Tuesday, December 15, 2009

Indonesia ( Yogjarkarta ) 2009

Jogjakarta Map
Borobudur Temple
Borobudur Temple
Mt Merapi

Solo River

" My 5 days in Jogyakarta, Borobudur, Dieng & Solo (23/2-27/2/2009) - jogging by air across the Straits of Malacca to see the Borobudur Temple - an UNESCO world heritage site in Indonesia "

Total expenses incurred (5 days) : Rm607

AirAsia Flight Itinerary
Booking Date: 6 July 2008
Flight No: AK1004
Depart LCCT, Kuala Lumpur at 14.55 ( 1 hr delay )
Arrive Yogyakarta at 17.00
Return AK1005
Depart Yogyakarta 16.00 ( 35 mins delay)
Arrive LCCT, Kuala Lumpur at 20.00
Air Ticket: Rm231
Hostel (4 nights) : 300,000rp ( Rm91)
Food: 200,000rp (Rm62)
Day tours + entrance fees (3 days): 550,000rp (Rm170)
Departure tax: 100,000rp (Rm31)
Airport taxi & bus: Rm22
Total Expense: Rm607

" A visit to see the firely Mt Merapi; the magnificient Borobudur temple twice destroyed by Mt Merapi; the Solo River humming the popular Malay folk song of Bangawan Solo - I am impressed with Yogya !

Day 1 Yogjakarta, Indonesia (2009)

I had visited most of the Asean countries except Indonesia, Burma & Laos . So for this trip , I picked Yogyakarta (3.4 mil) as the first city for my visit to Indonesia. The other reason was the Borobudur Temple as I was keen to see this civilised wonder of the world !

Prior to coming to Yogya, I had contacted one of the Hospitality Club members in Yogyarkata, Mr Andrei and he was most helpful and provided me with valuable advice on hostel location and recommendation, airport bus shuttle and taxi services and rates, travel agency services, Malioboro and Dagen street areas. Thank you so much Andrei for providing the preliminary advice , although we did not meet up for a chat in Yogya ! Andrei, If you are coming to Kuala Lumpur, please drop me a line.

After an hour of delay at LCCT Kuala Lumour, our Air Asia flight finally arrived in Yogyakarta at around 5.30pm. The Yogya airport is small and congested when all our air passengers arrived at the hall for immigration clearance. The Malaysian passport holders were asked to queue up in one single row and it took around 20 minutes by the time I had my passport stamped and cleared .

On the plane, we befriended two senior Malaysian travellers ( Lee & Lam ) and together we took an airport taxi (50,000rp=Rm15.50) to Merapi Hotel (150,000rp=Rm46.50 per room for two) located in Sosrowijayan street in the Malioboro area. If you take the Trans-Yog airport bus No 1A , it costs only 3,000rp=Rm0.90 per ticket. The taxi trip took around 30mins to downtown city.

The weather at this time of the year was cool at 27C but rains in the afternoon were quite often. The humidity here was low so we did not sweat much while walking around the downtown area.

After the hostel check-in and a cool bath, our group of four and with the help of a local guy took us to a beef noodle shop nearby our hostel and we had our first taste of Bakso, a noodle dish cooked in a hot spicy soup with three beef balls and bean sprouts in it. Each bowl costs 10,000rp=Rm3.10. Next, our local guy took us to a road side satay stall and we had a great chicken and beef satay meal (40 sticks) with rice (48,000rp=Rm15 for 4) and ginger tea (10,000rp=Rm3.10 for 4).

After the meal, we wondered around the Malioboro area just to familiar with the surrounding places. Our first glipmse of Yogyarkata by night ! Malioboro is really a tourist shopping haven - make sure you bring a big luggage to stuff whatever things you have bought - a real bargain if you know how to haggle the price to the last cent ! Tourists could also take a horse carriage ride, trishaws and enjoyed the street food by the roadside. After an hour of walking, we walked into the Malioboro Mall , a modern shopping centre and this time, we ordered some more local food at the Food Court. We sampled the Gudek Jogja, a spicy sweet jack fruit (nangka) stew come with rice , chicken, serunding, boiled egg & tufu.

We paid 25,000rp (Rm7.60) for the Gudek. Sorry, I did not enjoy the Gudek dish at all ! . We also ate a plate of Soto Kudus, mainly chicken offals ( 31,000rp=Rm9.60) and fried soya bean cake ( 3,000rp=Rm0.90) 

On our way back to our hostel, we signed up a day tour with a local travel agency ( Sosro Tour & Travel ) for our day trip tomorrow. The tour package covered three places ie Borobudur Temple, Kaliurang ( viewing of Mt Merapi ) and Prambanan Temple. Each of us paid a discounted price of 80,000rp=Rm25 for the transport. As both the temple are UNESCO sites, overseas tourists have to pay a stiff price of 100,000rp=Rm31 for each temple as admission fee.

We had a canned of local Bintang beer ( 11,000rp=Rm3.40) bought from a mini market before retiring to bed. The cool beer put us to sleep well tonight 

D-2 Borobudur, Indonesia (2009)

By 5.30am, the sky was bright and it served as a wake up call for me ! This morning, I woke up quite early and I took a bath to refresh myself. My travel buddy, Ng and I then had a morning walk around the Malioboro area. The main street was quiet as most of the stalls had yet to open for business. We passed a sundry shop owned by an eldery local Chinese who was able to converse with us in simple Mandarin ! We were told that most local Chinese here are no longer able to write and speak their mother tongue !

At around 7.30am, Ng and myself had our breakfast and we enjoyed a bowl of Bakso ( 10,000rp=Rm3.10) from the previous stall before heading back to our hostel to meet up with Lee & Lam who were having their free breakfast at the hostel. As this was our first morning , we did not realise that our hostel served complimentary breakfast !

To pay for the next few day expenses for our food , entrance fees & day tours, the elder Lee suggested that each of us contributes 500,000rp=Rm155 to a money pool and we all agreed. Instantly we had 2 million rupiah ready cash in hand! I was appointed the money keeper - what a noble job and overnight I became a millionaire treasurer !

Our tour driver showed up at around 8.00am in our hostel to take four of us to visit Borobudur temple, Kaliurang (Mt Merapi) and Prambanan temple. Joining us were two travellers from Spain. A total of six in a Suzuki jeep.

1) Borobudur temple - Built in the 8th century during the Caqilendra Buddhist dynasty and it took 80-200 years to construct. Located about 42km from Yogya, this place is a popular tourist attraction in Central Java. Borobudur was destroyed by Mt Merapi twice and had been buried for centuries, it was subsequently re-discovered by a farmer in 1,812. The temple has 6 terrace levels, 3 oval levels and a main stupa. The entire building structure was made from volcanic rocks. The bottom terraces had many carved panels and stone inscriptoins reflecting the glorious past. Most of the Buddha heads & figures at the oval level had been pilfered and removed, only a few still exist.

We paid 100,000rp=Rm31 to our travel agent in advance for entry to Borobudur temple as this could save 10,000rp for each person.

2) Kaliurang - This is at the foot of Plawangan Hill on the southern slope of Mr Merapi. An ideal place for pinicking and mountain trekking. As it was a very cloudy day in the mid afternoon, we were not able to have a clear view of Mt Merapi. However, we could see 3/4 view minus the peak which was covered by puffy white clouds, Mt Merapi is an active volcano and the last eruption was in Nov 1994 killing 69 people. There are various day trips organised by local travel agencies to view Mr Merapi and you could pick one to go as near as the foot of the Mt Merapi where you could walk on a larva path created during the last eruption. 

Mt Merapi

3) Prambanan Temple (UNESCO) - Built in 9th century, this is the biggest Hindu temple in Indonesia. It has three main temples as the symbol of the Hindu Trinity Gods ie Brahma, Civa & Vishnu. We paid 100,000rp in advance to our travel agent for admission to this temple. Others had to pay 10,000rp more if paid at the front gate.

At the front entrance, we met a solo traveler (Gan) from Malaysia , who was on the same plane with us and he decided to join our group for the next few day. From two travelers ( Cheng & Ng ) , our group now had 5 people so this made our travel arrangement much easier as it could be more economical to hire a jeep with a driver to take us to any destination of our choice around Jogya.

It was drizzling at the time of our visit so the sky was getting gloomy and the ground was wet making it difficult for us to walk around. We also visited a museum and took some pictures of the relics and artefacts on display.

D-3 Dieng, Indonesia (2009)

Dieng & Borobudur Map

Yesterday evening after our return from the Borobudur trip, Ng and myself popped into Sosro travel agency's office to inquire about any interesting tourist places our group could sign up for tomorrow. The travel agent suggested that we visit the Dieng Plateau (2,000m), Arjuna Temple, Skidang crater tourist area. Dieng is located at the north of Yogyakarta and west of Borobudur and is a valley riched in volcanic activity.

However, we were keen to see Mt Bromo & Ijen Lake but we need at least 3 days to complete this visit. So we have to disregard the Mt Bromo visit due to time constraints and instead we signed up the Dieng Plateau day tour. For 5 people, our group hired a Toyota jeep and paid 450,000rp=Rm140 for this 10hr day trip to Dieng. Lee & Lam were happy that we had chosen this particular tour .

As this was a long day (3 hrs by car from Yogya to Dieng Plateau) , our driver came to our hostel to pick us up at 7.45am. We had our morning breakfast at the hostel around 7.15am and also waited for Gan to show up as he was staying in Delta Hotel, 3km from Malioboro area.

Sikidang Crater

Warna Lake

Dieng Plateau

Tropical fruit - Rambutan
Beef  ball soup - Bakso

Our spicy curry lunch
Food stall selling Bakso