My Long Weekend in Jogja: Day 2
May 19, 2016 nandrawr 1 Comment
I went to Jogja for a glorious long weekend, and the city will always have a special place in my heart. Check out what I get up to on my first day here!
Sunday was our only full day in Jogja, and since we don’t want to waste any time while we’re here, we decided to rent a car with a driver for the day. The plan for the day was to go to Borobudur, then visit Ullen Sentalu Museum and maybe head to the beach, just because.
We started the day early at 7am, since we don’t want to be fried in the heat. But, judging from our previous day at Prambanan, the sun would be super hot regardless. The driver arrived quite early, giving us some time to get breakfast and we went to Borobudur straight afterwards.
The journey didn’t take too long, just a little over an hour and a half, perhaps. We dozed off for a bit, saving up our energy for the temple and being under the heat for the day. As I expected, when we arrived the temple parking lot was filled to the brim with tour buses. Fortunately, the temple complex is pretty huge and people weren’t packed up like sardines. Regardless, it was always a struggle to capture a decent photo without someone’s selfie stick getting in the way.
We wandered around the temple a bit, and had to kind of run away from the group of tourists who wanted a picture with Alex. We got caught off guard by a bunch of school students and their teacher requesting to practice their English with him. At this point in our relationship, I’ve gotten used to this while travelling with him. So, I just stood there and admired the view. After a couple more people took pics, we’ve had enough as it started to get annoying. We kept up the pace and explored more of the middle steps of the temple.
I’ve always loved the stone carvings of Borobudur. I love how detailed it is, and tracing each crevices with my fingers. I could never fathom the amount of intricate detail put in to create them. Plus, there’s always a sense of mystery to Borobudur. No one really knows when exactly it was made and by whom. Although, historians have manage to figure out its meaning and significance, the mystery remains. Perhaps, we’re not meant to know. Perhaps, the majestic temple stood for us to marvel at human’s capability, boundaries and our relationship with the Divine.
We snapped so many great photos in Borobudur, but after a while the heat got to us and we needed to get a move on.
Revisiting Royal History at Ullen Sentalu
Our next stop was Ullen Sentalu Museum. This place was recommended by some of my friends and family as a beautiful museum where you can learn about the royal history. Mostly from the Mataram era and how it was split into four, one of which is the ruling Sultanate of Yogyakarta.
The museum houses a lot of treasures — paintings, antique royal batiks and kebayas, jewellery, etc — belonging to the royals. Ullen Sentalu is really beautifully designed, with its beautiful open architecture. It’s located up in Kaliurang area as well, so the weather is a little bit cooler than the city itself. When we were there it was a bit cloudy and very breezy, which makes for a pleasant walk.
What I don’t like about the museum is just how super strict they are about taking photographs. They’re super worried about copyright issues, I was told by the guide. And I guess they just want to keep the business running. Also, we can’t do the tour alone, and have to follow a guide. Which is great because you get to understand the history in detail, but I feel like they were too rushed and it didn’t feel too welcoming. Regardless, if you are interested in history, this museum is definitely worth a visit. Perhaps it houses better collection of historical treasures than the Keraton (Royal Palace).
I heard of a restaurant in the museum complex called Beukenhoff, and its housed in a charming, vintage Dutch colonial architecture. It’s got really nice vintage vibes as we go in, however food-wise I don’t think it’s worth it at all. Judging from the name I had expected a speciality in Dutch cuisine, but it wasn’t the case. I was super thirsty though, so we ordered some drinks, took pictures then took off almost immediately.
Parangtritis: The People’s Beach
I wanted to go to a beach just to get a doze of sea breeze, and initially I wanted to go to the secluded beaches at the foot of Gunung Kidul. The picturesque, secluded beaches has gone viral via numerous travel listicles around the interwebs and I’ve always wanted to go to one. But, alas, it was way too far from where we are, so I opted to go to Parangtritis instead.
After a modest lunch of rice and ayam goreng, at a random roadside restaurant (which turned out to be pretty damn good), we headed to Parangtritis beach. It was truly a people’s beach and popular leisure spot for the locals. We didn’t see a single foreign tourist in sight. Alex probably stuck out like a sore thumb, but the beach was very wide and not too crowded, so we didn’t have to deal with the hassle like in Borobudur. LOL
We didn’t stay long, just wanted to sit down for a while, drink fresh coconut and watch a bit of the sunset. Just a bit of down time, and enjoying the luxury of nature and the sea. Something I rarely ever get in Jakarta.
After gulping down the fresh coconut we headed back to our hotel. On the way I wanted to try Sate Klatak, and a popular joint is lined up the streets in Bantul area, just outside downton Jogja. Unfortunately, the most famous joint was incredibly crowded so we just went to a random one.
The hype about this satay is that it was cooked with metal rods from bike tyres (is there a word for those stuff?). Apparently it cooks the lamb satay better. Also, unlike the typical Javanese lamb satays the lamb here is cooked with just salt, paper and perhaps a bit of cumin and nutmeg. It tasted like the chuar you’d get in China, to be honest. It was pretty good, but not sure about all the hype. Perhaps I should go to the famous one next time.
The Angkringan Experience: A Simple Dinner to End a Long Day
It was a pretty long day, but we were really happy to cover quite a lot of the best sights in Jogja. We crashed straight away at the hotel, and woke up because dinner was calling.
The only place I could think of to have dinner in Jogja is at an angkringan. Angkringan are an institution in Jogja and there are loads all over the city. It’s basically a very modest place where you can get a variety of different food, for a very cheap price. Being a student city, these joints are a staple.
I wanted to go to a well-known one near the Tugu train station, where they serve the famous Kopi Joss (aka Charcoal Coffee). But, I figured it was quite a drive and we were both too tired. We were suggested an angkringan in the same area as the Gudeng center at Jalan Wijilan.
Sure enough the place was buzzing with hungry people. The food is served buffet style and you basically just get what you want on a plate. The attendants then would count how much you have to pay. I can’t remember how much we paid, I only remembered how surprised I was when it turned out to cost way less than I expected.
At the end of the day, I wanted to eat there for the experience, though. It was a very modest place, and the food was just okay. But, I enjoyed its simplicity and the place radiates this aura of… “togetherness”, I suppose? It feels like a place you hang out at with your friends for cheap eats and a good laugh. Sometimes cute hipster cafes with its sleek interior and artsy murals can get slightly overrated, yknow?
Sometimes we just want to go back to basics, and we got just that. Just a simple dinner, no less, no more. I figured that was a good way to end our tiring day in this quaint city.
You guys ever been to any of the places I went to? Let me know what you think in the comments!