After spending the first 5 weeks of my asia trip mainly in Bali & some of it on a boat to Flores (more on these two great islands in my next post), Cathy (whom I’ve met in Sanur (Bali) a few weeks ago and loved hanging out with) and I decided to explore a bit of Java. Instead of doing the long train or bus ride, we found a cheap flight from Bali to Yogyakarta and started our trip to Central Java…..
Remark: Sorry for quiet a long post… I’ve inserted headlines this time to make it easier for you to skip to the sections that you are interested in 😉!
AND: As I can’t find my SD card with the first few days in Yogya, this post currently has a lot of text… As soon as I find the SD card, the photos will follow, I promise!
Arriving in Yogyakarta and my first couchsurfing experience
Yes, I’m still alive… I’ve been quiet busy during the last few weeks with traveling, meeting new people, taking loads of pictures and not looking at my phone as much anymore and then also my laptop broke down in the middle of all of it (Thanks to a magic IT geek in Yogyakarta is it now working again!) My last weeks have been really great and I’ve finally started to realize that I’m really out here, travelling Asia for as long as I want, can go whereever I want and stay as long as I want 🙂
And that is exactly what Cathy and I did for our trip to Java: We decided to leave Bali (it was really difficult to say goodbye to our Cafe Locca family though) and head over to Java. As we only had 10 days together (Cathy had a flight to Australia for June 18th and I just got back from my boat trip to Flores on June 7th), we decided to fly instead of a long bus or train ride. And being lucky, we even found a flight which was nearly as cheap as taking the bus.
Multiple people in Bali had recommended a new hostel in Yogyakarta to us and we decided that we would like to also check it out, but as so many people had said that couchsurfing was a huge thing in student city Yogyakarta, we wanted to surf a couch for the first two nights and then move to the hostel afterwards. I had hosted a few couchsurfers back home in Hamburg, but haven’t had the chance yet to be a couch surfer myself, so this was my chance now. I posted a public trip on couchsurfing saying that we would be in Yogya for a few days and asked for a few recommendations about the area (& food places) and immediately got a lot of emails back including about six offers to host us. After going through all the emails, I decided to stay with a couple called Vidi & Mashita, who sounded really nice in their email. I had no idea, how their place looked like, but Cathy and I were willing to take the risk and go for this little adventure. Vidi even came to pick us up and we immediately liked him. We took the taxi to his apartment (as it would have been a bit of a struggle to fit all three of us including our huge backpacks on his scooter 😉 ) and arrived in a nice neighbourhood. The first little shock came when we arrived and went inside his apartment…. Which was not really an apartment, but actually only one single room (about 15 qm big) with a very small bathroom (including a squad toilet and a bucket for showering). Vidi had mentioned to me in his email that his place was cramped, but I didn’t quiet expect it to be soo tiny… He had one mattress on the floor and one single mattress as the guest bed leaning against the wall. Cathy and I didn’t quiet now what to say…. But it turned out: Nice company can make up for pretty much everything! Vidi and Mashita were such lovely hosts (& even let us sleep on the big mattress and squeezed themselves on the small one), we enjoyed every moment with them and even slept quiet well during our two nights at their place. As Cathy phrased it: “It is a little bit like one of these slumber parties when we were 13 years old and crammed all people in one room for a sleep over”.
Photos of our first days in Yogya and our time with Vidi & Mashita will follow soon as soon as I have found my SD card with the photos on it…
Our time at Laura’s Backpackers in Yogyakarta
After our first two nights of couchsurfing experience, we moved to Laura’s backpackers (as we realized we do need a bit more space then a few square meters and also our own bed). And we got lucky again: We had booked two beds in a 6 bed dorm, but when we arrived we were brought into a private room with only two beds in it. It turned out that this was the only room left (& we ended up staying in our little chaos room for the whole time).
If you ever come to Yogyakarta and are not couchsurfing (as this is the low low budget version of travelling to Yogya), you definitely need to come to Laura’s backpackers! The hostel is just a few months old and Laura, Ari, Hardi and the rest of the crew do everything to make this the perfect hostel for you! This place has everything you need: Comfortable beds (which get disinfected every time someone checks out to avoid any bed bugs even having a slight chance), clean rooms & showers, a huge kitchen/common area and a fantastic huge (asian) breakfast included in a price of just 95.000 IDR (which is about 6,50 EUR) per night! And the best part: As soon as you arrive, you feel welcomed and at home here (which is why we ended up staying not only 2 nights, but 8 🙂 )
Cathy and I decided that we would like to do some tourist attractions in Yogyakarta, but also just enjoy some time off and relax. Cathy had studied gamelan (traditional music ensemble in Java & Bali) back home in Ireland and also for the past 6 weeks in Bali and therefore wanted to see if she could play it also in Yogya. I personally just enjoyed being able to plan just a day ahead (or just a few hours) and just enjoy the local life. And time with the locals was definitely something we got loads! We realized after a few days that we actually had spend most of our time in Yogya (& also before in Bali) with the local people and loved it!
After our first night at the hostel (with a bed for each of us and a proper shower!), we booked a tour to visit the temples Borobodur and Prambanan (both World Heritage sights).
If you are in Central Java, make sure to visit Borobodur Temple (Prambanan is also nice, but in my view doesn’t really have a chance against a sunrise at Borobudur). They have raised the entrance feed now to 400.000 IDR (appr. 27 EUR aka more than the price of 4 nights at our hostel) per person to visit only Borobudur (Prambanan is another 270.000 IDR per person), but this temple is definitely worth it, especially when you book a sunrise tour! We decided to treat ourselved to the full deluxe package (especially as Cathy had not seen many temples until now and I was also eager to see what this temple was like in the sunrise) and go for the sunrise to Borobodur and then to Prambanan afterwards, including a transport to both temples and back.
We got picked up at 3:45 am on Saturday and drove a little bit over one hour to Borobodur. As the temple officially opens by 6 am, you need to book a tour for sunrise that leads you through the Manohara hotel (yes, there is a hotel IN FRONT of the temple!) and then walk in the dark through the hotel up to the temple. It is timed just right that you are able to find a seat somewhere in the temple and then the sun already starts to rise. I’ve seen a few sunrises before, but I’ve never been inside of a temple for it before and it was definitely a magic feeling to it. After watching the sunrise (& trying to capture it on camera), most of the visitors left the temple already and we nearly had the whole temple to ourselves (to finally take some pictures with hardly no pepole in it.
After exploring Borobudur, we drove to Prambanan and wandered around the temples (Prambanan is actually not only one temple, but a whole area with 4 medium sized temples). Some of the area was under construction, but it was still really nice to walk around the area (& take loads of pictures 😉 ).
To make this trip even better, we ended up getting some lunch in the restaurant at Prambanan (we had to get it to go as our bus was already waiting for us), which was really yummy!). After all this excitment we only had one thing we wanted to do when we got back to the hostel: SLEEP! 🙂
More photos of the temples will follow as soon as I have found my SD card with the photos on it…. it is definitely somewhere in my backpack! 😉
After visiting the temples on Saturday, we planned to sleep in on Sunday and not do anything… But then got asked by some guys from the hostel if we would like to join them for a tour to a waterfall. And when a local asks you to join, you just can’t say no 😉 What we didn’t know then: We were leaving at 7 am (as it would get too hot later). But again it was worth it to get up early.
Cathy and I hopped on the back of two scooters (bike bitches! 😉 ) and drove about 90 minutes west to a waterfall called Taman Sungai Mudal (which we probably would have never found on our own). The waterfall was fantastic and besides some local boys (who left right after we arrived), there was no one else at the waterfall, therefore we enjoyed it all by ourselves. Touring back on the bikes was also great as we go to see some rice fields and were back at the hostel after lunch time, just in time for another nap 😉 (Yes, we have done a lot of afternoon naps in Yogya and LOVED it 😉 )
Part 2 of my trip to Yogyakarta will follow soon… (now I’m tired and ready for a nap 😉 )