Tuesday, December 27, 2016

Backpacking in Yogyakarta - Part 1

This is a continuation of my previous post (taken in Jakarta), and you can read it here:

But if you want to skip the Jakarta part, you are very much welcome to read my second backpacking experience in Jogja. Okay, without further adieu I will now give you a background of this trip.

We rode a train via Pasar Senen Railyway Station to Lempuyangan Yogyakarta. It's a 9-hour ride and you have time and space for movements, I mean don't just sit and pretend you are comfortable lol. It's a fairly good train, we have not encountered technical issues nor problems; the people who managed to talk with us were absolutely kind; still and all in general, they were minding their own business.

When we arrived in Yogyakarta, it was way past 6 pm as far as I could remember, and it rained pretty hard too. I found an auto becak and tried my best to communicate in English-Bahasa to get to our hotel. I made sure to say the street name, di Jalan (insert street name here) but the hotel's signage was apparently tiny, for that matter we probably have missed it a couple times. It took about 30 minutes to find that signage. The becak driver likewise was confused coz the hotel's name doesn't ring a bell.

We finally found the hotel and it was located where there were more than 10 hotel signs in one street, there were signage everywhere; confusing, and rain made it more chaotic. Looking back it was sort of hilarious.

We stayed our first night at Grand Marto Hotel, it must have been a new building because they had the most affordable deal in booking.com. I was really surprised because the hotel didn't look shabby nor cheap. It was looking rather authentic, clean and relaxing. The staff were accommodating; they spoke English clearly so we had no language barrier by all means. In the morning it felt like we were at home. We had free breakfast, unlimited coffee and tea which was really worth it. Furthermore, Grand Marto Hotel is a walking distance to restaurants, cafes, shops and slightly some kilometers away to the bed and breakfast I booked in airbnb. Convenient at it's best!

Also, here's a vlog I made during our 1st & 2nd day in Jogja:

DAY 4 (Day 1-4 1/2 was in Jakarta)

Our view from the becak. I mean seriously it was fun, a bit of a hassle though coz it rained heavily. It's a must-ride if you want to see Jogja's street life and graffiti art during the day and night.

After much delay we've arrived in Grand Marto hotel. It's clean, comfy and chic. Toilet & bath is spacious as well.

Subsequently loosened for some time in our room, then we went to eat out at the nearest restaurant. Good thing the rain had stopped. The first restaurant we went to was Aglioo Pizza & Pasta. Eventually I wanted to drink beer, eat and chill, so this is the place! As what I've said before, there were no language barriers, I feel that people in Jogja will give you a pleasant vibe than some in Jakarta, just my honest opinion, and they happen to be truly hospitable and friendly people :D

We were at the 2nd floor and the Interior is like out of a bali-inspired bar. Couches were so cozy, loved the couches! I literally crossed my legs whilst dining. 

Yep, you can tell I was spent but that didn't matter coz we were about to eat.

We had smoked salmon & spinach cheese swirls, Aglioo pizza and fresh garden salad plus one bintang beer and Sheff also ordered strawberry milkshake. 

The strawberry milkshake tastes like real strawberries but sweeter (without sugar yet) however you can pour sugar syrup likewise :)

Just walk a little bit more and you'll come across Tempo Gelato. So far, they have the best Italian ice cream among all of the gelatos I've tasted, possibly first in my gelato list and second is giardino (which is in my hometown).

They've got numerous flavors to choose from and a cone costs for about 25,000 idr (92 php) with 2 flavors already. That's gelato heaven for you!

I forgot what Sheff and I ordered but I remember the white one is coconut and honestly it tasted like real coconut! Help me I'm salivating right now D:

After devouring like forever at Tempo Gelato, we headed back to our hotel and slept. I was actually watching an Indonesian horror series then dozed off.


Rise and shine. (at Grand Marto Hotel)

Beautiful view over breakfast and coffee. 

This hotel is quite small but pleasing to the eyes. 

We stayed in room 2. Everything looks neat and organized omg! >_<

I observed typically it's make-your-own-coffee at most hotels in Indonesia. I'm not complaining though, I think it's much better than bothering the waiter to ask for coffee from time to time.

After breakfast, checked out and walked a few kilometers to Abrakadabra Art bnb. Not so near yet not so far, it's utterly a good walkathon, and besides that the street walls are full of phenomenal art!

TIP: Almost all becak drivers will ask you for a ride, you can kindly say no by telling them that you just want to walk coz it's good for your health (they'd usually smile, they're totally fine about it).

It was one sunny afternoon but not that humid.

Props to all the artists! *clap clap*

Looks dope!

And me... :)

Because we had check-out at 12 in the afternoon and walking made us hungry, might as well have lunch.

We went to this really lovely authentic restaurant. Luckily it was famous for it's gado-gado and other local dishes. The name of this restaurant is Warung Heru.

Everything was so delicious specially their gado-gado, no doubt! We were not disappointed at all! Also had beef rendang and fish in coconut sauce. Quite pricey but you get what you paid for. Jogja I miss you! :'(

In Warung Heru, a grandma slash cashier slash waitress is there to accommodate you, but actually all staff are friendly and hospitable. We went here twice, so by the second time they remembered and greeted us wholesomely. After having our lunch here, we scored a meager amount of energy and started walking again.

And... arrived in Abrakadabra Art bnb. You know art is definitely abundant in this place by just looking at the gate. It made me so excited and nervous at the same time because it was my first airbnb booking lol.

TIP: Getting here was jaunty because of the graffiti, food stalls, antique shops, batik shops, cafes and restaurants along the way in fact, google maps was helpful. In addition, the host eventually sends you an instruction or guide on how to get here. Since we booked a room via airbnb, the fee was cheaper than usual. Always book airbnb in advance, important tip! 

Oh there's my name on the board. My full name that is hahaha!

It was already drizzling. This place was absurdly unwinding haha!

Took my time to chill and rest my weary heart charot!

I tried to roll a tobacco but sadly it was hideous. This one looks more promising haha!

I was greeted by the host. He was sharing facts and myths about Yogyakarta and Sleman (yeah I remember the stories), it was one heck of an ice breaker! We immediately went inside our room after the chit chat so we could rest because I had to meet my Indonesian friend in the evening.

But before going inside our room, here are pictures of the interior in Abrakadabra. 

Good source of light during day time, minimalist check.

Almost all things were recycled, amazing!

Indonesian artists really know how to paint the wall yeah.

A quirky & elaborate map of where to eat, where to go and what to do in Jogja; out of town furthermore.

The junkyard room is one crazy ass room, really cool and I mean cool the weather was also fine. Moreover that cute swan towel to some extent meant romance? thanks guys lol.

I agree with that quote if 'other things' meant 'innovation'.

Officially my make-up area haha!

The rooms aren't fully sound proof (yet) nevertheless quiet time starts at 11 pm. This room had high ceilings therefore it was cooler than the other ones I guess. Unfortunately, I forgot to book another stay via airbnb so it was necessary to change. The junkyard room was already booked when we extended our stay.

Opened the curtain and this is the scene, Sheff's playing the guitar.

Can I just say I am obsessed with their outdoor bath & toilet! ugh! D: Rainy season started in Indonesia at that time therefore the b&t was chilly especially in the morning; raindrops falling over those plants, what a sight! :}

I love the concept! :D 

It was almost at the end of the day so we set out to go to Malioboro Mal and meet-up with my long time friend Citra (whom I lived with in a guest house when we were students in the Indonesian Arts & Culture Scholarship program for 2 months). It was an exhilarating feeling; we haven't seen each other for 5 years not until we finally got the chance, and coincidentally arrange a meeting at Malioboro which was absolutely nostalgic for us.

LDF long distance friendship exists haha! She's from Bandung. Next time we'll visit Indonesia, I'm a hundred percent sure we'll go to her hometown.

Following the non-stop rain and crowded streets of Malioboro, we went back to Abrakadabra art bnb coz we needed to change our wet clothes. Talked with Andi (who is the awesome and funny receptionist of Abrakadabra), he recommended to have dinner at Warung Bu Ageng, check!

TIP: Jalan Tirtodipuran and Jalan Prawirotaman are both lively streets (if it weren't raining), lots of establishments, and you can't choose just one favorite. Warung Bu Ageng is located in Jalan Tirtodipuran, you won't miss it!

Warung Bu Ageng at night.

Our food. Just a bunch of local dishes; they were sooo affordable I don't know what to say haha! Taste is spicy & yummy of course; home cooked, savory Javanese cuisine.

Can we just reevaluate our sudden sweet tooth cravings? ugh!

We had to end our night fulfilled. I had Passion fruit and Dragon fruit (came out extremely fruity lol). Dragon fruit gelato was nice though.

And so we walked to our hostel once more. It must have been a long stroll thus we were so full haha! We needed to burn extra calories y'know. 

Along the way we came across a becak driver; we already met him twice but we were kinda impartial with his offer. The 2nd time he gave us a good proposal for 50,000 idr to go on a tour around kraton Yogyakarta, water castle and some batik & puppet shops. His name is Cass (or maybe Kas), you'll definitely need to hook him up coz he's a good man and he worked hard discussing about history in English.

TIP: Find Kas or Cass at a very specific spot where he is usually waiting for customers.

You can easily see Kas at the entrance of Jalan Prawirotaman. That area, that's his auto actually.

Yup that's mas Kas. His auto becak is very distinct so it wouldn't be a problem finding him haha! He would need to cut his time for sending and fetching his daughter at school.

All smiles after the tour. :) The tour of course will be continued in my next blog post.

Another day, another adventure. Our call time with Cass was 9 in the morning, he waited at the park near our place. And...

  • When arriving at Lempuyangan station in Yogyakarta (or other station), try haggling a becak driver to get to your destination. If not, then just ride the taxi.
  • Book your stay in advance at airbnb.com.
  • Booking.com if you want affordable hotel deals, download the app it's more efficient. I highly recommend Grand Marto Hotel in Yogyakarta.
  • The best airbnb experience in Yogyakarta was in Abrakadabra art bnb, you can book them in airbnb.com. Extremely recommended! Top notch hospitality and communication. Fee starts below 600 php per night.
  • Aglioo pizza & pasta if you want to dine something fresh and hip, beer sounds good. Pricey but worth the try!
  • Don't forget to visit Tempo Gelato and try their exotic flavors like dragon fruit and perhaps snake fruit. During Saturdays it's jam packed! For 92 php with 2 flavors is music to my ears.
  • Warung Heru is definitely a must-visit, must-dine place. Try their gado-gado if you like vegetables oozing in spicy peanut sauce! A bit pricey but food plus the hospitality were so good!
  • Rent a motorcycle, just ask Andi the receptionist at Abrakadabra art bnb for only 258 php per day. Gas excluded of course.
  • If you need to buy slippers, soap, detergent, toothbrush, withdraw money at ATM and other necessities. There is Maga Swalayan, it's in Jalan Suryodiningratan (difficult to pronounce!), walking distance from Abrakadabra, you need google maps as guide or you can just ask the locals.
  • Warung Bu Ageng likewise, highly recommended. If you want to taste Javanese, home-cooked style food at a very affordable price then you must come to this place.
  • The whimsical map in Abrakadabra's wall is an advantage. 
  • Unlimited coffee and tea at Grand Marto Hotel and Abrakadabra Art bnb.
  • You can ask the receptionist of Abrakadabra to get you a taxi to Malioboro or preferred destination. But you can also haggle a becak to go there at a low cost.
  • Don't forget to find Kas! He will be your guide with utmost respect. He may only remember us by face lol.

To be continued...

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