Yogyakarta – “temple day”

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).

Dome house
Dome houses

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 :).


Twin waterfall
At visiting time, some local kids were playing there, swimming.

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.


Twin templeLater 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.

Candi PrambananFamous 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 :).


Ratu BokoAnd 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?:)


Route map

Time – ~7 hours
With stops, driving, visiting objects. We were going on 50-60 km/h speed.
We spend (2 people) – 175 000 Rp.
  • Fuel (we fulfill full tank but didn’t spent all) – 29 000 Rp.
  • Parking – 4 000 Rp (in Twin waterfall place and Ratu Boko temple, for Twin temple and Prambanan we parked a bit further from objects for free – in the street).
  • For lunch (we ate in Yogyakarta south before the trip) – 20 000 Rp.
  • Drinks on the way in “warungs” – 8 000 Rp.
  • Entrance fee – Twin temple – 6 000 Rp, Prambanan temple (with KITAS and for local person) – 60 000 Rp, Ratu Boko temple (for sunset entrance) – 48 000 Rp.
  • It’s possible to visit just Prambanan, Twin and Ratu Boko temples with public transport. From the city Jl. Malioboro take bus 1A (pass the airport to Prambanan). From Prambanan you can walk or take “becak” to Twin temple. And after you will come back to Prambanan take “becak” to Ratu Boko temple (ask driver to come again on certain time and he will drive you back to Prambanan from where you can go back to the city).
  • It’s possible to start the trip earlier when not so hot and not so big amount people comes to famous places, but this time all the timing was built by the final destination Ratu Boko temple. If not the sunset, probably the journey we would start at 7 or 8 am.
  • Visiting waterfall take some shoes suitable to get wet and climb in slippery way and through clay.
  • It’s your choices to stop with everyone to take a picture and speak English for lessons. But if you don’t want this – just don’t have an eye contact with locals, try to pass bigger amount groups in hurry or just say “maaf, tidak” (“sorry, no”). In this case you can get back questions “why”, some pleases. So you can just smile and go away or finally agree to make a picture. But if others will see that you agreed to take a picture with someone, they as well will come to you.
  • If in Twin temple they will ask more money for entrance, don’t forget that it’s donation, with smile give the amount that you want to pay and then just go inside, like no price is listed there.
  • Visiting Ratu Boko temple, try to come earlier ~ 4 pm (even when the sun starts to go down ~5 pm), like you will never know what the weather will be and when the clouds will come out. So better to see something than nothing, like those daily tours groups that came after 5 pm.
  • Take with you sun cream, water (drinks) and snacks :).

If you need a guide in Yogyakarta and around I can recommend – Hendra

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What to expect from Indonesian concert?

Sometimes, when we are traveling, we can’t feel that close connection with local people or be a part of their daily life. But if you will ever have possibility, try to visit any local show (I’m not talking about those which is organized for tourists but those – which knows only local people :)) – do it!

If I have chance, I always try to attend local events, especially in Yogyakarta, where I live. I have been in many Indonesian concerts, exhibitions, events, festivals and other celebrations which were organized by local people or participants were only Indonesians. So I have a small “image” about Indonesian events.

Earthernity Fest poster

This time I want to share the discoveries of Indonesian concert, which I see really different from European ones. Even if past some time after visiting one of Indonesian concert in Yogyakarta – “Earthernity fest” (annual concert dedicated to celebrate earth day), the impression still lives in my mind. Probably this concert can be that one, which had all Indonesian events “attributes” :D.

Why this Indonesian concert was so special that I decided to go there?

First of all, I came here just because of Indonesian band “Payung Teduh”, I felt in love with their music already before coming to Indonesia :). Second, because of singer “frau”. Both of these artists in one place? I just needed to go! And for a big surprise – I discovered here new Indonesian group – TIK! TOK!.

So what you can expect from Indonesian concert?

Organizers performance

It will be late

and you can’t take inside your food or drinks (the security will take it from you) – but where it’s not happen? So this not counted like “unique” :D.

Sitting on the floor

Indonesians have sitting on the floor culture (when they are visiting people, eating, doing other things). So nothing surprising, just come to the concert and sit on the floor. People takes off their shoes, like at home :). For me – it’s not usual. If there are no chairs – you stand, in open area or very cozy place where is not enough seats – yeah you sit on the ground, but it’s not must. In this case, to sit 5 hours on the floor – some of the lower body parts really hurts :D. Nobody warn me that I need to take sitting pillow to the concert :D.

Long talks of “masters of the ceremony” (MC)

Almost none of the event (concert as well) won’t be real without MC’s. 1 – 3 people who tries to interact audience before the concert, during it. The funniest thing that MC’s speaking sometimes longer than performers stays on the stage (for example the band plays 10 min. – MC’s talks 20 min.):). Usually they just make some jokes (sometimes not funny at all), interactions with the prizes and a lot of self talks with the partner on the stage. Some of the event hires better MC’s, others takes amateurs. Because of MC’s interruption, this concert lasted 5 hours :D. How to be patient and wait for the last band the most important performer ?:)

Audience singing louder than the band on the stage

If Indonesians really like some songs, they will scream (imitating the singing) louder than the band on the stage. Even when you will ask them a bit make lower voice, because of their scream not possible to hear real singers – they won’t stop. In such way they express themselves.

Young couples dating

You can imagine how hard for teenagers and not marriage couples in the Muslim country to express their relationship? :). If they have a chance to be a little bit in private with the partner, they will try to go where is dark and a lot of people, because no one will be in attention of them. In this concert was the same – darkest corners was busy with couples: holding hands, touching shoulders. More braver was sitting in the crowed and hugging each other from the back.

Instant noodles

Most local people habit – eat instant noodles everywhere, even in the concert. Sellers even have more instant noodles types than other snacks. First I didn’t understood from where the smell of noodles is coming, just turn around and saw one guy eating them, then another girt in front, other guy in left. It’s looked that nothing can satisfy Indonesians stomach like “sambal” and instant noodles. Noodles “must” to be in every event.

Funny facts:

  • even if organizers didn’t deal properly with sound and lighten, but they didn’t forget to take out the brands labels from the water bottles which singers where drinking on the stage.
  • guess who was the “security” leading famous band out of the backstage? Girls with hijab :). Wondering why? In Muslim country none of the men can touch women with hijab (if it’s not your family member). So, even if somebody would like attack or do something, by the religion it’s not allowed :). Clever, yeah?
  • as well, I was the only one foreigner in the concert – so you can imagine how “popular” I was there :). Guessing who got more attention, people on the stage or me :D.


About all unsuccessful things during the concert I won’t write. Organizers, guests and bands probably already saw it. I hope for the next year concert, organizers will fix it or at least won’t do the same mistakes.

Some moments from Indonesian concert:


Have you been in any local performance during your trips? What was the most impressive thing or differences from what you used to?

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Mount Merapi defeated me

How many times you read bad or failure stories? Somehow most of the people shares only good things. In one hand it’s good – more positive thoughts – creates more positive things. But in other hand – is it real life, when everything goes just right?

I have such story – “failure” one – how mount Merapi defeated me ;). And want to show that not only sun shines in Indonesia, but sometimes comes some clouds as well (but beautiful ones) :).

Many people that I know, who comes or stays longer in Yogyakarta, wants at least once, climb up to mount Merapi and meet there the sunrise. I was one of those people. Just till now, somehow wasn’t right time to do that or people with whom to climb. By the way “Gunung Merapi” (literally “Fire mount”), the most active volcano in Indonesia and has erupted regularly since 1548 (~68 times).

But finally, some of the friends organized night trekking to mount Merapi to meet sunrise. So I wanted to join them for sure (when if not now? :)).

Day before trekking I was a bit nervous – it was my first trekking in life and as well to so high (2930 m.) and vertical mount. I didn’t know what to expect, how my body will adapt it, if I like it and it’s at night. You know, Lithuania is a “flat” country, highest point is 294 m. Also all my trips in Europe somehow wasn’t around hills :D. But at the same time I was excited.

The adventure begins!

We all (8 people) met at meeting point on the way to mount Merapi. We started our motorbike trip ~10:00 pm. Of course, which trip goes without “surprises”? After ~30 min. of driving, one of motorbike got flat tire. So we needed to find who can fix it. We were lucky, like near was one service who was still working in late evening. We wait a bit and moved on.

The road wasn’t the best – holes, not in all parts of the road was lightening, tortuous way. Going higher became colder and colder. We even stopped to dress more clothes before reach the post.

Maybe after couple of hours we were in the post of mount Merapi (from Selo village side). Surprising that in the post nobody was working. Usually, many people come at night for trekking till sunrise. But we were thinking, maybe because of Ramadhan, local people fasting, going to visit relatives and doesn’t go for such trips.

We were trying to find somebody who could park our motorbikes and as well register us that we are going up. Like couple months ago one Indonesian guy died in mount Merapi (he was making selfie in the edge of the top and slipped). After that, the rules to entering and leaving mount Merapi became stricter. As well it’s not allowed anymore to climb exactly to the top (the last point is ~500 m from the real top of mount).

Finally we found responsible people (they were already sleeping – it’s normal thing to do at midnight :D). The registration, parking took us ~40 min., because of waiting we started freeze (you know at ~1 am in high place, not so warm, even in Indonesia). We saw some other motorbikes, guy in the post told that they arrived day before and are camping in mount Merapi national park.

After all bureaucracy things, we dressed the warmest clothes, covered all naked parts and started to trek.

Already from the beginning, after the post, the road was quite sharp (in my opinion, from person who never made trekking ;)). After maybe 15 min. my lungs were almost locked. I couldn’t breathe properly. I don’t know why, maybe because of nerves, pressure or first time such activity. The rest 6 people went up and me with friend decided not to be in a rush and go slowly.

Little by little we were going up, the path was more complicated, slippery sand and not wide. I needed stop more and more times. During stops we meet couple of foreigners groups (probably they came with travel agencies that organizes trips). In my mind already was an idea to go back, but I thought maybe still little by little I would manage to go to the top.

Unfortunately, after almost 1 hour of going up, I decided to go down. Yeah, I gave up (even if it’s not common to me). Just I was a bit afraid that if I will go further up and I will feel worst then I will make problems for myself and the entire group. So I decided that better not to push myself and make problems for others. I didn’t reach even the mount Merapi national park gate (that is in ~1 km distance from post). Pity :( But at least, now I know that I need to prepare more for trekking trips. I already imagine how I would be trekking in Lombok island, mount Rinjani, when I planned to do it during my 3 weeks trip there. But at that time, park was closed because of rainy season, so need to change my plans. Now I think it was a sign :D.

The way down was even more difficult because of slippery sand and bluff way. I even couple times slipped (I had proper shoes for trekking). Going down took me the same 1 hour.

But not to go to the top of mount Merapi was the worst part :D. The most “exciting” part was when we (me and my friend) came to post and wanted to take motorbike for going back. What do you think? Everything was closed (why they should be open, if usually people return in late morning from the top?). 2 hours (truly I’m not lying) we were knocking all possible doors, windows, going around the building, even sitting in the street and hoping that some neighbor will pass and would tell us how to reach responsible people. But nothing. The weather was more and more freezing.

During our waiting for a “miracle” that somebody will open the door, one foreigner couple didn’t reach the top as well and came back. So it seems not only me can’t handle mount Merapi – I feel a bit better about it :D.

Finally! ~5 am the people in post heard us and open the door. But it was too cold to go by motorbike straight back (usually in the mornings very cold wind). So we decided to wait a bit, warm up and then go.

We started to chat with the post guy and he told us, that before Merapi eruption the way to the top was much better, but now even for him, who is trekking there almost all life – quite difficult to go. As well, he told that it’s common that people not handle go to the top (may “failure” became smaller :)). And when we told that we wanted to see sunrise, he started to laugh and told that from his house (beside the post) we can see sunrise as well. Just need to wait till ~6 am. So like it left ~45 min. we decided to stay and at least see something ;).

It was very beautiful view! (even it was totally cold). The sun came like from the sea line and colors was so clear; I could say “dramatic”. I felt relieved that at least I had amazing views: in front – sunrise, in the left mount Merbabu softly lighten by sun and twin mounts Sindoro and Sumbing, in the back small part of mount Merapi.

Beauty of mount Merapi

After 15 min. we left – tired and still freezing (I can just imagine how guys felt on the top). On the way, we saw beautiful views of Merapi, other mounts, daily people life’s, active morning market. I was surprised how many traditional Javanese houses there, still build in old way with “gedheg” (like “big tent”). And almost no rice fields – but big plantations of different vegetables. I think if you don’t want to trek but have beautiful views, it’s just enough to come to that area in early morning, before sun goes up ;).

So this is how my first mount Merapi defeated me :D. I don’t know if soon I would like to go there again, but maybe later I be ready more and will win! :).

Now in my mind thoughts how will be in mounts Bromo and Ijien that I plan to visit :D. Hope much better :D.

What is your experience in trekking in mount Merapi or other Indonesian mount? :)

  • If you are not trekker, I suggest at least, one week before the trip, have some more physical activities – riding bicycles every day and etc.
  • It’s not easy to see the post at night, especially when it’s closed, so here is the photo, not to miss it ;).
  • Entrance fee for locals and students – 15 000 Rp. For tourists 155 000 Rp and on holidays, weekends – 225 000 Rp.
  • It took us ~2,5 hour to get there from Yogyakarta with motorbikes.
  • We fill full back of fuel and it was enough go both ways.
  • The post guy told us, that experienced trekkers, reach the top during ~3 hours, others (depends on their condition) during ~4-6 hours. The tourist groups came ~1-2 am and sunrise is at ~6 am, so organizers probably knows that 4 hours should be enough to reach the top.
  • Take with you snacks, enough water, properly clothes (gloves, hat, socks, warm sweater, jacket, scarf, shoes suitable for trekking, flash light, if you are coming near the beginning or in the end of rainy season, take raincoat).
  • Avoid trekking in the rainy season which spans late October to early April.
  • If you want to go there by motorbike – ride north out of Yogyakarta on Jl. Magelang for ~45 min. When you reach Mungkid turn right into Jl. Bololali – Mungkad and head towards Ketep. At Ketep turn right and continue following the Jl. Bololali – Mungkad into Selo. From Selo ride up the steep road (on the right as you come into Selo).
  • There are no straight buses to go to Merapi. You can reach the sub-village by public transportation from Yogyakarta (Jambor station) to Magelang, stopping at Blabak and continued by minibus or hichkiking to Selo. Afterwards, you will need to walk through asphalt roads to the post.
  • I know that those who comes with public bus, usually comes in the early evening to the last village Selo, stay for couple of hours in the hostel (there are several – just ask people, they knows who accept guests) and then goes up.
  • More practical information here.

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