price increase for foreign tourists. Perhaps its to encourage domestic tourism? I’ll never know, and it’s a never ending debate that I choose to opt out of.
Anyways, the Prambanan complex really wasn’t that crowded. But, I now understand why a lot of people say it’s underwhelming now. I haven’t visited since elementary school, I think, but I remembered there were more temples in the complex. I didn’t quite realise how much damage the 2006 earthquake costs. Really gutted to see so many rubbles in the temple complex now.
Regardless, I still think Prambanan is a destination worth going to in Jogja. First, because it’s really not far from the city at all, and while it’s not as majestic as Borobudur, it is still rich in history. Also, the fact that Prambanan exists just show the diversity of Indonesia, where a prominent Buddhist and Hindu temple sit in the same vicinity (well, sort of). If you’re really interested in history, I suggest hiring a guide.
We stuck around Prambanan until about 10.30am, and the sun was high up in the sky, burning through our skin. We decided it was time to leave, and headed to the bus stop. As always, upon exiting the complex, we were greeted with a row of warungs (small, modest restaurants) offering cold drinks and food. While we couldn’t refuse a cold bottle of water, we decided against the food and walked towards the exit. We had to walk through a market, it didn’t feel like we just came from a historic travel site. And of course, by the exit gates, there were more touts offering rickshaw rides and dodgy taxi rides. We decided to walk back, knowing that it’s not that far of a walk after all. It took us about 10 minutes to reach the bus stop.
We took the bus back to the airport, and caught a taxi from there to our hotel. Upon arriving to Adhisthana Hotel, an hour later, we were already super tired, thanks to the heat. But, we were also hungry. BUT, we needed transport. Luckily, our hotel rests at Prawirotaman, a backpacker hotspot and it didn’t take long to find a small travel agency. We rented a motorbike for 60,000 IDR a day. This is a standard rate, so if anyone quotes a more expensive price, think twice before accepting. Also, check your bikes thoroughly. We didn’t realise until the second day that our bikes right turn signal didn’t work and it was the only bikes left in the shop. So, we just prayed nothing bad happened to us.
Afternoon: Eat All the Gudeg and Buy All the Beautiful Batiks
After getting the bike, we drove straight to Jalan Wijilan, passing by Alun-Alun Kidul and into the cute, small streets of Jogja. Ahh, I regret not taking much pictures around here. I was too busy navigating my personal bike chauffeur (read: my boyfriend), around the small alleys.
We ate at Gudeg Yu Djum, a famous spot for local food for Yogyakartans and tourists alike. Gudeg, for those who aren’t familiar, is the local delicacy here. It’s a plate of rice, with sweet jackfruit stew, sweetened hard-boiled eggs, and krecek (cow skin crackling simmered in chilli). You can have it with chicken, cooked in sweet soy sauce. As you can see, it’s basically all the sweet things with rice. At this point, you’ll know that the Javanese LOVES sweet food. So, careful when you order that sweet ice tea! Half of it will be filled with sugar.
We were so incredibly hungry, I didn’t go full Asian and took a picture of my delicious food. It all went down straight to the digestive system. Perfect meal for a long start of the day.
Oh and by the way, while Gudeg is a must-try food when you’re in Jogja, I have to say that the Gudegs in Jalan Wijilan (also known as Gudeg central), is a rather expensive choice in the city, with food ranging from 25,000 IDR to 45,000 IDR. Ours were most expensive because of the chicken. You’ll be surprised how cheap food can be in Jogja if I consider our Gudeg expensive.
Anyways, we finally got our energy back after all the food and proceed to go batik shopping. Batik is truly part of my country’s heritage that I am so incredibly proud of. To me it’s really more than just a piece of cloth or fashion, to me batik is an art form. I am always fascinated at the effort and artistry that gets put into creating a single piece of fabric.
We went to a batik store that my mum asked me to go to, as she asked me to pick up some nice silk ones for our collection. She recommended Batik Rumah, not far away from the Keraton area, and while it is just a small home-shop, it has truly beautiful collections. We stayed for at least 2 hours to really find the right fit. The batiks in that shop is really nice and you can find ones made of cotton for a reasonable price, to high-end silk batiks costing up to 1000 USD (no joke). They have shirts, dresses and children’s clothes as well. Definitely worth a visit for batik lovers.
We picked up a few after a long time deliberating and basically asking the clerk to rummage through their cupboard. Needless to say, I was very happy, and I can’t wait to make a nice dress out of it ?
Evening at House of Raminten: Worth the Hype?
After taking a long nap at the hotel, it was time for dinner, and I was recommended to go to House of Raminten, which was just a 20 minute drive from our hotel. I wasn’t so sure what made it popular, but there was a huge queue at the reception area. When we finally got a seat, I understood why it was popular. It was incredibly cheap. Street food price at the comfort of a restaurant. They sell nasi kucing (a popular street food) for just 1000 IDR (that’s about 10 cents), 4000 IDR if you add an egg. I really don’t think there’s anything that sells above 50,000 at this place.
We ordered so much food, including the nasi kucing, a HUGE GLASS/BOWL of ice dawet (a local iced dessert with coconut, rice flour ‘pearls’ and palm sugar), some minced chicken cooked in bamboo, and tempe mendoan (battered fried tempe — my favourite comfort food, ever). However, we quickly found out the catch to this place. We should’ve guessed a place selling such cheap food couldn’t amount to good service. Our food took ages. We waited an hour for it to come out, and the chicken was lukewarm at best when it was served. I didn’t want to send it back because God knows how long it will take them to bring us a new one and we were getting super hangry.
We devoured all the food in less than 20 minutes. I’d give the place a rating of 2.5 out of 5. The food was good but the service was incredibly subpar.
It wasn’t a really good way to end the night, but we refused to let that get in the way of our holiday. We had a long day planned ahead of us the next day and we needed a good rest.
To be continued…