Yogyakarta, the cultural capital of Indonesia.

 

 

After leaving Jakarta, we took a small flight to Yogyakarta. Staying in a very basic hostel and eating as cheaply as possible was easily attainable in this pulsing city. The main stretch of bars are full of life and live music. The Warungs provided good, cheap local delights. The people, like all Indonesians, are delightfully warm and investigative, questioning you on almost any subject. Me and Senna had a conversation with an inquisitive young man about sex before marriage and other more intrusive questions (it turned out he just wanted to take a picture of me wearing his tie in the end). With graffiti all around and Universities providing music and ‘Batik’ scholarships to students from around the world. Yogyakarta is a must on any Indonesian tour.

We met our friends again on the first night we arrived. I met Chiel, one of Senna’s friends, and we spent our first night watching a rock band in a local bar called ’Asmara’, and catching up. The beers are cheap compared to Jakarta and the vibe feels relaxed wherever you go. After the first evening, we set about in the morning exploring our new area. We stayed in an alleyway out of the way but very close to a coffee bar that sold the ‘Civet cat’ coffee. The coffee beans are eaten by civet cats and half digested. Once the cat defecates, the beans are collected and used to make coffee. This is one of the most expensive and sought-after types of coffee in the world, and we tried it. The taste seems a little less bitter than usual but apart from that, we couldn’t really taste any difference. It does take a few sips before you expel the idea of drinking animal feces.

Malioboro street gets crazy around six in the afternoon, but well worth a visit. The traffic is rather manic, so a scooter would be a wise decision. This street is filled with Warungs and batik shops. It is very busy and is best to eat there as early as possible, with crossed legs on the floor with the locals.

Our next few days were spent in the hostel, as Senna was sick. We traveled around the local area and spent one night watching our friend’s band and art installation at the university. The graffiti in the center is dotted around everywhere and well worth a stroll around to check it out. The former Dutch colony has plenty to offer in way of culture and artistic vibrancy as you wander aimlessly around its crisscrossed roads. This is the only Indonesian city to be ruled by a monarchy and the history in this city is offset by the whizzing scooters and countless exhibitions. we spent an entire evening watching a man in an Orangutan outfit ‘Mosh’ to a punk band while we wandered around the Save The Orangutan art exhibition.

Most visitors come for the Borobodur temple tour and rarely stay for more on the way through. We took the sunrise tour at 3am and loved every second. You take a flashlight and navigate your way to the top of the almost pyramid shaped temple, stopping to light up the detailed structures that finish with bell shaped buildings topping this incredible site.

 

We spent a day at the beach, which is a fair few kilometers away, and a real cleanup is required in this area. Behind the beach the small overgrown dunes make for an interesting walk, giving the impression you could be anywhere in the world.

If you are considering a trip to Yogyakarta, try not to miss the Wayang shadow puppet shows, the many Batik and silversmith shops and be sure to indulge in traditional food, mostly Gudeg, a boiled Jack fruit in palm sugar and coconut milk. Lovely Jubbly.

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