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:
We started the day with a visit to Candi Borobudur in Magelang, Central Java province.
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 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.
You may see various colour of stones, but rest assure that they are all from the ancient 9th century stones.
Some of the reliefs are very detailed and wonderful. Remember that they are comprised of some stones which are interlocked with each other.
Some reliefs detailed the everyday lives of the people.
Then we climb to see the second tier, the Rupadatu, where we can see some statues of Buddha teaching and lecturing.
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.
Then there are the highest stupa which is the biggest and the mightiest one, sitting on the very top.
From what I read, it represents Perfection, and it is basically empty, because Buddha has reached nirvana.
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.
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!
After lunch, we then visited St. Mary’s grotto called Sendang Sono. Recommended if you want to say a prayer to St Mary.
You can buy candle and light it.
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.
Nice view though from outside the shop. I think there is another gallery too but we did not visit it.
Disappointed by the price of silver, we then decided to check out Moesson Antiques Gallery.
We love the collection of antiques there. I think we spent about 2 hours just to browse the antiques.
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.
Please see here for the water pipe that I acquire from Moesson Antik.
At dinner time, we tried Jogja speciality food called 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.
We started our tour today by visiting Keraton Ngayogyakarta. It is the residence of Sri Sultan Hamengkubuwono, the Sultan of Yogyakarta.
Inside, we see a glimpse of Wayang Golek performance by Abdi Dalem.
Abdi Dalem are special people who dedicate their lives for Sultan and the Keraton.
We also explore inside the Kraton.
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.
Unlike Candi Borobudur, Candi Prambanan is basically a Hindu Temple. It was built at 856 AD.
Prambanan has several Candi: Candi Brahma, Candi Wisnu, Candi Siwa, Candi Angsa, Candi Garuda, and Candi Nandi.
I think we only see two candis: Candi Siwa and Candi Nandi. Candi Siwa is the main temple.
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.
The second one is Ganesha.
The third one is Durga or what the Indonesians know as Roro Jonggrang.
And the highest one or the main arca (statue) is Siwa Mahadewa (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?
We also see Candi Nandi.
Inside Candi Nandi is Nandi the God who is represented by a Holy Cow/Bull.
Behind Nandi are Surya and Chandra.
Outside Temples, we also see some reliefs of bird with human head.
At the corner, we also see pretty carved stones for water droppers.
I think this water dropper is to circulate the rain.
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.
You can see the remains of the temples below.
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.
It is best not to missed Candi Sewu. As it is equally splendid as the other Candi that we have seen.
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.
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.
On the entrance to the temple, you will see the mighty Dwarapala – or the Gate Guardian. Two in each entrance.
In total, there are 8 Dwarapala.
We did not really go inside any temple in Candi Sewu.
Some reliefs are 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!
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.
After lunch, we decided to go back to hotel to take a rest. Haven’t I told you about the hotel?
We stayed four nights at this lovely Santika Hotel at Jl. Jend. Sudirman, Yogyakarta.
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!
The bedroom is modern, clean, and new. We like it very much.
At dinner time, we opted for a dinner at Bakmi Jowo Mbah Gito. The restaurant is busy and has a lively feel.
The decoration is like an old Javanese shed.
This is my bakmi Jawa – so yummy!
I also love my Es soda gembira – though I think I had a stomachache after drinking this.
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.
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).
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.
After breakfast, we then started the day to visit the Southern Yogyakarta beach. The area is called Gunung Kidul.
We visited Pantai Indrayanti or Pantai Pulang Syawal.
It is absolutely beautiful with white sandy beaches and clear water. However the tide is so high.
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.
It is rather sad, because the beach is pristine.
And the sky is blue too.. But the tide.. Oh well..
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.
Southern Java Sea usually has strong waves as it connects directly to the Indian Ocean. It is prohibited to swim anyway in this 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.
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!)
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.
And we even popped into a local fruit shop too.
At dinner time, we ate at Gubug Mang Engking.
Lovely delicious seafood! I think we tried udang bakar madu (grilled honey king prawn), so yummy!
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!).
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.
P.s. I have even got a time to eat Bakso in the airport. And my husband eat another Gudeg!
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.