This is one of those short trip that we decided to do as we figure Jogjakarta does not have much places to cover and a holiday out of country is highly required (excuses as usual) thus Jogja fits the bill. Do bare in mind that I've visited Jogjakarta when Air Asia route was via Solo which also means it took us 1 hour to get from Solo's Bandara to Jogja town. What's in Solo? Well, it is famous for the Solo batik for one (or so I've heard) and one of the famous temple is located near by which as usual, I have successfully (with flying colours) forgotten it's name.
Am not sure the locality of the Jogja's Bandara (Airport) but I can share the experience I had with Solo's though, it is small; like.. really small. Kid you not! How small you wonder, could Lily be exaggerating? Let me describe as briefly as possible. As the airplane dock (is this the right word Adam? Dock is meant for ship only, right?), we got down, an walk for probably 20 meters before reaching the terminal. And by terminal I meant the custom ie where you stamp you passport. YES! The queue was about 30 meter and we ended up outside the terminal on the pavement/near the airplane. And we thought it was funny (despite the hot weather) cause as we approaches the door of the terminal (10 meters before the immigration), we saw the conveyor belt carrying our luggage on our right side (starting from the door where we came in!??!). And upon unloading the bag, any passer by can just grab your bag as it is 5 foot away from the waiting area (no glass, no nothing). Confused? Let me put it this way, the waiting area is behind the immigration folks, like literally behind them. Sigh... Enlightening experience.
Anyway, I've gotten the tour agent contact (Yes, I am very much pampered at times and uses the expertise of an agent to save time and energy) to book us (Anna, sis and I) for a Sunrise Borobudur Tour. YES! There is such package, I found out by
mistake hard work searching Mr. Google. So Lengga instructed us to be ready at 4am (MORNING) as she will be picking us at that time. Obediently we waited for her, the journey took us 1 hour, best thing to do is - continue sleeping in the car. Hahahah.... What else right?!!?
The view from the top while waiting for glimpse of Ms. Sunshine
We need to enter via Manohara Hotel which happens to be the nearest hotel to Borobudur. The package comes with a torchlight & breakfast (after the sunrise tour) and you need not be a guest to enjoy and reserve this package (at that point of time, please double check).
Aside from getting the best and most beautiful view of Borobudur at sunrise, the other perk is that your transportation is to drop you at the foot of Borobudur which means, a shorter walk (you would not want to walk the distance ok!) which matters greatly to me.
With only your torchlight at hand and an experience guide, you will be guided to the top and to wait patiently for Ms. Sunshine.
The break of dawn.
Apologise for the low quality, those days the resolution and night capture quality sucks big time.
The stupas catching rays of the early morning sun.
How I wish my camera was
The sky getting clearer, and suddenly we heard Lengga asking us to follow her to the other side. Better view she said.
One for the road, so they say, so we did.
Lengga was right, the view from this side is much better and Hewlett-Packard camera was better then my Canon IXUS camera. Frustusmus! At least we manage to capture few reasonabl;e shots. Thanks HP!
The lesson begins where Lengga started to tell us the history of Borobudur, below is an excerpt from Wikipedia :
Borobudur, or Barabudur, is a 9th-century Mahayana Buddhist monument in Magelang, Central Java, Indonesia. The monument consists of six square platforms topped by three circular platforms, and is decorated with 2,672 relief panels and 504 Buddha statues. A main dome, located at the center of the top platform, is surrounded by 72 Buddha statues seated inside a perforated stupa.
Following the major 1973 renovation funded by UNESCO, Borobudur is once again used as a place of worship and pilgrimage. Once a year, during the full moon in May or June, Buddhists in Indonesia observe Vesak (Indonesian: Waisak) day commemorating the birth, death, and the time when Siddhārtha Gautama attained the highest wisdom to become the Buddha Shakyamuni. Vesak (or Waisak) is an official national holiday in Indonesia and the ceremony is centered at the three Buddhist temples by walking from Mendut to Pawon and ending at Borobudur.
After Lengga told us in great length the story and history, we head down to have our breakfast while enjoying the morning air overlooking ancient Borobudur. Splendid.
One last picture before feeding our hungry tummy.
Soon after we finishes with Borobudur site, we adjourn to visit Taman Sari and it's mysterious tunnel and staircase. How did I locate this place (told you the places I covers are very different). I have to share that I rely gretaly on YOGYES.COM, no regrets... this site is pretty comprehensive.
Here's the thing, most people and site would recommend you to visit only Taman Sari, but hardly any tells you there's a secret tunnel underneath where the royalty will seek refuge during disaster or major emergency.
Excerpt from Yogyes.com :
This wide underground alley is used as the place when Keraton in the critical condition. Many hidden places can be found in this place. Leaving Tajug, you can see traces of Pulo Kenongo which was formerly an artificial island that was planted by cananga flowers to give fragrant into Taman Sari. YogYES then goes to Sumur Gumuling, underground mosque as the place for Sultan and family to do their religious duty. This two-story building is designed to have a good acoustic side. So, when the imam led the prayer, her voice would be clearly hear from all over the length and breadth of the building. Now, it still can being felt. The people speech who are far away from us will feel like they are on our side. Moreover, we can go to the center of the mosque by pass through the dark alleys. Arriving in the square-shaped with 5 steps around it in the center of the mosque, the feeling of majesty instantly felt. When we look up, the blue sky will greet us. The sounds of bird that came from settlements in Taman Sari area will add the serene atmosphere.
More info via Wikipedia HERE.
Excerpt from Wikipedia :
It is a one-storeyed structure for the Sultan to meditate, or some said, a hiding place for the royal family during an attack. Another name for this island is Sumur Gumantung, because on the south side of this island is a well that hangs above the ground. This place could only be reached via the underwater tunnel. The building of Cemethi Island is now also in ruin. A legend says that there is a secret tunnel that connects the palace with the south sea (Indian Ocean) where Nyai Roro Kidul or the Queen of the South has her palace. The supernatural Queen becomes the spiritual wife of Yogyakarta Sultan for many generations.
As this was a 3D2N trip, and our flight was wee morning thus we need to leave the guesthouse 1 hour earlier due to Solo's Bandara distance.
PS : Yes, I did visit the Kraton and few other temples, but we ran out of batteries so unable to blog about it. And yes, I would like to repeat Jogja probably do Mount Bromo too.
Hyperlink credit : Wikipedia, Yogyes.com