The further your journey takes you,
the more dangers you will encounter.
The more you dare, the more you win.
When Cebu Pacific had a promotional seat sale in November 2009, popularly known as Piso Fare, everyone went crazy, and even at a wee hours in the morning, I was cramming to get a seat for 2 to anywhere in Asia. Well, too bad I wasn’t alone as everyone must’ve been awake too, shopping for the very same ticket I’m eyeing for.
The only seat left for us were for Jakarta, Indonesia. I don’t even know of any exciting venture there or if June is quite bad time to be there, but heck, I still have 7 months to worry and make do with our itinerary. The P544 (or slightly USD 12) return-tickets for 2 is just too good to pass up.
Fast forward to March 2010, Mr. HavenHunter and I were already discussing about our gameplan for our Indonesia backpacking in June. We decided that we can’t stay and waste a good long holiday at Jakarta alone, and while in there why not immersed ourselves with the culture and heritage of the nearby provinces too. To save time, we booked for an Air Asia flight to Yogyakarta from Jakarta, to spare us the 8 hours train journey.
Ready, Set, Fly!
Finally, we get to road test our travel itinerary, and hoped for the best that we can keep up with the strenuous schedule. A big turn from what I first envisioned as a laid back adventure .
At NAIA Terminal 3 airport we had to pay:
P 1,620 x2 – Travel Tax
P 750.00 x2- Terminal Fee
Travelling alone isn’t much of a problem, but travelling with company and if only one person (say your father) will pay the taxes and fees of everyone, it takes a really big chunk out of the travel budget. I hope so the government does make some necessary arrangements with this ballooning fees. Come on, we only paid USD 12 for airfare and I don’t think its fair to pay USD 104 for just over an hour stay at the airport with no wi-fi connection. Besides most of the neighboring countries such as Singapore, Hong Kong and the like are not charging for the use of their airports, let alone a travel tax.
Our flight is 10 minutes to 9 in the evening. We had to bare with the 30 minutes delay due to the bad weather. Manila to Jakarta is 3 hours by plane, and Jakarta’s time is behind by 1 hour.
We had a smooth flight all the way and reached Jakarta Soekarno–Hatta International Airport at half hour past 1 in the morning. We were in Terminal 2 and had to transfer at Terminal 3 for our Air Asia Domestic Flight at 7 in the morning. There is only one money changer still open by then, so we were left with no other choice but to change some dollars to Indonesian rupiahs.
Airport shuttles are not available after midnight so we have to take a blue bird taxi (words from lonely planet) if we just know where they parked, else we’ll bargain off with touts to take us to the other terminal. After haggling for the lowest price 70000 Rp ,we were dropped off at Terminal 2 where we settled to sleep under the cold night, until the gate opens for our early flight.
Naturally, we can’t sleep from the benches. MR. HH realized we lost the tripod from the baggage conveyor. that explains the 3rd ticket on our hand. He jumped in to a taxi going back to Terminal 3 but it was too late. No one is available to accommodate him and the guard said that he can return in the morning instead.
But we still have to catch a flight at 6:00 at a different terminal, So there’s no way we can get hold of the lost tripod.
After hours of waiting, the gate finally opened at 4 in the morning. Check in at the counter was a breeze, except that I forgot that when I booked online, we’re not supposed to have a check-in luggage, instead we will have to carry our backpacks on board. Good thing we don’t have sharp objects or liquids with us.
Terminal 3 is a newer part of the airport, much like the one in Hong Kong and Singapore. Travel time is 1 hour from Jakarta to Yogyakarta.
Rise and shine in Yogyakarta
Lack of sleep or I was too dazed to realize that its our only chance to take skyline pictures of Central Java. We missed an opportunity to take photos of Gunung Merapi? or some other mountains and volcanoes from a bird’s eye view. Too late.
Jogja Airport takes us back to time. It’s a quaint airport that’s almost near to civilization unlike the international airport in Jakarta. Here we can take taxi or train going to Malioboro.
Yogyakarta City,(also Jogja, Yogya, Jogjakarta) is the smallest province of Indonesia. It is located in the island of South – Central Java known for its Javanese fine art, batiks, archeological structures, rich culture and the center for Indonesian Higher Education. This is the also the jump off to see the two World Famous Unesco World Heritage Sites.
We could feel our dilemma building up way back from the time we set foot in Jakarta. We look Indonesians, right? So everyone speaks Bahasa at us.
We went to the taxi line and ask the drivers that can speak english that we wanted to go to Malioboro in Jalan Sosrowijayan.
From our research the backpackers area is somehow located at that street and where we could find reasonable and cheap accommodations. I’m quite positive that at 7 in the morning, we can easily get a budget room.
After around 30 minutes, we were dropped off at Jalan Sosrowijayan (Jalan is Street in English). We’ve seen the infamous small arcs of the narrow alley. Gang II. Okay, I assure you this is safe. Everyone’s friendly, but only a few can communicate in English.
We wander on the narrow street and to the next, taking mental notes of homestays and asking some if they have available rooms. We were warned by the taxi driver that it is holiday and that most hotels might be full. True enough, there weren’t available standard rooms. I wouldn’t want to spend on suites or above our budget though, since we are only going to stay with it for only a few hours to sleep. Finally we made our way to Gang I where I find Bedhots and Setia Kawan Losmen… It was an ideal budget place I saw on the net but too bad they were full at the moment. And then there’s Rejeki. This was a last moment find from my researches. I took the address and even filled it on our Immigration card. The signboard hanging from its door says its full but I still went in and ask the owner if he will have any room available at 12 noon. Thinking that maybe we can just leave our bags and he can fix it at our room later on. So we can start our day tour.
Fortunately, there’s room available and check in time is 7. Great. Room is beyond basic with fan and TV, but clean. Toilet isn’t as good though, but can do. I have to warn you that most home and establishments here uses traditional toilets that you have to practice a go by squatting position. We settled in and paid for one night stay, 125,000Rp. (USD 13.5).
After freshening up, we went outside to look for restaurant to have breakfast. Then there’s Superman Restaurant. We found couple of foreigners having breakfast, so they might serve good breakfast here and we don’t have to worry about spoiling our appetite this early. Indonesian Breakfast for him and American Breakfast for me.
When we were filled, we then hunt for best deals on Bromo Tour for the following day and found Sosro Tours. There we meet Ruly. Their package seemed reasonable enough among the 4 agents we asked. We learned that there are about 16 people who signed up for Bromo the next day and they are targeting 30. We have arranged our itinerary and should be dropping by at Sosro by 8:15 AM the next day.
Since we are already behind schedule we asked Ruly if he can assist us with finding a car service for our city tour- Borobudur – Prambanan and Ramayana Ballet.
Then he contacted Toto. We got a little stiff price of 400000Rp, I think its quite reasonable since the package is for 10am to 10 PM. This doesn’t include the entrances.
Next stop in Borobudur Temple near Magelang, Central Java.
I have to give a shout out and thanks to Pinaytraveljunkie for accommodating every questions I have regarding their Adventure in Jakarta.