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Travelogues and Musings by Nandra Galang Anissa

My Long Weekend in Jogja: Day 3

July 4, 2016 nandrawr 0 Comments

It’s been months since my long weekend trip to Jogja, but I still haven’t quite wrapped up my little tour of the city. So, I’m just gonna cut to the chase and share some of the highlights.

Since it was the end of the trip, we just crammed as much of the sights left in the city as we can. I decided to check out Taman Sari, the famous Water Palace, since I haven’t been there myself. The place seem to have been quite an instagramable hit for some reason. It’s also well-known to be spook central.

Taman Sari was basically a huge complex where the Sultan and his family vacations. So, you know on his off days, he’d take his queen, princesses and concubines for a splash in the many pools of the complex. Legend has it that the complex has been around since the Mataram Kingdom era. Nowadays, it’s a hit attraction, albeit now scattered amongst people’s modest homes. Yes, it sits amongst a neighbourhood now, which is why getting around can get rather confusing.

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Royal Heritage.

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Just gonna take a cheeky dip!

 

If we hadn’t known, we’d really just see a very small part of Taman Sari, and not find the famous underground mosque. Everytime we went some place, there were locals who hung around, and insisted on showing us the directions. It felt a bit dodgy for some, but at one point we met with an old man who was well-versed in the history. We let him tail us around, and just hoped he won’t force us to cough up a hefty amount of cash for his “tour guide services”. Regardless, the old guy was helpful, and didn’t turn out to be dodgy after all. I did give him a pretty good tip though, but perhaps that’s where he gets food on the table? To unofficially guide lost tourists around? We never know, but I do appreciate him not being just another tout.

Have to be honest I probably can’t remember half the history of Taman Sari, now. I could only imagine what it was like in its glory days, and could only memorialize what is left of the royal grounds today:

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Obligatory touristy picture at the most hitz spot in Jogja? Check.

 

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Passed through the infamous “Kampung Cyber” while touring Taman Sari. I swear I saw “Zuckerberg was here” tagged somewhere…

 

After Taman Sari, I decided to show Alex the Keraton (Royal Palace). To be honest, we didn’t expect much from the place. It was quite a pity that there wasn’t much artefacts left in the Palace, safe from the old royal horse carriages and pictures of generations after generations of royalty. In this case, I thought the exhibit at Ulen Sentalu was much better presented. It was getting rainy, so we didn’t spend much time there. Plus, we were getting hungry.

Before I left Jogja, I wanted to go and eat at Bale Raos, which is apparently the “official” restaurant of the Keraton. They serve up classic dishes, including the Sultan’s favourites. I was really just curious, as I’ve heard that the dishes were an interesting mix of Dutch and Javanese cuisine. So, here was our chance to ~dine like the royals~

Here are some of the food we got to try:

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Bestik Djawa (Javanese Steak). The gravy were stuff made in heaven.

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Bebek Suwar Suwir

Now that you’ve seen my (poor) food photography ~skillz~, what’s my verdict? Let’s just say that the dishes were interesting, and out of the ordinary. Rule number one is obviously don’t try the normal ~common people food~ like Gudeg, Fried Chicken or Semur. Try the ones that sounds rather strange like Bebek Suwar-Suwir, or Gecok Ganem. I had the Bebek Suwar Suwir and it was had an interesting taste, as it was served with kedondong sauce. While I wished the portion was a wee bit bigger, it was quite a culinary adventure. It’s definitely a bit of a splurge compared to most eating joints in the city, but I wouldn’t say it’s overrated.

That visit to Bale Raos ended my glorious long weekend. I spent the rest of the day before my flight to buy some local snacks and gudeg for my friends and family back home. Can’t go back home without buying some knick knacks, apparently! But, all in all, it was a great, relaxing weekend. It’s good to know that when I get exhausted of Jakarta, I have Jogja who would happily take me in for a retreat.

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