Wandering around Yogyakarta

Taman Sari Water Castle

I am still in Yogyakarta Indonesia. I book a food tour after my long day of temples. I head down early to meet my tour leader as I tend to do. Being early I decide to get a soda at a Circle K nearby to the meeting spot while I wait. It is raining hard and it will probably make the tour not so much fun. The tour guide contacts me on WhatsApp and asks if I would like to cancel for the evening and try for the next day. I am the only one scheduled tonight so I decide it is probably better to try again tomorrow.

I contemplate getting dinner somewhere nearby. Because of the rain I sit at a table outside the circle K under the overhang while searching for a place. All of a sudden I hear a boom and a spark. The store goes dark and people are stirring on the block. Around the corner and less than 10 feet from my body an electrical fire has sparked.

I step out onto the sidewalk and away from the building. Yes indeed. The transformer is on fire.

While we are watching the fire a spark appears at the power line above and power to the block goes out.

We watch the fire while we wait for the fire truck to arrive.

I think somehow I must have caused this fire so I walk away. I find a taxi driver around the corner to get me back toward my hostel because it is raining.

Taxi driver does not understand me and drops me off 3 miles from my hotel insisting it is the correct location. He refuses to take me further and it is still raining. I notice a bunch of rickshaws bikes (I find out later the actual name is Becak – Yogyakarta traditional trishaw) with plastic coverings. This will be my ride back to my hostel.

It is a fun ride and I safely make it back to my hotel (dry). I find a place to get a quick dinner nearby and then I’m done for the night.

Exploring Yogyakarta

The next day I do some exploring around town. Because the main town areas are only a couple miles from my hostel and it is a nice sunny (hot) day I decide to get out the map and walk.

My route takes me down a bunch of residential alleys, some with some fun art.

I cross underneath an opening into the walled area that holds the palace and other landmarks. The palace seems to be closed for a special event but I explore other areas inside.

This park and this tree become a lively area at night. During the day it is hot so you only see a few brave playing sports in the park.

Alun Alun Kidul Yogyakarta

Inside the walled area there are colorful walking paths.

I see this car and think it is adorable. I realize later that night what it is for. My next post will include pictures of that.

These pot hole covers are very clever.

Taman Sari Water Castle

Part of the Sultan Palace, Tamansari was a royal bathing location and retreat built in the 1600s. Not being very large it takes me no time at all to explore the grounds.

At short walk later past some cute cafes and more wall art I come to the next big sight in town.

I find signs for the Situs Sumar Gumuling, an underground mosque and well, but it takes me a while to find the actual entrance.

I end up going into some tunnels.

Eventually I reach the very popular mosque with its odd stairs. It is a very popular place for photography.

There is a round like structure around the stairs. It is cooler there and I try hanging out in this area to wait for the crowds to die down but they never do.

As I walk out a band is playing. The drummer is using the bench drum like I saw previously in Bali.

After I head outside there are more men who want to take photos with me and more student groups who want to practice English with me. I talk to a couple student groups and then head back to my hostel to rest up for my nighttime food tour.

I am excited about seeing Yogyakarta at night!

Prambanan Temple

Prambanan Temple

After an amazing morning visit to the Borobudur temple I head over to the Prambanan temple closer to Yogyakarta in the afternoon. It is also a 9th century temple but this one is a Hindu temple. Not as impressive as Borobudur but still a nice temple to visit.

Prambanan is a UNESCO sight that happens to be the largest Hindu complex in Indonesia. Some bricks lay outside the main temple structures that must have been remnants of a 16th century earthquake that destroyed the temples. Restoration efforts started in the early 1900’s and continue to present day. Luckily they have restored a good part of the temples for us now to enjoy.

It is a warm beautiful day at the temples. The crowds are thicker here with school children and seemingly mostly local visitors.

It is at Prambanan temple that I started to realize how popular I am in Indonesia. I stand out pretty much every where I travel (I never do a great job at fitting in) but in Indonesia I really stand out. At places like Prambanan that doesn’t get as many western tourists I am a novelty. I am used to students in south east Asia wanting to speak with me to practice their English – I even welcome it. However in Yogyakarta it proved to be a little inconvenient, especially at these temples. There were so many groups of students and not as many of “me” types so I am constantly being stopped for school projects. Besides the students there are groups of males wanting to take pictures with me. It is flattering only to a degree but then I spent the rest of my visit literally hiding behind temples until the coast is clear to go exploring again. I know it sounds like I am exaggerating but the attention is excessive. Looking back maybe I could have made time for every group of students that wanted to talk with me, maybe not. At least I hope I am a positive representative of an American while I am a guest in the country.

One of the friendly groups of students I chatted with

Walking back to the park entrance I find these fun straw creatures being assembled nearby.

I’m beat after a long day of sightseeing so I head back to my hotel to rest up and get ready for a night food tour I have scheduled. Been a great day so far in Yogyakarta, looking forward to trying to new food.

Sunrise at Borobudur

One of the most popular things to see in Yogyakarta Indonesia is the Borobudur temple. This 9th century UNESCO temple is considered to be the largest Buddhist monument on Earth.

I am going to see it at sunrise.

Borobudur temple sunrise viewing is probably the best sunrise viewing I have ever witnessed.

I almost regretted this 3 am wake up call for sunrise but I am definitely glad I went to see it.

I tried to nap during the car ride to the temple. Everything is still pitch black when I arrive. I arrive at the main building to check in and retrieve a sticker to show I have paid admission. The plan is to head out to the temple to watch the sunrise then head back to the main building for a buffet breakfast.

It is off in the dark with a little flashlight to the temple.

I get up to the top of the temple and soon the sun starts sneaking up the horizon.

I find the dragonflies flying around the temple at sunrise charming. Someone tells me their life span is very short.

I actually had tears in my eyes watching the colors off in the distance against the shadow of the mountains. I have never cried at a sunrise before.

The sun puts light on the temple so gently.

After the sun rises I view the temple in full light.

It gets quiet in areas as the crowd dies down. It really is a peaceful experience.

I descend the temple to walk to the main building get my buffet breakfast. Not memorable but I enjoy the coffee (I am so addicted).

Temple from the bottom looks very different

Video of the experience….very sorry about it being vertical.

After breakfast we head out to another temple. I am definitely going to nap on the way!

Arrived in Yogyakarta

I am in Yogyakarta, Indonesia. I chose to visit this city to get a different feel of Indonesia, specifically Javanese culture.

The small plane I take to get here is a scary bumpy ride but I arrive safe enough.

I find a hostel with a private room with air conditioning at Good Karma Hostel Yogyakarta.

The hostel room is satisfactory but with an outdoor bathroom that proves challenging during rain storms (rivaling my Florida rain storms). Not sure why I thought an outdoor bathroom in 90% humidity would be charming but it is all part of the experience.

As I arrive it starts raining so I don’t do too much exploring on my day of arrival. I concentrate on settling in and preparing for my early trip to Borobudur tomorrow.

I am easily able to book the tour through my hostel which is very convenient!

Last days of Ubud

Earlier today I had a great cooking class where I got to cook and sample a few different Indonesian dishes.

Not hungry to eat after my cooking class but I still I wanted to have a night out so I end up at a café that has live music playing.

The band is entertaining with their versions of popular western songs. The drummer and his bench drum is especially cool to watch.

It is a nice night out but I don’t stay out too late.

Little did I know the next day I would get pretty sick.

It appears that I have gotten some gastrointestinal or food born illness. I don’t feel well at all and I don’t leave my room for a day or so except to ask the hotel for these below.

breakfast of champions

A day later I am finally brave enough to try to eat something (but not brave enough to eat the fancy breakfast next door). I head to the grocery store about 1k around the corner. I still feel crappy and my walking is labored. The choices at the grocery store are less than exciting. I buy a loaf of bread plus a couple other things I think I might be able to eat. I carry my stuff back to the hotel. As I am walking back some men start screaming at me. I am confused and irritated. Turns out I was being stalked by a pair of monkeys that were in the process of stealing my groceries out of my bag. I almost have a meltdown at that point. I am sick as can be, can only eat this stupid stale loaf of bread and monkeys are trying to steal it from me. Because of the warning from the men (whom I never thank by the way – angry/embarrassed me!) my bread makes it back to the hotel. It is terrible but at least I am eating something.

I thank myself for choosing Ubud as a location to splurge for the nicer hotel. It is so much better to be sick in a nice comfortable room than a hostel or budget hotel.

Luckily by the next day I am feeling good enough to head out. Unfortunately it is too late to take advantage of some of the other sightseeing things around town. Another city on my to-return list!

I am off soon to travel to Yogyakarta to see a different part of Indonesia. Bye Ubud!

Monkey is not my friend