Yogyakarta – Java Indonesia

So up next is Yogyakarta. I wanted to fly to Jakarta but people convinced me otherwise (there is nothing to see there), so Jogja it is. Jogja is the local name they put on the traffic signs here and it is located in the middle east of Java. It is known for being the cultural capital of Java and even tho you instantly recognise Indonesia there is something different. The people here behave a bit differently I think and the fact that they want to take a picture of me everywhere is certainly different then Bali.

After I arrived I found out that a friend (Lee) I knew from New Zealand was here as well. This was good fun because nobody can go without a beer buddy 😛 . The first few days I just hung out and checked the neighbourhood. The centre was pretty fun with really cheap food stalls and clothing shops everywhere but after a few days I rented a scooter to get around more.

First place I visited was Prambanan which is a huge Hindu temple from the 7th century. It’s only a 40 minute drive from the main street and it’s all on main roads so really easy to find. I visited the temple at the end of the day because all the tourist go in the morning and have already left by then.  The entrance is a bit expensive (13 US Dollar) but it’s worth it. Especially at dusk its really nice to see the sun set on the huge buildings. It’s also really great to just in the grass and “Zen” for a moment while looking at the tower of Shiva the Destroyer 😈

The next day I visited Borobudur. This was a little bit further away (2 hours) but it’s just one big road  all the way there. Scooter is definitely the best way to go because you never get stuck in traffic and there is no deadline when you have to leave. Borobudur is the biggest Buddha temple in the world which was built in the 8th century (I guess they just wanted to keep busy those days 😆 ). Although I liked Prambanan better this was also a sight not to miss. There are multiple levels which you climb by stairs and you go round the temple clockwise. At the top are huge bells which have Buddha’s inside with different hand positions. There are five groups of mudra: North, East, South, West and Zenith, which represent the five cardinal compass points. Everyone tries to touch the Buddha in the bell without lifting your feet from the ground because they say you can make a wish then (which was easy for me and good fun to see all the small Indonesians struggle). With 504 Buddha’s you can’t say you haven’t seen one at the end of the day.

The entrance was really cheap I thought (2 US Dollar) until I figured out that I was in the Indonesian queue. The tourist entrance was 15 US but you did get a free cup of Java coffee 😐 .  Maybe it was the weather (it was clouded) but I wasn’t really impressed by the whole site. All the locals that where coming up to me to take pictures with me didn’t help either. I kind of know now how celebrities get sick of all the attention. In the beginning its nice but after 20 pictures it gets annoying (unless it’s a cute girl off course 😎 ).

The best thing about Jogja was when I just started to drive around with Lee. We drove to the beach which looked pretty depressing but was really crowded and after a little walk (and locals taking about 20 photos of us) we drove up into the hills to see where the roads unknown go. We ended up driving though little towns in hilly cliff sides and amazed people there so much that they were wondering how we got so lost. “Jogja, that way” they shout as we pass them. The roads with steep drops and shouting children ( “Hello Mister”) reminded me of Sulawesi. This is the true Java that people want to see!!

At some point we thought that we were driving through an abandoned village but after closer inspection there where all graves. The graves had roofing’s and sometimes complete sheds around them. It was truly an unexpected sight. The next day my train was leaving and I said goodbye to beer buddy Lee. I was headed for Bali again but there were some volcano’s in the way 😉

Bonus: Here’s a video of me and Lee racing around Jogja. Credits go to Lee 😛

[youtube RGcEprLpEA0]

Cheers,

René