I always go for short holidays, especially to experience a different environment and feel. Travelling always give me a destress and relaxing mind from the daily hectic work. My holiday to Jogjakarta was a very fruitful and rewarding trip. I was kept company by my other two friends from my previous company. Our flight was in the late afternoon and the journey took us about two hours. Jogjakarta's airport was a very small airport, and most operations were still manually done. So do not be too alarm if you are spending too much time waiting to retrieve your luggage.
We were greeted by our hotel staff at the airport who was waiting to pick us up. Sunset in Jogjakarta was very early, the sky was already darken at 6pm. The roads were cleaned surprisingly, and there were also street lamps. We were expecting to enter a not so developed place but to our amazement, it was better than expected. The journey from the airport to the hotel took us about an hour plus due to the heavy traffic. Our hotel was located in Central Java, in Magelang district, in the town of Borobudur. Upon checking in, we went to the restaurant to have our dinner. Our hotel was positioned in the village surrounded with greenery, so we do not expect much shopping to be done here. Dinner was good with lots of varieties.
We stayed in a Junior villa in Rumah Boedi Private Residences, and the room was huge! There were also two side porchs, kind of a mini garden. It was a place of serenity and tranquility. The feel of staying with nature felt was so good. The breakfast comes with a fixed menu everyday. Lucky for us was that we would be having only three breakfasts because we were there for three nights. Imagine having to eat the same breakfast everyday! They had the Indonesian Style Fried Noodle and Fried Rice. You can have other choices but it comes with a cost. So far most of the pictures were food...
Borobudur Temple was not far from our hotel, so we took a morning walk, cutting through the village and looking at the lives of the people living there.
Fruits were ample, especially papayas, and they were big! Probably because they were grown on volcanic soil. There were volcanos surrounding the area and due to this, so many plantations had sprung up, grown and to feed the locals. As we walked along the road, there were many self-owned shops, selling hand made products. Because of the low living standards, the locals planted and grew their own food, occasionally helped out at hadicraft shops for some income.
Upon arriving at Borobudur Temple entrance, there were lots of shops selling local made products, such as handicraft items, snacks, batik clothings, and souvenirs. So we assured ourselves that we would be doing some shopping after we finished visiting the Borobudur Temple. Borobudur Temple is a very spectacular monument. It is the oldest and largest Buddhist temple in the world. This step pyramid structure is made up of giant blocks of stones stacked together. The levels rising upwards represented the stages of enlightenment.
There were many bell-shaped stupas on top of the temple, with statues of buddhas seated inside. More information on the Borobudur are available here. We climbed up the series of steps to reach the top, exploring level by level. It took a great deal to reach because the steps were quite steep. Every level of the temple presented a different view. It was so magnificent. I felt so rewarding when I am at the top! I am so amazed with this wonder I am setting foot on.
This magnificent wonder left me with breath-taking photos which I am sharing now. For those temple lovers out there, you will not regret visiting Borobudur Temple. I visited a couple of smaller temples after that, and realized that they are not as good as Borobudur. One of which, the Mendut temple, caught my eye was not the temple but the tree near the temple. It is the Mendut tree, and the locals shared with us that the tree was older than the temple. It was an enormous Banyan tree.
Visiting the temples in Magelang really worn us out. There were three main temples in the area, the Borobudur Temple, the Mendut Temple, and the Pawon Temple. They were not located near to each other, therefore it is advisable to have your transport if you are covering the temples. We spend the whole day with the temples and finally back to our hotel to rest our legs. Great achievement.
We got up early the next day, preparing ourselves to set off for Dieng Plateau, which was about 2.5 hours car journey from the hotel. It was a highland with cool climate. We travelled through winding and narrow roads, uphill and downhill, and finally to our destination. Dieng, about 2,000 metres above sea-level, was known for its collection of small Hindu temples resting on volcanic landscape. Visiting Dieng literally takes you to another world. Its sulpurous spring and colorful lakes made this place a natural wonder, which was still uncovered by many people.
The cooling weather made us very comfortable. We were prepared for lower temperatures but surprisingly, it was not really that cold. A jacket is good enough to keep you warm. We visited the colorful lake, Telaga Warna, which was believed is still emiting sulphur to the surface of the water because we could see bubbling in some areas. The Dieng theatre presented to us the history of Dieng and how it was formed. It was amazing to know that Dieng was formed formerly from a huge volcano.
After that we proceeded to the volcanic crator, Sikidang Crator, which was still active until today. We need to be very careful when walking towards the crator because there were many crator holes lying around and some with bubbling sulpur water. The sulpher smell was getting stronger as we approached the crator. There were people around selling masks to cover up your nose. Sulphuric gas is a poisonous gas, and people with asthma needs to be very careful, but the gas was believed to have beauty effects on the skin, especially volcanic mud.
As we moved nearer, we can see boiling volcanic mud bubbling, and it was said that temperature was at 98 degrees celsius. So hot!! It could practically melt anyone of us. It was a very beautiful sight looking at the crator. All of us felt so rewarding, and in fact, more rewarding than visiting the Borobudur Temple. This is a must go place!
After that we headed to the Hindu temples of Dieng, one of the oldest temple in Java, the Arjuna Temple. It was a peaceful and calm sight. The stones had already shown signs of erosion due to the weather climate especially during the dry season. There were also other similar temples all align in a straight row.
The temple was our final stop and we made our journey back to the hotel after this. We were all tired, but happy and satisfied. We kept talking and discussing about it on our way back. We spent the next day relaxing in our hotel before catching our flight back to Singapore. We were enjoying the greenery within the hotel.
We were relaxing, chatting and enjoying the slow pace that was set within the hotel precinct. Everything was so stress-free, life was on a snail pace, it was truly a wonderful experience especially away from the bustling cities and busy roads.
There are many other places which I wanted to visit in Jogjakarta, such as Jalan Malioboro, the Prambanan temple and the Mount Merapi. Till then, we were on our way back home now... ...