Java Over Land (1)

Right after I graduated from University back in 2010, I rewarded myself with a trip. I was working part time in campus but not yet have a steady full time job; so, I thought to myself when else would be the best time to travel. As I was short on money, I decided to travel to places that are not too far from Jakarta. In the end, it was a week trip (actually only 6 days) of Java overland. My travelling companion at that time was my little brother. Our route was Jakarta to Yogyakarta to Malang to Surabaya and then goes back to Jakarta.

We departed from Jakarta to Yogyakarta by train from the Gambir train station. We had a night trip; departed around 9 pm and we arrived the next day at 6 in the morning. The train trip was smooth and we arrived in Yogyakarta in the morning without any hurdles.DSCI0028The train station in Yogyakarta.

As the trip was supposed to be spontaneous; I didn’t book any hostel before. We exited the train station and looking for accommodation nearby. The first hotel by the station we attended to was quite expensive for our budget trip. So we decided to walk to Malioboro Street to test our luck. There was this street full of budget accommodation in Malioboro Street. We saw many international as well as local tourists. Without any hassle we found a perfect hostel with a cheap price. We put our belongings in the room and started exploring the city.DSCI0036 We had breakfast in local eateries by the street (not so good) and asked around on information of the local sightseeing.

After settling a deal with two becak (a bicycle-like local transport powered by a man) drivers, they took us to Taman Sari. Taman Sari was the ancient swimming pool used by the kings and queens of Yogyakarta in the past. For your information, Yogyakarta is the only province in Indonesia where Monarch still rules the region. The Sultan of Yogyakarta rules the region as the Governor without any election. Taman Sari consisted of a swimming pool, rooms for the King and Queen to rest, park, and kitchen.DSCI0046My Brother on the Becak.DSCI0057The entrance to Taman Sari.DSCI0060The park inside Taman Sari.DSCI0061Entrance to the pool.DSCI0065The pool.DSCI0071King’s bed to rest.

We were showed around the compound by an Abdi Dalem. Abdi Dalem is the term used for the servants of the Yogyakarta Monarch. It is given by birth. So our guide at that time and his family have been serving the monarch for generations. He also showed us the residences of Abdi Dalem which located nearby Taman Sari. He said the houses were given to them by the Sultan for their status and loyalty for serving the Monarch. I asked how much the salary for becoming an Abdi Dalem was. He said, around 30,000 rupiah (about 2-3 USD) a month, but it depend on the level of the Abdi Dalem itself. However, not all the family of Abdi Dalem resided in the house. Many of them transmigrated to other provinces and find living there. The Abdi Dalem still living in the houses also have another job in order to fulfil their daily needs. For instance, becoming a tour guide like him. Despite the fact that they were paid so low, they were very proud of their status as Abdi Dalem and continue to serve the monarch loyally.

Next, the Becak took us to Keraton Yogyakarta. Keraton Yogyakarta is the residence of the Sultan and his royal family. Even now, the Keraton was still functioned as it was in the past. There were official tour guides that you could hire at the entrance. I recommend using their service as they could explain to you in details about the Keraton. Several languages were available such as Indonesian, English, French, and Japanese. The compound of the Keraton was huge with buildings spread on the area. Each building was connected with a corridor with a roof to protect the people walking by from the sunlight which could be pretty hot during the afternoon. There was a traditional music played in Keraton at that time, I think they play regularly. It was a full set of Gamelan Jawa. We were pretty lucky to have seen it.DSCI0091The entrance of Keraton.DSCI0096The Abdi Dalem.DSCI0097The symbol of Keraton Yogyakarta.DSCI0100DSCI0101DSCI0105DSCI0113DSCI0094The full set of Gamelan Jawa.

Our next destination for the day was Candi Ratu Boko (Queen Boko’s Temple) and Candi Prambanan (Prambanan Temple). When we arrived at Candi Prambanan, we found out that they sell a pair ticket of Candi Ratu Boko and Candi Prambanan. Thus we decided to go to Candi Ratu Boko first as they provided the shuttle bus there anyway. Candi Ratu Boko was located up on a hill not too far from Candi Prambanan. From the hill we could view the city and the Candi Prambanan as well. Not many left in the ruin of Candi Ratu Boko. Only the gate of the Candi which was still in a good condition.DSCI0124The entrance to Candi Ratu Boko.DSCI0129Hmm.. I think this place could be a nice spot for pre-wedding pictures.DSCI0134The ruins of Candi Ratu Boko.DSCI0136The resident of Candi Ratu Boko.. No. It was just my brother…DSCI0139DSCI0142The view of the city from the Hill.

On the contrary with Candi Ratu Boko’s ruin, Candi Prambanan was still in a very good condition. It was the most famous heritage temple from ancient Hindu Kingdom which was once ruled acrosss Java. The typical of Hindu temple could be seen in the architecture in which the stones were arranged to form a high building (built vertically). They held the famous play “Ramayana” in Candi Prambanan at night twice a week. Give it a try if you got the change. I heard it was spectacular. We wanted to stay and watch but we couldn’t because they didn’t have it on the day we were there. My advice is to book the ticket with a local travel agent first. They would pick you up from your hotel to the site of the play and send you back after the play. It could be hard to find a taxi after the play since it will be pretty late.DSCI0148Candi Prambanan.DSCI0155DSCI0163DSCI0161

As I said before, we didn’t get to watch the play so we went back to our hostel and had dinner in Malioboro Street. The street was very vibrant at night. There were so many shops and eateries along the street packed with local people and tourist mingling. It was very nice to be there.DSCI0177DSCI0175DSCI0170

However, I was working as an assistant editor for a journal in campus at that time. On that day we depart from Jakarta, was actually my birthday; and I had work to be submitted. -_- So much to start a holiday. I couldn’t finish my work and ended up searching for internet cafe in Yogyakarta that night to submit my work. (npa)

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