Sunday, January 22, 2017

Backpacking in Yogyakarta - Part 3

Hey! Sup! I was excited when I wrote about this particular trip, it's one of our biggest bucketlist achievements - Gunung Kidul Yogyakarta facing the Indian Ocean. I'd like to give you some background first.

When I went to Jogja back in 2011, we visited Parangtritis, the place has black sandy beaches and some really good waves, able to surf but of course I wasn't surfing during that time, we went there as part of our program. Parangtritis is just south of Jogja while Gunung Kidul is a 2-hour drive to the Southeastern part. It was one spectacular road trip because it wasn't only challenging and hilarious (especially when we were pulled over by a cop), Jogja's scenery down south has so much to offer. If it weren't a rainy season or if it weren't just the two of us, possibly we would have stopped by to some favorable spots.

Nevertheless it was one of our first road trip using a motorcycle, bought gas from a local station, pulled over by a cop at a foreign country, anxiously trying to maneuver along with massive trucks and buses, looking at google maps almost all of the time, checking for signs and paying toll fees. Everything was a first to us since we usually do not have a toll fee here in Mindanao; neither using a motorcycle. Most citizens in the Philippines would prefer a car.

If you want to read the whole shenanigan,

Day 1 in Jakarta: http://moonlitplaces.blogspot.com/2016/12/backpacking-in-jakarta-my-first-time.html

Part 1 in Jogja: http://moonlitplaces.blogspot.com/2016/12/backpacking-yogyakarta-part-1.html

Part 2 in Jogja: http://moonlitplaces.blogspot.com/2017/01/backpacking-in-yogyakarta-part-2.html

Or you can skip them and proceed...

DAY 7


TIPBasically you have to rent a motorcycle or scooter and ask for an available one beforehand, meaning you have to reserve the bikes before using them. Usually gas is almost empty therefore you have to ask where the nearest gas station is.

Abrakadabra art bnb has a motor rental for 70k idr per day (260 php). That's the most affordable one you can get and easier as Andi the receptionist prepares it. Gas comes cheap as well, gases are pertalite or pertamax either will do or, you can buy a bottle of gas at a BENSIN vendor. 'Bensin' means gas.

Be sure when you're traveling long distances it's better to go in the morning, either rainy season or not. They say the roads can go absolutely dark hence they lack street lights in the rural areas.

Right to Left lane - as a Filipino this is pretty common right? I hope you get what I'm pointing out because in Indonesia it's the opposite - Left to Right lane. Always go left coz the other way around is right. Traffic in Indonesia is downright frightening and road accidents are not part of our bucketlist. As much as possible drive carefully, follow the locals' signals and just relax, don't race along with them.

Another reminder for you is you don't really need an International Driver's License. I don't know in other cities though but Yogyakarta was pretty chill about it. When Sheff drove off through the opposite lane, we were abruptly asked by a cop to pull over. I was so scared because neither of us would want to interfere with Indonesia's rules. He spoke in Bahasa Indo and I couldn't understand nor did Sheff. Sheff and I were discussing in our language, almost in riddles both English, Bisaya with a mix of Tagalog. The cop must have been so confused and annoyed, he let us go with a smile and a thumbs up lol. I simply replied we're so sorry then drove off. You don't want that as well so you should have to be focus on the road when you see traffic enforcers or cops around.  

Ah enough already.



Geared up and ready! 


Really enjoying the highway even though it's kinda narrow but if there weren't any heavy traffic ahead, it feels awesome!


Before arriving in Wonosari, you'd see this tiny park looking absolutely refreshing.


Welcome to Wonosari. Wonosari is the center of  Gunungkidul.



Since we were a bit hungry and tired, we stopped by Indomaret near a gas station. The gas station has a toilet and, next to the convenience store has some really good tempe chips and other delicacies.



I bought an Indomaret batik-inspired lighter haha!



Wonosari map. You will see this map when you stop by Indomaret.



Since we went to the other side which is going to Pantai Krakal and not Pantai Baron because we had limited time (we didn't want rain on our way back home). First stop was at Pantai Sepanjang, in english 'long beach' from the fact that it is the longest beach in the area.



As much as I wanted to immerse myself in Pantai Sepanjang's waters, I expected a more secluded area (so I can wear a bikini). I only took pictures and videos here.



Fishermen, blue sky and blue waters. Love this scene. After Pantai Sepanjang, we went back to our scooter and continued the path to Pantai Krakal.


More slopes and wonderful scenery to Pantai Krakal. Actually the coasts have inexpensive toll fees inclusive of parking and fishing I guess.



Pantai Krakal's main beach. There were some 'warung' or restaurants facing the shore. We didn't swim in this area, the sands were too squishy like mud; hard to walk.



There is a shelter on top of a huge rock in Krakal, it has a bird's eye view of the entire beach but when we got there it was close. The secret is to find out for yourself haha! *it's at the back of this rock*





What's in store for you at the top.



Because it was a weekday, the cove was almost deserted; we were the only ones swimming. Literally my jaw dropped when I saw this place.



Bali is not just the 'paradise' you can think of when you're traveling in Indonesia. Yogyakarta likewise, is much more than an average vacation destination. It's a real cultural experience, plus you get to enjoy cleaner and greener spots such as this.





We left our belongings here although I'm not sure bout the safeness however overall nothing was stolen from us. Nice place to chill and drink cold beer with friends.



Water was clean and clear. White wash everywhere but it depends on the size of the wave. As a matter of fact, barrels were forming as high as 6 feet or more.



I would definitely come back here and probably bring lots of money so we could eat lobster at one of the warungs haha!



Yeap just lie down on the sand and relax.



Distinctly an abundance of marine life.



So after submerging the cool waters of Krakal, packed our bags and drove 2 hours back to Yogya. We didn't plan to eat our lunch here because we were absolutely sure it will rain around 3 in the afternoon. We traveled Indonesia on the 3rd week of November.



Before arriving in Yogya, we stopped by Indomaret again and bought a few souvenirs like tempe chips. The sun was so bright I just had to replenish, tehbotol is tea with less sugar :}



So much vegetation and agriculture :}



Back in Jogja and finally got our lunch fixed. I recommend Gudeg Sagan, although a bit tricky going here, I suggest you memorize the path because one-way lanes was a crazy experience!



Gudeg Sagan offers a variety of local dishes but my goal was to let Sheff try 'gudeg' for the first time. Gudeg is a traditional Javanese cuisine and is made from young unripe jackfruit with palm sugar and coconut milk, and what's unique about 'gudeg' is 'krecek'. Be sure to try gudeg with krecek. Krecek is cattle skin with sambal (don't worry it's soft not chewy). That's the best Javanese cuisine I've had, one of my favorites!



At last back in Abrakadabra and changed our room; the graffiti this time. Still nice and clean, murals were everywhere, can't help but be inspired.



A few hours rest and went out to get dinner.



Mie goreng (stir-fried noodles) and capcay (chopseuy) for dinner. Ugh so yummy at Warung Heru. Capcay was okay but mie goreng was awesome!


After devouring our meal, we walked back to the bnb and relaxed, as usual we had tea, it was raining, and then we slept like babies, burnt ones lol.


SUMMARY:

  • Make sure you withdraw money from the atm first, you also need to get some change like 2,000-10,000 idr. There are minimal toll and parking fees along the way.
  • Reserve a motorcycle beforehand so the bnb receptionist can prepare it for you. Full tank is much better if you're planning to use it the next day.
  • Bring and use sunscreen lotion if you plan traveling and swimming throughout the day.
  • Drop by Wonosari's Indomaret near a gas station, you will certainly notice it just beside the highway. I recommend Tempe chips at Dunia Bakery & Coffee just next to Indomaret.
  • More driving and cool scenery going to Pantai Krakal, be patient and don't race with other drivers. Be sure to concentrate where you're going, there were a few holes on the paved road marked in white.
  • You can pass by all the pantai in that region, good luck and enjoy! :}
  • There are wash rooms and toilets which you'd have to pay a tiny fee to the locals, 'wc' goes for washroom.
  • Highly recommend Gudeg Sagan for their super affordable and delicious gudeg krecek
  • Mie goreng in Warung Heru was absolutely lovely, must-try!
Thank you for reading! :}

Tuesday, January 3, 2017

Backpacking in Yogyakarta - Part 2

Hey guys! At last part 2 of our trip in Jogja but before reading this, please check the Jakarta and Jogja part 1 stories, here are the links:



Alright so the second part starts when we woke up in the morning, had breakfast, prepared our belongings and gathered with Kas coz he waited at the park near Abrakadabra.

It was one sunny morning, luckily it didn't rain. 9 am was our call time to our first destination at Kraton of Yogyakarta (Palace of Jogja). Paying the entrance with your camera visible will be twice the fee but since I was only using an Iphone, the lady said it's free of charge. Don't worry about the entrance fee though, it's inexpensive.

Kraton of Yogyakarta is much nicer if you hire a tour guide with you, somehow you will learn a lot of things. However, since it's my second time, I already know a little about it's architecture and history so I tried my best explaining some information to Sheff.

After Jogja Kraton, we went to Water Castle and during that time it was Kas' turn to explain the antiquity of the place and about the Sultan as well; we enjoyed listening to him. It was a little bit crowded and a photo shoot took in place (like a girl's 16th debut), I couldn't get the chance to take a wonderful photo at the pool blaaah. Nevertheless I was still amazed by the water castle's structure and handiwork.

Moving on, we went to a puppet master's shop, maybe it was the master's son explaining the puppet's aspect in great detail. It was very thoughtful he went into specific triviality. Truly an awesome experience like I was in history class.

Later on we continued along an aisle of mural paintings and colorful walls depicting Javanese culture and traditions, came across freshly made batik and the smell of jasmine was abundant. We visited a certain batik workshop beside a kindergarten. It was my first time to see a school in the palace area. The kindergarten is for children of the parents who are working in the palace. However, the batik master mentioned that it's not just a school but also an orphanage for there were unfortunate kids. I felt the urge to help but, we were not showered with moolah inasmuch as spending a large amount of money, it wasn't part of the plan so I didn't buy anything from this shop. But then again if I were rich, I'd buy one from the master's pieces because they were absolutely gorgeous!


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



DAY 6



Mornings are so nice in Jogja.


Sheff preparing our coffee :}


Abrakadabra's breakfast frequently changes every morning :} That day we had sticky sweet rice. (parang biko)


As promised, a tour by Kas. Awesome ride to tell you the truth.


The famous Jogja Kraton wall.


The Palace gamelan plays in the morning. 'gamelan' means a traditional instrumental ensemble of Indonesia, typically including many bronze percussion instruments.


It's been 5 years now I got this at a tattoo shop in Jakarta. It's a memoir of my first trip and art appreciation of Indonesia. I got the inspiration from parang motif. Long time ago, parang motifs are only worn by the royal family but nowadays, anyone can wear such design. Tattoo by Jati.


Inside one of the museums in the palace.


Touristy shot hahaha!


The intricate hand made 'ukiran' or carving looks spectacular in real life.


They look just like the mom and son in Beauty & the beast, if you know what I mean :}


After looking around the palace of Jogja, we went to our next target at the water castle. This area is still located on every side of the palace. That's the oldest tree in Jogja by the way.



The water castle is a lovely place to have a pictorial but I was trying to avoid extra charges lol. The pools are already abandoned and probably dirty lol. They said that the waters are merely rain water.



Supposed to be in the past there are no houses surrounding the water castle.


This is where the Sultan waits for his prized woman chosen among 40+ more lol. Women will bathe in the pool while the Sultan is peeking through the window so he could choose the lucky girl, the rest is history lol.


Right in front of this carved edifice is a wide space where they say gladiators fight for entertainment. 


Walking in the neighborhood of people who work for the Sultan.


Traditional batik murals. Ugh so cool! <3


Authentic batik canting, drenched in dye over sun light to brighten the colors. Good to see such a reminiscing sight.


The baby looks so cute and vivid psychedelic mural looks dope af.


Going inside the underground mosque.


The innermost part of the dome is quite big!


Of course we wouldn't want to pass this chance. Kas took our photo :}


Inside another tunnel that leads to the ocean but the hole was already closed due to classified reasons. This tunnel is famous in music videos.


Kas and us went inside this kindergarten school, alongside the school is the master's batik shop.



The master's and his students' works. I wanted to buy at least that tiny one but still couldn't afford it lol.


Afterward we headed to a puppet master's shop, the ones they use in wayang. I shot a video of him and a guy explaining to me all the deets of their work.



Here are some of their works. The traditional wayang.


And they'd look like this in the theater or show.


These are the modern puppets.

After the twists and turns in Kraton of Jogja, we called it a day with Kas and dropped us at a restaurant near the area. We saw that this restaurant seemed crowded, very likely they have delicious food lol, and we were right.


Before parting ways, we took an obligatory selfie with Kas haha! Can't wait to visit Jogja again and give him souvenirs from my country.


The restaurant is Waroeng SS (spesial sambal) in Mantrijeron close to gudeg yu djum. Everything is local and affordable here!

TIP: The menu order is different in this restaurant. Don't be shy to ask the waiter/waitress for assistance, they can speak English so it's alright. 


So we had perkedel (fritters) our favorite haha!, tofu, fried duck, a mix of sambal sauces and tempe. We wanted to have a light lunch coz it was a bit late and sun was about to set.


Chocolate milk and avocado. UGH! So yummy!


And after lunch, we walked to abrakadabra bnb again! Spotted this fierce mural :}


Back at the hostel. Here I am resting my feet, it was one hell of a walk, not to mention it was raining haha!


Despite the rain, we saw a vendor selling dragon fruit at a cheaper price! 6,000 idr (22 php) for one dragon fruit, in Philippines apparently it's over priced. The dragon fruit was sweet and refreshing! Plus, host Andi gave us a taste test of their snake fruit wine. 


I was actually asking Andi if they were selling snake fruit, but he gave us a cup of the wine. Nevertheless, there were a few snake fruits left in the hostel's fridge and Andi gave them to us for free lol hurray!


Taking it easy before nightfall.


The restaurant is Hani's (the restaurant not the bakery). Clearly our dinner looked scrumptious, indeed they were! Chicken gudeg and red laksa hnggh! <3 Pricey but serving is excellent!


Welp! We definitely had our schedule full, as well as our stomachs. Time for tea and beauty rest.

SUMMARY:

  • Free breakfast in Abrakadabra bnb starts at 8 am. Wake up early so you can taste different breakfasts everyday. Start your trip early in the morning, more time more thrill.
  • Go to Kraton of Yogyakarta. Ride a taxi or get a driver from go-car thru the app to visit the palace and water castle. A much better idea is to make a deal with Kas or, you can just rent a bicycle/motorcycle in Abrakadabra. So many choices you can think of.
  • A tour guide in kraton and water castle is a must so you can get a better understanding of the place and relics rather than just meandering everywhere. Be sure not to buy anything that's 500,000 idr and up unless you are a fortunate traveler.
  • Go to Water Castle. The water castle is right around the corner. The entrance fee is inexpensive as well.
  • If the tour guide will make you walk to go to other places in the palace area, like the underground mosque, tunnel, batik and puppet shops, please do, they are places worth a visit.
  • Your next destination must be for lunch therefore I highly recommend Waroeng SS in Mantrijeron. If you like the local spicy food then this place is a must, they have different ways to serve sambal at an affordable price. Ordering food is different so ask the waitress for assistance.
  • I think I bought the dragon fruit at a mini store in Jl. DI Panjaitan on our way to Jl. Tirtodipuran. Good luck finding it! Parang sari-sari or tindahan lang. Moreover, buy snake fruit as well and try it.
  • I recommend Hani's for that cozy place and delicious food. I suggest you try the red laksa and ayam gudeg! :}
  • Go back to the hostel, drink tea and chill.

Part 3 will be the continuation, coming soon...