One Night in Yogyakarta: A Precursor to Prambanan and Borobudur

The first stop in our SEA by Train vacation in Indonesia, Yogyakarta.

Our train from Jakarta to Yogyakarta arrived at Tugu station at 6:30 in the evening. With the aid of GPS we made our way to Jalan Malioboro (jalan = road). We decided to stay at Malioboro Street due to its proximity to, well, everything. And it is only a few meters from the train station.

Yogyakarta is actually pronounced and written by most as Jogjakarta and referred to by many as Jogja. I noticed that on certain occasions the letter J is pronounced as Y, and C as CH. We were thinking that this has something to do with the Dutch colonialization, but this is pure speculation. :)

Yogyakarta or Tugu train station in Yogyakarta

We didn’t get to see the places of interest at Yogyakarta. One that we really wanted to visit was the Kraton Complex. Unfortunately, the Sultan’s palace grounds is open until 1 pm only and we leave for Prambanan early the following morning and then straight to Borobudur in the afternoon.

So we made the best of Malioboro street. Yogyakarta’s Malioboro street is 2 kms of pure shopping and dining pleasure. Comparable to Manila’s Divisoria, but much orderly and definitely cleaner.

There are a lot of becak (pronounced bechak), pedicab-like vehicles ready to take you around Yogyakarta. We decided to just walk the length of Malioboro. With the crowd, it will be hard for the becak to maneuver the street. Also, it doesn’t give us the luxury of discovering things as you do with the leisurely pace of walking.

We pre-booked a room at Merbabu Hotel, right at the center of Malioboro street in Yogyakarta. The Standard Fan room includes breakfast, and for only IDR 175,000 it was dirt cheap.

As expected, the staff are very friendly, despite a little misunderstanding and my insistence that the rooms were already paid for online. Turns out, my card was only charged the required deposit. Hehe! I did give my sincerest apologies to the girl at the reception. :)

Surprisingly Yogyakarta’s weather is not as hot as Manila’s (no need for air-conditioning after all). Rooms are basic and a bit dirty. Good thing we only need to stay a night. Still, I think it was an okay deal given the location and the free breakfast.

When we visit a new place, we don’t usually go for the fancy restaurants, we head to the streets! We do our best to experience the food scene as majority of the locals do. Yogyakarta is not going to be an exception.

Malioboro street really comes alive at night. At the far end, towards the Kraton Complex, is where most of the food stalls are located.

We bought putho at one of these stalls. It’s like our puto bumbong, even prepared the same way. The difference is, putho has different flavors and is filled with some sort of sweet paste. A nice treat for only IDR 2,000.

For dinner, we decided to give one of the many lesehan lining the sidewalk of Malioboro street a try. Kind of like our version of carinderia. During the rest of our stay in Indonesia, Yogyakarta is the only place where we experienced a lesehan set up where the patrons sit on the floor.

To be honest, we were a bit reluctant eating at a lesehan. After picking out the cleanest looking one, our more adventurous sides took rein. We ordered ayam goreng. It was fried chicken with a lot of turmeric. Hehe! I couldn’t complain, it was a filling meal for only IDR 15,000.

We then had coffee at one of the malls along Malioboro street. The kopi luwak (civet coffee) has a natural sweetness to it. It’s a bit expensive though.

There was a there in Yogyakarta, unlike here in the Philippines, there were only a handful of people inside the shop. I guess the locals wanted something different other than their own brand. :)

The following are our major expenses. This does not include purchases like snacks, supplies, souvenirs, etc.

Accommodations IDR 175,000
Dinner IDR 15,000
Kopi Luwak IDR 68,000

Yogyakarta is often just a stop-over, a drop-off point, if you will, for travelers going to the temples of Prambanan and Borobudur. This was also the case for us. Although we were able to experience one of its most popular destinations, Malioboro street, we couldn’t help but feel a bit of regret that we were not able to spare at least another day to see the other sites.

Yogyakarta or Tugu train station in Yogyakarta

Like with most other places we visited in Indonesia, the people are extremely friendly and helpful. At the end of the day, it’s not all about the number of places you’ve seen, rather the experience you shared with the people around you.

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20 Responses to One Night in Yogyakarta: A Precursor to Prambanan and Borobudur

  1. Rainbow Journal 24 May 2014 at 8:09 am #

    Exactly. Almost every country has their own version. It's fun just walking around and finding something new to take home. :)

  2. Rainbow Journal 24 May 2014 at 8:08 am #

    There are a lot of beautiful places in Indonesia. Malioboro is just one of many. :)

  3. Christian Melanie Lee 24 May 2014 at 7:55 am #

    Interesting post. I've never imagine that there's a great place in Indonesia.

  4. Mitch Ryan 24 May 2014 at 7:00 am #

    I like this kind of market. There are so many choices at affordable prices.

  5. Rainbow Journal 23 May 2014 at 3:03 pm #

    Yup! Mura lang mga goods pati na rin food sa Malioboro. Di ka rin masyadong mag-aalala kasi mas malinis at mas visible ang police sa area.

  6. Dizkarteng Noypi 23 May 2014 at 9:37 am #

    Parang cleaner version nga ng Divisoria ang Malioboro.hehe. How about the prices of goods? Is it affordable like Divi?

  7. Rainbow Journal 21 May 2014 at 2:10 pm #

    I haven't been to Korea yet. We're finishing off all ASEAN countries before, hopefully, venturing to other nations. I'll be looking forward to reading your blog about your trip then. I'm sure I'll be able to get some good tips. :)

  8. Jhojo/Dizkarteng Noypi 21 May 2014 at 8:46 pm #

    Parang cleaner version nga ng Divisoria yang Malioboro. Kamusta naman ang presyo ng mga bilihin? affordable din ba like Divi?

  9. Jennifer Lopez Gana 21 May 2014 at 11:30 am #

    Sorry off topic with your post. Have you been to korea? Jeju Island? I'm searching for your post about Korea. I am preparing for my Oct travel there. Thanks!

  10. Rainbow Journal 21 May 2014 at 5:13 am #

    Exactly, we also like taking our time and walking around a foreign place. There's always something new to you to discover at every turn. And yes, we also take loads of photos. :)

  11. Sherlane Fortunado 21 May 2014 at 4:05 am #

    When my friends and I travel and have time to spare, we also just stroll around to have a greater view of the surrounding. And of course, take pictures of almost anything beautiful and are new to us :-).

  12. Rainbow Journal 20 May 2014 at 5:47 pm #

    Hi Millie, It really depends on how long you're traveling and where you will go. Also, we'd like to think that we're budget travelers, although most of the time we go for convenience over really doing it the backpacker's way. :)

  13. Donna Donor 20 May 2014 at 3:34 pm #

    tara punta tayo, ehehehe

  14. Millie Manahan 20 May 2014 at 3:33 pm #

    Wow it must have been nice Kung ganyan ang divisoria lol.. How much is it to travel to Indonesia?

  15. Rainbow Journal 20 May 2014 at 12:23 pm #

    Raymond Nicolas, that is good news! More and more foreign tourists are going to Divisoria. We had a client before from the US who said she really wanted to go but is having second thoughts because of security concerns. Sana nga maging maayos na dun, not just for the tourists' sake but also for our kababayans. :)

  16. Raymond Nicolas 20 May 2014 at 5:15 am #

    Rainbow Journal That's great. I think I've seen in the news a couple of weeks ago na nirerenovate na yung Divisoria. Nililinis na mga kalsada para makadaan yung mga sasakyan. Hopefully maayos nga para naman mas maging kaaya-aya. :-)

  17. Rainbow Journal 20 May 2014 at 5:08 am #

    Malioboro is much cleaner. It also caters to a lot of tourists. There are a lot of big hotels along Malioboro. The streets aren't that crowded and we didn't feel paranoid that we might get our pockets picked. There are a lot pf police along the length of Malioboro. I think Divisoria has the potential to be something like Malioboro. :)

  18. Raymond Nicolas 20 May 2014 at 4:56 am #

    Compared with Divisoria as you said, what are the main differences/ similarities between the two? Personally, I don't like going to Divi because of the dirty surroundings and the pick pockets. Is Jogjakarta better? :-)

  19. Rainbow Journal 20 May 2014 at 4:31 am #

    I agree, traveling at night not only give you enough time to see the sights the following day, it also saves you paying for accommodations.

    Same thing happened with a friend of mine when he was traveling across Thailand. Freddie Aguilar is big there too. There was even a bar there they went to named after Freddie Aguilar, displaying several memorabilia.

  20. Jerome Lupisan 20 May 2014 at 1:18 am #

    I wasn't able to see Kraton as well.
    I agreee, Yogya is more of just a stop before the temples. One thing I learned from my trip was that I should have traveled at night from Bandung and arrived there in the morning. (It took us around 12 hours by train.) Nothing much happens in Yogya at night time. I did go to a bar with my friend. When the band learned that we were Filipinos, they requested us to sing Freddie Aguilar's Anak.
    Waiting for your next posts.