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Tuesday, October 15, 2013

Yogyakarta to Solo: Jogja Road Trip Part 1

Indonesia Day 2

My friend Zakiy promised to accompany me for the day and to drive for me going to Solo, hooray! :) First, I made sure if he is really free or if I'm not disrupting anything in his life haha. Second, if he's really okay with it because it'll be a long drive. I don't want to tire him out or cause him too much trouble. But he swore that it's perfectly fine with him.

He picked me up from the hotel at around 9:00 AM. We went home late the night before, so we also woke up a bit late hehe. He asked me if there are any other places that I wanted to see first before we go straight to Solo. I told him maybe a few temples along the way will do. After checking out the map, off we went.

Candi Sambisari

Our first stop was Sambisari. By the way, the correct pronunciation for candi is "chandi". Another addition to my Asian vocabulary for the word temple. It is 8 kms from Jogja in the east.

This temple is unique compared to the others because it is 5 meters below the ground. It used to be buried underground. There are assumptions that it got covered after a huge eruption by Mt. Merapi.

It was just accidentally discovered by a farmer back in 1966 while cultivating the land. When the Archaeologists heard about it, they secured the area and started the excavations. The temple was completely restored 1987. Yes, it took them 21 years to unearth this small beauty.

the main temple

The temple is believed to built during the 9th century during the Mataram Kingdom reign. It is a Hindu temple similar to that of Prambanan.

A few minutes is enough to visit this tiny temple. Entrance fee is Rp 2000.

Candi Kalasan

The next temple we visited was Kalasan. This is also along the Jogja-Solo Road, 13 kms east of Jogja. We did not go inside anymore since it's pretty much it from the outside.

According to the inscription found, this temple is older than Sambisari and probably the oldest among all the temples built in the plains of Prambanan.

It has a beautiful architecture but unfortunately, poorly maintained. Entrance fee to this temple is also Rp 2000.


Solo also known as Surakarta is 60 kms east of Jogja. They also call it the twin-city of Yogyakarta. They say these cities look the same and they are both inheritors of the Mataram Kingdom. Sixty freaking kilometers. I knew it's going to be a long ride but I never thought it'll be that long. We stopped by somewhere in Klaten for a break and for lunch. It was where I first tried eating in a Masakan Padang. A restaurant offering West Sumatran food. I loved it that I always look for that kind of restaurant since.

We reached the city of Solo at around 1:30 PM. We first looked for the Tourist Information Center which we found at the back of the Radya Pustaka Museum which is closed. To our shock, the lady at the tourism office informed us that most of the museums and the kraton in Solo are closed on Fridays. Good grief. Talk about bad timing.

Museum Batik Danar Hadi 

We were relieved to find out that this museum is open. It is the biggest batik museum in Indonesia. Batik is an important component of the Indonesian culture. The traditional Javanese batik especially those made from Jogja and Solo has a strong meaning entrenched on how they perceive the world which makes it very interesting.

We were asked to wait first at the boutique store because there are still previous guests ahead of us being toured inside the museum. I super loved the traditional furniture in this place. I want to bring them home hehe.

Unfortunately, they don't allow photos to be taken inside the museum. I really enjoyed my time during the tour. The stories behind those batiks are captivating. It has a very rich history and it made my thoughts wander back in time. The narratives are very compelling.

After the museum tour, we were also taken to the factory where we were showed the step by step process of making a batik. Jump here to see more it.

The tour took about an hour. The entrance fee to this museum is Rp 25,000. It was the highlight of my visit to Solo. I highly recommend this museum to everyone who will visit this city.

First Lady Siti Hartinah's House

This is just a random place we ended up going in Solo. I didn't even know we were going here haha. I thought Zak was just trying to find a shortcut going to Jogja. So we pulled over to this what seemed to be an abandoned old palace.

Maybe he spoke with someone about this place that I just didn't understand because they talked in Bahasa hehe. We happened to be in the house of Indonesia's second first lady, the wife of former President Suharto.

There are families living in the compound whom I believe were relatives of the first lady. They also serve as the care takers of the place.

They say the first couple also used to live here before. President Suharto is from Jogja and his wife is originally from Solo. Suharto was the President of Indonesia for 31 years.

There were only a few things left inside the house and some rooms are inacessible to the public. There is no fee to visit this place but you may opt to give some donation if you like to. I'm a fan of traditional architecture so I also liked this place.

the ceiling details

We did not go to other places in Solo anymore because it was getting late. Candi Sukuh and Cetho are like an hour away from the city. We also need to drive back which takes an hour and a half. Plus, I have to meet another friend back in Jogja for dinner. We arrived in Jogja by 6:00 PM. I felt bad for letting him drive that far but he told me not to worry because he also had a good time. I was relieved.


I met my other friend Inggit 30 minutes after. We had dinner in a warung that sells Ayam Sate or chicken satay. That was the best satay I've ever had!

Jogjan Ayam Sate

We also went around Jogja in her motorbike.

Inggit and I in a busy street of Jogja

We also happened to catch a cultural show in the monument area in front of Bank Indonesia.

some traditional performance

When she got bored of the show, we just walked around and talked about a lot of things. It's always fun sharing about culture and other random stuff with someone who has a very different background.

Palace of Yogyakarta Sultanate

When we realized it's getting late, she dropped me back to the hotel. I still have to wake up very early the next morning because I have a temple tour. We wished to see each other again.

Things I learnt on my second day in Indonesia: 1) riding a motorbike for a long period of time 2) how to eat in a masakan padang 3) the significance and the art of batik-making 4) Muslims have to stop and take time to pray at a certain time of the day 5) the Indonesians are as friendly and hospitable as the Filipinos 6) I am loving Yogyakarta day by day. :)

"Traveling is a brutality. It forces you to trust strangers and to lose sight of all that familiar comfort of home and friends. You are constantly off balance. Nothing is yours except the essential things – air, sleep, dreams, the sea, the sky – all things tending towards the eternal or what we imagine of it."~Cesare Pavese

This is Part 2-1 of my Yogyakarta travel series.

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