Temples, Temples Again

Trip Start Oct 23, 2006
Trip End May 08, 2007

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Where I stayed
Monica Hotel

Flag of Indonesia  ,
Thursday, April 12, 2007

My flight from Pekanbaru had a layover in Jarkarta. My connecting flight was delayed too. This added up to me arriving in Jogyakarta well past dark. I took a taxi to the most easily pronounceable hotel name. I figured if they were outrageous I could just walk the surrounding area. Hotel Monica proved to be just fine. My plan was to base myself in Jogya (which is how everyone refers to Jogyakarta) and see several locations in the surrounding area. The city itself has two palaces listed as "must see sights". Out side are a volcano (Gunung Merapi) and several temple sites including Borobudur and Prambanan.
Let's keep this one concise. I met a couple of Czechs at Hotel Monica on my second full day. We visited Borobudur and Prambanan together. Borobudur was the first stop of the day. Yet again it was sunrise at a large Buddhist temple. That is, it would have been sunrise had there not been delay after delay. After delay. We still managed to be there for some soft, early morning light, which is my favorite light to take pictures in anyway. The backdrop for the temple ended up being Gunung Merapi (the volcano I wanted to see). Couldn't have been more beautiful (except maybe at actual sunrise, but I wouldn't know anything about that). The temple of Borobudur itself, along with the Hindu temples at Prambanan, were described as 'on par with the temples at Angkor in Cambodia and Bagan in Burma.' Not quite, but I see why they'd wish for such a comparison.
Borobudur was followed by a short trip to a tiny Buddhist temple that happened to hold the largest Buddha statue in Indonesia. Remember, this is a Muslim nation so...... world's tallest midget sort of thing.
The Czechs, our entourage, and I continued on to Prambanan. Last May there was an earthquake, and some of the stones at Prambanan's main temple fell. Some of those stones fell on tourists and killed them. Bad stuff. So visitors are now only allowed at the structures' perimeter behind a safety barrier. Then it started pouring rain. Lame. I waited out the downpour in the temple museum. I found myself reading every information card; studying every carving and statue. Then the rain let up and I booked it back to the bus.
I hung out with the Czechs that evening. They'd already been to Jogya's two palaces and showed me pictures. I wasn't too impressed and they assured me that going in person was no better; possibly worse considering the heat. I'd also found that the closest I could get to Gunung Merapi is an adjacent hill. It'd be basically the same view I got from Borobudur. That meant I'd already finished everything I'd set out to do in Jogya in one feel swoop. Not bad.
The Czechs had already booked passage to Mt. Bromo (another volcano) for the next morning. That was next on my itinerary, so I decided to tag along.
The next morning I woke, bought a ticket to Bromo, and found myself on a different bus than the Czechs. Oh well. I was knee deep in Stephen King's The Stand (the Uncut version) so killing time was no issue. But before I could slip into post-apocalyptic America living in fear of the Tall Man, the Walking Dude, I met T.K.
T.K. is from Boston. He's been visiting friends in Australia but got bored and decided to take a side-trip to Indonesia. Our 9 hour bus ride took 13. Delays.
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