Our third day and final day in Yogyakarta began really, obscenely early. We were up at 3:30 am for our earliest departure yet to see the sunrise at Borobudur Temple, an hour and a half outside of Yogyakarta. We picked up a breakfast box left by the staff at the homestay, and stumbled outside in the dark to a driver who ushered us inside a small van occupied by another couple who might have been French or Dutch. We swayed back and forth and slept for a while before arriving at the destination. At 4:30 am, we disembarked and ended up in an outdoor lobby with many other tourists, some looking wide awake, some very quiet and obviously just waking up. We paid our money and received tickets, a map of the complex, a sticker to wear, and a small hand flashlight, as it was still hours from dawn, and then proceeded slowly through the complex. Though the temple doesn’t officially do sunrise tours, the Manohara Hotel, which is on the grounds of the temple, allows people to visit before sunrise for a more expensive ticket price (450.000 IDR or $30 USD per person). Though easily the biggest expense we’d made so far (besides lodging and travel), it was totally worth it. We were able to make our way up the gigantic ziggurat-like structure of the Borobudur temple in near-darkness, with a trail of bobbing flashlights above and below us. After fifteen minutes of hiking up some of the biggest stairs I have ever encountered, we were at the top. Continue reading Java’s ancient temples.
Our trip to Indonesia really settled into a rhythm when we flew into Yogyakarta on our second day in the country. It’s just an hour or two away from Jakarta, on the southern coast of Central Java, but Yogya (pronounced Jog-ja) has a very different feel. Steve has developed a theory over our travels, that the second-largest and slightly lesser well-known city in each country, can usually be a much better value for your money. It’s usually less overwhelming, less populated, and cheaper, but often has much of the same amenities and conveniences. Think Kaohsiung instead of Taipei, Lyon instead of Paris, Split instead of Zagreb (although all of Croatia is convenient!), Osaka and not Tokyo, etc. etc. Yogya proved to be another point in favor of Steve’s second-city theory.
We took a local taxi service from the airport into town, just fifteen minutes to our Airbnb homestay. We had picked one close to the airport because we knew that our flight out would be very early in the morning (another recurring theme for this trip), and it proved to be amazing. Omah Garuda Homestay was very large, clean, and quiet, run by a family business. Tami, the receptionist, had an infectious smile and laugh, and welcomed us by name when we first came in. We first considered rushing off to have lunch downtown and seeing some of the historical sights in the city because they closed around 1 pm and 3 pm, but since we had three nights in the city, Steve and I called an audible, and decided to take a break. Continue reading Indonesia’s second city.