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Stay: Borobudur & Prambanan Visit 2

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Brand New Hostel at Backpackers Hub in Yogyakarta

Wakeup Homestay, Yogyakarta
Yogyakarta has 2 popular neighborhoods for visitors. Jalan Sosrowijayan is the backpackers centre. It is adjacent to Jalan Molioboro, the grand avenue for shopping that leads to Kraton. Another is Jalan Prawirotaman for mid-range on the south of the centre.
Lobby Area, Wakeup Homestay
My accommodation in Yogyakarta

Wake Up Hostel –
On the corner of Jalan Sosrowijayan to Jalan Kandekan

Newly opened hostel
I booked 8 bed mixed dorm for 4 nights
Cheap price, value of money
Good location and nice staffs
200m from Jalan Malioboro, shopping area
Very close to Tugu railway station
Air-con room
All day light breakfast, coffee and tea included
Adequate bathrooms
Spacious common room

Free Wi-Fi
Tour desk

While almost accommodations in this area are in the alleys and operated by the traditional way; dark rooms in local houses and very basic. Wake Up hostel is only modern style dorm that located in the backpackers centre. However, Wake Up hostel need more improvement, especially bathroom cleaning and sound proof for bedrooms. Opposite of the hostel is pub which spreading loud noise until midnight every day.

Travel: Borobudur & Prambanan Visit 1

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Trans Jogja Bus, Yogyakarta
From Denpasar, Bali to Yogyakarta, Central Java
Low cost airlines fly regularly; I travel with Air Asia for1-hr.
Tip: Avoid weekend, ticket prices much higher than weekdays.

From Adisucipto International Airport to city centre
1. Airport Green taxi, fixed price for 70,000IDR to Jalan Sosrowijayan
2. Trans Jogja bus to drop you off at Jalan Malioboro, then walk to jalan Sosrowijayan only a few metre away. This option may take a half hour or more. Ticket 3,000IDR

There are bus terminal and railway stations with connection to Jarkarta, Solo and other destinations on Java Island. Train booking can be done at the railway station but need a lot of paper filling and long queue.

Yogyakarta City
Around Yogyakarta
On foot, from Jalan Sosrowijayan to many attractions: Jalan Malioboro, Pasar Berinhajo, Vderburg, Bank of Indonesia, Kraton (Sultan’s Palace) and Taman Sari (Water Castle)

By tricycles and metre-taxis are available too. Some annoying tricycle drivers may ask you repeatedly, please keep calm and walk away.

By city bus
Yokyakarta has their city bus system “Trans Jogja”. It’s really cheap (3,000IDR) and passes some tourist spots such as airport and Prambanan. I tried it in the city routes, please study the operation carefully. Some route is one way and takes a long time to back the same bus stop. In narrow roads, buses run through but there are no bus stops for a long way.

Getting Borobudur from Yogyakarta
I book Borobudur Sun Rise Tour at hostel’s tour deck. Driver picks the passengers at 05.00 o’clock at the hotels. The group arrive Borobubur Park at 06.00 and spend 2-hr there, then back to the city around 8.30. Sun Rise option is smart, we can avoid hot sun, a thousand of tourists traffic jam and enjoy quite moment.

For self-visit, Trans Jogja 2A to Jombor station, and then take public bus to Borobudur site. Borobudur is 40km from the city.

Getting Prambanan from Yogyakarta
There are packages for Prambanan and other attractions for tourists. I pick Prambanan in the afternoon plus Ramayana Ballet at night. After sightseeing at 17.00, it is dinner time at nearby restaurant and the ballet started at 19.00 at Trimurti theatre.

Package includes shared transportation, entrance fee and show fee, dinner excluded. Ramayana Ballet performed dates are specific, please ask the tour agent for exact date.

For self-visit, Trans Jogja 1A passes Prambanan, it is 17km from the city.

Yogyakarta, Central Java

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The City that Fit for Prosper

Bank of Indonesia Building, Yogyakarta City Centre
As the base for visiting 2 UNESCO World Heritage Sites in Central Java, Yogyakarta or Jogja is one of the most popular cities in Indonesia. City itself has a lot of prominent cultural spots and surrounded by artistic people and handicraft stuffs.

Travellers always spend a day in the city for sightseeing and shopping, mainly historic landmarks and batiks.

Kraton - Sultan Palace, Yogyakarta
Kraton (Sultan’s Palace)
Located in old town and opened for tourists visit. Kraton is consisting of many Javanese pavilions and enclosed with walls. Inside the walls, there are cultural activities performed regularly by the skillful court artists such as traditional classical music band.

When we entered to Kraton, time walked back to the old days, court servants in Javanese dress both men and women playing music, guiding tourists, guarding rooms and even reading newspaper were around.

Batik museum is the most interesting spot. It displayed collection of hand-made batiks created by Indonesian great artists. Brown is the royal batik colour for the court use. Photographs are not allowed inside the museum.

Other museums presented collection of sultans and royal family’s stuffs such as portraits, furniture, dress, and kitchen utensils.

Taman Sari - Water Castle, Yogyakarta
Taman Sari (Water Castle)
Taman Sari was the personal garden of sultans in 18th century. There are bathing pools surrounded by walls and 3-storey building.

After visiting Kraton, I walked to Taman Sari by following vague sign. I went through the tunnel to the site, not from main entrance. This way, I had to pass old town neighborhood and bird market (Pasar Ngasem). Conversation with the local was a great friendship I got from getting lost. An Indonesian guy who living in the corner of the shortcut to Taman Sari, he has to point the way day after day and he never bored. He is so friendly and happy to talk with tourists.

Vderburg, Former Dutch Administrative Office and Fort, Yogyakarta
Vderburg (Fort)
Dutch fort and administrative office during the colonial era is located on the main road of the city, not far from Jalan Malioboro. Inside the fort is museum about Indonesian independence, courtyard and old buildings in Dutch colonial architecture.

Vderburg is the plain attraction which we can spend a short time to visit or skip it. Opposite Vderburg is the governor house and nearby is the Bank of Indonesia.

Jalan Malioboro and Pasar Beringharjo (Market), please see details from Eat & Buy.

Prambanan Temple Compounds

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Marvelous Hinduism Monument in Central Java

UNESCO Towering Architecture at Prambanan, Central Java
Prambanan is a collection of towers with spires 17 km to the south west of Yogyakarta in contrast to the vast horizontal base of Buddhist Borobudur 40 km north west, another UNESCO WHS in Central Java. 
Prambanan in Brief
Prambanan was originally named Shivagrha. It shares the same period of construction during 8-9th century with Borobudur. The vertical architecture was built by Rakai Pikatan, the Hindu Sanjaya Dynasty of the Mataram Kingdom while Borobudur was built by anonymous under the Buddhist Sailendra Dynasty.

The temples were abandoned after the dynasty left the area from the eruption of Mount Merapi volcano and may be power-related cause too.

Sir Thomas Stamford Raffles is the British ruler who plays the major role for rediscovering and preserving Prambanan as same as Borobudur since a short period of British ruling in Java in 19th century.

The complex based on square plan divided into 3 zones: outer, middle and inner from less holy to the holiest from the Hindu cosmology concepts.

The most important area of the complex in inner zone is characterized by
Trimurti Temples consist of 3 main towers dedicated for supreme gods: Shiva (middle), Visnu and Brahma
Vahana Temples consist of 3 smaller towers in front of the Trimurti temples for each god’s vehicle: Nandi (bull), Garuda (bird), and Hamsa (swan)
Other small 8 temples located inside the inner zone wall

Actually, there are 240 temples in Prambanan temple compounds but majority of them are deteriorated and remained only scattered stones which located in 4 concentric square rows.

Towers are adorned with panel of narrative bas-reliefs telling the story of Hindu literatures: Ramayana and Bhagavata Purana. Inside the chambers of each main tower, there are the deities’ figures placed in the dark rooms without lighting. Please bring flashlight!

Stone Balustrades, Prambanan 

A Panel of Lion Flanked by Trees Relief, Lower Outer Wall of the Temple

My Visit
Prambanan Temple Compounds is huge; other historic sites are a few miles away such as Sewu Buddhist temple, showing this area were the important religious, political and urban centre.

Arrived there in the afternoon at 15.00 o’clock after heavy rain, it was cloudy day and less tourists, I spent 2-hrs visiting at the inner zone and had a quick walk to the museum 500 metre away from the site and on the middle way to the exit.

The museum is situated on the site in Javanese buildings and garden, collected the artifacts from Prambanan and presented the rediscovery and preservation of it.  Visiting time for 30 min is enough.

After visiting Prambanan, there were a few hours for dinner at the nearby restaurant until the showing time of Ramayana Ballet at 19.00

Rama is shooting Ravana, Ramayana Ballet, Prambanan Compound
Ramayana Ballet Performance
In the evening, there is Ramayana Ballet at Prambanan Park; it is a Hindu literature telling the story of Rama, Sita, Ravanna and Hanuman. The great ballet has presented the art of Javanese dance, music and dress which is absolutely fantastic.

The show will be performed at Trimurti Theatre during the rainy season and move to outdoor stage during summer where Prambanan site is the background under the sky only at specific nights. Visitors can book the tickets via the tour agents in Yogyakarta.

Borobudur Archeological Park

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The Greatest Buddhist Monument in the World

UNESCO On the Top of Borobudur, Central Java
Sizing, beauty and story of Borobudur are really amazing. Today Indonesia is the largest Islamic country in the world; however this monument is the magnet drawing people around the world to Central Java enormously.

Borobudur in Brief
This UNESCO WHS was built since 9th Century during the Sailendra dynasty in Central Java. We don’t know who the builder is.  

The temple was designed in Javanese Buddhist architecture. It is the Mahayana Buddhist Temple which consists of 3 divisions by nine stacked platforms, six squares and three circulars, topped by a central dome. The temple is decorated with relief panels and Buddha statues. The central dome is surrounded by Buddha statues, each seated inside a stupa.

The monument's 3 divisions symbolize the 3 "realms" of Buddhist cosmology, as the world of desires, the world of forms, and finally the formless world. Central dome on the top is represented as the enlightened stage (Nirvana), liberated from all forms of cycle of life.

Borobudur was abandoned following the 14th-century decline of Hindu kingdoms in Java and the Javanese conversion to Islam. In 1814, it was rediscovered by Sir Thomas Stamford Raffles, the British Ruler. Borobudur has since been preserved through several restorations.

UNESCO Borobudur in the Morning, Central Java

Bas-Reliefs and Decorative Stones, Borobudur
My Visit
I booked “Borobudur Sun Rise Tour” from Tour Desk at my hostel in Yogyakarta. This is the right decision. We can avoid hot sun in daytime and enjoy the monument among a few tourists and fresh air in the morning.

The park is large and we have to walk from the entrance, pass the green ground to the monument. Borobudur located on the plain with the backdrop of volcanic mountain range, providing fantastic view and sacred feeling.

Borobudur is older and smaller than Angkor Wat in Cambodia, its size is suitable for 2-hrs exploring. The crafted reliefs on the panels are well depicted; the floor planning is good design. I felt less exhausted than I expected, due to the platforms are not too steep. Javanese Buddhist architecture is simple but gorgeous, volcanic stones giving the sleek mood and strong.

View on the top of Borobudur is awesome; I practiced meditation. This is one of the greatest moments in my life. Hopefully, next time here, I would do clockwise walking meditation starting from the first step and proceed until reaching the top platform.