Yogyakarta, Indonesia

Trip Start Mar 07, 2011
Trip End May 25, 2011

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Where I stayed
Gloria Amanda Hotel
Via Via Guesthouse

Flag of Indonesia  , Java,
Saturday, April 23, 2011

We flew with Air Asia from Singapore to Yogyakarta. We took the MRT to the Singapore airport, which took a bit longer than expected, but still had plenty of time for security and check-in. Unfortunately our flight was out of a terminal that did not have all the extravagent things that we have heard Singapore's airport has to offer, so we didn't have a chance to check any of that out. When we arrived at the Yogyakarta airport, it was a very tiny building with three lines- 1. Foreign Passport, 2. Indonesian Passport, 3. Visa on Arrival. After figuring out where the window to pay for our Visa on Arrival, we got to go into the extremely short Visa on Arrival line. This was really smooth, especially considering some of the horror stories we have heard people have with Indonesia's Visas (but that is usually from the Denpasar (Bali) airport).

We arrived in Yogyakarta on the Saturday of Easter weekend. The town was really busy! After two nights in the area known as Malioboro, which is the best location for shopping (which we weren't doing), we decided to head to the southern part of town known as Prawirotaman. We found a great guesthouse and restaurant called "Via Via". We enjoyed all our remaining Yogya meals at the Via Via restaurant, trying all the vegetarian dishes (local and otherwise). The restaurant also had a travel and tour office, that involved a bunch of interesting tours we were interested in.

We took a silver jewelry course with Agus with Studio 76. We were the only students for that evening, so we got all his attention. This was by far worth our trip to Yogya alone. Agus would show us the steps, and then get us to do it ourselves. We start with a flat piece of silver (92.5% sterling silver, the rest copper), and cut it based on our ring size. We created our own designs (front and back), soddered the wire onto the flat piece of silver, hammered the ring into its circle shape, soddered it closed, and filed and polished it. The whole process took about 2.5 hours.

We also did a tour to the famous temples- Borobudur and Prambanan, and to a village called Kaliurang. On our drive to our first stop, we got to see some of the destruction that Mount Merapi (volcano) did with its eruption back in October, 2010. First stop was Borobudur, a huge Buddhist temple (the largest Buddhist monument in the southern hemisphere). It was discovered in 1812 after being abandoned and neglected for almost a thousand years. It is 35.5 metres tall, and covers an area of 200 square metres. Its stepped pyramid, consisting of no interior rooms, but only of 9 leveled terraces, was made of piles of more than 2,000,000 andesitic rocks. Only the bottom 5 levels were open to explore the numerous wall carvings and scupltures, depicting different stories.

Our next stop was to a little town called Kaliurang, in hopes to get a closer view of Mount Merapi. Due to cloudy conditions, the drive was not needed- as we could not see the volcano from the Kaliurang viewpoint. Luckily, we had got a good view of it earlier in the day, on our drive to Borobudur.

Final stop was to Prambanan temple, a huge Hindu temple built in 856 A.D. In the 16th century, the temple collapsed during a horrible earthquake. In 1930, restoration of the temple began and continues today (with some of the temples closed during our visit, due to the work being done). The area consists of 6 temples in a raised inner courtyard, and is surrounded by 224 smaller temples which now lie in ruins. Prambanan was very different from Borobudur, and we are glad we visited both complexes, and would recommend other travelers to do the same.

On our final day, we visited the Sultan's Palace . The tour guide provided us with some interesting facts. The current Sultan has 5 girls, no boys, and only one wife. We saw some of the previous Sultan's family trees, some which consisted of ~50 kids with multiple wives.

We also got to see a gamelan (puppet) show on the grounds. One guy controlled the puppets and did the talking/voices, but there was also a good size band behind him creating "background" music for the current scene. We also went to the Sono Budoyo Museum, and viewed some interesting masks, old and new puppets, and other artifacts.

On our final evening, we took a cooking course at Via Via Restaurant. We booked early enough, so got to pick the dishes to make. One other couple joined us, so it was a small group. We made a total of 5 dishes, including Oseng-Oseng (mixed vegetables with tempe), sate tofu tempe (shish-kabobs with tofu, tempe, and peppers), and coconut milk rice. We made a feast, and even had leftovers that we put in the fridge to eat the following day before flying out for Bali.

We greatly enjoyed our stay in Yogyakarta. We got to experience a number of new things, had great meals, and stayed at a great guesthouse.
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Pat on

Wow!! You are really having the time of your life. What an awesome opportunity to see, taste, feel, meet, and learn so much about the world we live in. Miss you alot!

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