03.03.2012 - 03.03.2012
We had a long train ride to Yogyakarta, or Jogja as the Indonesians and travellers call it and after arriving it was only a short walk from the station to the area with all the cheap guesthouses are located.
The only annoying thing, which is common throughout Asia, but they have really adopted and embraced it here in Jogja, is people scoping tourists for commission. Walking the little claustrophobic streets in the Sosrowijayan area you are passed between different Indonesian men with varying dentistry issues who have an uncle, cousin, or sisters boyfriends ex wife who owns a cheap guesthouse, so 'come come, cheap this way!' In the end we picked the cheapest one and decided we would look ourselves tomorrow without our bags and a posse of Indonesians pretending to be our best mate. We went out to check out the area, accosted again as we went by different people making small talk with the intention of ripping us off, and eventually sat down to some very nice street food.
(different modes of transport in Jogja).
The following day after walking up in possibly the worst room of our travels yet (it would breach human rights regulations for prisoners in soppy old England) we decided to seek new accommodation. I consider myself to have a good sense of direction but after getting lost several times in the mazy alleyways we found a place only a touch more expensive but ten times better and moved in after breakfast. We then decided to aquaint ourselves with different alleyways and passages which hold a certain charm!
(view from the communal balcony at our new accommodation).
Jogja has many tourist attractions within driving distance, two of which we were very interested in exploring, the two different temples Prambanan (Hindu - 9th century) and Borobudur (Buddhist - 9th century). All of the travel companies in town did day trips to both these temples, and we decided to see if we could get a deal if we bought that tour, with a tour that would take us two days later to mount Bromo and then onto Bali. We eventually, after many tour operators, touts, and leaches (those commission hunters) managed to get the cheapest deal. Which as it turns out was only a few pounds off what most people were asking.
We had to be up early to go to the temples, the first stop was Borobudur, a huge Buddhist pyramid, but not how you might think of the Gaza pyramid. It isn't classed as a pyramid, infect it's called a Stupa. Upon arrival we were all fitted with sarongs, which we thought might be a joke played on tourists, but even the Asian visitors wore them. Apparently it's just out of respect and modesty, which on reflection, Smith and my reaction wasn't. Until we grew up we initially acted like kids playing dress up, performing curtsies and being daft, not in full public view I hasten to add!!!
The temple itself was pretty spectacular, from a distance it looks quite a basic stone temple, but when up close there is some fantastically intricate carvings and statues. It looked even better in the morning sunshine, which was cool enough to wander about without passing out. Much like China though, kids on school trips and even some families stop us and asked to have photos taken with us and some groups of teenagers learning English regularly tried to stop us to ask questions to help with their courses.
The next stop was the Hindu temple of Prambanan, in the grand scheme of things, both temples actually share many similarities and are actually considered contemporaries. There are many records of marriages between Hindu and Buddhist nobles during the time. From afar it looks more spectacular than Borobudur, with it's tall spires, although I wouldn't say the carvings were as intricate as at Borobudur.
The following day we used to relax before the next travel laden instalment of the trip, to Mt. Bromo and on to Bali.