Jogjakarta Stories and Tips

Day 1 - Prambanan Archaeological Park & others

Travel Photo by IgoUgo member

We flew to Jogjakarta from Bali with the purpose of only seeing Prambanan temple and Borobudur temple - the best of Jogjakarta. Upon arrival at the airport, I happily headed towards the tourist information counter. Although they are government tourist information centre (or at least they claimed to be), they seemed to be more interested in recommending you the packages they provide or hook you up with drivers that would bring you around if you opted not to take any of their packages. We took the driver they recommended anyway and engaged him for half a day on the first day, and another half day on the second day. We went straight to Prambanan temple from the airport.

As expected, Prambanan temple was magnificent. Built in the 10th century, this is the largest temple compound dedicated to Shiva in Indonesia and was listed as UNESCO world heritage site. Standing proudly in the main square of this archaeological park are three temples decorated with reliefs illustrating the epic of the Ramayana, dedicated to the three great Hindu divinities (Shiva, Vishnu and Brahma) and another three temples dedicated to the animals who serve them. Prambanan is very photogenic and the photos actually turned out to be as good as Angkor Wat, another Hindu temple complex in Cambodia. There is another smaller temple within the compound of Prambanan Archaeological Park - Sewu temple. Surprisingly, it is a Buddhist temple. The fact that this temple was built so near to Prambanan Temple, a Hindu temple, indicated that the Hindus and Buddhists lived in harmony. Sewu temple is about 15 minutes walk from the main square. Along the way, there are 2 more temples which are poorly maintained and almost in ruins but they are also open for viewing. Sewu temple is worth checking out as it is less crowded but not less atmospheric as its big brother Prambanan.

After the visit, our driver drove us back to Delta Homestay and promised to return the next morning at 5am. We then took a becak (rickshaw) from our homestay to see the Keraton - the sultan's palace, Taman Sari - the water castle, and the Ngasem bird market. None of these were exceptionally interesting. Perhaps they look quite similar with what our home country Malaysia has. After that, we went to Jalan Malioboro for some shopping. Nothing in this street seemed to intrigue us. Sorry to say, it looks like Malaysia in the late 1980s (except for the fast food chains). It was so boring we had to play cards in McDonald's to kill time. I really regretted not arranging the driver to bring us to Mount Merapi instead.

My conclusion is, Jogjakarta really has nothing much to offer except for the magnificent Prambanan temple complex, and the excursion to Borobudur.

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