Just before leaving Indonesia last August, friend E and I decided to go west of Java for a cultural tour. Indonesia as the biggest archipelago of 13000 islands, we're pretty much aware that our 5 day itinerary tour isn't enough, so we just went to some spots where we think what Indonesia is famous for backpackers - and its not Bali you mind, its Yogyakarta (pronounced Jog-jah-karta).
A day after E arrived in Bandung, we left 630am from my kost to catch 8am train schedule. I only managed to get executive train tickets (non AC), since August 1 is the start of Ramadhan, that even business class tickets going to Yogyakarta are sold out, as most people come home for a reunion with their families before the whole month of fasting. Trip took about more than 8 hours.
We arrived Yogyakarta past 3pm, first hunted a padang resto for a late lunch. And like our Cambodia tour, we didnt booked an agent for the travel prior leaving, so after a serving of rice , stir-fried vegetables and chicken, we looked for an agent for the tour. We found one in the station, for a fee of 500K Rp, we had a car & driver for our a day tour around.
(*Left photo from Grage Hotel website)
I read from other blogs, travellng in Indonesia is cheaper when you book for a tour, compared to DYI. As soon as we booked a tour for the next day, we looked for a hotel...Yes, we didnt have any, and going through the streets of Malioboro and backpackers'street of Gang I & Gang II in Jalan Sosrowijayan on which unfortunately that time are all fully booked! Tired from travel, we got enough of being thrifty and booked instead in Grage Ramayana Hotel (400K Rp per night for 2 for superior room).
For our first stop, Candi Borobodur (Candi means temple). Its a 9th century Buddhist temple of 6 square platforms topped by 3 circular platforms of 504 buddha statues. It was regarded by UNESCO as a world heritage site, and still used a pilgrimage once a year by Buddhists and called it Vesak. We paid 135K Rp for the entrance fee, and hired a guide for 75K Rp (english speaker).
(View of Candi Borobodur during sunrise.)
Just one thing I noticed on some Buddha statues are headless. We are told few years ago that thieves cut them, smuggled and auctioned abroad for a fortune to collectors.=(