Yogyakarta - Day 180-181
Trip Start Jan 31, 2008
254Trip End Ongoing
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A day of planes, trains and automobiles. Modes of transport used today include, boat, bus, bemo, plane, taxi, train and my good old reliable legs. It was my first experience of an Indonesian train today, a really pleasant and efficient 308km journey from Surabaya to Yogyakarta, took five and a half hours. Certainly a better option than the bus which can take over 8 hours and is more expensive. Another 12 hour plus day of travel, but I'm getting use to these epic journeys now. When I get home I'll be catching buses and trains everywhere, who needs a car!
When I arrived at Yogyakarta train station I walked the short distance to Jalan Sosrowijayan or Sosro for short. Sosro is where all the cheap accommodation in the city is located. Found a reasonably priced homestay called Rejeki just off Sosro, down a tight ally
Had an early night due to a tiring day of travel. Want to wake up early tomorrow to have a full day of sight seeing around the city.
Day 181 - 20/08/08
First day of sight seeing in Yogyakarta today. The city is one of the cultural capitals of Java so there're some interesting sites and traditional arts to see in the city.
I woke up early as planned and walked from Sosro, south down Jalan Malioboro for around a mile to the Sultans palace (Ngayogyokarto Hadiningrat). The palace was build in the mid 1700's and was constructed based on ancient Hindu symbolism and the Hindu interpretation of the cosmos. The complex contains many ornate pendopos (open-sided pavilions) which are ornately build in different stones, marbles and woods. Some quite impressive craftsmanship can be seen on a few of the structures
After leaving the palace I moved onto the famous bird market, only a short walk away to the west within the ancient walled city of Kraton. Kraton was originally build by the first sultan around 300 years ago as the official royal resistance, now it's a hooch potch of shops, markets and houses. The bird market was a real spectacle but slightly cruel. Dozens of birds in tiny cages pecking at each other and showing signs of real distress. Certainly not a place to visit if you're an animal lover.
Then moved onto the sultans folly, Taman Sari. The folly consists of an underground mosque with a north African feel, and a series of beautiful enclosed swimming pools with a real mix of architectural styles. A beautiful and serene place, I can see why the Sultan liked to come here to relax.
Batik, bloody Batik!! Batik is a style of painting which uses wax and oils on cloth or canvass. Yogyakarta seems to be the centre for this type of work. I can remember doing some Batik work myself in secondary school art class. I'm constantly being hassled to go and see Batik paintings and exhibitions. The guys on the street try and trick you by saying things like, "there's a big festival to celebrate Indonesian independence day, I'll show you" or "there's a charity auction of paintings to support local kids", plus many other elaborate lies to try and sell you some paintings. I fell for this ploy once last night when I guy befriended me for the soul purpose of taking me to a Batik shop. I didn't buy anything but I'm not falling for it again.