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Sunday, November 2, 2014

Tips for visiting Yogyakarta and Surrounding

Borobudur
Borobudur is about 26 miles away from Yogyakarta so most of visitors to Borobudur would be coming through Yogyakarta. One could stay in Yogyakarta and take a day trip to Borobudur or join one of the tour offered by local tour operator. Or stay at Manohara Hotel which is within walking distance from the temple itself.

Entrance ticket for foreigners are US$20 per person. If you're travelling with another person and sharing a room, the cost of your room would be only around US$36 (we paid $76 a night). And as a guest at Manohara, you get a multiple entry pass to the temple.



Borobudur Sunrise Tour
Sunrise tour is a chance to enter the temple when it's still dark and wait for the sun to rise to have a chance to capture a different feel of the temple. The sunrise tour is offered soley by Manohara Hotel.
If you're a guest there, you receive a small discount to join the sunrise tour.

In my opinion it's not worth the price (IDR230000 about $19) unless you come equipped with a fancy camera. With a point and shoot camera you can't really capture a breathtaking picture. But as a guest at the Manohara hotel, you are able to enter the temple at 6 am when it is just open. The sun hasn't really gone up high yet, so it's still cool and way less crowded.
Street snack : kue putu - made of rice flour, palm sugar and served with shredded coconut
Street snack : klepon - made of rice flour with palm sugar and covered with shredded coconut

Wedang ronde - sweet gingery snack with palm fruit, rice ball, peanut and bread
Try local food by walking around Malioboro Street
When you get back to Yogyakarta after a trip to Borobudur stay in the Malioboro area. Malioboro is the name of the stretch of street popular with vendors selling a varieties of souvenirs and handicrafts. Night time the front of those closed shops would be used as open air restaurants called lesehan.

During our stay we walked along the street and checked a varieties of street food that are mostly sold on carts. You could get snacks, dinner and desserts but maybe not in the order you normally would. ha..ha..
Location of Mirota Batik

Souvenir shopping
Walking along Malioboro Street you may notice hundreds of stalls offering varieties of souvenirs from key chains, t-shirts, batik to handicrafts. But make sure to bargain with those vendors because you don't want to purchase a t-shirt and down the road seeing the same one with only half the price. Not everyone like to bargain though and I'm one of those.

If you don't like to bargain just come to Mirota Batik which is just down the road on Malioboro Street before you reach Beringharjo Market. This store has tons of stuff for souvenirs with very reasonable prices as well.

Mirota Batik
Jl Jend A Yani No 9 (in front of Beringharjo Market)
Yogyakarta
Telp 62 274 588524

Transportation
Growing up in Indonesia I became skeptical about public transportation. It's mostly unreliable and sometimes could be unsafe too. So if you're not planning on joining one of the tour arranged by a travel agency consider renting a car and a driver. Driving yourself is not advisable as most roads don't have very clear signs.

There are a lot of companies offering car rental services on Yogyes.com. Their prices are competitive too. We rented from Keisha Luxury Transport based on another blogger's recommendation. The car seemed pretty new, clean and in very good condition. Our driver was a quiet man but knowledgeable about places that we wanted to visit. He told us that he didn't like that guests asked him for recommendation. I guess it pleased him that we already came up with itinerary of where to eat and what to visit.

So if you're renting a car make sure to plan ahead and make a list of restaurants if you're a foodie. I actually printed the address complete with google map print out of the direction. Though we didn't need it because our driver was awesome.