We stopped off in Yogyakarta, known locally as Jogja primarily to see the Bhuddist temple of Borobudur built 1,200 years ago. Our journey started in Solo where we picked up a local commuter train to go the 60 odd kilometres to Jogja. It wasn’t the first time we had been there. We had overshot our station to Solo a few days earlier and spent a couple of midnight hours in the train station waiting on a train to bring us back to our intended destination. Yogja turned out to be a lovely city with a fantastic range of restaurants and places to stay so after finding our hotel called the The Hamony Inn, which was fairly central and had a pool, we took a well deserved dip .
On our second day here we had dawdled and meandered around the town not doing very much at all when we decided it would be a good idea to actually make some effort and go and see something. I had heard a good time to go to Borobudur was in the late afternoon when the crowds of tourist had thinned out and most people were on there way home. Borobudur is the number one attraction in Indonesia for domestic and foreign tourists, like Ankor Wat in Cambodia. The Lonely Planet gave a closing time of 5.30pm so we picked up a taxi at 4 and headed off, it would take us an hour and we would probably have an hour there before they ran us out of the place. We drove the 60 kilometers there and arrived one hour later at five o’clock on the dot, perfect, got out of our taxi, we would see him later, walked on up to the gates only to see them closing, not perfect. Shit! We had come a long way to see this we discussed what to do. Lisa suggested we stay so we headed to one of the cheaper hotels, The Pondok Tinggal. I had some cash on me and no cards, I had left them in the hotel back in Jogja for the first time in day’s. It the hotel rate was anything near what it said in the ‘Planet’ we would probably be able to overnight, get breakfast and just about gain entry to the site. True to form the prices in the Jan 2010 edition of the Lonely Planet were hopelessly out of date. The room quoted at 70,000 IndRp was now being quoted at 140,000 IndRp. We have found this time and again with the guide books. I don’t know wether it is to do with the time it takes to write, edit, revise, typeset, print and distribute the book’s which I understand to be time consuming but we have come to the conclusion that you should add a minimum of 30% to the prices shown in the books to get a realistic picture of costs.
Anyway, the increase in the rate at the Pondok was going to burn a hole in my pocket and we wouldn’t be able to afford the entry tickets the next day so we had to head back to Yogyakarta. I tell you one thing though, the taxi driver was in great form on the way back. We would return.
We drove back to town in a subdued mood. We were tired and hungry and decided to cheer ourselves up by going to the Sosowijayan area to eat. This street is lined with trinket souvenier vendors during the day which turn into little restaurant warungs by night, it is where all the locals eat. We picked one to eat in an sat on cushions on the floor at little low tables and had a lovely meal that cheered us all up. Followed by a stroll and a little bit of shopping therapy, Lisa bought some batik dresse’s for herself and Elka and Axel got another shirt and a present was picked up for our nephew Leon.
The next day, a Saturday, we got up brightish and earlyish and headed back up the road to Borabudur. We arrived and made our way past the hawker’s, got tickets and picked up the little train that brings you round the site. As soon as we were comfortable in the train it started to piss rain
It is a savage piece of building and architecture. It was abandoned shortly after it was completed and ended up being covered like Pompei in the ash from the surrounding volcanoes only to be cleared during the time Java was goverened by Stamford Raffles. It contains some two million blocks of stone and must have taken a massive number of people to complete. From the air it is in the shape of a huge tantric mandala. Lisa and the kids declined to climb it in the rain so I left them to walk around it whilst I went over the top. I even managed to get some decent photographs without people in the background.
While I had been taking photographs it seemed the rest of the tourists had been busy taking photographs of the family. Axel claiming that there were hundreds of people all around them, superstar that he is.