Yogyakarta – Magelang (April 5-8, 2012)

Few months earlier, Alif asked me: “Bunda, why we never go to Borobudur?”

Well, Borobudur is UNESCO’s World Heritage (http://whc.unesco.org/en/list/592). Very famous Buddhist temple, lots of foreigners visited Indonesia just to see this amazing remains of 9th century…how could I never took my son to this site while I’ve traveled with him to some other countries far away? So, I made plans for a holiday with him at Yogyakarta (+800 km from Jakarta).

FIRST DAY (Thursday – April 5, 2012)

It was Good Friday then I bought  Air Asia tickets (return trip for two = Rp.1,221,000) to enjoy the long weekend.

Alif and I have arrived at Yogyakarta, 5:00 PM (100 minutes late than scheduled 3:20 PM). Instead of get a taxi (Rp.50,000), I took Alif by TransJogja Bus from airport to the city center (Rp.3,000 per person). It was raining in the evening, heavy traffic jam, 50 minutes to reach only 13 km.

We got off at Vrederburg Castle then we took “becak” (cyclo rickshaw) to the guesthouse (Rp.15,000) only 2 km away to reach DELTA HOMESTAY, Jalan Gerilya Prawirotaman MG III / 597A which I booked with discount through http://www.yogyes.com few weeks earlier.

Our room was double, economy not deluxe (means joint bathroom not private), fan only (no AC), but nice and clean, located near to the swimming pool (Alif is so happy about it). Fare only Rp.108,000 (after 10% discount from published price Rp.120,000 per night) including breakfast. Other guests were mostly westerners (lots of foreigners, only one Indonesian couple).

Alif was too tired to get out for dinner, then I called McDonald’s (just dial 14045 from anywhere at major cities in Indonesia) to get delivery service of his favourite cheese burger (plain, no vegetable, no mayonnaise) with potato fries and soft drink.

SECOND DAY (Friday – April 6, 2012)

Our rent car arrived as expected in front of our guesthouse at 6:00 AM. Alif and I departed at 6:10 AM, the guesthouse was nice enough to pack our breakfast of bread (plus butter, jam, cheese slice), boiled egg, banana and drinking water because their official serving time was actually started at 6:30 AM.

The rent car was Rp.350,000 for 10 hours trip including gasoline and driver (exclude parking fee and driver’s lunch/tip). Contact = Pak Budi, phone no +628122953920.

First stop before reach Borobudur Temple (60 km from Yogyakarta) was Mendut Temple, a Buddhist temple, built in 824 A.D. by King Indera of Cailendra dynasty. It was located 3 kilometers eastward from Borobudur Temple.

There were three big statues inside, i.e.
– Cakyamuni sitting in cross legged pose with dharma cakra mudra (= turning the wheel of dharma hand pose).
– Awalokiteswara, a bodhi satwa as human being helper.
– Maitreya, a savior of human beings in the future.

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The next stop was Pawon Temple. Pawon means “kitchen” in local language, it’s only a small one but interesting.

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At 8:00 AM, finally we arrived at Borobudur Temple. Entrance ticket was Rp.30,000 (adult) + Rp.12,500 (child). Foreigners must pay more, US$12.

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We finished the tour around that biggest Buddha temple, including visit to a marine museum and elephants (5 big ones in outdoor cage), at 10:00 AM then went shopping at nearby market and get henna tattoo (scorpion on Alif’s right upper arm, flowers on my hands) for only Rp.50,000.

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About 20 minutes drive from Borobudur, we arrived at my childhood home at Jalan Kapuas 11, near military academy. We met current owners, a couple named Captain David and Mrs. Yuli who had two sons, Davin and Dylan. The family was nice enough to let me take some pics inside and in front of their house where I lived 34 years ago (1974-1978).

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It was high noon already, our driver had to do Shalata Jumat then Alif and I had lunch at New Kebun Tebu, a restaurant that provided nice lunch and drink for three of us only for Rp.70,000 (including ice cream) then bought a hat for Alif and some t-shirts, mugs, keychains, etc (all marked “Akademi Militer”) at the souvenir shop before took some of Alif’s pics from outside the gate. We didn’t enter it, although my uncle said that it would be permitted. Well, maybe some other time we’ll go inside and get around the whole military academy complex and visit the museum too.

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Later we went to Ketep Pass for volcano tour. Arrived there at 2:00 PM (entrance ticket was Rp.7,000 for adult, somehow free-of-charge for Alif), we enjoyed seeing The Five Peaks from “Pelataran Panca Arga” with rent binocular (Rp.3,000 per unit). It wasn’t so good to visit during this raining season (usually lasts until end of April) because the sky was cloudy grey, seems like sky would be clear blue during dry season (April-October). Other visitors told me that view would be clear in the morning.

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At 2:35 PM, there was 25-minutes movie about Mount Merapi eruption in October 2010 (recorded as most devastating within this last century) in the volcano theater, ticket price was Rp.7,000 per person. Quite scary, but good lesson for Alif. The narration was that Merapi gives prosperity for the people who live around it (very fertile land for agriculture) but once also got “angry” sometimes when people ignored “God’s commandment”.

We left from Ketep Pass at 3:00 PM, I told the driver to drop us at my cousin’s house at Gamping Lor for a family visit and dinner before went back to our guesthouse.

THIRD DAY (Saturday – April 7, 2012)

This morning we woke up at 5:00 AM then went swimming at pool in front of our room at 6:10 AM. Finished at 7:00 AM (Alif had so much fun), then we took shower and ate breakfast at the pool side. Alif got bread with butter and jam, I got fried rice with egg. The hot milk and coffee milk was great.

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Left the guesthouse at 8:30 AM, we took cyclo rickshaw (“becak”) for 15 minutes ride, Rp.15,000 (about 3 km) to the palace. Same like in The City Palace in Jaipur, the Sultan Hamengku Buwono X’s family still live in the estate, current sultan (as previous, his father was Sultan Hamengku Buwono IX) also hold governmental position as governor of Special Region of Yogyakarta Province.

At The Sultan’s Palace (“Kraton Yogyakarta”), entrance ticket was Rp.5,000 per person for Indonesian, Rp.12,500 per person for foreigner, Rp.1,000 for every camera/handycam (I think that handphone with camera would be free-of-charge). We went around the building, there were several museums which showcase the heritage, including a cart for royal brides (lifted up by 20 soldiers instead of horses like the ones owned by British Kingdom).

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There was weekly shadow puppet show (“wayang kulit”) started at 10:00 AM every Saturday, free-of-charge. Alif enjoyed it much. It’s a must see for anyone who visit this city.

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I purchased the miniature of the stage then he can play it at home later, plus some t-shirts, keychains, etc at the souvenir shop before left the palace at 10:30 AM then walked a bit to Train Museum, just few meters away. Alif bought some traditional toys there, he wanted to play it then later in Jakarta will become alternatives other than his “modern” toys of Beyblade, etc. Nice to see him started wearing “blankon” (traditional Javanese male headcover) until the rest of the day.

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Walked again few meters, we took rest and went to bathroom after got some pics at “Masjid Gedhe” (means “grand mosque”). What I like about Indonesian mosques, the bathrooms usually clean with plenty and easy-to-reach water supply (unlike disgusting toilets of mosques in India). I recall that once I stopped at this mosque in Ramadhan few years ago, there were free ifthar packages of snack + dinner + drink, freely distributed for any visitor (donated by some rich people in the city).

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Azan zuhr was 11:42 AM, so I did shalat zuhr-ashr at the mosque before continue our city exploration. We ate lunch at the road side, 12:15 PM, it was rice and “sate ayam” (chicken kabab) with iced orange juice, total cost Rp.18,000 for both of us.

We arrived at Taman Pintar (literary means “smart park”) at 12:45 PM, entrance ticket was Rp.15,000 for adult, Rp.8,000 for child. That price covered entry for three building: House of Memorabilia, Oval Building, Square Building.

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In the House of Memorabilia, there were pics and keepsakes that once belonged to the kings of Yogyakarta, also “tokoh pendidikan” (main figures of Indonesian education history), also six presidents of Indonesia (Soekarno, Soeharto, BJ Habibie, Abdurrahman Wahid, Megawati Soekarnoputri, Susilo Bambang Yudhoyono).

The entrance of Oval Building was giant aquarium, then giant display of dinosaurs (Alif liked it so much), later in the center there was a huge round room that showcased many interesting ideas about science (there photos and sample equipment of scientific principles that formulated by Einstein, Newton, Descartes, etc).

Alif was having a great time, lots of displays on various science and technology principles then we stayed longer there (planned for only 20-30 minutes). At the end, we watched 15 minutes of 4-dimensions movie about a little bird, “Rilly’s Sky Adventure”. Ticket price was Rp.20,000 for adult, Rp.15,000 for child.

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It was raining when we left from Taman Pintar at 2:30 PM, headed to Prambanan Temple. First we took TransJogja bus from Taman Pintar to airport (Line 1B) then change bus to Line 1A (no need to buy new tickets, only Rp.3,000 per person). The whole trip was only for 17 km to the south west from Yogyakarta’s city center, would cost Rp.60,000 by taxi but of course much faster (25-30 minutes).

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We enjoyed the magnificent view of Prambanan Temple (dubbed as most beautiful Hindu temple). Legend has it, after her father King Boko was defeated in battle, a Javanese princess named Loro Jonggrang reluctantly agreed to marry his victor Prince Bandung, but only if he built a temple with 1000 statues before sunrise. With the help of spirits, Bandung had completed 999, when the princess lit a fire to the east of the temple. Fooled into thinking it was dawn, roosters in the neighboring village crowed and the spirits fled — and a furious Prince Bandung changed her into stone, the last and most beautiful of the statues. The actual story is available on http://wikitravel.org/en/Prambanan

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After sunset and dinner, Alif and I took another bus trip back to the city and got off at Malioboro Street for a supper at McDonald’s before Alif played some Animal Kaiser games at Time Zone and went back to our room.

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FOURTH DAY (Sunday – April 8, 2012)

Our flight back to Jakarta was scheduled for ETD 12:50 PM. Not much time to do other than some shopping. We took another “becak” ride from Prawirotaman to Malioboro.

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The street was heavily crowded with tourist on that last day of the long weekend. After bought some dresses and souvenir at the famous Mirota Shop (http://www.tripadvisor.com/Attraction_Review-g294230-d1597141-Reviews-Mirota_Batik-Yogyakarta_Yogyakarta_Region_Java.html) by 10:00 AM then I got a taxi to drive us from Malioboro to our hostel, grabbed our bags (I’ve checked out earlier in the morning) and drop us to the airport.

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It was a great holiday, certainly must go back again to this Central Java Province to explore more cities (Solo, Semarang, Salatiga, etc).

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