This should be interesting. It’s after 10pm and I’m trying to write coherent sentences, one finger peck at a time. Journey is blasting from the laptop. Well, as much as a laptop can blast. Like I said, it’s after 10.
This segment of the “Anticipation Tour” will focus on what Via and I might see and experience in our visit to Yogyakarta, including the places our tour will take us. Then, my interest not have waned by then, will be a discussion of local foods and restaurants – all in anticipation of trying as many as possible.
Trying local transportation
Because I am travelling with a native speaker (i.e., I have my own translator), venturing out a little more than usual should be easier, including riding on non-traditional methods of transportation. One I’ve been wanting to try is the traditional three-wheeled and pedal-powered carts known as becak (pronounced beh-chak), which can be found in most part of Yogyakarta. I understand that you are supposed to haggle over the fare before getting into the becak, making sure the price negotiated includes the return (pulang) trip is included – if you want the driver to wait while you conduct your shopping. The latest from Wikipedia is that a ride from within the city to the Malioboro shopping precinct should not cost more than Rp 10,000 ($1). Now, if we can just get them to pick us up at our hidden hotel.
Another transport method we may try is a traditional horse-pulled cart, known as andong, or dokar. Again, haggling over the fare is recommended (and is probably part of the fun). The andong are apparently noteworthy for taking tourists to places for fake crafts at high prices, but that is normal in Indonesia. The cost for one round trip is about Rp 20,000. .
Apparently, the top tourist attraction in Yogyakarta is the Kraton, or Sultan’s palace. We’ll be touring that on Monday, Dec. 30. Expect lots of photos (and a stop at the gift shop – they’ve got to have one). That looks like it will be an exhausting day.
The cost to enter the Kraton is Rp 12,500 (foreign tourist price) or Rp 5,000 (Indonesian tourist price). Via and I will pay the lower price, me because I have a KITAS (work permit). Most of the places we will tour have entry fees, and we should be able to pay the lower ones for Indonesians everywhere. There are music and dance shows within the palace regularly, free with the ticket.
Other notable landmarks and attractions we will see or try to see:
Tugu Monument, A well known landmark located in the center of downtown Yogyakarta that once had a spire that, during the colonial era, was replaced with a golden cylinder.
Benteng Vredeburg is a Dutch fort located in front of Gedung Agung (President’s Palace).
Kota Gede. The capital of ancient Islamic Mataram kingdom where the tomb of Mataram Kingdom’s first king, Panembahan Senopati, is located. This is part of our very busy Monday tour schedule. Before independence, Kotagede was the central economic district of Yogyakarta, as it held the largest marketplace and was home to many wealthy batik merchants. Kotagede remains a prime example of ancient Javanese architecture. We will be touring the famous silver-making and batik manufacturers here.
Taman Sari, This is on our Monday tour agenda and also is known by the Dutch name waterkasteel (water castle). This is a partly ruined complex built as a pleasure garden by the first Sultan in 1765. One of the bathing pools was dedicated to the sultan’s harem, and he had a tower overlooking the area so he could take his pick. Entrance fee is Rp 7,000 for entrance, Rp 1,000 for a photo permit.
Masjid Gede Kauman is one of the oldest and largest mosques in Yogyakarta.
Candi (ancient temples) are ancient archeological structures constructed during 7th-9th century aimed for a specific religion (Buddhist or Hindu). They were constructed from hundreds of volcanic or river stone blocks and assembled solely by human labor. Candi walls are often carved with reliefs depicting stories, and a stone God or Goddess statue usually sits at the center.
The two most famous candi are Borobudur, an 9th century Buddhist temple 1-hour drive from Yogyakarta, and which we will tour on Saturday, Dec. 28, our first full day in Jogja. The second is the Hindu temple of Prambanan, which we will tour on Monday.
Candi Sambisari sits an estimated 6 meters below the ground line. This candi consists of one main candi and three supporting candis (perwara). You can see lingga and yoni, symbol of male and female sex, inside the main candi. It has been concluded that the Sambisari was built to adore Siva Gods. Candi Sambisari is estimated to be constructed in the 9th century (812-838 AD).
Candi Kalasan is the oldest Buddhist temple in Yogyakarta. Constructed in late 7th century (778 AD) by a Hindu but he built a Buddhist temple. The relief carved in this candi are known to be the most beautiful. The wall is covered by ancient white cement called bajralepa.
And, of course, we are going to have to visit at least one of the Traditional Markets, such as Pasar Beringharjo, Pasar Kranggan, and Pasar Klithikan Pakuncen. Shop, shop, shop. And there will be at least one visit to Malioboro Avenue, a well-known shopping promenade and very popular among Indonesian as well as international tourists. Malioboro is 2 kilometers in length and home to hundreds of shops and street-stalls offering various kinds of handicrafts.
Pasar Beringharjo is the largest traditional marketplace in Yogyakarta. The vendors sell many kind of goods, ranging from basic household items (vegetables, fruits, meats) to many kind of handicrafts. Lots of haggling over prices here, I’ve read.
Mirota Batik is opposite Pasar Beringharjo and offers plenty of handicrafts, not only from Yogyakarta but also from all part of Indonesia.
Nadzar is a huge souvenir shop specializing in batik, art, jewelry, and more. Has every souvenir you could imagine at fixed prices.
Saptohoedojo Art Gallery is a sprawling complex housing an eclectic collection of Indonesian art, ranging from abstract modern paintings and batik shirts yhrough gamelan instruments and stuffed tigers to Papuan tribal totems complete with the skulls of vanquished enemies.
Next up: Part 3 -Restaurants and Local Foods