Not as famous as Bali, the real oceanic paradise for anyone traveling to Indonesia, Yogya, however offers you a deep cultural aspect of Javanese with multiple ancient temples and impressive beaches. The special region of Yogyakarta is often known as Jogja – a local term of residents living there. Why is it special? The long history of support from the Sultan in Yogyakarta for Indonesia during the fall of Jakarta to Dutch is the origin of this title. It is obvious to claim that Jogja, a pride of Javanese, is the center of artistic forms including traditional dances, Batik clothes and cuisine. The specific location helps you to discover magnificent destinations with each direction: The Merapi mount at the North, pristine isolated beaches at the South, The Heritage of Prambanan at the East and last but not least, the grand structure of ancient buddhist temple – Borobudur at the west. In a nutshell, if there is any place that ones must not miss besides Bali, Jogja may be the most approriate for him.
Known as the largest construction of Buddhist religious site in the world, this ancient temple used to be a place for worshipping until it was abandoned in 14th century and covered with volcano’s ashes and jungle growth. The combination of numerous stupas in each platform and buddha statues made of stone does reflect the important role as a symbol of religion at its peak time. Today, walking around the sacred area give us a feeling of admiration for the ancestors who use all their efforts to build such a grand temple.
You may enjoy the fresh, mysteric but peaceful moment when the first light of the day passes through the iconic solid stone shapes. The marvelous twilights in Borobudur attracts a number of visitors every new day. This activity is just be able to be done by a specific tour of Manohara resort inside the site’s space. For the price of 450k IDR, not only will you experience the sun rises over Borobudur but also you may have a slight snack of fried banana and cakes with hot tea/coffee and a small Batik cloth as a souvenir.
Please, be aware that you may arrive at Borobudur earlier than 4:30 AM to get the ticket at receptionist of Manohara and be quick to take a seat at the front gate of eastern direction before others have a chance to disturb your view. Also note that you can not combine the ticket of Prambanan Temple (at a cost of 550k IDR) with Sun Rise Tour of Borobudur by Manohara but purchase it seperately.
When people leave for breakfast at roughly 6 or 7AM, you will have the temple as your own “property”. That is also the perfect time to take photos of the site without any appearance of tourists inside the frame.
+ Special Ocassion: Waisak Celebration!
The honor Borobudur becomes to be full of buddhists from the rest of Indonesia and the world in Waisak ceremony happening around May to June annualy. This ocassion is to memorize and celebrate the birth of Gautama Buddha. Every corner is fullfiled by chants from the monks and people by all their heart. It shall be the Lantern Releasing Process that really highlights this ceremony. All unites together to wish for health and peace by letting the paper lights fly up on the night sky.
The only way to access to Borobudur during this period is to be accompanied by local Indonesians that are buddhist themselves or else those that have invitation letter from Walubi.org. The lantern ticket can be obtained at Mendut Temple nearby prior to the day of ceremony in the religious site. Usually there will be 2 – 3 days of the process but the Latern festival will only be held in the very last minute of the last day (around 11pm-12am).
In addition to Buddhism, Jogja is also home of Hinduism for a long time although people acknowledge it as the main religion of Bali island. Due to the development of buddhism and islam, the hindu move to Bali later though they tried to build so gigantic a construction for worshipping and rituals. It takes almost 1 hour by motorbike to get here from center of Jogja without any difficulty as lying on the main high way.
As a foreigner, you have to pay 50% much more than the locals. Prices go along with many combo of other temples around starting from at least 350k IDR for Prambanan itself. Take note that you still can purchase a combo ticket of Prambanan and Borobudur or Ratu Boko for a low budget with just 550k IDR unless you are interested in watching sunrise at Borobudur. The ticket comes with a “welcome drink” of mineral water, tea and coffee at a cafeteria next to the check in counter.
Prepare to sustain your health while walking for 10 minutes under strong sun light s during the day as there is no shade in the area of temple.
To be honest, what makes me feel like living in the past is all the dark old stone towers inside the temple. They do resemble some Cham towers in my country but with a nother history and bigger in size. It can be said that it’s the human power to create such a form of art on the stones.
You may also want to catch the sunset there if lucky. Remember to arrive there at 4pm and wait to see the very last rays of the day. Due to the fact that this temple closes at 5:15pm but the best view appears at around 5:30pm, you will have to leave then but it’s still ok to stay tuned until they ask you to leave.
Timang Beach (Pantai Timang)
One of the best natural beach near Jogja that you are sure not to miss is Pantai Timang. Even the journey on motorbike heading to this place is a wild dream of moutain path, paddy fields and off-road riding. Make sure that you get full tank, wear sunglassess, sunscreen and a strong will. The first 60 kilometers are in good condition but still need some skills for steep and narrow slopes. The last 5 kilometers is a real obstacle for you to overcome with extremely bad path of stones.
Not Self-confident? You still can hire a Jek (motorbike) by locals to get you in the beach. It costs 50K IDR for one. Travel of a group? No worry, Jeep will take care of you guys with 300K IDR for one turn.
The crystal clear blue water is the reward for you after all the efforts. Big waves and strong winds will prevent you from swimming there but does offer stunning and breath taking view. From the high cliff, the beach is like a monster ready to swallow anyone to trespass the ocean.
And if you think that’s just all to enjoy there, you are totally wrong! Do you dare to try crossing the small island named Timang just by an old Gondola? Yes, it’s what you may expect at Timang beach.
To ride a Gondola with an adrenaline feeling, you should be brave to stay still. It is operated manually by lobster fishingman for many decades. The ride lasts just 1 minute but with so many emotions and a price of 200,000 IDR for one person per a return ticket. But to say that it’s the only choice for you is false!
A simple suspession bride is waiting for any low budget traveler with just 100,000 IDR. Try walking through the bridge without any scare of falling down by strong wind and waves underneath; I believe that you won’t be disappointed. There is a person to take care of you during the short walk. He is also helpful in taking photos for you without any surchage. It seems like they provide a very good service with the price.
I failed to catch the sunrise here as it’s not the right direction. But it’s still worth coming there to have a good view with a river flowing deep down the hill for 3K IDR of parking. Provided that you are lucky enough (particularly with cloudy sky), there will be clouds and fog around the valley to create a perfect background for photo shot. The ride of 50 minutes is fairly easy though some up and down moutainous paths may be hard is you are newbie of motorbike. Don’t forget that you can take Grab or Gojek to get here if it’s not about the money that you need to save. For sunrise, I suggest Mangunan Fruit Garden with a better view. It’s a popular place for such activity that you may search on Google Maps.
Bukit Klangon (Klangon Hill)
Klangon hill is suitable for any visitor that don’t want to pay more for a Merapi Lava Tour but still be capable of getting high on the astonishing view of Mount Merapi – the most active volcano in Indonesia. But please update all the essential information once you come here, as at this time June, 2018, Merapi erupted for 3 times with a column of dust and ashes from magma rise inside. Safety is always the first priority. With no cost, this destination is still unfamilliar with foreigner due to its lack of information in English. All you need to do is following the guide of Google Maps. The distance from Jogja to this place is approximately 50 kilometers with some hazardous chance to stay close to the mount. They have bulit a wooden stair for you to watch the volcano there with denifitely not a single penny. Some mobile network may lose their connectivity with internet, so please ask locals if you are unsure which way to go. Just tell them “Bukit Klangon” and use guestures or verbal communication.
Taman Sari (Water Castle)
A small water castle for Sultan to rest in the summer. This place is now publicly opened. The ticket is 15K per person that covers the castle, the village around and a tunnel basement. It’s kind of refreshing to enjoy the water pool inside but perhaps boring with just a small area. Going along the alleys inside the village, you may find some Batik makers and Painted clothes shop. Also, the basement is a good spot for photography if you want a high rated instagramable picture.
Anywhere to dine in the most special food of Yogyakarta? The answer is Malioboro street. You are about to find all the best dishes of Javanese cuisine here with an unbelievable low budget of just slower than 3K IDR! Moreover, jump in a traditional horse ride cart to see the street at night is one of my favourite tops to do. There are also some musical performances and dances of local bands to enjoy if you are a cultural lover. Hanging around Batik shops to choose a piece of Batik clothe for your friends, are are available at this street.
From Pempek, Kopi Joss, Satay, Rende, Telor, Bakso to Gudek, all can be found on Malioboro
Pulau Kalong, Greweng Beach and Jungwok Beach.
This path is for anyone who is crazy about treking or discovery as he has to do this all himself to reach the final destination. I’m kind of sure that you won’t find any english article or post to say about this. It’s totally what the locals know and it seems like they don’t want to lose this hidden destinations to foreigners. To start with this path, spend around 3 hours for a return treking through some soiled path with tall grass, steep hill, small rock climbing and a will to pass all the difficulties. The treking route starts at some of the first self-operated parking site of locals before you reach Jungwok beach.
It’s a piece of cake to be at Jungwok beach (around 13 kilometers from Timang beach) but a problem to trek the route.
There are just some old wooden painted signs showing you the direction, sometimes it’s so blur that you may take the wrong way. Do ask the locals, they are there to help for free. It’s worth following the path to reach a “lonely” beach with almost no one there, just you and nature. I don’t have time to do all the treking, so I stop at the first beach – Greweng beach. From this spot, you are advised to prepare for a nightmare of treking on a non-path cliff. Be careful and give up if you are not sure you are safe to do!
Believe me, you will have your good time with Yogyakarta once you find Bali is boring. Have a good trip!