Indonesia Day 1
I intentionally skipped Jakarta based on traveler friends' advise. Aside from the fact that it is more expensive to fly direct to Jakarta, they say there's nothing much interesting to see there. So from Manila, I flew to Kuala Lumpur (KL) and then get the earliest flight to Yogyakarta (Jogja) from there. It's a 2.5-hour flight from KL. I arrived in Jogja at 11:20 AM. It'll take two public bus rides to get to my hotel which is quite inconvenient, so I just took a taxi. I got one from the Taxi Booth at the Arrival Area where they give you a fixed rate based on the distance of the location you're heading to. I paid Rp 65,000 going to Prawirotaman.
|JOG International Airport|
It was already past 12:00 when I made it to the hotel. It was so hot outside that I decided to wait it out before I start to roam around. It was also a chance for me to rest and take a nap since I only had 4 hours of sleep before flying out from Malaysia. I went out at around 3:00 pm and met this funny middle-aged woman, Alison from Hong Kong at the hotel lobby. She happened to be going to the same direction, so we went together. She took a lot photos of just about anything so it took us a while before we made it to the main road to ride a bus. I got off in Malioboro but she decided to go all the way to wherever the bus is going. I found someone who's crazier than me. :)
|Bank Negara Indonesia|
I only changed a few money at the airport. So, the first place I want to go to was the Mulia Money Changer because they are known to have the best exchange rates in Jogja. I was happy that it was the first thing I saw after getting off the bus. After that, I saw the Tourist Information Center, so I got myself a city map. Wow, I found all the things I needed without really looking for it. I was lucky! Then I bought a sim card at the Malioboro Mall, so I can start contacting my local friends.
|the walking tree? ;)|
Since it was already late in the afternoon, most tourist attractions were already closed for the day. They close at 2:00 PM the most. Very early compared to the other places I've been too. I just did a lot of walking around to somehow familiarize myself with the place.
I started from the other end of Jalan Malioboro up to Jalan Ahmad Yani. I checked out the shops along side Malioboro up to Pasar Beringharjo. By the way, no one I knew knows what this tree structure is called too. It is simply just an art installation in the street. Cool, isn't it? I forgot I was in the center of classical Javanese art and culture.
I noticed that Jogjans love to hang out. They just sit around anywhere, play their guitars, sing together, some even dances in public. They are happy people.
This monument signifies their standing up against the Dutch colonialism. This is erected just beside the former Dutch Fortress also known as the Benteng Vredeburg.
There are a lot of beautiful colonial structures in this area of Yogyakarta. One perfect example of this is the Bank Indonesia building. The Dutch influence is very evident in this structure.
My friend took a while to get to me so I decided I should go back to the hotel first. I tried riding a becak (pronounced as bechak)for the first time. It is a cycle rickshaw being propelled by manual pedaling where the passenger sits in the front. Even though it's a slow mode of transportation, I loved the experience. There are two things that I learnt. One, traffic is almost non-existent in Jogja (on what we consider as rush hour). Two, though it can be very hot at noon, it is cold at night! I was shivering.
I was surprised to find my friend already waiting for me at the hotel lobby. I was hoping to have dinner with two of my local friends that night, but the other one changed her mind and just rescheduled for the next night. I just went with Zakiy. He took me to this famous local joint called The House of Raminten. I said famous right? Yeah, so when we arrived, there was already a long queue of people waiting to be seated. We waited for 20 minutes or so. I didn't mind because I love people watching and observing when I am in a foreign place. This restaurant is popular for both locals and tourists.
Zak told me ahead that Jogjan food and beverages are sweet, so I kinda expected that. But I never knew that it could get very sweet. I tried both our drinks and both of them were so sugary. I resorted to the smaller one haha. It tastes good but too sweet for me. Central Javanese love putting generous amounts of palm sugar, I found out. They have the sweetest cuisine in all of Indonesia.
|his Kelamud Tamanan, my Dawet Gladri :)|
It's either we came in a little late already or there were really just too many customers that night, that some food on the menu were no longer available. We wanted to try original Jogjan dishes but I ended up sampling a dish from Surakarta (Solo).
|my Sego Kuching|
Kuching is the Bahasan word for cat. I joked around and asked him if it's a cat dish. Apparently, it's called like that because the serving is really small. Just like the saying "you eat like a cat", meaning you eat very little hehe.
The place is very nice. It has a very cushy ambience. The setup, the furniture, the lighting and the music being played on the background are traditional. It provides a very Javanese atmosphere. The food were okay and very cheap too. It is also a very nice place where you can chill and talk to your friends because it has an intimate feel. Thanks for the treat Zakiy! :)
|my first dinner in Jogja :)|
He took me around Jogja on his motorbike after dinner. We visited the most popular landmark of Yogyakarta which is the Tugu Monument. It is a three century old monument which held a significant meaning to the people of Jogja. It symbolizes their unity on their fight against colonialism.
There is a tradition for the university students to hug and kiss Tugu after their graduation. My friend said that there's also a belief that if a tourist takes a picture here, they will surely be returning to Jogja. Needless to say, I had my picture taken here haha.
He took me to another place where Jogjans love to hang out at night. It is at Alun-Alun Kidul or Southern City Square. It is located at the back of the Sultan's Place or the Kraton. At night, it transforms into an amusement park full of flickering bikes. Yes, bikes of different shapes and sizes, for kids and for adults. I was amused too much I forgot to take photos of it.
You can also try walking between the two banyan trees blindfolded. The Javanese believe that if you make it, your wish will be granted. I did not try it because I was with a skeptic haha. When we got tired of walking around, we settled in to one of those mats where you can sit and eat or have a drink.
|the nice musician who sang an Adele for me :)|
There are so many artists (public performers) in Jogja. Just in this park, you will encounter many musicians playing for tips. And they were very good, I'm impressed. Though I don't understand the songs in Bahasa, I appreciate how beautiful the songs were. Zak being always so nice, asked this guy to sing an English song for me. I was surprised when he played Adele's Someone Like You. Wow, I felt so happy! I'm so shallow hehe.
I definitely enjoyed my first day in Jogja. The fact that I went home late that night says it all. I immediately had a good feeling about the city. It isn't only the food and the beverage that's sweet here, the people too are in fact very sweet. :)
Note: The title of this blog post is in Bahasa Indonesia. Jalan-jalan means "to walk" or "to go for a walk" and di means "in". I came up with that title because that was what I literally did on my first day in Jogja.
"To my mind, the greatest reward and luxury of travel is to be able to experience everyday things as if for the first time, to be in a position in which almost nothing is so familiar it is taken for granted." ~Bill Bryson
This is Part 1 of my Yogyakarta travel series.