14.05.2009 - 16.05.2009
Once arriving in Yogyakarta we noticed in our gruesthouse a flyer for the ballet performance at the Ramadan ( the very famous Hindu Temple that was partially devastated by a recent earthquake), so we quickly hopped on a public bus and headed over there to watch the performance which lasted around 2 + hours. It was a nice experience to get a sense of Indonesian culture and I know these performances are also very popular in Bali. It gave us the chance to view the three main pillars of the temple at night.
The next morning we joined a tour from our guesthouse which let before sunrise to view the Borobudur, the famous Buddhist temple, at sunrise. The temple is an elaborate design of carvings depicting different stories throughout time, but the main attraction are the large circular cones on top along with the surrounding views of forest and volcanoes. Both this temple and the previous were built in the 9th century AD.
After arriving back around 10am we completed our visit to Yogyakarta with lots of activities, trying to get a sense of the city in only a short amount of time. We visited a Batik painting shop where we were given a brief demonstration of it’s process followed by a few good purchases. We then headed to a good silver store so Jessie could buy some gifts for the family, and then we split off so I could take a quick cooking class at the restaurant Via Via. It was a one-on-one course that lasted a few hours. I learned how to make a few dishes on their menu, one being a young jackfruit in coconut curry sauce and sautéed chicken with chili and tomato sauce. To go with the dishes we also made a yellow coconut rice, fish chips, and fried tempeh. It was really good, and it also allowed me to see some of the differences between Thai and Indonesian food. Although most of the ingredients are very similar: garlic, shallot, ginger, lemongrass, Thai basil, lime leaf, and chilies, there were some obvious differences. For the curry, Indonesians also add nutmeg, cloves, cinnamon, and turmeric, which Thai food lacks, but they don’t rely as much on fish sauce, limes, spice or palm sugar. Since it was only me, I was able to ask a lot of questions and get some better insight on Indonesian cuisine.
Once I finished, Jessie met me back in the restaurant to help me eat the two dishes and then we took advantage of the free WiFi to get some business taken care of. Although we debated for a bit whether we wanted to pay the extra cost and do a scheduled tour that leaves Yogyakarta, stops at Mount Bromo, and then continues on to Denpasar, Bali, or do it on our own, we heard the cost wasn’t too different, so we just decided to eliminate the hassle and join the tour, which in the end, probably wouldn’t have made a huge difference either way, but the peace of mind was a nice change of pace. There were three other people with us along the way, so it provided us with a lot of space in the van for the long journey which was a plus.
Yogyakarta was a really great place. They not only have the temples, and delicious food, but even their street art and graffiti were very impressive and gave the city a lot of character. Similar in feel to KL, but on a much smaller scale, Yogyakarta has it all. It contains all the amenities of an advanced city to appease anyone‘s needs, yet still retains within it’s old-city walls and surrounding neighborhoods the same culture and atmosphere that has thrived there for centuries. It’s a pretty large city with a small feel to it, and the people were incredibly helpful and friendly, so overall one of our top smaller towns we’ve visited thus far.
The next morning we woke up early to begin our long journey towards the capitol of Bali.