Enticing YOGYAKARTA - The Never Ending Asia

Tripoto
Photo of Enticing YOGYAKARTA - The Never Ending Asia by Unusual Escapes
Day 1

Arrive at Yogyakarta Adisucipto International Airport (JOG) and head to the home-stay. Yogyakarta or Jogja, as the locals call it is home to some of the island's oldest traditions and blessed with a rich, fertile soil from the volcanic ash. Considered to be the heartland of the Java, Yogyakarta is the cultural capital of Java, with a real mixture of cultural influences, including Hindu and Buddhist temples, dating from the 8th century, Islamic Palaces from the 18th century and Dutch colonial architecture.

After some relaxation in the home-stay, we visit the most beautiful Hindu temple of Prambanan. Built in the 10th century, this is the largest temple compound dedicated to Shiva in Indonesia. Rising above the centre of the last of these concentric squares are three temples decorated with reliefs illustrating the epic of the Ramayana, dedicated to the three great Hindu divinities (Shiva, Vishnu and Brahma).

On return to Yogyakarta, we take a trip down to Alun Alun & ride an adorably designed, illuminated vehicle, Odong-Odong (Hello Kitty, Doraemon, Pikachu… interesting, isn’t it!) A visit to Jogja is never complete without experiencing Malioboro Street. Rows of shops and outlets sell many kinds of souvenirs you can bring back home.

Photo of Yogyakarta, Yogyakarta City, Special Region of Yogyakarta, Indonesia by Unusual Escapes
Photo of Yogyakarta, Yogyakarta City, Special Region of Yogyakarta, Indonesia by Unusual Escapes
Photo of Yogyakarta, Yogyakarta City, Special Region of Yogyakarta, Indonesia by Unusual Escapes
Photo of Yogyakarta, Yogyakarta City, Special Region of Yogyakarta, Indonesia by Unusual Escapes
Day 2

We head out early in the morning to the magnificent Borobudur Temple, the largest
Buddhist monument in the World. We explore this massive Temple with a local guide and hear the incredible history behind its design and architecture. Comprised of thousands of volcanic and river stone blocks, the temple was assembled entirely by human labor and took more than 75 years to complete. These days, the UNESCO Heritage site is still visible in its full glory- with magnificent carvings and an unusual, yet surprisingly beautiful bulk
structure. Continue with a visit to nearby Pawon Temple & Mendut Temple (if time
permits).

From here we proceed to Dieng Plateau which takes about 2 hours. Dieng meaning ‘Abode of the Gods’ is part of a volcanic complex located 2000 meters above sea level. We take a 20-30 minute walk up to Sikunir Hills viewpoint from where we can see up to 8 volcanoes on a clear day. We then head to Telaga Warna via Batu Pandang Hill after the Dieng Plateau sunrise. Telaga Warna, the color changing lake contains water that can change in fluctuating colors. At times it can be green, purple, yellow or even taking the colors of the rainbow! This phenomenon occurs when the sun hits the water due to its high sulfur content.

Later we visit Sikidang Crater, which is an open sulfur crater with angry bubbling mud and bellowing steam. It’s set among a bumpy and dusty landscape that will make us feel like we arrived in another planet. Not far from the crater, we also visit the Arjuna Candi, the oldest Hindu temple complex in Java which houses eight small Hindu temples that date back to the seventh century.

Photo of Borobudur Temple, Jalan Badrawati, Kawasan Candi Borobudur, Borobudur, Magelang, Central Java, Indonesia by Unusual Escapes
Photo of Borobudur Temple, Jalan Badrawati, Kawasan Candi Borobudur, Borobudur, Magelang, Central Java, Indonesia by Unusual Escapes
Photo of Borobudur Temple, Jalan Badrawati, Kawasan Candi Borobudur, Borobudur, Magelang, Central Java, Indonesia by Unusual Escapes
Photo of Borobudur Temple, Jalan Badrawati, Kawasan Candi Borobudur, Borobudur, Magelang, Central Java, Indonesia by Unusual Escapes
Photo of Borobudur Temple, Jalan Badrawati, Kawasan Candi Borobudur, Borobudur, Magelang, Central Java, Indonesia by Unusual Escapes
Photo of Borobudur Temple, Jalan Badrawati, Kawasan Candi Borobudur, Borobudur, Magelang, Central Java, Indonesia by Unusual Escapes
Photo of Borobudur Temple, Jalan Badrawati, Kawasan Candi Borobudur, Borobudur, Magelang, Central Java, Indonesia by Unusual Escapes
Day 3

Today, we head to Mount Merapi (literally means ‘Mountain of Fire’ in Indonesian), an active stratovolcano located on the border between Central Java and Yogyakarta. It is the most active volcano in Indonesia and has erupted regularly since 1548. Nevertheless, it is still quite safe to visit. The forbidden location, which is considerably dangerous, is at the top crater of the mountain, which is out of bounds to public. You’ll feel the rush of adrenaline when we take a 4x4 off-road jeep ride to Merapi volcano. We ride through the rain forest, valley, gorge and river en-route to the slopes of Mount Merapi. We pay a visit to the villages that have fallen victim to the fury of Mt. Merapi, and paths that once used to be flowing rivers. Here, you will realize for yourself just how powerful and merciless this volcano can be, and why it has attained such a notorious reputation. Arrive at the top of the active volcano for a breath taking experience of looking at Yogyakarta city from the best vantage point.

Then, we head to Gunungkidul Regency which has numerous scenic landmarks that give you new inspirations to visualize a paradise. Gunungkidul's geographical spread is an irresistible charm. It consists of volcanic plateaus, heavy-flowing underground rivers, dark vertical and horizontal caves, and exotic lines of white-sand beaches-they're all here! We take the Gondla ride at Timang Beach which connects the mainland with a rocky outcrop about 30 meters off the coast. Next to Sinden Beach which has a suspension bridge that connects it to a smaller island known as Kalong Island (the Island of Bats). Here is where you can test your courage walking along a flimsy looking suspension bridge (but is of course actually sturdy), while enjoying the view of the waves crash against the rocks below. Do you have the guts to try?

Photo of Mount Merapi, Dusun 2, Suroteleng, Boyolali Regency, Central Java, Indonesia by Unusual Escapes
Photo of Mount Merapi, Dusun 2, Suroteleng, Boyolali Regency, Central Java, Indonesia by Unusual Escapes
Photo of Mount Merapi, Dusun 2, Suroteleng, Boyolali Regency, Central Java, Indonesia by Unusual Escapes
Day 4

A trip to Yogyakarta is incomplete without a visit to Goa Jomblang for the lifetime thrill! Enjoy the breathtaking views as you are lowered down into a vertical abyss about 30 meters to the underneath of the cave. While at the bottom, you can view a different kind of vegetation compared to that of above. You might feel like you are in the ancient jungle when you reach the bottom of the cave. Another thing to enjoy inside the cave is the amazing light, aptly known as “Heaven’s Light”, where rays of sunlight peep in through the roof and into the tunnel. Goa Jomblang is every fantasy fan’s dream come alive, every caving enthusiast’s wish realized and if you’re neither, rest assured, it will be pretty extraordinary anyway.

After the muddy caving adventure, we move to Goa Pindul for a lazy river adventure. Floating on inflatable tubes down the river in a cave filled with bats, swallows, and stalactites is quite an experience.

Day 5

Today we visit some of the iconic Instagram-worthy spots around Yogyakarta. First, we make a visit to Mojo Gumelem Hill where there are several scenic spots to capture your selfie moments. Bird’s Nest, the most attractive spot will cradle you above marvelous scenery of forest and river.

Stroll around to find the giant sunflower platform and the bamboo bridge jutting above the cliff. Next to Jurung Tembelan Kanigoro where you can step in to the ship shaped bamboo deck to enjoy your time above the clouds.

Next, we visit Kebun Buah Mangunan, dubbed as the ‘country above the clouds’. We can witness the natural panorama, the expanse of green plants and river twists from this place - its beauty is indeed extraordinary. We then visit Puncak Becici which made headlines when Obama and his family visited Yogyakarta during their holiday in Indonesia. On top of its wooden deck at Puncak Becici you can enjoy the view over Mt. Merapi, Mt. Sindoro, Menoreh hills and the Parangtritis beach facing the Indian Ocean, from afar. Situated in a conservation forest named Becici Asri, the peak is a romantic site between the pines for couples to seek the magical colors of sunset.

We complete the day with a visit to Bukit Bintang, a place from where we can see the sparkling lights of the city of Yogyakarta at night. We will also be able to see the expanse of stars that adorn the sky from here. Definitely Instagram-worthy!

Day 6

This morning, we visit Kraton, the official residence of the Sultan of Yogyakarta – a living museum for the Javanese culture. This walled compound is the heart of the old part of the city and once the palace of Yogyakarta’s sultans. From here we take a becak (the local cyclo) to reach Taman Sari, a beautiful ancient water castle. Taman Sari consists of four distinct zones. First, we visit a large artificial lake with islands and pavilions located in the west, a bathing complex in the centre, a complex of pavilions and pools in the south, then to a smaller lake in the east. We make our way to the underground mosque to explore the chambers once used by the Sultan.

We also drop by to nation’s decades of heritage at Sonobudoyo Museum before heading to the airport to depart.

Photo of Yogyakarta, Yogyakarta City, Special Region of Yogyakarta, Indonesia by Unusual Escapes
Photo of Yogyakarta, Yogyakarta City, Special Region of Yogyakarta, Indonesia by Unusual Escapes
Photo of Yogyakarta, Yogyakarta City, Special Region of Yogyakarta, Indonesia by Unusual Escapes
Photo of Yogyakarta, Yogyakarta City, Special Region of Yogyakarta, Indonesia by Unusual Escapes
Photo of Yogyakarta, Yogyakarta City, Special Region of Yogyakarta, Indonesia by Unusual Escapes
Photo of Yogyakarta, Yogyakarta City, Special Region of Yogyakarta, Indonesia by Unusual Escapes
Photo of Yogyakarta, Yogyakarta City, Special Region of Yogyakarta, Indonesia by Unusual Escapes
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