Let say you are an expatriate working in Jakarta or having a business trip in Indonesia. You may consider to run away from Jakarta during long weekend. Yogyakarta or simply called Jogja is one of the most recommended place. Why? Because it is the second top destination after Bali. Known as student and cultural city, it is a place where modern city perfectly blends with traditional village. There are several flights daily from 6 in the morning to 9 in the night. It’s only an hour flight, but remember Soekarno Hatta International Airport is located outside of Jakarta which may take up to 2 hours from city center. You can also go by train which takes 9 hours.
Day 1 – Saturday
You shall catch a flight on Friday afternoon. Please consider crowded traffic to airport during long weekend, you should calculate the fastest time you can escape from office till reach the airport. Before 4 o’clock is the best time since you can arrive in airport within an hour from city center. If you board at 6 pm, you will arrive in Jogja at 7 pm. From Adisutjipto International Airport Jogja, you can go to your hotel by taxi or bus. Airport taxi is recommended transportation eventough more expensive than metered taxi outside. You can also go by TransJogja bus. Just for your info, you can also go by train from Maguwoharjo Railway Station. Adisutjipto International Airport is the one and only airport in Indonesia which have bus station and railway station located nearby.
Now it’s time to find a hotel. The best and most popular place is Sosrowijayan area, next to Tugu Railway Station and Malioboro street, the most famous street in Jogja. You can find wide range of accomodation from cheap hostel to 4 star hotel. It takes only half an hour by taxi from airport.
The first destination is Borobudur Temple, the biggest and the most famous buddhist temple in the world, one of UNESCO World Heritage. Borobudur is located in Magelang district, Central Java Province. It takes around one and a half hour by car from Jogja. I recommend you to rent a car for easy mobilization. It’s better to go early morning around 7 am. Borobudur Temple is built in 9th century during the reign of Syailendra Dynasty. Since it is the masterpiece of Jogja and Central Java tourism, Borobudur Temple shall be your first destination.
From there, you should go to Ketep Pass. It is on the way back to Jogja, just turn left before Muntilan city, only half an hour from Borobudur. Ketep Pass is a hill which you can see both Merapi and Merbabu mountains clearly. However, you need a bit luck since sometimes both mountains are covered by fog. You can see a movie about Merapi mountain, including the big eruption on 2010 and 2006. There are many small foodstall selling grilled corn. You can enjoy the beautiful scenery while enjoying grilled corn inside the foodstall. From Ketep Pass, you may stop in Muntilan and buy some special snacks like gethuk (sweet snack from cassava) and tape ketan (fermented sticky rice).
Before night, you should arrive in Jogja already. The best way to spend the night is going to Alun-alun Kidul or south field of royal palace. What special there? There is a myth saying that if you can pass in between two banyan tree in the field, your wishes will come true. Just that easy? Of course not, you must walk blindly from edge of field. Don’t worry, you can rent a pair of eyes cover there. You will see many people trying walking with many styles, and it’s very funny seeing their expression when knowing that they are already far from the tree, sometimes even back to the starting point. Believe it or not.
Day 2 – Sunday
Prambanan Temple is second destination. It’s only 30 minutes from city center. It is built by Sanjaya Dynasty in 9th century as a response of Borobudur Temple built by Syailendra Dynasty. It is the biggest hindu temple, characterized by tall and pointed architecture like other hindu temple. Another World Heritage you shouldn’t miss.
From Prambanan, you must heading to Ratu Boko. It is located on a plateu, around 3 km from Prambanan Temple. Unlike Prambanan, Ratu Boko is not a temple, but a kind of settlement site. The location is spectacular since you can see Prambanan Temple and some part of Jogja from the height. It is also built in the same age of Prambanan by the same dynasty.
After Prambanan, actually there are many choices. I recommend you to go to the beach to see the sunset. Even Parangtritis is the most well-known beach in Joga, Kukup Beach in Gunung Kidul district is a better choice. It takes almost 2 hours from Ratu Boko. You can enjoy long and winding road heading to the beach. Gunung Kidul itself means south mountain. This district is a karst highland, so the beachs there are rocky ones. The scenery in Kukup Beach is also magnificent, marked by a big rock like a separate island. Many people compare this beach with Tanah Lot in Bali. There is a bridge linking the mainland with the island. If the sky is not covered by the cloud, you will see beautiful sunset from the island. You can also try special food here like “kripik undur-undur”. It is a kind of cracker containing small insect which always walk backward. That’s why it is named “undur-undur” (undur means backward).
On the way back to Jogja, you may consider to stop at some restaurant on Pathuk Hill. From here, you can see city light of Jogja from the height.
Day 3 – Monday
The last day shall be more relax. It’s time to explore city center. Top destination is Kraton Ngayogyakarta or royal palace. It’s located at the end of Malioboro street. I suggest you to take Andong or four wheel horse-drawn carriage. It is a special vehicle of Jogja. You can see a hall where the king sit down during his coronation. There are many interesting things like weapons, royal horse-drawn carriage, paintings, etc.
From royal palace, you can step forward to Taman Sari. It is a royal bathing place, but not operated anymore. You can still enjoy the beauty of its architecture. The interesting fact is there is a place where the king can watch his mistress bathing without known by them.
Last but not least, shopping in Malioboro street is the best activity before leaving this city. Malioboro itself is a commercial area where big shop standing in a row. What makes it unique is the street vendors along its sidewalk. You may find many kinds of souvenir. Of course, you must bargain to get the best price. Always try to bargain at least one third of offering price. Then just go if he doesn’t want to lower down to that price. You can always find the same thing in other vendor.
If you want more challenge, you can continue your way to Beringharjo market. It is the biggest market in Jogja where you can find almost anything. You can also see interesting phenomenon where old ladies become porters. Beringharjo is still located in Malioboro street.
Always remember your flight time since you will forget the time when you shop in Malioboro. I am sure you always want to go back to this beautiful city. See you soon.