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. :)
We didn’t get to see the places of interest in 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 J.co 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. :)
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.
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.