Wednesday, 20 April 2011

Yogyakarta trip – Prologue

As mentioned in my Bangkok trip - Prologue, I am interested in visiting the four greatest historical sites in Southeast Asia. The 2nd historical site which I'll be visiting is Borobudur during the Good Friday weekend.

I booked the airtix way back in July last year. There was no promotion advertised at that time. It just happen that I was clicking to check if there are cheap airfare. As I have been monitoring the airtix, the fare is quite low unless I can get the airtix during AirAsia zero airfare promotion. A return ticket cost S$129 which excludes Indonesia airport tax. The airport tax is IDR100,000 ~ S$15 and is payable at Indonesia's airport. Alas, few days after I booked the tickets, AirAsia came up with a promotion and it's even cheaper but luckily it's only cheaper by $6 otherwise I'll be &#^%&#^.

Initially there are only 5 of us going which includes my family and YQ, subsequently Luxiang, Chew Hiang and Fredrick join in. It just happen that when we went to Kota Kinabalu last year, I asked Luxiang whether he is interested or not since he can share a room with YQ. Then Chew Hiang saw the accomodation that we will be staying and she was attracted to it. Haha... she didnt even know where we are going in the first place.  Their return airtix were booked during the promotion and cost S$123 each. Actually Luxiang's ticket was even cheaper as I booked his airtix few days earlier but the transaction didnt went through. I didnt know why but I guessed my credit card detail was not keyed correctly, otherwise his airtix will be $50 cheaper than mine.

As our flight is a mid noon flight, we choose to have our meals on board. Prebooked AirAsia meals are 20% cheaper than purchasing on the flight itself and it also save the worries of sold out food during the flight. All of us had prebooked lunch on the flight so that we can start our sight-seeing once we reach Yogyakarta.

The nearest airport to Borobudur is either Yogyakarta or Solo (Surakarta). In the past, there was no direct flight from Singapore to Yogyakarta and had to transit at Jakarta. Silkair flies to Solo directly. Now AirAsia fly directly from Singapore to Yogyakarta daily. However the flight timing is not good. The flight departs from Singapore at 11.10am and reach Yogyakarta at 12.20pm (GMT+7). The return flight departs from Yogyakarta at 7.35am (GMT+7) and reach Singapore at 10.45am. This means we only have 2.5 days in Yogyakarta.
Map of Java (From Lonely Planet)

Yogyakarta is the 2nd most important tourist destination in Indonesia after Bali as it is the gateway to Borobudur and Prambanan. Yogyakarta is also pronounced or written as Jogjakarta or Jogja. Both Borobudur and Prambanan are UNESCO World Heritage sites.

Borobudur is Indonesia's single most visited tourist attraction and the largest Buddhist temple in the world. It was built in the 9th century and was forgotten as it lay hidden for centuries under layers of volcanic ash and jungle growth. The facts behind its abandonment remain a mystery and was rediscovered by Sir Stamford Raffles in 1814. Contrast to Borobudur, Prambanan is a Hindu temple. It was also built in the 9th century and is similar to Angkor Wat with the tall towering temples.

Initially I  wanted to book a night stay at Manohara Hotel which is located inside the Borobudur park and allows visitors to visit Borobudur for sunrise, but it was fully booked. I enquired way in advance and was told to book at the beginning of this year. Yet when I emailed to make reservation in Dec 10, I was informed that the hotel is fully booked. =@

I have no choice but to search for alternatives. There are limited hotels near Borobudur and in the end, I decided to stay at Rajasa Hotel. I called and booked 4 deluxe room which cost IDR350,000 ~ S$50 a night. The receptionist reminded me to call few days before we reach to confirm the accommodation. I called two days before and to my surprise, they didnt reserve the rooms for me. The reply they gave is that we didnt confirm at least one month earlier. I was quite pissed off with this. They did offered to help us to book another hotel when we reached there. I insisted to know which hotel so I can make reservation first.

I immediately google info on Pondok Tingal Hotel before calling. The location of the hotel is 700m from Borobudur whereas Rajasa Hotel is only 200m away. My concern now is that how far we need to walk to Borobudur when it opens at 6am. I read from those who have stayed there before that the hotel provide transportation to Borobudur at a charge. After doing some research, I called and make reservation. The Banyumasan room which I intend to book was fully booked, hence we are left with either standard room or family room. In the end, I booked 4 aircon family rooms which cost IDR250,000 ~ S$36 as there is no hot shower in the standard room. The accommodation does not include breakfast. I also checked that they provide a car for 4 pax to Borobudur at a cost of IDR10,000 ~ S$1.50.

I decided to skip the sunrise tour as it is very expensive at IDR320,000 ~ S$49 per pax and the top level of Borobudur is out of bound due to clearing of the volcano ash. =(

For the remaining 2 nights, we will be staying at Rumah Mertua. Rumah is actually a term for guesthouse and Rumah Mertua means “the house of parent in law” in Indonesian. It is ranked 2nd in Tripadvisor's Yogyakarta hotel and has numerous good reviews and is highly recommended. It is located about 15mins drive away from the bustling Yogyakarta city. We booked 4 standard rooms which cost IDR295,000 ~ S$42 a night. As there are only 11 rooms in Rumah Mertua, reservation has to be make early to avoid disappointment.

There is another guesthouse Rumah Palagan which is nearby and also has favourable reviews in tripadvisor. I did intend to book Rumah Palagan as it includes one way complimentary airport transfer and a mini-fridge in every room whereas mini-fridge is not available in Rumah Mertua's standard room. In the end, I choose Rumah Mertua as there are only 2 standard rooms in Rumah Palagan.

I decided to rent a van as there are 8 of us travelling together. I emailed a couple of drivers and asked for quotation. In the end, I decided to book with Herman as he is prompt in replying my queries and his rate is reasonable. Email:, Website: The rates are indicated beside the itinerary for each respective day.

Initially, my itinerary did not include Dieng Plateau. After rearranging the itinerary, I decided to include Dieng Plateau. The name "Dieng" comes from Di Hyang which means "Abode of the Gods". The average altitude is about 2,000m above sea level. Dieng cool temperature range from 15 – 20°C in the daytime and 10°C at night, but during July - August which is the dry season, the temperature could drop to zero.

In Oct 2010, Mount Merapi which is located 24km away from Yogyakarta erupted. This has affected Yogyakarta quite badly which lead to cancellation of flights and closure of Yogyakarta Adisucipto International Airport. I'm keeping my finger crossed that there would be no volcano eruption when we are there.

Itinerary for the trip:
Day 1: Arrive in Yogyakarta at 12.20pm (GMT +7) & Prambanan (IDR250,000)
Day 2: Borobudur, Candi Mendut, Candi Pawon, Candi Ngawen & Dieng Plateau (IDR685,000)
Day 3: Kraton Yogyakarta, Sultan's Carriage Museum, Taman Sari Water Castle, Affandi Museum and Heritage buildings in Yogyakarta (IDR400,000)
Day 4: Depart from Yogyakarta at 7.35am (GMT +7) (IDR80,000)

Budget for this trip is S$350:
- S$15 for departure tax (IDR100,000 is payable at Yogyakarta airport)
- S$70 for accomodation
- S$30 for transport
- S$75 for admission fees
- S$75 for meals
- S$85 for shopping & souvenirs

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

That was fast n highly efficient of u to blog abt the trip. Good job