The Archaeological Tour while in Yogyakarta

I would like to share our itinerary when we were in Yogyakarta, Indonesia, this summer. We stayed for four nights in Yogyakarta and the main highlight is to visit Candi Borobudur and Candi Prambanan. Here we go:

Day 1

We started the day with a visit to Candi Borobudur in Magelang, Central Java province.

Candi Borobudur
Candi Borobudur

There is a conflicting information as to when Candi Borobudur is built. According to Google and Wikipedia, it was built in the 9th century. But our guide said that it was in the 8th century. Probably some parts of the Candi was older than the other parts, for example some of the relief. Hence both information is correct.

Candi Borobudur in a countryside setting
Candi Borobudur in a countryside setting

Candi Borobudur is a Buddhist temple built by the Sailendra Dynasty (or Wangsa Sailendra). Our guide told us that there are three tiers of the Temple. First tier is Kamadatu, which is the lower tier, located in the ground area, which are dedicated to ordinary people, where people are still bound by desires. Second tier is Rupadatu, the middle area which is dedicated for teaching and lecturing as humans are free from desire but still bound by forms. It is located on higher steps and where you can find statues of Buddha teaching and lecturing. And the third tier or the highest tier is Arupadatu, which means formlessness where human are freed from desires and forms. It describes by stupas of Buddha meditating trying to reach Nirvana.

Here are some reliefs from the first tier or the lower area which represents common people. There is Karmawibangga, or we probably know as Karma.

Karmawibangga
Karmawibangga
Karma relief maybe gossiping
Karma relief maybe gossiping?
Gossiping as Karma relief
Gossiping as Karma relief – close up
Not sure why this is Karma
Karma relief – maybe this shows people gossiping or doing no good
Relief on the right doing no good
Relief on the right is people doing no good
The ground area is for ordinary people
The ground area is for ordinary people

You may see various colour of stones, but rest assure that they are all from the ancient 9th century stones.

Various colour of stones but they all old
Various colour of stones but they are all old
Is this tounge stairs
Is this tongue stairs?
Tree relief in Candi Borobudur
Tree relief in Candi Borobudur
Elephant with a bell
Elephant with a bell

Some of the reliefs are very detailed and wonderful. Remember that they are comprised of some stones which are interlocked with each other.

Candi Borobudur Relief
Very detailed relief
Very detailed relief in Candi Borobudur
Very detailed relief in Candi Borobudur

Some reliefs detailed the everyday lives of the people.

A women being carried in a cart - is this a wedding
A women being carried in a cart – is this a wedding procession?

Then we climb to see the second tier, the Rupadatu, where we can see some statues of Buddha teaching and lecturing.

The teaching Buddha
The teaching Buddha
A teaching Buddha relief in Candi Borobudur
A teaching Buddha relief in Candi Borobudur
various Buddha position in Candi Borobudur relief
Various Buddha position in Candi Borobudur relief
This maybe a teaching or learning relief
This maybe a teaching or learning relief
There is relief of the temple
There is relief of a temple
Maybe these are people bringing gifts to worship in the Temple
Maybe these are people bringing gifts to worship in the Temple?
Relief - they maybe praying
Relief – they maybe praying or meditating?
Beautiful relief with many sitting Buddha
Beautiful relief with many sitting Buddha
One of the complete relief of Budha
One of the complete reliefs of Budha
Budha stone in Borobudur
Buddha statue in Borobudur
relief in the corner
A complete corner stone carving
Guardian lion
Guardian lion at Candi Borobudur
Beautiful stairs in Candi Borobudur
Beautiful stairs in Candi Borobudur
Beautiful Borobudur in a mountainous background
Stunning Borobudur in a mountainous background

Then we arrive at the highest tier, the Arupadatu, which consists of 72 stupas. Arupadatu has three layers. The first layer has 32 stupas, the second layer has 24 stupas, and the third layer has 16 stupas. The difference is eight – I think a special number too in Chinese belief. Our guide says 8 is like a symbol of infinity.

Arupadatu
Arupadatu
Buddha inside the stupa
Buddha inside the stupa
Stupa close up
Stupa close up
32 and 24 and 16 stupas
32 and 24 and 16 stupas
Breathtaking view of Candi Borobudur
Breathtaking view of Candi Borobudur – beautiful stupas in mountainous Magelang
Arupadatu
Stupa with a view
Inside of stupa there is Buddha
Inside the stupa there is Buddha
Buddha inside the stupa in Borobudur Temple
Buddha inside the stupa in Borobudur Temple
Among the 72 stupas of Candi Borobudur
Among the 72 stupas of Candi Borobudur
Some staff inspect the Candi
Some staffs are patrolling around – which is great to ensure no one damage the Candi

Then there are the highest stupa which is the biggest and the mightiest one, sitting on the very top.

Steps in Candi Borobudur
Steps where you can see stupas and the highest stupa on top.
Stupa and the highest stupa
Stupa and the highest stupa behind
The highest stupa
The highest stupa
The highest stupa represents Buddha reaches nirwana
The highest stupa represents Perfection

From what I read, it represents Perfection, and it is basically empty, because Buddha has reached nirvana.

Buddha reaches nirwana - Stupa
The highest stupa

Well, they are quite beautiful pictures of Borobudur, aren’t they? Remember to credit my website, if you copy or using my pictures.

When entering Borobudur, there are two queues. One is for Indonesians, and the rest is for foreigners. The single entry ticket price for foreigner, as of July 2018, is IDR 350,000. Then you can hire a local guide – very recommended as he will show you the effective way to explore Borobudur and he will explain the reliefs too. Two hours tour-guide is the perfect one as Borobudur is huge and we want to understand every detail of it. The guide will also show you the quick way-out without visiting the shops. But it is not a problem if you want to shop, as the price of the souvenirs are cheap, or if you want to sit for a while, there are warung (small cafe) for you to enjoy a real coconut fruit drink.

ovely countryside of Magelang
Lovely countryside of Magelang

After about three hours in Candi Borobudur, we then visit a nearby restaurant to have lunch. Our lunch is at Bale Kambang restaurant. I really enjoy the orange juice at this restaurant. Fresh and tasty, very recommended!

Bale Kambang restaurant near Candi Borobudur
Bale Kambang restaurant near Candi Borobudur
Rumah makan bale kambang
Rumah Makan Bale Kambang

After lunch, we then visited St. Mary’s grotto called Sendang Sono. Recommended if you want to say a prayer to St Mary.

Maria Grotto in Sendangsono
Maria Grotto’s in Sendangsono

You can buy candle and light it.

Goa Maria Sendang Sono
Goa Maria Sendang Sono

After Sendangsono, we visited Ansor’s silver. The price of the silver there is too expensive. I did not buy a single thing. My Mum though bought a brooch.

Ansor silver
Ansor’s silver
Ansor silver is expensive
Ansor’s silver price is over the top

Nice view though from outside the shop. I think there is another gallery too but we did not visit it.

Gallery near Ansor silver
Gallery near Ansor silver

Disappointed by the price of silver, we then decided to check out Moesson Antiques Gallery.

Moesson Antik
Moesson Antik

We love the collection of antiques there. I think we spent about 2 hours just to browse the antiques.

Moesson Antik Gallery
Moesson Antik Gallery
Moesson Antiques Gallery
Moesson Antiques Gallery

My husband and I decided to buy a small Chinese bone water pipe. He also got two pieces of nice Indonesian vintage silver-plate items.

Antique shop in Yogyakarta
Antique shop in Yogyakarta

Please see here for the water pipe that I acquire from Moesson Antik.

Moesson Antik Prawirotaman
Moesson Antik at Jl. Prawirotaman
Antique Wayang Kulit and Loro Blonyo
Antique Wayang Kulit and Loro Blonyo
Real Tusk Antique
Real tusk antique
Antique Ship Bell
Perhaps an old bell from a ship?

At dinner time, we tried Jogja speciality food called Gudeg.

Gudeg
Gudeg

We tried our gudeg at Gudeg Wijilan Bu Hj. Widodo. It is really cheap. My husband loves the taste too. I love the krecek and the egg.

Gudeg Wijilan Bu Hj Widodo
Gudeg Wijilan Bu Hj Widodo

Day 2

We started our tour today by visiting Keraton Ngayogyakarta. It is the residence of Sri Sultan Hamengkubuwono, the Sultan of Yogyakarta.

Keraton Yogyakarta
Keraton Yogyakarta

Inside, we see a glimpse of Wayang Golek performance by Abdi Dalem.

Wayang Golek Performance at Keraton
Wayang Golek Performance at Keraton

Abdi Dalem are special people who dedicate their lives for Sultan and the Keraton.

Abdi dalem play Gamelan
Abdi Dalem play gamelan
Abdi Dalem
Abdi Dalem
Watching wayang golek performance
Watching wayang golek performance
Wayang Golek in Keraton Nyayogyakarta
Wayang Golek in Keraton Nyayogyakarta

We also explore inside the Kraton.

Alun alun Keraton Yogyakarta
This probably is the official alun alun to receive official guests.

After visiting Keraton, we then go to see another important Temple: Candi Prambanan.

As with Candi Borobudur, there are two different queues at Candi Prambanan. The queue for locals (Indonesians) and for foreigners. As for July 2018, a single ticket price (non-combination) to Candi Prambanan for foreigner is IDR 350,000. You can also hire a guide, it is very recommended! I will mention it again – somewhere below – why it is important to hire a guide in Candi Prambanan.

Candi Prambaban in Central Java
Candi Prambaban

Unlike Candi Borobudur, Candi Prambanan is basically a Hindu Temple. It was built at 856 AD.

Two Candi in Candi Prambanan
Two Candi in Candi Prambanan
Candi Prambanan is a Hindu Temple
Candi Prambanan is a Hindu Temple – see the shapes of the Candi? Are they similar with the Buddhist one?

Prambanan has several Candi: Candi Brahma, Candi Wisnu, Candi Siwa, Candi Angsa, Candi Garuda, and Candi Nandi.

All temples in Candi Prambanan
All temples in Candi Prambanan

I think we only see two candis: Candi Siwa and Candi Nandi. Candi Siwa is the main temple.

Candi Siwa on the right
In this picture, Candi Siwa I think is on the right

Inside Candi Siwa, if I am not mistaken, we saw four Hindu Gods:

The first one is Agastya. I don’t remember much of what our guide told us about Agastya.

Agastya is like Guru
Agastya

The second one is Ganesha.

Ganesha
Ganesha

The third one is Durga or what the Indonesians know as Roro Jonggrang.

Durga
Durga
Durga or Roro Jonggrang
Durga or Roro Jonggrang

And the highest one or the main arca (statue) is Siwa Mahadewa (Siwa the Great God).

Siwa Mahadewa
Siwa Mahadewa
Inside Candi Siwa is Siwa the Great God
Inside Candi Siwa is Siwa the Great God

Some reliefs on Candi Siwa told us about the Ramayana. I think the one below told us about Sinta who is under a protected circle. Someone told Sinta not to go outside the circle. But one day, Sinta saw a poor deer and she felt pity. She wanted to help the deer so she stepped outside her circle, but she didn’t realise that it was an evil pretended to be a deer. Not sure how the story ends, did someone arrow the deer?

This relief is probably from the epic Ramayana
This relief is probably from the epic Ramayana
Relief in Prambanan Temple
Relief in Prambanan Temple
Ramayana
I think this relief is in Candi Siwa – someone on the right has that ancient fork
Relief in Candi Prambanan
Another beautiful and intricate relief
Beautiful relief of Candi Prambanan
Beautiful relief of Candi Prambanan
Candi Prambanan relief
Candi Prambanan relief
Steps to Candi Siwa
Steps to Candi Siwa
Candi Siwa, as it is named on the bottom stairs.
Candi Siwa, as it is named on the bottom stairs.
Statues on the bottom steps
Close up statues on the bottom steps

We also see Candi Nandi.

I think the left one is Nandi Temple
In this picture, I think the left one is Nandi Temple

Inside Candi Nandi is Nandi the God who is represented by a Holy Cow/Bull.

Inside Candi Nandi is Nandi the God
Inside Candi Nandi is Nandi the God

Behind Nandi are Surya and Chandra.

Surya or God of Sun
Surya or God of Sun
Candra God of Moon
Candra is the God of Moon

Outside Temples, we also see some reliefs of bird with human head.

Beautiful relief of bird with human head
Beautiful relief of bird with human head
Is this the Lionguard
Is this the Lionguard (in the middle)?

At the corner, we also see pretty carved stones for water droppers.

Pretty water circulation at the corners
Pretty water circulation stones at some corners

I think this water dropper is to circulate the rain.

Water dropper - closed up
Water dropper – closed up
Magnificent Prambanan Temple
Magnificent Prambanan Temples
A view of one of the Candi
A view of one of the Candi

It is good to note that Candi Prambanan precedes Angkor Wat by almost 300 years. Candi Prambanan itself is a complex of temples. It has a total of 240 temples, though I am not sure how many that are fully re-constructed today (I think about eight). Judging from the age and size, Candi Prambanan is therefore has its significance in term of civilisation and archaeology.

The explanation about Candi Prambanan
The explanation about Candi Prambanan

You can see the remains of the temples below.

Candi Prambanan
Candi Prambanan – beautiful shoot of 8 temples

After a splendid tour in Candi Prambanan, our guide also brings us to see Candi Sewu. Remember on my writing above of why it is important to hire a guide? Because the guide can show us a way from Candi Prambanan to Candi Sewu. I think if you want to walk, it is quite a long walk, and by using a guide, it saves you time, and give you an indication that you are under an official guide, so they may let you in into Candi Sewu, because from what I observe, not many visitors can access Candi Sewu. So together with our guide and our driver, we then go from Candi Prambanan to Candi Sewu by car.

Sewu Temple
Sewu Temple
Breathtaking view of Candi Sewu
Breathtaking view of Candi Sewu

It is best not to missed Candi Sewu. As it is equally splendid as the other Candi that we have seen.

Ruins are still visible
Ruins are still visible

Candi Sewu is basically a Buddhist Temple. Although the location is closed to Candi Prambanan, Candi Sewu is not a Hindu Temple. One may want to know which one is built earlier. Apparently Candi Sewu is built earlier than Candi Prambanan. It is built circa 8th century AD. It may well be built earlier than Candi Borobudur too.

Explanation of Candi Sewu
Explanation of Candi Sewu

There are 249 temples in Candi Sewu. Only a few that are fully reconstructed. So we can still see many ruins available. Our guide told us that the stones have to lock each other. It is like playing a jigsaw puzzle. So one can imagine how hard it is to re-construct a single temple, with these heavy stones that have to connect each other.

Real 8th century stone ruins of Candi Sewu
Real 8th century stone ruins of Candi Sewu

On the entrance to the temple, you will see the mighty Dwarapala – or the Gate Guardian. Two in each entrance.

Entrace of Candi Sewu
Candi Sewu

In total, there are 8 Dwarapala.

There are eight Dwarapala
There are eight Dwarapala
Dwarapala
Dwarapala
Close up of Dwarapala
Close up of Dwarapala – he is kneeling
Dwarapala in the gate to Candi Sewu
Dwarapala in the gate to Candi Sewu

We did not really go inside any temple in Candi Sewu.

Candi Sewu
Candi Sewu
Candi Apit in Candi Sewu
Candi Apit in Candi Sewu

Some reliefs are beautiful!

Close up relief in Candi Sewu
Close up relief in Candi Sewu
Some reliefs of the Perwara Temple
Some reliefs of the (I guess) Perwara Temple in Candi Sewu
Candi Perwara of Candi Sewu
Candi Perwara (the smaller ones) of Candi Sewu
Buddhist temple of Candi Sewu
Buddhist temple of Candi Sewu
Candi Sewu
Candi Sewu
Beautiful Candi Sewu
Beautiful Candi Sewu – isn’t it just beautiful?

Don’t forget to credit my website if you are about to use my pictures.

After a long archaeological tour, we finally had our lunch.

This time we ate at Sendang Ayu restaurant. What I love is that this restaurant serves real coconut fruit!

Rumah Makan Sendang Ayu
Rumah Makan Sendang Ayu
Real Coconut
Real Coconut

The food is also delicious! The gurame and the fried cumi (calamari) is yummy! What I don’t really love is the cashier. I think she is rather untrustworthy. When I pay, she said that the money I gave her is rather short – while I am sure it is not the case. But anyway, we are quite happy because we can cross the pond too with a small boat.

Sendang Ayu near Prambanan
Sendang Ayu near Prambanan

After lunch, we decided to go back to hotel to take a rest. Haven’t I told you about the hotel?

The Hotel

We stayed four nights at this lovely Santika Hotel at Jl. Jend. Sudirman, Yogyakarta.

Javanese feel at Hotel santika
Javanese feel at Hotel Santika

The lobby is very grand, and we got a welcome drink, which is lovely. My husband loves the Wayang signature in the welcome drink, and he wanted to take it home!

Santika Yogya Lobby
Santika Premier Yogyakarta – Lobby
Gamelan player at Hotel Santika
Gamelan players at Hotel Santika

The bedroom is modern, clean, and new. We like it very much.

Santika Hotel
Santika Hotel bedroom
Santika Yogyakarta
Santika Yogyakarta
Santika Toilet
Santika’s toilet
Santika Shower
Santika’s shower
View from Our Hotel Santika Room
View from our hotel room

At dinner time, we opted for a dinner at Bakmi Jowo Mbah Gito. The restaurant is busy and has a lively feel.

Bakmi Jowo
Bakmi Jowo
Bakmi Jowo Mbah Gito
Bakmi Jowo Mbah Gito

The decoration is like an old Javanese shed.

Bakmi Jawa Mbah Gito
Bakmi Jawa Mbah Gito

This is my bakmi Jawa – so yummy!

Bakmi Jawa
Bakmi Jawa

I also love my Es soda gembira – though I think I had a stomachache after drinking this.

Es Soda Gembira
Es Soda Gembira
Bakmi Jawa Mbah Gito Yogyakarta
Bakmi Jawa Mbah Gito – authentic Javanese feeling

Day 3

Day three, we as always, starting the day by breakfasting at Hotel Santika. I would like to share my yummy breakfast experience at Hotel Santika Premier.

Pandansari Restaurant at Santika Hotel
Pandansari Restaurant at Santika Hotel
Santika Breakfast
Santika Breakfast
Yummy Indonesian breakfast at Hotel Santika
Yummy Indonesian breakfast at Hotel Santika – I think I had gudeg and rempeyek
Siomay
Siomay

There are various menu to choose. Aside from the buffet hot food (rice, egg, meat, vegetable), there are also many choices such as gudeg, siomay, Bakmi Jawa, bubur ayam, and so on (can’t remember them all).

Pandansari Santika hotel breakfast
Pandansari Santika hotel breakfast
Buffet Breakfast Hotel santika
Buffet Breakfast Hotel santika
Gudeg at Hotel santika
Gudeg at Hotel santika

Drinks also have a variety of juice and you can ask for Jamu as well. There is also a little gamelan music played through-out which is a lovely touch.

Drinks at Breakfast Hotel Santika
Drinks for Breakfast at Hotel Santika

After breakfast, we then started the day to visit the Southern Yogyakarta beach. The area is called Gunung Kidul.

Gunung Kidul Beach
Gunung Kidul Beach

We visited Pantai Indrayanti or Pantai Pulang Syawal.

Pulang Syawal Beach
Pulang Syawal Beach

It is absolutely beautiful with white sandy beaches and clear water. However the tide is so high.

Pantai Indrayanti
Pantai Indrayanti – picture perfect
High Tide at Pantai Indrayanti
High Tide at Pantai Indrayanti

We did not stay very long at the beach, because the tide was very strong. The locals say it is only happened once a year (high tide) and unluckily it was happened when we were there.

Pantai Indrayanti Yogyakarta
Pantai Indrayanti Yogyakarta

It is rather sad, because the beach is pristine.

High Tide Indrayanti beach
Pristine Indrayanti beach

And the sky is blue too.. But the tide.. Oh well..

Southern Java beach
Southern Java beach

It is quite a pity because it takes us 2.5 hours by car to get into the beach. And another 2 hours to go back to Yogyakarta.

Pantai Pulang Syawal
Pantai Pulang Syawal

Southern Java Sea usually has strong waves as it connects directly to the Indian Ocean. It is prohibited to swim anyway in this beach.

High Tide Southern Java Beach
High Tide Southern Java Beach

We were about to sit and eat something by the beach, but we were so afraid by the tide, we decided to eat elsewhere far from the beach.

Indrayanti Beach
There are tables – but the tide was just going into them.

We finally found a place to have lunch. The food is so-so but it is better than nothing as we were quite hungry. And I got my crab (hurray!)

Seafood near Pantai Indrayanti
Seafood near Pantai Indrayanti

On our way back, we stopped to buy local delicatessen (Bakpia) and we also visited a Batik shop in Malioboro. In a Batik shop, they also sell old Indonesian currencies.

Old Indonesian currency
Old Indonesian currencies
Nederlandsch Indie 1921
Nederlandsch Indie 1921
Nederlandsch coin
Nederlandsch coin – I think year 1896.

And we even popped into a local fruit shop too.

Local fruit shop in Jogja
Local fruit shop in Jogja
Local fruitshop
Local fruit shop

At dinner time, we ate at Gubug Mang Engking.

Welcome at Gubug Mang Engking
Welcome to Gubug Mang Engking
Restaurant Gubung Mang Engking
Restaurant Gubung Mang Engking

Lovely delicious seafood! I think we tried udang bakar madu (grilled honey king prawn), so yummy!

Food at Gubug Mang Engking
Food at Gubug Mang Engking
Gubug Mang Engking Yogyakarta
Gubug Mang Engking Yogyakarta
Fish Therapy at Gubung Mang Engking
Fish Therapy at Gubung Mang Engking

The only downside is that the waitress (or the inputer in this case) didn’t take my order properly. I think she may had missed one of my cumi order and delivered the wrong juice (I think I ordered melon or guava juice, but the one that came was orange juice, surprise!).

Gubug Mang Engking Yogyakarta Restaurant
Gubug Mang Engking Yogyakarta Restaurant

Day 4 is our day to get back to Jakarta. Surely it has been an unforgettable memories. See you again Jogja! We maybe back to see more Candi.

Garuda from Jogja to Jakarta
Garuda from Jogja to Jakarta
Adisucipto Airport
Adisucipto Airport

P.s. I have even got a time to eat Bakso in the airport. And my husband eat another Gudeg!

Bakso at Airport
Bakso at the Adisucipto Airport
Gudeg at Airport
Gudeg at the Adisucipto Airport

I hope my writing is helpful. And please credit my website if you use my pictures. We maybe come back to Indonesia for another archaeological experience.

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