During one of our family holidays, Papa Charles mentioned in passing that he wanted to see Borobudor temple. So we took him to Yogyakarta on his birthday. Here are some of the things we did:
1. Sightseeing at Borobudor
Borobudor is a UNESCO heritage site, the reason why tourist come to Yogyakarta (refer to as Jogja hereinafter). This buddhist temple was abandoned, then hidden from volcanic ash and jungle growth. It took a long time to rediscover and restore this great monument. Not long ago, it was even bombed by terrorist. So this place is heavily guarded.
2. Eat mushrooms at Jejamuran
When we asked where we should go to eat, everybody recommended Jejamuran, a vegetarian restaurant serving mushroom dishes. As the Charles family aren’t into vegetables, we didn’t expect that we would dine at this place more than once. The mushroom satay and other mushroom dishes were that good! More info here Oh girls, remember to order a jamu drink with kunyit. It’s awet muda (haha).
3. Visit Kraton, Yogyakarta palace
If you have been to France’s Palace of Versailles and China’s Forbidden City, you will be sorely disappointed with this palace. The area is not exceptionally big and the displays are not especially grand, though rich in unique Javanese culture. Expect some photographs, artefacts and traditional dance. However, if I were to be the king’s subject, I would be happy to know that the ruler did not excessively squander his people’s hard-earned money.
4. Enjoy rojak ice-cream
This is a street dessert recommended by our local driver. It taste like Thai mango salad topped with cheap ice-cream. The flavour is quite interesting and it was fun to eat on a hot day!
5. Have a night market style buffet at Hyatt Regency
Though this was not included in our itinerary, it was one of the most enjoyable activity we had at Jogya. The area had stalls serving all sorts of local food and dined under the trees. After a long day visiting temples, we had a filling and relaxing family dinner <3
6. Watch Ramayana Ballet
As this isn’t my first time watching Ramayana (the first was at Bali), I find it more enjoyable as I could understand the complicated plot better. I think watching cultural dance/ballet is a must-do in Jogja. This particular one in Hyatt was truly enjoyable. The dancers were beautifully dressed and skilled. Hanuman was rolling and jumping around like a real life monkey! Oh, and I got to play with the arrow 😀
7. Tea time at Susu Lover cafe
During my travels, I am usually not into contemporary cafes. That is especially in a city that is reknown of it’s rich culture. However, I was craving for some unpasteurized milk, our driver took us here and boy were we entertained as the waiters dressed up like a cow! I’m very happy to eat pisang goreng bermadu too.
8. Visit Prambanan temple
Prambanan temple is another UNESCO heritage site. While it’s beautiful, it’s pale in comparison to Borobudor. So if you’re not into temples, I think it’s perfectly fine to skip this place. Also remember to wear long pants if you don’t want to wrap your lower body with sarong.
9. Feed bambi!
Right outside of Prambanan temple is a huge field filled with deers. So I happy pays some rupiah to the person selling a truck full of of kangkung. It was the highlight of my day (I love feeding people and animals haha).
10. Snack on cilembu sweet potato
A local introduced us to a healthy, local snack food: baked sweet potato. I don’t quite remember how he convinced us to try this; he probably claimed that these came from the volcanic sites. Whether it is true or not, ubi cilembu is much more delicious than regular sweet potato.
It was an impromptu trip with little planning and happened during MH370 tragedy. We were busy keeping ourselves updated with news and discussing about it. I reckon we could probably do a lot more with better research and in a different circumstance. If you ask what you must-do at Jogya, I suggest #1, #2, #4 and #6.