Friday, May 22, 2015

6 Things ( Even More ) To Do in Yogayakarta, Indonesia

Summer is just around the corner.  Indonesia is definitely one of the top destinations for travelers looking for daring adventures or simply the beach to relax and new cultures to experience.  The country with more than 17000 islands has so much to offer , including Yogyakarta the capital of Yogyakarta Special Region in Central Java – has everything you need to explore even if you only have 3 days. Find out 6 things..( .oh even more ) you should do in Yogyakarta, Indonesia this summer
1.     


      1.Culinary at Malioboro

Trying Indonesian traditional cuisine is a must when you visit any places in Indonesia, especially Yogyakarta. Indonesia has well known for its rich culture and traditions, including wide variety of cuisine from sweet, savory to very spicy one. Yogyakarta has several famous traditional food that you can explore on the main street of Malioboro. Start with bakpia pathok – a small, round-shaped Indonesian Chinese-influenced sweet rolls, usually stuffed with mung beans, chocolate or  cheese, a box of bakpia will cost you around $2. It’s a great sweet snack paired with Wedang Ronde – typical Indonesian ginger tea. Wedang means beverages, while ronde means a soft dough of mixing corn flour and brown sugar in round shape, add together with fried peanut and bread slice into a hot ginger tea for only less than $1. Meanwhile for dinner or lunch, you can not leave Yogyakarta or the city of gudeg without having their most  famous dish made from young unripe jackfruit and coconut milk, served with hard-boiled egg, chicken, tofu, sambal and rice. Gudeg has a very unique taste since it can be sweet but also spicy and the very rich note from coconut milk and unripe jackfruit  make it something different you never try before, one portion of gudeg with rice cost around $ 1,5.    



2.       2. Shop at Pasar Beringharjo
Apart of culinary, if you’re a fan of batik or collecting vintage stuff then Pasar Beringharjo is the market where you can hunt souvenirs like leather post-officer messenger bags, rattan products, silver jewelries, clothes, wooden handicrafts, accessories and many more in a very affordable prices.  Javanese people especially those from Yogyakarta are very warm, polite and welcome – this market is one of my favorite places where you can absolutely interact with the local people and see the beauty of diversity. Take becak or pedicab to explore the little town  in the afternoon before dinner.

3.       3.Sunrise at Borobudur Temple
The largest Buddhist monument of the world Borobudur temple located in Magelang around 2 hours away from Malioboro by car or public bus. If you’re a morning person, Borobudur temple has a sunrise package for Rp 380.000 or $33 opens at 4.30 am, and $20 for regular pass opens at 6 am. Borobodur temple has always been adorned with stone carvings and history of Buddha, every year sometime during the full moon in the month May or June the Buddhist people in Indonesia will celebrate the Vesak or Waisak festival. A big day to commemorate birth, death and the moment when Siddharta Gautama obtain the highest wisdom to become the Buddha Shakyamuni.  The Vesak festival is one of the biggest religious festival in Indonesia, you’ll get to experience a  day full of colors, many celebrations and a lot of spectacular sights where the Buddhist monks will start a journey in the morning walking together with the local people from Mendut temple to Borobudur temple. They carry offerings like candles, fruits, flowers and incense, as they walk inside the temple complex all the monks would pray and meditate while lighting the candle and in the end of the procession, they would release lanterns to the sky.





4.      4.Cave Tubing at Goa Pindul
For the past few years, activity like cave-tubing at Goa Pindul has became so popular for both local people and tourists that if you really want to enjoy your time exploring the cave, you really should avoid coming to Goa Pindul at the peak season like school holidays, during the Vesak festival or any Indonesian national holidays. It’s very easy and convenient to get to Goa Pindul,
from Malioboro take the local bus to Terminal Giwangan, continue with mini buses to Wonosari. The journey takes around 1 hour and a half to Wonosari, remind the bus driver to stop at Desa Wisata Bejiharjo as the main gate of Goa Pindul. ( The single trip bus ticket costs you $2 ) When you arrive in Desa Wisata Bejiharjo, take ojek or motorcycle taxi to Goa Pindul for $4 and the man will drop you off at Goa Pindul and pick you up back to the bus station. Goa Pindul has several attractions like cave-tubing , rafting and off-road at different range prices starting at $5 for basic cave tubing including the local guide and equipment. We were lucky  when we reached Goa Pindul there were only few tourists there as normally the guides said hundreds of people lined up to get inside the cave. We decided to go on cave-tubing, explore what’s the cave like and a quick dip in the river before rafting and off-road. The friendly guide brought us to the cave. He explained that since couple of years ago local people decided to open Goa Pindul as a tourism destination in Yogyakarta, Goa Pindul has attracted not only locals but also international tourists. For me, it’s not only the beauty of the cave and the village, but also the smile and how friendly the local people there make our first experience cave-tubing in Goa Pindul super unforgettable.





5.       5.Visit Prambanan Temple
One of the benefits if you decide to stay around Malioboro area, the location is actually pretty convenient and easy to explore  some other places, including Prambanan Temple. Only 30 minutes  away from Malioboro by car or a litte longer when you take Trans Jogja or bus rapid transit, while Borobudur temple has well-known as the magnificent Buddhist temple, Prambanan temple remains as the largest Hindu temple site in Indonesia, famous for its tall and pointed architecture dedicated to the Trimurti, the expression of God as the Creator, the Preserver and the Destroyer. Entrance fee is $20.


6.       6.Visit Ratu Boko Temple

You can continue exploring Ratu Boko temple right after you finish with Prambanan temple, take the pedicab or becak for $9 for return trip from the Trans Jogja stop just across  Prambanan temple complex. The driver will wait for you in the parking lot while you exploring the temple. This archaeological site located at the plateau was a palace complex which belonged to the Kings of Sailendra and Mataram Kingdom. Ratu Boko itself means Stork King, however there’s not a lot left of the temple and some tourists found the admission price $10 was quite expensive but  it is still worth a visit. After such a long day exploring the city or temples, give yourself a little break by having tea and afternoon snacks at café Ratu Boko. That small café is one of my favorite sport because they have an open space area with Yogyakarta view, it is very relaxing to sip your tea and rest your eyes starring at the lush greenery of Yogyakarta.    

Feel free to visit Weekend Getaway Yogyakarta and Goa Pindul

Thursday, May 21, 2015

Postcards from Playa del Carmen, Mexico


Canon G16 apparently makes traveling more fun. For the past few years I took photos a lot using smart phone and my pocket camera, I thought it was very easy and convenient...you just have to snap, edit and upload but as I visited more places I fell in love with photography and somehow curious how to take photos like what those guys did at NatGeo magazines, focus at the back or front, perfect angle and brightness, etc. Nowadays Instagram is a great apps to stalk on talented photographers, I can literally spend hours just starring at beautiful photos from some of my favorite photographers and bloggers, like Jamie beck from AnnStreetStudio.com , Mario Testino, Patrick Demarchelier, Russel James, Mario Sorrenti, I truly admire them for every little details and ideas you can find on their amazing works. Then as I learn and explore photography deeper, little did I know they have changed the way I travel. Instead of rushing from one place to another, I like to take my time exploring a new place and train my eyes to find the unique details, capture everything that will remind me about that place and make short video too. It's fun to be a visual story teller. Canon G16 is my first proper camera I got last December, I absolutely love the size and it looks chic. I was thinking about to get one of the DSLR cameras but I realized it's very important for me to travel light, after doing a lot of research about camera I've finally found Canon G16  actually does an excellent job too like DSLR cameras - especially for a beginner like me,  the camera is super easy to use. Oh well, still learning and exploring, here's some photos I took from my previous trip in Playa Del Carmen, Mexico Iast January. 5th Avenue in Playa is a great place to stay, eat, shop, party, people-watching - basically you can find everything you need from the beach, cafe, good tacos, souvenirs for family at home, coffee shops, hotels, ferry terminal to Cozumel, even Adeo bus terminal that will take you to other cities or Cancun airport. While some people prefer to stay in Cancun or Tulum because it's quiet, I personally like the location of 5th Avenue Playa Del Carmen - yes it can be super crowded, but nothing can go wrong as long as I can have my favorite guacamole and tequila. In the next few days I'll post more about Tulum, cenotes, Playa del Carmen and Isla Mujerez. 
Hotel Quinto Sol at Playa del Carmen


Pretty Mexican lady



Happy old man in 5th Avenue Playa del Carmen
I love you, baby
Coffee time at Playa Del Carmen




Also read Cozumel, Mexico