19 January 2009

Good bye Bromo, HELLO soul city!

By Karen

Jogja has always been my favorite city in South East Asia. In 2008, I’ve had 3 repeat visits and written a travel guide on Jogja :p

Andongs at the busy streets of Malioboro

There are so many things that I love about Jogja – one of the oldest cities in Indonesia. From batik arts/craft at the bustling Malioboro Street, the yummilicious street food, the street performers, the Kraton (Sultan’s Palace), the arts and culture i.e. theater, gamelan music, batik, wayang kulit (shadow puppetry) to the friendly and helpful locals!

Symbol of the Kraton

Kraton guard and his Keris

I wanted to kiss the soil of Jogja when Pauline (the Swiss lady that I met in Bromo) and I arrived in Jogja from Cemoro Lawang in one piece.

Kraton guard

The journey from Probolingo to Jogja was a nightmare! At the travel agent’s office in Probolingo, all 9 of us travelers were told that we were gonna travel to Jogja (other’s Solo and Surabaya) by respective VIP buses. After an hour’s wait, a mini van appeared and all 9 of us who was going to 3 separate directions where shooed into the mini van.

It wasn’t until the Romanian couple got off at Surabaya’s Juanda Airport that we realized that we have all been conned in broad day light. Instead of a 7 hours drive to Jogja, the journey would then take 10 hours because we made a detour to Surabaya!

To make matters worst, the mini van broke down at Solo at about 11pm. After several unsuccessful attempts reasoning with the travel agent on the phone who refuses to send another mini van for the rescue and refuses to pay for our cab fee to Jogja. Plus the fact that we couldn’t resolve in spending a night in Solo because the hotels were fully booked for the holiday season, I approached and bargain with a cab driver to take us to Jogja for Rp.160,000.

I didn’t think Rp.160,000 for an hours drive to Jogja was a big deal. I was sleepy and grumpy and was ready to take off with or without the other petty travelers in lala land; arguing which were the cheaper options. Pauline followed and I was glad that I had her as a companion.

Becak, everywhere!

We reached Jogja at 1 something in the morning. It was raining and there were no more rooms at Bedhots. Atok (a friend who works in the guesthouse) suggested that I sleep in the living room until the morning comes because the whole of Sosrowijayan has been fully booked for the holiday season. I was tempted to but unconvinced that the whole of Jogja has been fully booked, we went off and after a frantic search we finally ended up at one guesthouse at Prawirotaman at 3 something in the morning, soaking wet :(

What an experience! But in all, the 4 days spend in Jogja thereafter, plus a new year celebration (Jogja Style!) was worth all the trouble.

Stay tune!

  • Muqaddis

    Indeed Jogja is an ‘ancient’ city with abundance of tales epecially concerning ‘old javanese tale’ which should be elaborated at length by the old folks. Anyway it is a nice place with the so-called origin of batik or beautiful ‘batik halus’. Definitely a place to be visited if one visit the island of Java as Jakarta is too ‘populated’.

  • Prihasto Harry

    Well Karen..as i know official tariff for a cab in several city in Indonesia is Rp.3000,-/km. Soc-Jog will be around 40km. I think Rp.160.000 was worth enough for travelling on two person in the middle of the night considering there’s no other alternative.
    cheers :)

  • Karen

    Hi Muqaddis! yup yup! Jogja is definitely my favorite city in Indonesia! Love the batik and the artistic atmosphere!

  • Karen

    Hi Harry, ya actually I don’t mind the fare :p Convert to ringgit, it’s about RM15+ for a one hours drive, that’s not bad at all :)

  • Bambang

    pakde prihasto…so jogjakarta is old city coz actually full history,who knows saving the cultural and language.i think so the transportation there already growth from time to time and a later also “KOTA PARIWISATA” like as “DAERAH ISTIMEWA”…c’u..the triatmojo

  • Amirah Kausar

    finally, im going jogja end of january 2010 .. at the back of my head, i have always thought dat AA would forever continue to be the cheapest airline especially d indon route .. unfortunately, dis time around MAS definitely beat AA with their equivalent so called cheap air fare .. alright, talking about jogja, i need advise from both of u guys, karen n muqaddis, on how best can i fully utilise the short days in jogja, 3D/2N ? the accommodation, in particular .. for my own comparison purposes .. and wat about food ??? local delicacies, i mean, where to get .. thanx .. cant wait, really ..