Where the tradition stays.

Yogyakarta, Indonesia

I have never actually visited Yogyakarta for traveling purpose; it has always been about visiting family and grade school trips. So, I decided to go there on September 2 – 4 with my best friend, Jessica, as a tourist, not a 13-year-old student on a field trip.

Our trip started on Tuesday morning at Gambir Station. Jessica had never taken a train before, so she (kind of) insisted me to take one to Yogyakarta. We rode the executive class on Argo Dwipangga at 8:15 in the morning.

 Happiness before the heat.

Happiness before the heat.

Sure, it cost about IDR395,000 (USD39) for one-way ticket on the most expensive class, so I did not expect anything too glamorous about the ride. However, the carriage wasn’t as clean as I expected.

What made it worse was how unlucky we were that our part of the carriage’s air-conditioner was broken that the inside temperature reached 33.3C (almost 92F) at one point of the journey. I was sweating like crazy. And, oh, did I tell you that it took us 7 hours to get from Jakarta to Yogyakarta by train? Yeah.

We arrived late afternoon and checked into our hotel right away. After that, my Australian friend who’s been living in Yogyakarta for a while recommended us to go to Nanamia Pizzeria for dinner because it’s said to be good and really close from our hotel.

Praise the gods and goddesses of food because this place is holy amazing. We were so full from eating crostini for appetizer, quattro stagioni pizza and fettuccini alfredo for entrée, and lassies (yogurt and fruit drinks) and it only cost us IDR152,000 (USD15). And let me tell you, they taste REALLY GOOD. Cheap and delicious food equals pure happiness.

After dinner, our high school friend, Nara, picked us up and took us to one of the famous bars in town called Oxen Free. My Australian friend said that this place is owned by an Australian and is a to go for foreigners and university students. It was a really nice place for chatting for hours.

The next morning, we drove about 1.5 hours away to the famous Mount Merapi for a tour. Unfortunately, I felt sick during the jeep right down to the hills so we decided not to finish the whole tour and took (gazillion of) pictures instead. It was sunny but quite a foggy day, so we couldn’t even take a good picture of the volcano.

 The fog blocks the Mount Merapi behind us :(

The fog blocks the Mount Merapi behind us :(

We stopped quickly at Goa Maria Sendangsono to pray and to buy rosaries for family and ourselves. The place is usually crowded during holiday season, but that day we barely saw any tourists except ourselves.

Lastly, we arrived at Candi Borobudur, the largest Buddhist temple in the world. The temple is HUGE and I still couldn’t believe that it was made by hand and only with rocks.

It is said that if you could touch the palm of the Buddha inside of the stupas (the small temple-like thing), your wishes could come true. Unfortunately, I am only 5’2 and it is really hard to reach to palm of the Buddha because you are also not allowed to climb the stupa.

 Too short.

Too short.

We were planning to wait until sunset to take pretty pictures, however it didn’t go as planned. The temple complex closed at 5:15 p.m. and the security said only people with “sunset pass” ticket could be here after. However, I never heard about such thing and there were no information about that pass at the front office. I believe everyone was told to leave anyway. So, that was quite a bummer way to come back to the city!

 Still managed to take this picture, though :)

Still managed to take this picture, though :)

On the last day, we decided to go to the beach. My first beach trip in a year! Pantai Indrayanti is located about 1.5 hours away from the center of Yogyakarta. The beach was not crazy crowded and pretty nice, actually. Too bad that we didn’t stay for a long time or go into the water because we didn’t have towel and already checked out of our hotel. However, there are several other beaches around Pantai Indrayanti worth stopping by, such as Pantai Baron, Pantai Drini and Pantai Kukup.

 Pantai Indrayanti.

Pantai Indrayanti.

We had lunch at Kondang Rasa restaurant in Wonosari and were recommended to have the city’s signature dish: the red rice and sayur lombok ijo. Sayur lombok ijo is basically tempe with a little bit of pete, and green and red chilli cooked in coconut milk. Let me tell you that it was sooo good (and healthy, duh!). Plus, it only cost IDR20,000 (USD2) per person. Never miss this if you have a chance.

 Nasi merah (red rice), sayur lombok ijo and a piece of chicken.

Nasi merah (red rice), sayur lombok ijo and a piece of chicken.

Finally, we ended our trip by shopping. No, we didn’t spend a lot of our money on clothing or souvenirs; we spent it on food instead. Yogyakarta is famous for its bean pastry called bakpia. While the original bakpia is mung bean (kacang ijo)-flavored, there are other varieties of flavor such as cheese, chocolate and even, yours truly, durian. Bakpia 25 is the most famous brand, but I have to suggest the green tea bakpia from Merlino as well.