After landing at Bandung, Indonesia, the first place we had in our itinerary was Yogyakarta and guess what? We could allot only one day for Yogyakarta. So, you imagine how packed it is going to be. Bye Bye Sleep !
As we have mentioned in our previous blog, most of the important tourist cities in Java are well connected by trains. Head here to check how to pre-book train tickets and more information about the same. After coming out from the airport, we booked a Gojek cab to the Bandung train station. Make sure you download the Gojek app from playstore and sign up for hassle free bookings. We boarded the evening train towards Yogyakarta ( which people call Jogja there). Aware that it would take us 8 hours to reach there, we booked ourselves a comfortable Executive class train ticket to sleep our way through the train journey.
DIFFICULTIES OF CHECKING IN AT 2 AM IN THE MORNING
We very well knew that we would reach Jogja at odd hours and hence we booked a place close to the railway station just in case we need to walk our way to the hotel. But the station was busy and well lit at 2 in the morning and Gojek was also available. We booked our ride and waited outside the railway station for our cab driver to pick us up.
It did take us half an hour to explain to the driver where we are waiting, pretty much because he did not know English and we do not speak Indonesian. We reached our booking only to find it locked and dark and no one responded to our phone calls as well. After another half hour of banging the doors, we managed to wake someone up who showed us our room. Lesson Learnt! It is always a good idea to let your host know in advance when you would check in, so that they will be prepared to receive you.
HEADING TO BOROBUDUR – A UNESCO WORLD HERITAGE SITE
Borobudur is the largest Buddhist temple in the world.
Pre read – Borobudur Wikipedia
Best Time to visit – 6:00 AM in the morning for sunrise
It was already half past 3 in the morning and we very well knew that if we slept, our whole plan topples because we did not want to miss the epic sunrise from the top of Borobudur. The first public bus to Borobudur is only at 7:00 AM which again is futile. Hence, we booked a Gojek at about 4:45AM (costed us around IDR 164,000) and voila we reached there before the temple was opened. It did not surprise us to see a lot of people waiting in queue in front of the temple gates, just like us, for it to be opened.
As soon as the gates were opened at 6:00 AM, a swarm of people rushed to the ticket counters to beat the crowd to the top of the temple for that perfect Instagram picture. The tickets are pretty expensive and it is economical if you get the tickets for both the temples ( Prambanan being the other ) here itself. The entry fee for the two temples together will cost you IDR 12600000.
They serve you complimentary tea to battle the cold wait and after that you can rush your way to the top of the temple to witness the sunrise. But be prepared for a huge crowd even as early as 6:00 in the morning.
It is definitely a not to miss place and we recommend it to everyone who visit Indonesia. It totally made up for all the sleep we sacrificed to get here. Amongst the crowd, it indeed was super difficult to capture good pictures. After sunrise, we felt the place did not glow as much as it did earlier. We took a stroll around the temple complex but did not find the museum or other places inside the complex to be interesting.
BOROBUDUR TO PRAMBANAN
We were on the lookout for public bus to Prambanan. It took us a lot of talking to the locals before we could figure out where the bus station was. We got a bus that was headed towards Jombor ( costed us IDR 50,000 ) and then we got down at an intermediate stop and boarded another bus ( costed us IDR 7000 ) to Prambanan. In India, we buy tickets only after getting inside the bus whereas here we had to pre buy the tickets and we would be let to the boarding points only if we showed valid tickets. We found this interesting. As you guessed, both of us slept like crazy for the entire two hours of the bus journey.
Pre read – Prambanan Wikepedia
Time needed to explore – Half a day
Prambanan is also an UNESCO world heritage site and completely different from Borobudur. Borobudur is a Buddhist temple whereas Prambanan is an Hindu temple. Both display sheer architectural excellence. We recommend that you don’t skip this even if you have visited Borobudur, even though it is 3 hours away from Borobudur. Since we had already purchased the entry ticket at Borobudur itself, we can skip that queue here. We got complimentary water bottles/ juice packs here.
There are three more temples inside but the important one is Candi Prambanan which has deities for all the three main gods of Hindu namely Brahma, Vishnu and Siva. While were all set to explore ourselves, we heard a sweet voice calling us from behind. It was a cute little school girl Laila, who volunteered to be a guide for us to aid her in one of her English assignments at School. She was chirpy and charming and explained the mythology very well to us. She took us through all the deities and when she explains how people worship there, I would amuse her with how we worship the same gods here and we would laugh about how each of our rituals differ for the same god. She also was very cheerful and took pictures of us everywhere we went. It turned out to be an unforgettable experience for us.
NIGHT FOOD STREET – MALIOBORO
It was almost night when we reached Malioboro from Prambanan by bus and despite our feet crying for rest, both of us knew we just can’t miss roaming around the food street. We quickly made a pit stop to our room and freshened up and walked to MALIOBORO which is very happening and lively at night. You can see locals performing music, dance, playing instruments at the sides of the road. If you want to dig into authentic local cuisine, then this is a must do. Grab a snack and party through the night at Malioboro.
Our personal favorite outlets – Fafa Cheese and BreadTalk Pastry
We reached back home after a jam packed satisfying day and had a good night’s sleep to catch the early morning train to Surabaya.
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