We were optimistic about the weather and hopeful with our shoestring itinerary to Yogyakarta, the southern part of Central Java, Indonesia. Continuing the first day of our Java Journeys, we met Rudy and Toto from Sosro Tours.
We still have a few minutes before our car service shows up and so we asked Rudy where we can have our money exchange. He pointed us to Mulia Money Changer inside the perimeter of Inna Garuda Hotel. It’s along Jalan Malioboro, and they have good rates compared to the one at the airport. Oh boy, I was a millionaire in a day. Exchange rate was: US$1 = Rp 9,000.
We manage to freshen up back at our room before heading out to meet Toto, our driver for the day.
I forgot to mention that I was surprised to learn that Indonesia uses right-hand drive vehicles. Nevertheless, we were comfortable with our service car, the Suzuki APV and its quite early to tell how bad the traffic can be.
Toto don’t speak that much, maybe because his knowledge in english is pretty limited. Accordingly, we practiced the little english-indonesian phrases we brought with us. We did pretty great though because he took us to a fine Batik shop in the afternoon.
Before we hit 25 miles away out of town to Borobudur, we stop by a gasoline station, and I was amazed that there are a number of females working as Gas Station Attendants here. Quite a tough job for ladies, I’m all hats off to them.
We continued the road trip from Jakarta to Magelang. We passed by several shops that sells Stone Sculptures and Statues. They were of intricate details of Buddha and other garden materials. It would have been nice if we had photos of them, but as you can see we were really exhausted and we can’t help but steal a few naps along the way.
By the time we reached, Borobudur Temple Compounds, it was already 1 in the afternoon at a scorching heat of probably the hottest weather in Central Java.
There were lines in the cashier but then I have to ask if foreigners go on the same line too, then they pointed me out to another building.
On that account, we entered a nearby building, a special door for foreign visitors. Air-conditioned lounge with free drinks. This comes with a hefty price tag too. Entrance fee to Borobudur Temple:
For Non-Indonesians, US$15 or Rp 135,000.
For Registered Students, US$ 8 or Rp 72,000.
For Locals and Indonesian Adults, Rp 15,000 or less than US$2
Camera and Video Camera fees are already waived for Non-Indonesians.
I have been naughty a bit, and showed them my “student ID” so I can get a discounted rate. Then paid for the regular fee for Mr. HavenHunter. He could pass as a student too you know, but I forget to get his card on time.
We slid out of the other side of the room and were greeted by a vast lawn and hundreds of tourists and locals too. Some were having a picnic, some resting under the trees and the others strolling. We chanced upon the toy train, waiting for passengers, so we hopped in.
A while later, we were in the foot of Borobudur Temple. It was a magnificent Unesco World Cultural Heritage Site dating from 8th century AD. It was built in three tiers, a pyramidal base with five concentric square terraces, the trunk of a cone with three circular platforms and, at the top, a monumental stupa. Around the circular platforms are 72 openwork stupas, each containing a statue of the Buddha. The monument was restored with UNESCO’s help in the 1970s.
It’s near proximity to Mt. Merapi and Mt. Merbabu caused Borobudur Temple to be partially buried after a massive eruption in the 10th century.
The heat is unforgiving. It was too much, and it doesn’t help that thousands of people, students, visitors and locals are already crowding the place. It was hard to find a good angle without those umbrellas and heads blocking the way.
The monument is both a shrine to the Lord Buddha and a place for Buddhist pilgrimage. Intricate carvings depicting the teachings of Buddha cover every wall of Borobudur.
In Indonesia, ancient temples are known as candi; thus “Borobudur Temple” is locally known as Candi Borobudur. Located at the centre of ancient Borobudur structure is a central stupa that signifies Buddha’s enlightenment and a symbol of eternity. It’s the world’s largest Buddhist stuppa. Unlike the 72 bell-shaped smaller stupas surrounding the terrace, there’s nothing on the central stupa – empty because it represents Nirvana.
If only we have the whole afternoon to spare, it would be nice to camp in the ground, have picnic or go biking.
By the time we went down, we were already exhausted.
Going through the exit, we passed by the market alley which sells a lot of souvenir items. We should have grabbed a few goods but we were really short of time. We met Toto at the parking lot.
About 3km away from Borobudur going back to Yogyakarta, we stopped by at another temple, Candi Mendut.
Candi Mendut is built in 9th century AD. It is the oldest of the three temples, the other two is Pawon and Borobudur. These three Buddhist temples are located in one straight line, which is believed to be of religious reason.
Back on the road, we took our free time to catch up on sleep, but not until we were sure that Toto understood that he’ll take us to a good Batik Shop. He said he knows an old shop known for quality batiks.
An hour later, we arrived at Griya Batik Raisa. We found a nice batik fabrics on sale at Rp 100000 each. We bought some to take home as souvenirs for my mom and my mother-in-law.
Our next stop is Prambanan Temple & Ramayana Ballet. Find out how we beat the traffic and made it an hour before Prambanan closed for business.