Wednesday, August 29, 2012

Weekend Getaway : Yogyakarta

Living in a big city like Jakarta, go to work every morning, deal with crazy traffic – which seems to be the loudest and biggest thing people would mostly complain about this city  -  and sometimes tough days at work, one of my best friends told me, if you can survive in Jakarta then you can survive anywhere else in the world. While complaining wouldn’t change anything, I always make sure I have bunch of stuff to do on the weekend. Something fun and easy to refresh and recharge my mind. A bit sick of those malls and skyscrapers, I decided to bring Mike Buchanan this time to go to Yogyakarta – Central Java for weekend, visiting an old friend of mine, Tiko. We were studying in the same department in university, was always a fan of him, he was a great radio announcer and simply a fun, loving person, just the kind of great friend you would always ask for opinions, he motivated and inspired me in a lot of ways. Tiko has worked in Singapore for nearly 2 years, he decided to quit his job, move to Yogyakarta and pursue his dream to be an artist. Really appreciate those people who leave their comfort zone and start over to chase their dreams.
Left office earlier on Thursday afternoon, Mike and I caught a night train to Yogyakarta. As a person who never really plan her trip, I never booked my ticket or hostels in advance. I know this is risky, but I kinda like it that way. Except in the afternoon Mike reminded me to book the ticket first as we never know what's gonna happen later that night when we arrive in the train station. Reached Pasar Senen station at 5 pm, we were quite lucky to get tickets at price Rp 173.000/person. The train was a bit late, so we left the station around 8.30 pm and arrived at 5.30 am  in Yogyakarta. It was funny to see Mike didn't really enjoy his first trip by train to Java. He didn't complain tho, still very excited to explore Yogyakarta, it's just he wish the train got  enough space for someone with long legs like him. Sitting for 10 hours might really kill him, but at least he got me and I knew from the beginning he would enjoy this trip. 

No skyscrapers or big buses, it was very quiet and lovely . Our first stop would be breakfast then walk around town, take some photos, go to Prambanan and Boko temple, after that meet up with Tiko for lunch. I told  becak / rickshaw man ( Rp 8.000 from the station to Malioboro street ) to take me to the best place to eat nasi gudeg ( gudeg is a traditional food from Yogya, it tastes sweet, it has eggs, chicken, krecek, tempe, and toufu served with rice, Rp 28.000 . Deeeeliiiish ), this old man with a big smile took me to the street just next to Alun-Alun Yogyakarta where many small restaurants serves nasi gudeg for breakfast. Perfect, big breakkie is all I need before exploring this town.        

Done with my nasi gudeg, we walked along Malioboro street. Enjoying Malioboro on Friday morning and these friendly Javanese people. Here are 2 things I love most about Yogyakarta : food and the people. Very open-minded people, smiley, very open and welcome to tourists, but the culture is still there, while some of area in Indonesia seems to lose the culture, Yogyakarta looks the same as I was there 7 years ago.

Taking Mike Buchanan to Yogyakarta 
We took a busway from Malioboro street to Prambanan temple ( thank god they have busway, only Rp 3.500, so I don’t have to catch a taxi ). Tiko actually recommended me to see Boko temple, he said the view just amazing, better than Prambanan temple. Well, I’ve been to Prambanan three times and I thought it’d be worth it to check Boko temple. Skip Prambanan and go to Boko temple instead, another old man, look pretty small but actually very strong to ride the becak / rickshaw up to the hill to Boko Temple. Boko temple was quiet that morning, you can see the whole Yogyakarta from Boko temple while having an afternoon tea at a small restaurant just next to the temple.

My rickshaw driver was waiting patiently outside the temple. As a man who’s earning money for living from rickshaw, low season was never easy for him. He got 5 children, and he told me that all the rickshaw in Yogyakarta owned by a group of people, everyday he has to give the big boss Rp 30.000, of course he can keep the rest of the money if he gets more, but when you look at this old man working hard ( plus it was so hot that afternoon ) tho sometimes life’s hard, he told me he’s always grateful, to have healthy and beautiful family. He just wanted to see the kids go to school, study, and get a better future. It was so nice to have conversation about simple life with him on our way back from temple.
Tiko picked me up in Kasongan, a village where the local people made ceramics and other handicrafts .I stayed for two night in his friend’s house, Laire Siwi Mentari, the daughter of famous poem and author in Indonesia. I love how Laire and her family made every single thing in their house very artistic. Table, doors, windows, bookshelf, even the room I was staying in…wow ! The next morning Tiko, me, and this energetic , gorgeous Nadirah ( Tiko’s friend from Singapore who also came to visit him ) went to Borobudur temple. I got a friend of mine working in Borobudur so he guided us around temple and oooh we didn’t have to pay for the entrance fee, it was free ! But for you who wish to see the sunrise in Borobudur, the admission ticket is Rp 150.000, come super early at 4.30 am so you don't miss the gorgeous sunrise ! Meanwhile, the normal admission ticket costs only Rp 30.000 per person. We watched the sunrise, took lots of pictures, sat for hours and enjoying Borobudur, seriously couldn’t ask for a better morning. After had breakfast, we drove for another 3 hours to Sardanan beach. The joy of lazy weekend, slept on the beach, had some great seafood and talked about our next step. Tiko is going to take traditional dance lesson ( let me tell you one thing, Javanese traditional dance is super hard ), his biggest dream is being an artist, he knew it won’t be easy to get there but he’s on his way for it. What I love best about this guy, his passions about life and always 100 %.  He also planned to teach English and learn more about web designing. Meanwhile Nadirah was busy preparing her engagement party and wedding, aww congrats baby girl. We ended up our day by having  drinks and dinner at Via-Via, a backpacker hostels with a nice café and shop, then had noodles and went shopping in Malioboro

Borobudur Temple

Waking up in Borobudur temple

Caught the man taking photos of Tiko & Nadira

Sardanan Beach. 3 hours drive from Borobudur temple. Thank you Tiko for bringing me there

Culinary and shopping :)

My two happy boys

So yeah, that was a great great weekend with lovely people in a lovely place. Just like what wise man said, people you’ve met and those experiences you’ve had - made you who you are today. Call me ( one of ) the luckiest girl on earth,  I’ve met amazing people, they gave different colors into my life and, just like a painting, I see myself as a canvas where life, my days, my mom, people come and go, and experiences are a painter – ready to create a beautiful piece of painting, and it’s me.
Flew back to Jakarta on Sunday afternoon, not only me - but Mike definitely had good times from trying Javanese food, riding becak like a pro, went to temples, overall it was sooo good to be away from the hustle bustle of Jakarta. Cheap trip, I spent Rp 900.000 for 3 days, not bad. Now we're all ready to get back to work on Monday.
Feel free to check new post about Yogyakarta : Goa Pindul - Yogyakarta ( including a short video of our crazy off-road ) and InstaGoodies : Vesak at Borobudur 2013

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