Mostly people plan to stay in Yogyakarta only 2 days: visit famous UNESCO heritage temples Borobudur and Prambanan. If they have interest – climb the Merapi volcano at night or visit Merapi area – Kaliurang during the day time (rent a jeep for volcano tour). As well if they have free time – visit Kraton (“Sultane palace”), Taman Sari (“Water castle”), Malioboro street (“Jl. Malioboro”), Beringharjo market (Pasar Beringharjo) and some other places.
But in Yogyakarta area, not far from the city center are more interesting places to see :). I and my friend made 1 day trip (with motorbike) visiting temples (including famous ones), different local village and waterfall. We didn’t plan to visit only temples, but started to search what possible to see around all places it became like a trip – “temple day”:). Here is itinerary and some my impressions for those who would like to explore more of Yogyakarta are:
Teletubbies village (Teletubbies desa) – Twin waterfall in Wukirharjo village (Air terjun Kembar Wukirharjo) – Twin temple (Candi Plaosan) – Prambanan temple (Candi Prambanan) – Ratu Boko temple (Candi Ratu Boko).
We started the journey at 11.30 am from Yogyakarta south (Kasongan).
First we visited Teletubbies (Teletubbies desa) – the dome houses. It took us ~1 hour of drive from Yogyakarta to the village. I read article about this village disaster and how people managed to continue the life in the unique houses. The uniqueness is dome-shaped houses, namely round semicircle. They look like the homes of people eskimo and nothing common with Javanese houses. And it’s the only such houses in all Indonesia. These houses were built after the earthquake that had occurred in the hamlet of Sengir, Sumberharjo, Yogyakarta in 2006. We visited this village already 9 years after the earthquake and village doesn’t look like the same when it was built and the view that I saw in the photos. Naturally after so many years, all area now green again, people started to build additional house beside dome houses, build shops in Javanese style houses and etc. just continued to live like they were used to before earthquake. Some of the houses already repaired, colored and empty. The village view no more so impressive but is worth to visit. Just to see how such shape houses looks in Indonesian nature, even to see how Indonesian people understand and how to get used to live in such houses – the round shape is not in their “blood” for sure :). As well it’s possible there to climb small hills and visit other, more traditional villages and see nice panoramic view from the top (we didn’t do it this time, but I heard this from my local friends). Some travel agencies even suggesting travel tours to this village, but not many foreigners comes here, so people not so used to see them. Till I was making some pictures, passed two girls on motorbike, when they saw me – they stopped just in the middle of the street. They were so excited and with a bit “broken” English asked if they can make picture with me. Like after living in Indonesia I was a bit tired every time to take a picture with locals and I said myself that never again will do that, those girls were so honest and happy – that I couldn’t resist to say “maaf, tidak” (“sorry, no”). After making photos with me, maybe 10 min., they were jumping around with happiness and joy :). Sometimes for Indonesians doesn’t need a lot to feel happy :).
Next our stop was – Twin waterfall (Air terjun Kembar Wukirharjo) – it takes ~10-15 min. from Teletubbies village. Near waterfall there are quite vertical part of route. Unfortunately not all bikes are strong enough and can go up with two people. We were not exclusion. I get down from motorbike and walked up by foot (it’s not long way) and my friend very slowly was going up with motorbike. So we had not enough strong motorbike :). The view from the parking area quite nice – possible to see some hills in horizon illuminate with sun. There are two paths to go to waterfall – one through waterfall opening and second from down part. In any case which route you will take, you can go around waterfall from up to down or conversely (just you need pass over stones – there is no clear path to go around). The path is a bit slippery and clayey, maybe because we went there when couple days before was a bit rain. In dry season should be drier but in rainy – can be a bit more difficult to pass the path. The waterfall not so big and the flow not so strong, but those two streams look nice. There were no more people (like we went during the week day, most probably during the weekend you can meet there more local people enjoying the view) just few kids who were swimming and playing there (even if the water is quite dirty and you can see some trashes around), so atmosphere was very peaceful. A bit further we saw other kids who were searching for stones and making round shapes for rings. Some of the people just like how the stone looks in the ring, others believes that it can give some power. So the kids collecting those stones and can sell each for ~ 10 000 Rp. We stayed there for ~30-40 min. and continued our trip.
Later we went to see Twin temple (Candi Plaosan) – it took us ~30-40 min. ride from waterfall. On the way you will see road sign to Ratu Boko temple, but we planned to visit it for sunset (if you want to save some time, you can visit this temple first and end the trip in Prambanan). The way to this temple surrounded by plenty of rice fields and small hills, we enjoyed this ride part.
Even if this temple stands near famous Prambanan temple, not a lot of people go to visit it. This Buddhist temple is divided into two parts, Plaosan Lor (“north”) and Plaosan Kidul (“south”). It’s estimated to be built in the beginning of the 9th century during Rakai Pikatan reign and surrounded by rice fields.
We stopped before entering the temple to make some pictures from further, were you can see both of the temples in front. If you are lucky enough, you can have much better view, when the people work in rice field. Even if there is no admission fee (no price tables), they expect you to donate some money for entrance. I came to entrance gate where security was sitting and showed my KITAS (limited stay permit, that sometimes gives discount or entrance fee like for local people) they asked from me 3 000 Rp for entrance. Its’ not big but cute temple, surrounded by the remains. If you will walk through it, on the ground you can see some patterns, sculptures. When I was visiting this temple there were some Indonesian people, mostly youth couples that was making many pictures in different poses and in each corner, some of them just hiding for have some privacy. So don’t be scared if some of the couple suddenly will come out from the tiny entrance of the temple fence. We spend here ~20 min.
Like we went for the trip during day time, it was quite hot, so we stopped to drink some cold drinks. From Twin temple to Prambanan temple on the way you will see many small “warung’s”. Closer to Prambanan more expensive drinks, so if you are thirsty stop in the middle between both temples.
Famous Prambanan temple (Candi Prambanan) is located ~ 10 min. from Twin temple. Even it was working day (I thought I will avoid Indonesians to asking pictures with me) but I didn’t know that it was celebration day (Ascension Day) – “red date” event. So I even didn’t enter the temple when three local girls asked a favor me to speak with them in English for English lesson. One girl was filming the conversation with phone, another reading the question and third one just assisting. Like the girls were quite polite, I spend with them ~15 min. and went inside. It was already ~2.30 pm but it was numerous amounts of people – mostly locals and few tourists. Usually during the weekends and celebrations, locals from all around Yogyakarta visiting temples and other places. I was a bit in a hurry because wanted to go ahead all those people, but when I just entered the complex some of the youth groups from school, young couples started to ask picture with me – and usually they don’t ask one picture, they want each separately have one picture with foreigner. One of the guys were more polite, others grabbing my hand and asking “selfy” – so depends on how they came to me I decided to spend time with them or not. Even if the place very beautiful I didn’t enjoy it – because of the people who were asking pictures and don’t let me to see everything properly. So instead of maybe hours of walk around in whole complex – I spend ~ 30 min. The all complex area is quite big, not in a hurry and visiting other smaller temple that is under construction now, you can spend there till two hours for sure :).
And after ~15 min. way from Prambanan temple we reached our last destination – Ratu Boko temple (Candi Ratu Boko). Like we wanted to go there to see the spectacular sunset (everywhere this temple presented like this :)), we arrived there ~4 pm. From 3 pm the entrance fee is raised 5 000 Rp, because it’s “sunset time”. In many beautiful places, Indonesians divide the entrance fee for sunrise/sunset and usual hours.
On the way climbing the stairs to the temple on left side you can see Prambanan. Ratu Boko temple area is quite big and nice to walk around. Inside you can go a bit on the hill to see the entire complex. After small walk around I just sit on the land in front of temple and started to wait for sunset. That time not so many people came, but all temple was crowded of people who were making pictures, so to have photos without people – not possible. But even with less people (comparing with Prambanan temple) – here I got attention as well – families with kids were asking pictures, teenagers and etc. At least here were more polite people – before asking the picture with me, asked who I’m, what I’m doing in Yogyakarta and etc. The time passed quickly – and the sun started to come down. The view was really beautiful but I believe that can be even more spectacular. Lately was cloudy so we decided to leave ~5.30 pm but I saw still many people were coming, probably they came with daily Yogyakarta tours after Prambanan temple and I can say they missed the most beautiful view, left only dark clouds :). I heard that it’s possible to get to the temple from another side, but you need to know locals, who would show you the way and as well maybe pay a bit money, but not the same amount like entrance fee.
On the way back in front of the stairs was possible to see the Merapi volcano. Like I left till the sun didn’t get down totally I haven’t seen how the city is lighted, but if you want you can wait more and then you will see nice lightening of Prambanan in the horizon.
So after ~1 hour driving back we reached our home and finished the trip :).
Even if it was quite hot and local people attention to me annoyed a lot but I really enjoy the trip – different views of the land, nature, temples, daily local people life – Indonesia always have what to show.
Have you been in these places? Did you enjoy?:)
If you need a guide in Yogyakarta and around I can recommend – Hendra