Even though it was seven years ago when I visited Borobudur in central Java, it is still in my memory. The ancient monument of Borobudur is a must visit if you happen to be in Yogyakarta (Jogja) and is about forty minutes drive. You can hire a kijang (van) with a driver, your hotel can organise it for you. I think it was about $40 AUD from 9am-5pm.
The Borobudur is considered to be the largest and one of the finest Buddhist monuments in the world. They say the architecture of Angkor Wat in Cambodia was influenced by the Javanese building techniques. From visual perspective Borobudur and Angkor Wat has similarity.
Borobudur was built in the nine century during Sailendras of Sumatra. It was a place for Buddhist pilgrimage and a shrine to the Lord Buddha. Even today Borobudur is still use for Buddhist pilgrimage.
The monument was constructed with carved blocks of stones. It consists of seven terraces with four leading stairways to the top. At the three upper terraces it has many bell shaped stupas, seventy two of them. Inside each of the stupa is a statue of Buddha. The largest stupa representing Nirvana is forty meters high above the ground and encircled by smaller stupas. From aerial view the huge monument has a mandala shape which is a Buddhist symbol for meditation and prayer.
Borobudur is listed UNESCO World Heritage site and Indonesia's most well known and visited tourist attraction.
In April 2001 I visited the Hindus Temple of Prambanan known locally as Roro Jonggrang. It has three main temples Vishnu, Brahma and Shiva, all the three temples is facing to the east. Shiva is the highest and stands between Vishnu and Brahma. Inside Shiva temple are statues of Durga his wive, Agastya his teacher and his son Ganesha. The other two temples only contained their individual statue respectively.
Close to Vishnu temple is the Garuda a mythical half human half bird. The Indonesian coat of Arms consists of golden eagle called Garuda a figure derived from ancient Indonesian epics.
Prambanan is listed UNESCO World Heritage site.
On the way to Borobudur the driver stop at the foot of gunung Merapi (Mountain of Fire). It was a bit foggy but I could almost see the peak of Merapi. It was an awesome sight. If I had time I would climb gunung Merapi with a guided tour, maybe next time.
Gunung Merapi is located in central Java not far from Jogja and is very active volcano. It has erupted regularly since 1548 and has killed thousand of people and destroyed many homes. It is 2,914 metres or 9,560 ft above sea level.
Make sure it is safe before you climb the Mountain of Fire or the Indonesian term Gunung Berapi.
The sultan's palace or keraton is located at southern end of Maliaboro Street. The current sultan, Sri Sultan Hamengkubuwono X resides at the palace. If you visit the palace on certain day there are performances for the visitor such as Gamelan (Javanese orchestra), Wayang Kulit (leather puppet), and Traditional Dance Show.
Inside there are large square with many courtyards. Near the large square you’ll find Bangsal (Hall) Trajumas where the Royal Gamelan instruments are on display, also large open hall (Bangsal Srimangati) where Uyon Uyon dance performances are held at certain days and time. In Regol Gapura you’ll find Art Gallery, Batik Museum and carved stone elephant. The main entrance (Pintu Gerbang) is impressive with large statue outside guarding the entrance.
There are more to see at the palace. I think the Keraton (Palace) is a must visit in Yogyakarta.
In the evening a colorful market takes place..
On Jalan Marlioboro , the most crowded and vivid
street of Jogya it is more for tourists.
If you want to see real street live ,
go to Jalan Srewedani .
Here fruit is nicely piled up , a lot of
daily life products are sold here.
Something not to be missed I think.
And just like in every other Indonesian city
the waste is just trown on the street.
Every sunday morning (except for the Ramadam-period) you can enjoy these special performances.
The dancing is done by very pliant , long , lean people. With really fine fingers and limbs.
The movements are elegant and mystic and find their origin in a long and distand past.
The costumes are adorable....
The music is performed by a complete Gamelan Orchestra.
The performance is included with the entrane fee.
Well, this temple is the reason why you came to Yogyakarta in the first place right? You'll not be disappointed. This stupendous structure is awesome, particularly in the morning when it is covered with a veil of morning mist. Make your way to the top and watch the sun rise over the steamy Mount Merapi and light up each and every big stupa. And speaking of Mount Merapi, yes, it will boiled over but Borobodur remains unscathed! It's open to the public.
If you need to see one ancient monument in your life, make Borobodur the ONE. Let all the addled tourists flock to Angkor Wat while you meander about this Indonesian temple, unharrassed by the crowds and luxuriate in the mist, lush foliage and mysterious ambience of the whole place. A steaming volcano in the distance adds to the mystic. Read more about my adventures in Borobodur over here
Borobudur is about 40 minutes from Yogyakarta.
The site is open to the public from 6 AM to 5 PM. Go there early in the morning, it's well-worth the pain of waking up early in the morning to watch the sun rise . Also, there are no crowds at that ungodly hour.
How much Moolah
Admission fees can be astronomical to a budget tourist at USD11.
How to go there
Better to arrange for an arranged tour that takes you to this place and Prambanan. A tour found in the backpacker's district in Prawaritoman cost about 50,000rp or USD6.
There is a tourist board at the airport ,
and guess what?
They had real information. They even had this book for us with a complete calendar of
dancing performances , wayang puppet plays...
So if your into that stuff...this booklet is a must.
Don't make reservations to visit the Borobudur or Prambanan ,
it's with a private car and a lot more expensive...
(always inform if the entrance fee is included in that price)
If there is a zoo , I have to see it.
That doesn't mean I love zoos...
Especially not this one.
The zoo is located 4km from the city center.
The setting is nice , a green area and a river
running in the middle of the zoo.
The conditions of the animals are sad...really sad.
Especially some monkeys and apes.
I was a bit shocked that they use the word 'educatie'
in their promo folder.
They got a circus in the middle...education?
I found that strange because Jogya is a very educated
city , with lots of universities and students.
A lot of fascinating species , low entrance fee...
But more a tourist trap then a must see activity
(the childrens part is charming , a giant playground with dinosaurs and stuff like that made us forget about the animals for 0,001 second)
Jalan Maliaboro is one of the busiest and major shopping streets in Jogja. There are many hotels and restaurants. At night side stall restaurants open where many of the locals dine, one night I had my dinner in one of the street stall. Don’t worry McDonald lover, yes it can be found in Malioboro Street.
Along the streets there are many vendors selling their merchandises ranging from silverware, leather to batik, oh yes you can practise your bargaining skills. Malioboro Mall is also located here but you can’t bargain at the mall. If you don’t like to shop you can walk around Malioboro Street to absorb the atmosphere and watch the local’s busy life.
At the Palace or Keraton go and see the Uyon Uyon dance performances which are held at Bangsal Srimanganti near the Pintu Gerbang (main entrance) of the Sultan's Palace. The are perform at certain days and time.
To novice this could be boring dance because it's very slow, to make it interesting watch the hand movement especially the fingers. Also the face expressions. Remember some of the dancer's learn the art at very young age.
The park opens at 6am, and you'll have to get up at 5am in order to catch the sunrise. In fact the best time to visit this magnificient building is in early morning for the sunrise, or in the evening for the sunset. Nevertheless, the park is usually very crowded after 7am.
The entrance fee for foreign visitor is USD10. There's 40% discount for student (USD6).
THE NINTH SULTAN is beloved here. He was a very educated man who studied in the Netherlands.
He was pro -republic in 1945...
He was a popular and important person. Because of his popularity , yogyakarta , is still a special province and there is a museum raised for the 9th sultan to honor him.
This museum doesn't contain anything special. More everyday goods..
But ask at the entrance for a (free , included) official guide. Our guide was so proud , we could easely feel that. The sultan here is still something special. But you'll find him back in some other tips.
The museum contains a lot of gifts from Belgium , the Netherlands , France , Germany...all rather boring.
He had a lot of jobs during his live. You got the feeling afterwards he was some sort of superman.
Situated about 24 miles from Yogya, Borobudor is the largest Buddhist temple in the world. It was constructed between AD 770 and AD 830 and remained undiscovered for centuries. Sir Thomas Stamford Raffles, when informed of its existence in 1814 despatched some 200 men to uncover what was left.
Restoration was started in 1907 but it was 76 years before the task was finally completed.
Begin the tour at the east gate and procede in an anti clockwise direction up each level. The levels signify the transition from the world of desires to nirvana, the ultimate perfection.
It is a fascinating place and in my opinion one of the wonders of the world.
Built between the 9th and 10th centuries Prambanam is an imposing Hindu temple complex consisting of more than 220 temples. Some temples however were destoyed during a major earthquake in the 16th century but restoration has taken place over the last 40 years and it too is a sight to be seen.