Woot woot, it’s ctrl alt time. These posts add a little spice to roseannetangrs because don’t get me wrong, I love makeup but I know, I confess – I actually love other things too and one of those things is to leave my paw on unexplored territory. I do travel pretty frequently so I decided to share my experiences with you.
I recently got back from a trip with my parents to Yogyakarta and if ever you’re wondering where to go for probably one of the most ultimate asian travel experiences, then you’ve probably parked your plane at the right destination. Yogyakarta (pronounced Jog-jakarta or Jogja) is a busy city in Central Java, Indonesia. It’s very similar to any other Indonesian city with the exception that it’s just a tad bit quieter especially in traffic, but it’s uniqueness lies in it’s rich history, ancient buildings and of course the ominous Mt. Merapi. Yes, you’ve probably recognised that volcano that popped up in news stations across the world when it spewed lava and volcanic ash up to 5 meters thick two months ago. But we’ll leave that till later.
Let’s look at the top three picks of where to go when it comes to touring this vibrant hot spot. Well, literally eh?
When you’re going to Yogyakarta, there’s probably one place that you’ll want to pay homage. Just like people go to Paris to see the Eiffel Tower, you’ll probably go to Yogyakarta to visit Borobudur. Borobudur is an ancient buddhist site built over 1000 years ago, near 800 A.D. It’s mysterious because no one knows who really built it, but one thing that’s for sure is that it’s stunning.
When you first visit Borobudur, it’s like stepping back a few thousand years ago. The beautiful reliefs tell the tale of how the Buddha became well the Buddha and other ancient stories, traditions and culture. In one monument, it tells the tale of a civilization. Stupas and Buddha statues are systematically integrated within the structure and it’s on a hill so the view from it does it’s holiness quite some justice.
isn’t that so cool, it’s a ship relief!
Most of the buddha statues on the Borobudur structure are decapitated because of thieves looting the structure throughout the centuries. This ancient darling is now a UNESCO World Heritage site so don’t mess. The geographical hardship that the structure is exposed to including earthquakes and volcanoes makes it a wonder that it’s still standing. In the Buddhist tradition, a stupa is meant to encase something very sacred. Most of the stupas at the top house different types of buddhas and at the very center, it is said that it once housed very important information but that we will never know for it has been long gone.
The second place you’ll want to pay homage is the Hindu Temples called Prambanan. Prambanan was built around the same time as Borobudur, but is slightly younger. Again, it’s like stepping back in time. I absolutely love historical places and I think a connection to the past is so cool and so important.
The earthquake of a certain year I don’t remember really shook this up. Most became rubble but has been since restored. The temples house Vishnu, Shiva and Brahman and their smaller counterparts house their transportation of choice.
It was really just sort of magical being in a place like this.
When you turn around a corner and these structures appear before your eyes, you don’t know if they’re real. It’s hard to explain!
3. Mt. Merapi
This mountain is a volcano. And an active volcano at that. In fact, it just exploded two months ago, causing 300 deaths, ash up to five meters thick and boulders the size of cars plummeting and flattening the land. It’s no laughing matter so when we came to the foothills of Mt. Merapi, I have to say that it was very much a surreal experience.
FIrst of all, Mt. Merapi is no happy mountain. It looks evil, dark and would probably give you the death stare if it actually had eyes. You do not want to mess with Mt. Merapi. The winds were blowing, there was a burning aroma in the air and I was standing on volcanic ash. All around me was pretty much destruction, trees with no leaves flattened. It’s funny how green things can get in two months though. It’s probably because volcanic soil is very fertile and people don’t want to move from that.
On the other hand though, if you look behind you..it’s probably one of the most stunning sights you’ll ever see.
With all that travelling, you’ll probably get a little hungry. Indonesian food is fantastic. It’s spicy, full of flavour and pungent. It’s a kick but aromatic, fragrant and just good. I don’t really know honestly what I was eating there, I just ate it and it tasted good ok? But, really, good stuff.They’re known for their sambal, a mix of chilli and lime amongst other aromatic ingredients and I ate Tempeh quite a lot there as well – soyabean triangle thingies.
But despite that, we still managed to sneak in some Pizza Hut. We tried the Pizza Hut Cornflakes Stuffed Crust and it was yummy. I still prefer though, honestly, the normal stuffed crust. The contrast of textures were a bit too much in my opinion. It was still good though!
But the meal that took the cake was from Gadjah Wong. Oh my lord. Just look at it. Just imagine eating the right spices, the right flavours at the perfect amounts. They just work. It’s pretty unbelievable. Gadjah means Elephant..so basically Elephant Wong. My Chinese brotha from another motha is hella good at cooking. (Ok, I won’t try that again).
Just like any other Indonesian city, it’s pretty chaotic but in a good way. It breathes culture, people and a lifestyle that’s aware of obviously a volcano but still are carefree enough to live their lives with it.
A few side notes:
The airport is super small, think 1/50th of Singapore Changi airport, there is one waiting room and it’s kind of ghetto with the plane because you have to walk to it and climb a staircase to board the plane. Which is of course cool because you can act like its your private jet – even if it’s not. Be careful on the streets, people will try to sell you things everywhere you go and it’s super funny because they assume that you want whatever they are buying already so they’ll just jump straight to the question of how much you want it for..when you don’t even want whatever they’re selling in the first place. Because you will be hoarded like bees to honey if you buy anything, buy from the stalls. It’s your choice though. Yogyakarta has a small selection of malls if ancient is not your thing but I don’t suggest it as a tourist destination without the tourist sites..if you know what I mean.
I hope you’ve enjoyed this and don’t worry it’s back to makeup in the next post.