At the mere mention of Indonesia, the first few places that come to mind would be Bali, Bandung, Bintan and Jakarta BUT Yogyakarta (also known as Jog-ja or Jogjakarta). As we were doing our research on this place, we had a hard time gathering information and reviews for it was not popularly blogged nor visited. It’s a place typically overlooked. A boring city it seems, but I begged to differ after having experienced it ourselves.
If you are an adventure junkie (more about our adventures in later parts of our Jogja series), you have to visit Yogyakarta! It IS a pretty charming city. I mean the people are warm, honest and lovely. Before I start rambling on the highlights and tips of the trip, I would like to share how we got our itinerary done. We actually had our itinerary planned out by an awesome Indonesian travel blogger, Firsta. You can check out her blog here. I found her blog while doing up some research and boy, was I glad I chanced upon her blog considering the lack of information online! That made our planning such a breeze.
Firsta was very patient, prompt in replying and friendly when we were exchanging emails trying to clear our doubts and concerns. We shared with Firsta our interests and agenda of this trip, thereafter she thoughtfully planned out our itinerary according to her recommendations. There wasn’t any charges involved in that process, but we eventually booked our personal drivers and tours through her at an affordable price.
Anyways, Raine & I embarked on a 5-days trip to Jogja via AirAsia. We arrived at Yogyakarta Adisucipto International Airport at noon and we were kinda lost on where to take the bus to the city and where to get our sim card as the terminal was barren-looking, only furnished with 2 fast-food restaurants and a few counters for booking taxi/tours. Apparently, we had to walk to another terminal, which was about 5 mins walk from where we landed and do the necessary. That terminal is a lot busier with many eateries, people, convenience store and telco shop.
Directions to take the bus from YAI Airport to the City:
Once you’ve exited the terminal, walk out to the streets; turn right and walk all the way down. The other terminal is on your right. Follow the signs to the bus stop. You’ll have to take the underpass to get to the other side and you’ll see a green & yellow bus stop.
Bus comes every 10 mins. Starts at 5.30am and ends at 9.30pm.
We paid about 50-80cents SGD to take bus 1A to get to the city. When the various buses arrived at the bus stop, the bus captain will announce where the bus is headed. I must add, the locals are really warm and friendly. We were waiting for the bus with our heavy backpacks and one of them kindly offered his seat. Also, when we got on the bus, there were people offering their seats too. Their gestures warmed our hearts with such good vibes even before we started our journey! Loved it!
Our hostel was located at Malioboro area so we took the public bus to almost the last stop of the route, following the virtual map on our devices to estimate our arrival. The bus captain will also announce the name of the stop.
Firsta gave us a list of her favourite hostels and hotels, we settled with Pawon Cokelat at 120SGD for 4 nights. The hostel is quaint, quiet and simple yet appealing in its own uniqueness. They served simple breakfast (i.e., fried rice, fried noodle and American breakfast), which was pretty tasty and sufficient to kick-start our day. The staff are efficient and approachable. However, the place was infested with tons of mosquitoes that we had to buy mosquito coils, and we saw rats outside the hostel, which eventually came into the hostel cos’ it is located near a construction area. And we had to bathe in cold water everyday, there wasn’t any heater nor hot water at all. Otherwise, it was quite a decent stay.
I loved that it is a stone’s throw away from Malioboro street!
Speaking of Malioboro street, feel free to haggle the price of the merchandise that caught your eye cos’ their starting price offered to you is always sky-high and ridiculous! Then again, do be gracious. On some occasions, I would be willing to pay more, but it also depends on the item I’m paying for. For example, hiring a becak to go around. It pains me to see the older generation pedaling under the merciless heat with so much resistance caused by the mass of their passengers. I asked for a chance to try pedaling and honestly, it was not very easy. So for that, we wouldn’t haggle too much. And for some items that require a lot more work in the craftsmanship, I wouldn’t mind paying a little bit more. After all, they are working hard for a living.
After offloading our belongings and settling down, we went to explore around the area, settled our meals, grabbed some snacks and many bottled water (our hostel doesn’t provide) from the supermarket at Malioboro Mall before ending our night prematurely as we need to rise at 2.30am for the Borobodur Sunrise Tour.
That’s it for Day 1! Keep your eyes peeled for Day 2!
[Post contributed by Gen. N]
I hope this post is helpful! If you have further questions or doubts on anything Yogyakarta, do leave a comment and we’ll try our best to help you! :)