Java Getaway Trip

I am taking you to a trip in Yogyakarta (Pronounced Jogjakarta), Borobudur and Prambanan Temple in Central Java, and Mount Bromo in East Java. I was really looking forward for this trip after my first one 15 years ago. And what made this trip even more special was because I got to go with a friend who came visit from the Netherlands and who I had not met for 8 years.

And the Adventures Shall Begin!
I arrived at Yogyakarta Adisutjipto International Airport in the afternoon of September 12th, 2018. While waiting for my friends, I went straight to YATS Colony Boutique Hotel where I spent the nights. It is a beautiful cozy hotel just around eight minutes drive to Malioboro Road, a must go lively place for shopping and getting street food in Yogyakarta. {The Clean and Comfortable Rooms. Breakfast Buffet Included}

After checking in, my friends and I started our evening with a nice local dinner at Pendopo Lawas accompanied with a live band. We continued the evening with sightseeing in Malioboro Road. In this bustling place, we can see many things, from traditional market, mall, modern store to andong (a local horse-drawn vehicle), becak (rickshaw), and street musicians. There are also a government building and a city square around. This place has always been very crowded and I can see a big improvement compared to well, 15 years ago.

{Dinner (bottom left), A Live Band (right), and Arts & Musicians in Malioboro (top & middle left)}

Borobudur Temple
On this second day, we left our hotels at 3:00 AM (Yes, super early! Anything for the sunrise is worth it!) I did not sleep the whole night and to make it sounds dramatic, it was one of the longest day in my life. We arrived at Punthuk Setumbu, one of the best spots for sunrise view, at around 4:35 AM, just the right time to catch the sunrise.

{Sunrise Overlooking Borobudur Temple}

{First Spot for the Group Picture!}

We then headed to Borobudur Temple, the place that I had been waiting to go back! We arrived at almost 7:00 AM. Borobudur Temple is the world’s largest Buddhist Temple, located in Magelang Regency, Central Java and is listed as one of the UNESCO World Heritage Sites. This Javanese Buddhist architectural design’s Temple was built during the reign of Sailendra Dynasty in the 9th century and was lost for centuries until it was found. The Temple is made up of five large square terraces, with three circular platforms on top of them, and a magnificent stupa at the very top and you can see the the intricately detailed carvings on the walls.

{The Stunning View from the Temple}

This holy place is truly magical. As I climbed the steps of the temple, through each levels of the world of desire (Kamadhatu), the world of forms (Rupadhatu), and the world of formlessnes (Aruphadatu), I was deeply mesmerized by the overlooking jungle landscape revealing itself in every direction. I can feel the peace and serenity in this place and I lost myself in the moment. I wished I could stay longer than couple hours but we had to leave on time for our next destination.

I would recommend you to go to the Temple in the morning as the site can get packed during the day.

Warung Kopi Merapi
We arrived at around 11:00 AM. For coffee lovers!, if you want to experience a taste of mountainside coffee harvested from the fertile volcanic soil, you can head up to Warung Kopi Merapi in Sleman Regency and have either Arabica or Robusta coffee to boost your energy level (Oyea, you need it since you will probably be awake way long before the sunrise).

{Indomie Noodles for Our Late Breakfast}

Jeep Tour
After we filled our belly with the local’s favorites of indomie and deep fried bananas and tofus, we were ready for a Jeep tour adventure. Jeep tour is one of the most common way to explore Mount Merapi.

And off we went through the bouncing road! We hold on to anything solid in the jeep tightly so we’re not get thrown out, while also hitting whoever sit next to us (this explains why the provided helmets to protect our heads and face masks to avoid the dust). It was such a great fun!

Sisa Hartaku Museum
We made our first jeep tour stop at one of the many villages that was devastated by the big erruption in 2010. In one of the houses that had been put together as a museum called Museum Sisa Hartaku, you can see the aftermath of the natural disaster. The previously poured lava and hot ashes from the erruption has left the village with concrete ruins, animals’ sceletons, melted glasses, coins, and plastics, the remainders of Gamelan instruments, and twisted metals. It was quite an intrusive yet educational experience after which you can feel a sense of the power of the volcano.

{Burned Glasses and Metals, Cattles’ Skeleton and A Clock that Stopped at the Exact Moment of the Eruption (clockwise)}

Batu Alien / Batu Wajah (Alien / Face Stone)
We then made a quick stop at a place with a big rock that resembles a human face, aka Alien Stone. This unique boulder stone, located in Kepuharjo village, was thrown out of the Mount Merapi during the eruption.

Kaliadem Bunker
Next stop is Kaliadem Bunker from which you can see the top of Mount Merapi. This emergency underground bunker is located high on the hillside and was designed to protect the people escaping from eruption. During the year 2006 erruption, two volunteers were trapped and burned by the hot temperatures inside. This shows that the bunker built back in Colonialism era has not functioned as expected.

Candi Prambanan (Prambanan Temple)
Our day continued with a visit to Prambanan Temple. We arrived at around 2:45 PM. Prambanan, also called Roro Jonggrang Temple, is a 9th century Hindu compound located in Special Region of Yogyakarta. It is the largest Hindu temple site in Indonesia and is also listed as one of the UNESCO World Heritage Sites. The Temple is dedicated to the Trimurti, the three great Hindu divinities of Brahma the Creator, Shiva the Destroyer and Vishnu the Keeper, with their respective vahanas, the sacred swan Hamsa, the bull Nandi, and the Garuda, located accross them.

We then finished our day with dinner at the nearby restaurant before heading back to the hotels. I slept like a baby tonight. My body was drained after the longest wake up hours that I had but I was happy and content with this adventerous day.

{The View from a Restaurant Near the Temple}

Museum Benteng Vredeburg
We got another one and a half day to explore Yogyakarta. On this third day in Yogyakarta, we went to Museum Benteng Vredeburg (Fort Vredeburg Museum), a former colonial fortress built in 1760. In this rectangle shaped building with guard posts on each corner, you can learn about colonialism history. This Museum is equipped with many antiquities from the Netherland era, dioramas, artifacts, historical objects, pictures, and paintings of Indonesian heroes on their fight for independence.

The Museum is usually closed on Mondays and national holidays. Today, the museum often functions as a place to hold art and cultural activities. It has library, exhibition hall, seminar, discussion, and study room. You can also hop on a swing in a small playground inside when you are feeling a little playful.

Lunch at Omah Dhuwur Restaurant
We then took rickshaws and headed of to lunch in Omah Dhuwur Restaurant in a nearby suburb of Kota Gede. This colonial concept restaurant has stand out old architectural features and a relaxing ambiance. We sat on the second floor overlooking beautiful tranquil gardens in a courtyard below.

Taman Sari Tourist Village
On the fourth day, Taman Sari Tourist Village was my first stop. A garden chateau built in year 1758, it has an elaborate series of swimming pools and used to be a place for the king and family to relax. Taman Sari consisted of four distinct areas: a large artifical lake located in the west, a bathing complex in the centre, a smaller lake in the east, and a complex of pavilions and pools in the south. You can also find an underground catacomb inside the Village.

I would recommend you to arrive anytime in its open hours, between 8:00 AM – 2:00 PM, on weekdays, as the village can get very crowded on weekends.

Jalan Prawirotaman
From Taman Sari, I took a Grab Car (an online ridesharing app, like Uber) to Jalan Prawirotaman, a tourists center in Yogyakarta, and went straight to Tempo Del Gelato for the cool and mouth watering treat. The shop was pretty crowded and the gelato was so good!!! Absolutely need it for the day’s hot temperature.

Just in time after I finished this delicious gelato, my friends texted me and so we met at ViaVia Restaurant (one minute walk from the gelato shop) for lunch. The restaurant has a cute atmosphere with an attached shop that sells some nice hipster souvernirs and a bakery/cake shop in the corner. We sat on the beautiful terrace on the second floor.

{Detox Juice, Tempeh Salad, plus Another Sweet Treat of Apple Raisin Almond Cake for the Road (clockwise)}

We then went straight to Yogyakarta Train Station to catch the 16:40 PM Sancaka 86 train to Surabaya Gubeng. It took around five hours to reach Surabaya from here.

And Mount Bromo, Here We Come!
We stayed at Santika Pandegiling Hotel in Surabaya and on the next day, a driver from the tour (Keliling Nusantara) picked us up at 8:30 AM and off we left to Madakaripura waterfall. This highest waterfall in Java island is hidden in the slope of Mount Bromo.

We stopped by at a nearby parking lot where you can find locals who sell plastics/waterproof bags for phones (which I found pretty useful), sandals, and raincoats. From here, we took a ten minutes Ojek (motorcycle) ride to the entrance gate and then continued walking for around twenty minutes. We passed through streams of rivers, water cascades, and slippery rocks and boulders until we arrived at the center of the waterfall.

This waterfall is definitely breathtaking! I was so captivated as the water continued on splashing on my skin. It was such a big waterfall and the water flows throughout the year regardless of the seasons. And of course, I took some pictures of this majestic haven. You definitely will get all soaked up, but for sure it cannot beat the view and the feeling of being there. Indeed you will leave feeling refreshed and spectacular.

After having Indonesian style of afternoon coffee/tea time with fried bananas and fried tofus at the warungs (a local family-owned restaurant/cafe) at the entrance, we then hopped on a jeep and went to our next stop, Mount Bromo.

It took around 45 minutes until we arrived at Mount Bromo, an active 2,329 meters (7,641 ft) volcano that belongs to Bromo Tengger Semeru National Park, located in four regencies of Probolinggo, Malang, Pasuruan and Lumajang. The famous vantage point to see the sunrise and sunset is on Mount Penanjakan. We decided to go to another point of view, which is right next to the crater.

And so, we got out of the jeep and hiked towards the crater site. You can also choose to go by ponies (with certain amount of fee) that can take you accross the sea of sand to the bottom of the steep stairs leading to the crater. As I was walking, hiking to the top in the middle of the stunningly beautiful landscape, I was suddenly flooded with memories from 15 years ago. Only this time, I was here for the sunset, which was equally breathtaking. Standing next to the active crater, enjoying from up close, looking down the smoky crater lake, and watching the sunset all together was indeed a thrilling experience.

{The Sunset View from the Crater Site}

It gets really dark after the sunset, so make sure you know the phone number of the driver in case you cannot locate the jeep parked somewhere in the dark. I got separated from my friends and long story short, fortunately I found them with other three tourists from Germany whom our nice driver gave them a ride back to their hotel. Our evening continued with a nice supper at Ayam Bakar Primarasa.

That’s all for my incredible Java gateaway trip with my friends. And off I flied back to Jakarta on the next day.

Thank you for reading and I hope it can help you in planning your visit! 🙏😊

8 Comments Add yours

  1. Valentine says:

    Inspiring and entertaining! Brings some nostalgic and makes me want to travel around Java again! Each places are explained in interesting way. Either you have never been to Java island or haven’t been there again in a long time (like me 😉 !), your blog provides clear information on which nice places to go in Java.


  2. I should have been in those photos!!!!!!


  3. Daiwei says:

    Nicely written. Reading it brought back some nice memories. But i seem to remember some minor details differently. 😂


    1. silvenlee says:

      Lol..And what would that be?


      1. Daiwei says:

        We were going to simple place to eat when we bumped into the rickshaws. They convinced to take the rickshaw to a other part of town with better restaurants. After getting high on the traffic fumes we arrived at a closed restaurant. By then we were pretty much famished. And the rickshaw drivers suggested they take us to another great place but after short deliberations we to walk and somehow stumbled into Omah Duwur.


      2. silvenlee says:

        Ah right, I forgot that part 🙈
        But we walked to Omah Duwur? Thought that the rickshaw drivers took us from the closed restaurant to there..


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