Thursday, 21 April 2011

Yogyakarta trip – 21 Apr 11

We met at Changi Airport T1 at 9.30am and Luxiang was late. We joked that the last one to turn up will be the porter for this trip. =p

I did considered checking in online but was hestitant as I didnt saw the pre-book meals during the checking in steps. In the end, I decided to check in manually.

The flight is on time and I'm quite satisfied with my experience with Air Asia as I haven't encountered any delay yet.
Becoming millionaire soon

I was allocated a window seat and when I walked to my seat, there is a lady seating on my seat. I told her that the window seat is my seat and she replied "Don't be so le cheh". ><" Soon after the plane depart, immigration cards and custom declaration forms are distributed. Meals are served for those who pre-booked their meals before serving those who didnt prebooked.
Indonesia immigration card
Custom declaration form

The Roast Chicken Thigh with BBQ Sauce which I ordered is quite tasty. The chicken is marinated well and the baked potatoes is just right. The meal cost $3 and is consider cheap for a flight meal, just that the food portion is a bit small. The meal comes with a choice of either coffee, tea or mineral water but only mineral water is served now. The Asian fried rice which YQ ordered is a bit spicy though.
Roast Chicken Thigh with BBQ Sauce
Asian Fried Rice
Reaching Yogyakarta

The flight duration is about 2hr 20min and we reached Yogyakarta at 12.20pm (GMT+7). There are no aerobridges and every passenger has to walk across the tarmac to the airport terminal.
Adisucipto International Airport
Passenger stairs waiting for the plane
Passengers descending from the plane

As there are only 2 counters for foreign passports and 2 counters for local passports, the queue was long. Moreover the airport terminal is small hence the queue spilled into the tarmac area. Even though Singaporean are not required to apply a visa, it still took us almost half an hour to clear the immigration. There is only 1 baggage carousel, a bit pathetic right?
Queuing to clear the immigration custom
Citizens from these countries are required to apply a visa

Once we exit the arrival hall, there are crowd of people waiting outside. To my surprise, I saw two people carrying signboard with my name on it. One is Herman, the driver whom I engaged and the other driver is someone whom I asked for quotation. The other driver insisted that we have engaged his service and we did not inform him that we do not want his service. But I only emailed him asking for quotation, this does not implied that I engaged his service. Luckily he printed out the email and we insisted that we only asked for quotation and did not engage him. He didnt give up and proposed that we take up his service today and then Herman's service for the next 3 days. But we prefer to stick to one driver for the whole trip. We spent almost 10 - 15min arguing about this and I asked Herman where his car is to move ahead. The other driver don't give up and followed us. In the end, I don't know what Herman told him and he finally gave up. Phew....

We board Herman's Suzuki Apv which I find that it's a bit cramp for 8 of us. YQ, Chew Hiang & Fredrick sit at the back row while my sis, mum, dad and me sit at the middle row and Luxiang sit at the front.

Our first destination is Prambanan which is located about 1/2hr from the airport. Prambanan is open from 6am - 6pm. Admission for foreigner is US$13 or IDR110,000 ~ S$16. We hired a guide which cost IDR60,000 ~ S$8, it quite worth to hire a guide if you are in a large group like us. There are welcome drinks and clean toilets inside the admission ticket office.
Admission ticket office
Ticket booth
Model of Prambanan

Prambanan is a collection of Hindu temples (called "Candi") which was built in 850AD. It was discovered in 1811 by a surveryor working for Sir Thomas Stamford Raffles, the founder of Singapore. Prambanan became a UNESCO hertiage site in 1991.
Introduction of Prambanan
Candi Siva in the background
Another world heritage on my list
Prambanan was open by Soeharto, then president of Indonesia in 1991

The main Candi Loro Janggang has 224 temples in the outer compound and 16 temples in the inner compound. However most of the temples in the outer compound are in ruins. The 16 temples in the inner compound consist of:
- 3 main temples: Candi Siva (tallest and largest), Candi Brahma, Candi Vishnu
- 3 shrines in front of 3 main temples is dedicated to vehicle of the respective gods: the bull Nandi for Shiva, the sacred swan Hamsa for Brahma, and Vishnu's Eagle Garuda
- Candi Apit at the north and south between the main temples and shrines
- 4 Candi Kelir on four cardinal direction of the entrance and 4 Candi Patok on four corner
 Roro Jonggrang complex
Temples in ruins
The temples are built using interlock stones
The guide explaining the temples in Prambanan through his sketch
One relief is missing
The reliefs are intact here
Our guide
The carving tells a story
Candi Brahma
Candi under restoration
Guardian angel
Bull nandi which is dedicated to Shiva

As some of the candis are under restoration, the guide only brought us to Candi Brahma, Candi Vishnu and Nandi shrine. Surprisingly, the bats are only present in Candi Vishnu and not other candis which we visited. The pungent smell deterred us from staying long inside the Candi.
Bats at the ceiling (click image to zoom in)

Interestingly, there are quite a few erotic reliefs at Prambanan. 
Caressing the tummy of a pregnant woman
Drinking milk from elongated breasts
The right leg of the man standing is hidden in the background so guess what the right object is?
The round shape at the bottom resemble female while the long stick at the top resemble male
Unobstructed view of Prambanan
This is a mortar

It took us about an hour to finish Loro Jonggrang complex. The tour guide told us that Candi Sewu resemble the Taj Mahal and this makes me very interested in visiting. We have to pay IDR40,000 ~ S$5.80 more for the tour guide as the IDR60,000 guide fee only include Loro Jonggrang complex.

As Candi Sewu is about 20min away from Loro Jonggrang complex, we took the free complex train instead.
Train ride to Candi Sewu
Candi Lumbung under restoration

The train ride to Candi Sewu is about 10min. By the time we reached Candi Sewu, it starts to drizzle so we only took some photos without exploring the complex.

Candi Sewu is the second largest Buddhist temple in Central Java after Borobudur. The name Sewu actually means 'a thousand temples' in Javanese.
Candi Sewu
This photo reminds me of Ayutthaya
Deers which are donated from Nara, Japan

We went back to the admission gate office to pay the additional IDR40,000 tour guide fee before we exit the complex. There are a lot of stalls selling souvenirs and we have to go through all these stalls before we are able to reach the end of the exit.
Stalls selling souvenir

Luxiang was complaining that he is hungry and we asked Herman to drive us to a eatery where we wouldnt have diarrhea after eating. It play safe to drink water from mineral water and avoid ice drinks in Indonesia. We also avoid eating food roadside stall to prevent diarrhea from dampering our trip.

My sis and I shared a cheese pancake. I was a bit shocked when I saw the cheese pancake here is cheese flakes on top of a pancake. 0_0" The food that others ordered are not nice too.
Having our teabreak
Cheese pancake
Mee goreng
Chocolate pancake

I have listed quite a number of candis in Prambanan area from Wikipedia. We only went to Candi Plaosan and Candi Sambisari in addition to the temples at Lara Jongrang complex. Herman advise me to skip Ratu Boko as the admission fee is same as the Lara Jongrang complex which is not worth the price.

Candi Plaosan is a Buddhist temple and is under restoration as seen in the background.  We stopped by the roadside to take photos as Herman told us that the admission fee here is not regulated.
Candi Plosan
Such a huge spider
Padi field

Next, we went to Candi Sambisari. Candi Sambisari is a Hindu temple which was once buried under the volcanic ashes and was discovered by a farmer in 1966. The admission fee is IDR2,000 ~ S$0.30.
Candi Sambisari admission gate
 Candi Sambisari
Main temple
Lingga yoni
Luxiang is too big to squeeze inside the hole

By the time we left Candi Sambisari, it's already 5pm. Herman suggested that we went straight to Pondok Tinggal Hotel at Borobudur and enroute we can visit Candi Mendut and Candi Pawon. Hence I decided to takeaway from Ayam Goreng Nyonya Suhart (Address: Jalan Laksda Adi Sucipto 208, Yogyakarta, Opening hours: 11am - 10pm) for our dinner.

On the way to Pondok Tinggal, we were stuck in traffic jam and we reached the hotel at 7pm. Normally, it takes about an hour drive from Yogyakarta to Borobudur.

We checked in and left our luggage in the room first. It seems that the rooms were not used for quite some times as there is a smell when we entered the room. Moreover, the aircon in my room doesnt seems to work and the hotel staff was asked to repair it. Then the toilet is quite dirty and the water pressure from the shower and tap is not powerful. It's really one of the worst hotel which I have ever stayed.
Family room

YQ and I went to meet Herman who is still waiting for us at the hotel lobby to collect the Borobudur tickets. He referred us to a travel agent who sold the tickets at IDR125,000 ~ S$18, which is IDR10,000 ~ S$1.40 cheaper than what was sold at the admission ticket office. We also paid Herman for his service today.

I have enquired when making the hotel reservation that we can booked a car from the hotel to Borobudur, hence we asked the staff at the reception. But the staff at the reception couldnt confirm with us as the driver is not around. Hence we told him that we will come back an hour later.

Finally, we had our dinner at 7.30pm. We were starving and yet the chicken from Ayam Goreng Suharti is too salty to the extend that I find that it wasnt meant for human. We went to the hotel restaurant to have our dinner and waited almost 20min before our food is served. There is really room for a lot of improvement for the service at Pondok Tinggal.
 Chicken from Ayam Goreng Nyonya Suharti
Mee goreng

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