Tuesday, May 31, 2011

Yogya Re-visit: Kraton & Dieng

15/5/11: Day 2 : Kraton – Dieng

After breakfast of nasi goreng and sandwich (which comes together with our room package), we started the day with visiting the Kraton. There are 2 kratons actually– of the Yogyakarta and Surakarta sultanate. The Sultanate of Mataram was split in two, i.e. the Yogyakarta and Surakarta sultanate based on the Treaty of Giyanti in 1755 after the decline in power of the Mataram Sultanate and the exploits of the Dutch East India Company (VOC). The Giyanti Treaty mentioned Pangeran Mangkubumi as Sultan of Yogyakarta.

Kraton, originates from the word ke-ratu-an that means the place where the queen/king lives. The Yogya Kraton lies between Tugu as the north border (2 km stretch) and Panggung Krapyak as the south border (5 km stretch), between Code River in the east and Winongo River in the west. From north part to west part of the Palace area, there are North Square, North Siti Hinggil, North Kemandhungan, Srimanganti, Kedhaton, Kemagangan, South Kemandungan, South Siti Hinggil and South Square (the yard that is protected by high walls).

We visited the Pagelaran and Siti Hinggil area of the Kraton. Ticket costs us IDR 3000 per person (RM 1.1) The Sultan only visits the Square, Pagelaran, and Siti Hinggil three times a year, namely during the events of Pisowan Ageng Grebeg Maulud, Sawal and Besar.

Unfortunately, like the Sangiran Museum, the Kraton is not well maintained. There weren't much info and the displays that they did have looked worn down. For the record, the names of the Sultan were displayed.

For more info on the Kraton, go here

Entrance kraton

Sultan info

Inside Kraton

Sellers outside Kraton

We didn't stay long there as we were quite disappointed with the condition. Next in plan was to visit Taman Sari - a recreation garden or a resting house for the Sultan. Outside the gate, we were approached by a trishaw peddler who promoted his trishaw tour which covers 5 stops for only IDR 50K per trishaw. For the guided tour which the trishaw peddler also serves as guide, payment is up to each customer. We agreed to take the tour as it we could go sightseeing from a local point of view, plus it was cheap too!

Trishaws with Kraton guided tour has this flag

Our first stop was the Sultan's residence where its compound serves as a restaurant (Bale Raos restaurant) where you can eat royalty food. It serves the favorite cuisines of Sultan Yogyakarta, from HB VII until HB X. You cannot enter the residence (because I tried to take a peek, but was shoo-ed away :-p I heard some traditional dance music at the background).

Bale Raos resto

Second stop was the Djogjaholic kaos (t-shirt) shops, which are imitations of the original Dagadu t-shirts, which we went to during our first visit. I bought a t-shirt here for IDR85K (RM30) because I didn't buy any last time.

Djogjaholic t-shirt shop

Third and fourth stop was the Batik Processing factory and the Batik Suhardi shop, which we only stopped by very briefly. Didn't plan to buy anything here, so we quickly left.

Batik Suhardi

Final stop was the Taman Sari. It has bathing pools, canals, rooms and an extremerly large swimming pool (if the canals opened). There was also the Sugeng Puppet Handicraft outside the compound, which we dropped by to see the artisans at work carving the wayang kulit design.

Wayang kulit making @ Sugeng Puppet handicraft

The Tamansari complex consist of:

The Sacred Room
A sacred place in the complex in a separate building, which once functioned as a meditation place.

The Bathing Pool
Consists of two bathing pool that are separated by a 2-storey building. From this building the Sultan watched all the women swimming in the outer pool. Then he might ask some of them to accompany him into the inner pool. Mmmm Sultan and his etra-curricular activities :-p

Kenanga or Cemeti Island
This artificial island is a high building used as resting room and reconnaissance (surveillance) place. Only this building will surface when the canals are opened and the water over flows. From a higher place it like lotus floating in the middle of big pool.

Read more about Taman Sari here

Meditation place


While we were on our beca, we had a chit chat with our 'driver' cum guide – Pak Iman. He actually has a degree – he studied at Universitas Mahamdiah Jakarta majoring in Islamic religious studies and civilisation for 6 years. He moonlights as a trishaw peddler while his main job is giving lectures.

Pak Iman

By the time we finished the beca tour, we had 1 more hour to kill before checking out from our hotel at 12pm WIB. We stopped by at Pasar Beringharjo to buy batik material for my brother's Batik shirt. By the time we reach our hotel at 12, Tri was already waiting for us!

We were then whisked off to Dieng plateau – our highlight of this trip. We stopped by at Padang Maimbau restaurant for lunch. Then it was approximately 3 hour drive to reach Dieng, but it was definitely worth it! The highland vista was breathtaking! Dieng is 2093m above sea level. It reminded us of the lush greenery of Cameron Highlands, only colder. Waaaay colder. Plus it had just stopped raining, so it was cold and misty. On the way to Dieng, we passed by Wonosobo town, which is quite big.

View otw to Dieng

Welcome to Dieng!

A bus with funny signage : "Sekedar hobi, alih profesi" then there's a picture of motorbike racing below!

We haven't booked a hotel at Dieng prior to our arrival- we planned to find a place only when we reach there. We tried to look for a few – finally we decided on Hotel Asri. It's not a hotel, but more of a backpacker hostel. Room was very basic, bed with blanket and attached bathroom for me and Liza, with no hot water (and it was freezing cold!) and no towel. While the boys took a room each – as it was very small. Tri stayed with us too as it was too far for him to go back to the city and come back the next day. Our room costs IDR 75K, while the boys' room costs IDR 50K. This is totally Lonely Planet territorry I must warn you – very very basic hostel, I even forgot to take a picture of our room.

Hotel Asri

We went searching for dinner in the dead cold of the night – it was freezing! (But I secretly liked it hehe...as we could see vapour forming as we talked )– feels like we were at some European country lol! But someone here couldn't stand the cold, oh poor him, he was trembling :-p We wanted to eat at the stalls to blend in with the locals – but it was not to be – a decent stall that we found was full. In the end, we settled for the Bu Djono Hotel cafe to have dinner. It was warm inside. We had nasi goreng (we kept craving for Nasi Goreng from Lesehan Citra Rasa ), french fries and noodle soup (I can't help but associate cold weather with hot soup). And hot coffee and hot chocolate for drinks. Heavenly!

The stall that is always full!

While ordering our menu, Pak Didik from the Hotel asked us if we wanted to join the Dieng Plateau sunrise tour – which will cover short hiking up Mt Sikunir for sunrise watching, Kawah Warna, Kawah Sikidang and Candi Arjuna for IDR50K (RM18) per person, with our own driver and transport (which was provided by Tri). The tour would start at 4.30am WIB. We agreed to take up the trip and would tell Tri about the arrangement later – which we found out was quite a task – as Tri was already fast asleep – several measures had to be taken to wake him up lol! Thankfully he finally did!

While waiting for our food, Pak Didik gave us some photo albums of the tour and “Buku Pesan-Pesan” in which tour participants wrote down their comments – most of them were satisfied. We wanted to write something down – but somehow the eating made us forget! When we kept on chatting and ordered a second helping of drinks, Pak Didik came by and hinted that the tour tomorrow will start in the wee hours of the morning and that we should get some sleep. I guess he was trying to shoo us away in a subtle way ;)

Buku Pesan-Pesan

We went back to our hotel – woke Tri up, then we defied Pak Didik's advice – we went out again – for a late night drink! We found another stall – Warung Mbak Mien for our lepak session. Went back for rest at almost 11pm WIB. Myself and Liza continued to chat until early morning – and we had only about 3 hours of sleep! And it was freezing cold! Thankfully we managed to endure the coldness. Next day will be another awesome day!



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