Weekend getaway: Jogjakarta (day 1)

Sep 3, 2013 by

Jogjakarta, also known as Jogja or Yoyakarta, is the capital of Daerah Istimewa Yogyakarta (Yogyakarta Special Distric). Famously known as Kota Gudeg (Gudeg City – more on this later) as well as Kota Pelajar (Students City), Jogja is also famous for its batik, dance, music and puppet shows which give this city the nickname Kota Budaya (Cultural City). During the national revolution, Jogja served as Indonesian capital for the period of 1946-1949 and it makes the city is historically significant for Indonesia.

Dear husband and I went for a 48 hours trip to Jogja last July. Our theme for the trip was culture and heritage so our destinations were Borobudur, the Ramayana Ballet, Jogja’s Keraton (Palace) and Taman Sari (Water Castle). So much to see in a weekend so hop hop, off we went!

To maximize the trip, we flew with the only morning flight available from Bandung which was on 06.30 am. FYI, the only other direct flight was on 2.25 pm. Oh the joy of living in a small city – not. So we flew with Merpati Air and to our surprise the plane was a Modern Ark 60 which made me a bit claustrophobic as the leg space was very tight and the windows were tiny. Drama aside, we made it to Jogja safely.



our ride!


Arriving at Jogja’s Adisucipto Airport, we were greeted by live traditional music consisted of a sinden (the lady singer) and 3 musicians playing gamelan. It was indeed a sweet touch while waiting for our luggage. For day 1, we rented a car with driver to drive us around as the day would be a long one.


Sinden at airport

welcome to Jogjakarta


First destination: a gudeg breakfast at Yu Djum (Jl. Palagan Tentara Pelajar 102). Gudeg is undoubtedly Jogja’s most famous dish. While gudeg is also popular in Central Java, the one is Jogja is usually sweeter and drier. Gudeg is made from jack fruit cooked in coconut milk and palm sugar, mixed with various spices and then served with rice, chicken, boiled egg and krecek (beef skin wet crackers). Although the one we went to wasn’t the original location of Yu Djum, it was still so yummy!



Gudeg Yu Djum


With a full happy tummy, we continued our journey to Candi Borobudur (Borobudur Temple). It was an hour ride in a normal traffic to reach Borobudur. Borobudur is a buddhist temple built in the 9th century and it’s still used for pilgrimage, especially on the Vesak. As a kid I’ve been to Borobudur several times but seeing this majestic architecture for the first time as an adult was a whole new experience. I was in awe as I stared at the temple and gazed through its relief. Borobudur has gone through the tests of time; forgotten as Islam overtaken Java, bombed by extremist group, rocked by an earthquake and buried in ashes from Mount Merapi eruption yet through rehabilitation this amazing temple stands still in all its glory.



The majestic Borobudur

Stupas at Borobudur

Stupas at Borobudur


After spending time under the scorching sun of Borobudur, we hushed ourselves to Amanjiwo for a little rest and relax. Amanjiwo is a part of Aman Resorts and it was a perfect place for cooling ourselves down. Located 15 minutes away, this resort has a perfect view of Borobudur. We spent an hour sitting down at the restaurant, sipping drinks and enjoying nibbles. It was indeed a great way to hide from the sun while still enjoying the great view of Borobudur.


Chillin at Amanjiwo

Chillin at Amanjiwo


Given that it’s past lunch time and we haven’t got any proper lunch, we headed back to Jogja for late lunch. It was perfect timing though as the restaurant we were heading wasn’t open until 3pm due to Islam’s fasting season. Mang Engking (Jl. Soragan No.13 Janti) was the restaurant we went to and it’s popular for its udang galah (river prawn). Again, the one we went to wasn’t the original place as it was too far for us – or our hunger in this matter. We had the famous honey grilled prawns, stir-fried morning glory and crispy fried squid. Cholesterol here we come!


Udang bakar madu

Honey grilled prawn


Cute thing about this particular Mang Engking, the built a little castle and named it Soragan Castle. Even cuter, people use it as pre-wedding photo venue! So we felt obliged to take our post-wedding photo ;)


Soragan Castle

Soragan Castle


Feeling a bit tired after an early morning, we decided to head to our hotel and check ourselves in. Our hotel of choice was Whiz Hotel (Jl. Dagen 8) which was located near Jl. Malioboro. The hotel was more than ok for an overnight stay, given its location and quiet surrounding, compared to the popular backpackers street of Jl. Sosrowijayan. After a short nap, we headed to Candi Prambanan for our main destination, the Rayamana Ballet.

Watching open air Ramayana Ballet was a childhood dream. Every Christmas I always go to grands’ house in Solo, a city 55 km away, but Christmas is in December and the open air shows are only from May to October. Thanks be to God, it was pouring heavily when we checked in and having our nap but then it was all clear sky! Amazing God indeed. Knowing that we’re 100% blessed, we happily entered the venue which was located in Candi Prambanan complex. Whilst Borobudur is a buddhist temple, Prambanan is a hindu temple but it’s just as pretty and majestic as Borobudur.



An act from the Ramayana ballet


Beautiful backdrop <3


I was impressed by the neatness of the show, from the entrance to the synopsis which was available in many languages (Indonesian, English, Germany, French, Korean, etc.). Apparently the first show was in 1961 so I suppose they have many years of experience to make it better. The show went for 2 hours with 15 minutes interval and it was epic. Thousand years love story re-enacted by more than a hundred dancers and musicians in front of a beautiful temple just made it so beautiful and romantic. We sat at the special class which gave us centre view of the stage and we also got a sitting cushion that was proven to be very important as the seats were from stone! Unless of course, if you pay more and go VIP. After the show, don’t forget to run to the stage and take pictures with the dancers.


Ramayana dancers

with the main characters of Ramayana


That was the end of our day 1 in Jogja. We went back to the hotel, paid our driver and said adios to the rental car as tomorrow we’ll travel by foot & public transport. Excited! See you in day 2!

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