Tuesday, October 14, 2008

Yogyakarta

I booked a ride to get from Pangandaran to Yogyakarta through the hotel. The hotel did not really do the booking but got me in touch with someone doing the booking. The price listed at the hotel was 150,000 but the lowest he would sell me a ticket for was 200,000 and this was for a car to the train station and then via lowest class on the train where I would not be assigned a seat so may have had to stand for 8 hours. I decided to pay 300,000 and take what he called direct which was a car all the way to Yogyakarta. I paid 200,000 and agreed to pay the other 100,000 the following day when I was picked up.

When they picked me up they wanted me to pay 200,000 instead of 100,000 because they said someone cancelled and I was the only one going. I said no and was surprised they took me at the price we had agreed on. I had a driver and a van all to myself. This was what I would call luxury travel. Even with the luxury travel it was still over 8 hours so was happy to arrive in Yogyakarta and waiting for me at my hotel was my ATM card. The first thing I did was go and get some cash and make sure it worked and I was a really happy camper my first night in Yogya. Yogya is what most people say rather than using the full name Yogyakarta.

Yogya was like a lot of tourist cities where I spent a lot of time talking to people telling me where I should go. I started with going to the Kraton, which is the name that is used for the royal palace or the home of the Sultan. I was not that impressed with the Kraton or the tour guide that was included. The guide sort of pushed for me to go to a government run art places where they sell Batik. Batik is cloth that is dyed in a multistage process where wax is painted on the area not to be dyed one color and then the cloth dyed. The wax removed and this process repeated with more wax painted and a different color. I ended up going to the government art place after visiting the Sono-Budoyo Museum. I was told by someone that the museum was closed and they where doing some work on the building but I was able to visit the Museum. I visited the puppet-making place that was attached to the museum and found it sort of interesting even though I could tell they were not happy I did not buy anything.

Yogya seems to have way to many Becak (3 wheeled bikes) drivers. I could not seem to walk more than 50 meters without some one trying to get me in a Becak or someone telling me where to go. I used one of these Becak drivers to take me to the art place when he agreed to take me for almost nothing. I think they get a kickback but not sure how well it worked since I did not buy anything. I read later in the guidebook there is no government art shops and this is just a racket.

I made my way to the water palace after the art place and enjoyed visiting it. It was built for the Sultan to escape the heat and visit the ladies of his harem. You would think with a number of wives he would not need a harem as well but as I heard before it is good to be king. Here I am at the water palace without water.



I was given a free tour of the palace and it is a new Unesco site and will be undergoing restoration in the following years. A large area that is now used as housing for families was once part of the water place and all of the people living there will be relocated in the following years. After the water place tour I was pushed to buy some Batik. I managed to get away without buying any Batik and only giving a small tip to the guide.

I was walking down a street and a man told me that the street did not go through and wanted me to go see the puppet making shop. I told him I was not interested and we talked a little bit. He ended up telling me that the place I visited in the morning was not really the real Kraton but it is a place run by what he called the Batik Mafia. He also told me the museum puppet shop was not good but his was. I am glad I did not buy anything in Yogya with everyone telling me that place is no good but of course my place is the real thing. It was also upsetting to hear I had not seen the site I had wanted to see and that they had just been lying to me to get me to buy Batik.

I visited the fort called Vredeburg, which has displays about the Indonesian fight for freedom and some of the things the Dutch did to hold onto the country. It is strange to thank about a country fighting for its freedom for years during World War II and then not giving freedom to one of the countries they occupy. This seemed to be the case in a lot of countries in Southeast Asia.

I booked a tour to go to Borobudur for what they call the sunrise tour. I was suppose to get picked up at 5AM so was not really ready for the knock on my hotel door at 4:30 but was in the van by 4:40. I guess I was not the only one surprised since no one seemed to be ready but we still got to Borobudur prior to it opening at 6AM. 6AM was still to late to really see the sun rise since it seems to rise around 5 in Java.

I had seen pictures or Borodudur before and read that is was one of the most impressive Buddhist sites in Southeast Asia. It is an impressive site and I find some of my pictures make it look amazing. This being said I was disappointed with the site and I guess I just expected too much and after being to Angkor Wat it is hard for any site to be compared to it in any way.



The tour bus stop at a couple of other small temples and one with a Buddha setting in a chair. It is suppose to one of the only Buddha’s setting like a western.



The big advantage or such an early start was getting back to the hotel at around 10AM so was able to visit the real Kraton. I enjoyed this part of the Kraton much more than the one I had visited the other day.

Prior to leaving Yogya I wanted to also visit Prambanan. I could not find a morning tour so did this via public transport and had a bit of a problem finding the right bus but after asking a few people was put on the right one. Prambanan has a number of Hindu Temple Ruins. Here is a picture of the main temple Shiva Mahadeva.



I seemed to be more impressed with Prambanan than I had been with Borodudur but I am sure that is just because I did not have the same expectations. I visited the 4 temple ruins in the main complex and enjoyed seeing the deer on the grounds as well.



I walked out to one of the other temples not in the main complex prior to returning to Yogya. This is a picture of the Plaoson Temple.

2 comments:

  1. Caught up on my reading today. As usual enjoyed it.
    Nice you have a friend back in Amsterdam to help you out from time to time.
    From the sounds of it, don't think I would like this place much. Hope you enjoy your stay.

    Carolyn

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  2. Sorry I am so behind on the blog. I am currently back in Thailand and have been sick. I am a lot better now but going to take a little bit of time to rest.

    I will work on catching up on the blog. I am doing really good in case anyone was worried about me.

    Keith

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