The pet ants and I have been crossing the borders over the Johor Strait together more often than not so, it was only logical that we started thinking about going further.
I remember we were pretty much decided to go to Bangkok together when I left it to the pet ants to check for air tickets and others and had no idea how it turned out to be Yogyakarta in the end.
Hahaha well… whatever it is, no regrets that we spent the last five days of 2018 in Yogyakarta after all!
[Yogyakarta | Indonesia December 2018]
27 December 2018
Move On Cafe, Taman Sari, Malioboro Road & Alun Alun Kidul
2018 was the year I happily overbooked myself in the last two months. I was literally all over the place from Johor Bahru for a dear friend’s wedding to Iloilo for another dear friend’s birthday bash to a family trip with the family in Osaka and Kyoto and finally Yogyakarta with the pet ants!
Trust my poor memory to fail on our hand signs but, I am totally enjoying that third albeit short flight out in 30 days!
MOVE ON CAFE
After arriving at Adisucipto International Airport in Yogyakarta, we found our guide and drive, Pak Frans, (or maybe he found us instead haha…) and went on our way to check-in and freshen up before he took us to the first stop at Move On Cafe!
The cafe was filled when we arrived and, we were pleasantly surprised that it wasn’t difficult for them to fit the three of us. However, we were quickly disappointed when the food and drinks were served and turned out just ok or a little overrated in our opinion.
Anyways, no one can say no to a scoop of gelato for about a dollar, so we grabbed ourselves a scoop after we were done with the food. And, I am not too sure if the information is accurate, but it is also stated as permanently closed on Google Maps…
TAMAN SARI (WATER CASTLE)
When we were done with filling up our stomachs, we continued towards Taman Sari that was once a garden for the Sultan of Yogyakarta and comprises of several buildings.
While some of its buildings have now become homes for local residents, the bathing pools, mosque and underground tunnels remain accessible to tourists to visit for a small entry fee.
There are three different pools at Umbul Pasiraman namely Umbul Binangun, Umbul Muncar and Blumbang Kuras for the daughters of Sultan and his wives to bathe. All of them are spacious and, we cannot help it but take a few shots with a million onlookers as they want the same photo spot too! 😅
Frankly speaking, we passed both gates of Taman Sari, so many courtyards and buildings between the bathing pools and the mosque that have been converted into homes and shops. It felt like a maze and was difficult to tell how big was the original compound of the Sultan’s garden. We were extremely thankful we had Pak Frans as our guide to show us the way through!
We arrived at Sumur Gumuling, the circular underground mosque, after a short walk from the bathing pools so please trust me when I say I will not be able to repeat the route again without any help. Hahaha…
It was the year-end holidays and travel season for the locals as well and, the vicinity of Taman Sari and Sumur Gumuling were packed. At first, we were worried about getting pushed into the bathing pools then we fear of being shoved off the steps or through the mihrab at the mosque as everyone is trying to move around and get a photo 😅
The thought was scary enough for us to leave after taking a brief look. We left Sumur Gumuling through Lorong Taman Sari (the underground tunnel) but, still not going to miss any chance to take pictures.
And as you can see, we are typically awkward in front of the camera. Hahaha…
One last shot on the roof as we were walking out but don’t worry, no pet ants were harmed in the process. There is a path right behind this building that is almost the same level as the roof so, all the pet ant had to do was to take a seat. 😊
We took off towards Malioboro Road, the major shopping street in Yogyakarta, for the rest of the evening. We started from the south end where Hamzah Batik is located to explore the shopping street that is also dubbed a craft market.
The street is said to be alive 24 hours a day with small store halls and street vendors flanking both sides selling handmade crafts, batiks, accessories, sandals, sarongs, hats, bags, leather and such.
It turns out to be a store selling souvenir paintings of Yogayakarta’s famous landmarks or cultural stories more than an event gallery. And, they were really disappointed when they found out that we were really just there to take a look instead of taking something home.
According to Pak Frans, they target tourists hoping to find someone to buy their artwork as a souvenir but, we also got chided slightly for being so trusting as they can be anything else.
The people we met didn’t mean any harm but it is always good to be just a bit more cautious. 😬
The Telur Gulung is made easily with pouring beaten eggs into a wok of hot oil then quickly rolling them with a skewer as it cooks to form a roll. After you drain the skewered egg roll slightly, it is served with chilli sauce or tomato ketchup or be a bit creative and serve it with dark soy sauce or mayonnaise or black pepper sauce and so on. It was so simple but so satisfying!
I think I haven’t mentioned it earlier but, you can either hire a horse carriage to have a quick glance of the 1km long shopping street or choose to go on foot like us although we did not attempt to walk the entire stretch.
And with that, we ended our evening with a beautiful sunset in the background while we went to meet up with Pak Frans again.
Abound with myth and folklore, it is said that the two large and ancient banyan trees in the middle of the square have protective powers that guard the palace against those with impure intention. And, you can prove the purity of your heart or have your wishes granted if you manage to walk through between the trees blindfolded.
The myth became so popular in recent years that the locals start setting up stalls selling glow sticks, flashlight novelties and food carts or even pedal-powered mobile karaoke machines to take advantage of the swelling crowd throughout the day.
During the test, you are not supposed to give any directions to the person attempting and just help to look out for others for safety reasons. We did not rent blindfolds and just closed our eyes but, as easy as it may sound, only one out of the three of us managed to make it through between the trees and right into a puddle of mud! Oops!
By the way, the road around the Alun Alun Kidul square comes to live after the sun sets with Odong Odong lined with neon lights and speakers with booming music. We were just amused with watching them and did not take a ride but, you can rent one that sits up to about six people to go around the square.
WARUNG @ JALAN PARANGTRITIS x JALAN NGUPIT
With no particular plans for dinner, Pak Frans drove us to Jalan Parangtritis that is lined with warungs before he will take us back to our hotel to rest up. We had a medley of Bakmi Godog, Magelangan (stir-fried rice + noodles), satay and avocado juice that made it the best way to end our first day in Yogyakarta.
More posts from Yogyakarta | Indonesia December 2018 travelogue series: