1992 Indonesia – Yogyakarta

Although Java is in no means part of Nussa Tenggara Christoph had a strong wish to visit Yogyakarta before leaving Indonesia. With Yogyakarta being my favorite city on Java I had no problems visiting it again, showing Christoph some of the places that I really loved and having the chance to see some new things as well.

We started off our tour of Yogya with renting a becak for the day and seeing some of the highlights. Our first stop was at a theatre where a performance of Wayang Kulit was going on. It was wonderful to see it but to be honest we did not sit out the complete story as it turns out to be a bit boring for the “uneducated” western tourist after a while.

Most of the times the journey is the most memorable and not the goal of a trip. This is certainly true in Yogya as there is so much to be seen whilst going from one place to another that one pair of eyes is simply not enough. 

Our next stop was at Kota Geda, the famous silver village. We visited one of the many factories where beautiful silverware was created in an old fashioned style that has not changed for decades.

Yogya is known for it’s arts so the next place to go was a workshop where batik texture was created by women who literally create beautiful paintings layer by layer. Before another color is added all areas that should not be painted get covered by wax.

No visit to Yogya is complete without visiting the Borobodur, java’s largest Buddhist temple. I simply love this place and could spend hours just hanging around or admiring the fantastic carvings. For me this is without doubt the highlight of a visit to Indonesia.

One of the landmarks one cannot ignore whilst being in Yogya is Gunung Merapi. Yogya’s own volcano that dominates the skyline wherever you go. Stunningly beautiful but also extremely dangerous at times. Fortunately the situation during our visit was calm so we took the opportunity to climb the Merapi, something easier said than done. We left in the middle of the night to the departure point of our hike so we would be in time to reach the summit before sunrise. It was a steep and difficult climb, maybe the frustrating part was to see how locals visibly at ease carried big stacks of firewood down the slope. We, in spite of being well equipped, definitely had more problems with the ascend. We made it and the view from the top was in one word breathtaking and made us forget all the effort it took to get here.

Climbing the Merapi had been a stunning experience, but also a tyring one. The remainder of the day we did not do much anymore besides sleeping at the pool and an occasional swim. In the evening we went to see a performance of the Ramayana ballet in a theater not far from our hotel, something we could just handle.

Markets have always been our favorite places to visit whilst traveling so we could not leave Yogya without visiting one of the pasars. The one we choose was not far from Jalan Malioboro, one of the busiest shopping streets in Yogyakarta. It turned out to be a wonderful visit and our camera’s kept on clicking.

Late afternoon the heavens opened. As it was our last day in Indonesia it felt a bit like Indonesia was crying for us as we were leaving. Soaking wet we arrived back at our hotel where there was nothing to do but packing our backpacks.

Next morning we left to the airport for the long flight home. The last 5 weeks had been absolutely stunning. Having started at Bali, my 2nd home, we headed towards Nussa Tenggara for another, lesser know part of Indonesia. Although our travels at times had not been easy it was an adventure we will remember for a long time. Visiting Yogya, as Christoph proposed, had been a good choice. It was nice to show him some of the places I already had seen before but for this time climbing the Merapi was the absolute highlight.

Another visit to Indonesia had come to an end but somehow deep in my heart I knew this would not have been my last time…