Woke up around 3AM in Jakarta, had to get ready for an early flight to Yogyakarta in a couple of hours. We barely had enough sleep, approximately just about two hours. We made our way to the airport and checked in to our flight via AirAsia, which, for me, is definitely one of the best budget airlines I’ve ever been in. The service does not feel low-cost at all.
It was just an hour’s flight to Yogyakarta and we arrived at around 7AM at the Adisucipto International Airport. I had arranged with our hotel to have us picked up at the airport and it took us about 30 minutes to arrive into our hotel, the Venezia Homestay. I had made prior reservations via email with the hotel for our tour the entire time we will be in Yogyakarta. We were just scheduled to be here one whole day, so we had to make the most out of it. Once we arrived at the hotel, we immediately went down to confirm our tour. We had rented a car with a driver to drive us around Yogyakarta for 12 hours. I forgot what we paid and I really don’t care, I was there to roam around the city and visit Borobudur and Prambanan.
Our first stop was Borobudur, which took us about 2 hours from Yogyakarta. Borobudur has always been a dream destination of mine ever since I have seen pictures of it online. It’s a UNESCO World Heritage Site and the single largest Buddhist structure in the entire planet. The heat was absolutely unbearable, we arrived at around 10:30AM and it’s probably the worst level of burning, scorching heat I have ever been in, from all the travels I have done so far. But despite that, we were pretty much determined to circle around the temple complex and climb our way to the top. What really amazed me was the remarkable attention to detail that went throught the constructions of these monuments. I know it tells a story about Buddshist stuff and all, but I really didn’t care. I was there to enjoy the sights and the views. I learned one thing though, it’s a Buddhist temple complex, which separated it from the other UNESCO World Heritage Site, Prambanan, which is focused more on Hinduism. After that very tiring climb to the top of the complex, we went down back to our driver and decided to have lunch in this really cool and fancy Indonesian restaurant a few kilometers from Borobudur. After a few minutes, our next destination was Prambanan.
Also a UNESCO World Heritage Site, Prambanan has always been overshadowed by its Buddhist counterpart, Borobudur. The two sites are quite different in style with Hindu Prambanan being a collection of sharp, jaggedly sculpted towers in contrast to the vast horizontal bulk of Buddhist Borobudur. I liked Borobudur better though, maybe because of the way it has been created, and the keen details they have placed into the wall carvings just tops Prambanan in a whole new level. I was a little disappointed when I found out that some parts of Prambanan sustained significant damage as a result of the May 2006 earthquake that happened in Yogyakarta. The remains were left untouched and we can see some of the damaged temples as we walked around the area. There are a number of temples in Prambanan and we tried to get inside each of them to take some pictures. Each shard-edged temple is in representation of a Hindu God. Some of them even have their own shrines inside. I did enter one shrine and took a picture beside this tomb-like statue and it was definitely one of the eeriest feelings I have ever had there. Very eerie.
After circling the area, we went back to our van and decided that it’s time for us to do some market shopping. So we instructed our driver to bring us to Malioboro. Malioboro is a well-known shopping promenade and very popular among Indonesian as well as international tourists. Malioboro is 2 km in length and home to hundreds of shops and street-stalls offering various kind of handicrafts, shirts, trinkets, and delicacies. They’re even selling fried bats on the streets. I decided to buy some souvenirs and some shirts and it was around 6pm that we then decided to return back to our van so that we can have dinner.
Our driver took us to this wonderful restaurant called Via Via, which also doubles as a travel agency. The place was absolutely relaxing and packed with tourists. And the menu was just superb. I am so glad our driver took us to this place to have dinner. It was definitely a perfect way to end our one-day Yogyakarta tour. We arrive back at our hotel at around 9:30PM, slept a little longer than usual, since our flight back to Jakarta was scheduled to leave at noon the next day. Yogyakarta is truly one beautiful place, I have enjoyed much better than the modernized appeal of Jakarta. I wish we had one more day to explore this city but a day is enough for us to make the most out of it, given the time that we have.Follow @iamthegarysia