Yogyakarta and Borobudur: Two days is too short!

Yogyakarta and Borobudur: Two days is too short!

Strolling down Malioboro Street in Yogyakarta

As we landed into Yogyakarta after a whirlwind trip to Bali, we had no idea what to expect.  I had come down with a cold and was in no position to go running around on a motorcycle, or go on walkabout in the big city. Thankfully, Malioboro Street, the main street in Yogyakarta, harbouring souvenir shops, food stalls, local restaurants, and most mid-range hotels, is a mere 30-45 min drive from the airport, so we didn’t have too far to go. As we worked our way through the city,  the first thing we noticed was the slower pace of life in Yogyakarta. Bali had been so fast paced that our heads had literally been entirely spun in the wrong direction and back again, but the cars in Yogyakarta seemed to stay in their own lanes with room to breathe on either side… and thus, so we did, take a deep breathe that is, and prepare for our short visit to what was once (between 1945-1949) the capital of Indonesia.

Colonized by the Dutch,  administrative buildings dotted the sidewalk as we completed the last few kilometers to Rumah Boedi Pavilion where we had booked for $67/2 nights and pretty much got what we paid for. The rooms at our hotel were relatively clean, and we were graciously upgraded to the “suite” thanks to our status as newlyweds. The staff was kind enough to decorate our bed with flowers, but even the scent from the rose petals couldn’t mask the horrible odour that escaped from the bathroom despite our best efforts to fan it out. On a positive note, the hotel is centrally located and is in walking distance of Malioboro (10 min) and some incredible local eats! One of the coolest things about Yogyakarta is when the shops start closing and the food stalls open for business.

Strolling down Malioboro, it’s impossible not to  give in to the scent of fried chicken, spicy noodles, and blends of spices that work their way into your nostrils and beckon you take a seat on the floor and enjoy a sip of fresh juice, coffee, or tea (no alcohol – while Bali is heavily Hindu, Yogyakarta reflects the Muslim majority that makes up almost all of Indonesia). If you’re lucky, you may even catch the tunes of a minstrel working their way from stall to stall and filling the air with music that sets the tone for night on the town. And if you’re in the market for a souvenir… that’s just where you need to be, the market! In addition to great food options, Malioboro offers the best shopping in town. From small time souvenir stalls to art galleries boasting ‘limited time exhibitions’ that never really have an end-date, be sure to visit the these shops before leaving town.

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(Tourist) Bali: A Surfer’s Paradise… and that’s about it.

(Tourist) Bali: A Surfer’s Paradise… and that’s about it.

When we incorporated a brief stent to Bali into our honeymoon plans, we saw visions of turquoise waters and sandy white beaches, an oasis that would bring time to a standstill amidst the sounds and sights of exotic Indonesia. Unfortunately, that was the farthest thing from the reality that awaited us.

For those of you who are as unfamiliar with the layout of Bali, there are many beaches from which you can choose on the West coast, the East coast, and the Southern tip of the island. There are also islands nearby that supposedly trump Bali in beauty and serenity (Gili Islands, Nusa Lembongan, etc) but if you are flying into Denpasar with the intention on staying in Bali for four days, taking a 2 hour boat to an isolated destination is a major commitment. Thus, we chose to base ourselves on Seminyak, on the West coast of Bali where we could easily beach-hop our way around the island or veg for four days and indulge in the wonderment of marital bliss.

Continue reading “(Tourist) Bali: A Surfer’s Paradise… and that’s about it.”