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Take the Full Day car rental (included driver) at the hotel. The driver is well trained and could take you from Borobudur to Prambanan to Traditional dances and shopping. For US$50 net it was well worth it. For a local tour near the hotel area, take the becak outside the hotel with the "Melia Purosani" painted on the side. Very friendly and helpful.
The hotel has easy access to Borobudur, Prambanan, Mt. Merapi, etc.. On the other hand, people in this part of Java are very friendly and helpful. The scenary around Borobudur, Merapi is spectacular and stunning. Definetely, if you are thinking of visiting Indonesia, you should come to this area.
Found the palace disappointing. Lots of batik, silver etc but should always try to bargain. The highlight was the temple at Borobudor -- we took the Sunrise tour the hotel offered....although it seems more expensive than what one would find outside, they provide torches so you can see clearly as you climb. Worth getting up early for ! Also do visit the nearby Amanjiro hotel, its unique !
Yogjarkata is a relative safe place to travel despite of the warnings issued by certain paranoid countries. Occasional annoyances such as usual touting at major tourist attractions and sales talk from strangers on the road. However, was never in danger at any time and we were traveling as a family with an infant. Places/Things not to miss: Ramayana Ballet at Purawisata, Becak ride around city, Imogiri, Yogjarkata Kraton, Evening stroll along Jalan Malioboro, Prambanan Temples, Borobodur, Candi Sukuh.
Didn''t think much of the city (apart from the friendly people), but really enjoyed Borobudur, Prambanan, etc. Kraton Ratu Boko (palace ruins just south of Prambanan) is well worth a visit. It''s quite a hike up some steep steps, but the views are magnificent. Taxis from the airport are fixed price (like Bali).
I liked Jogya, found the people friendly and helpful. I went to Burobadur and Prabaran temples, each a 4 hour expedition for 50$AU each, with my own driver and guide. The guide an elderly gentleman who speaks English, French and German plus many local languages. Silver smiths (not the one recommended by my guide!) and batik (Go to one that has prices marked) I found a batik seller who sat me down, gave me tea and demonstrated the whole art of making a batik picture. I bought a nice piece for 49$AU and was told by the opposition that the exhibition wasn''t really closing down next day and that I had been fleeced. But I still think I got my money''s worth! Riding in the becaks is terrifying as you are in front of the pedaller as he pushes through the traffic at an intersection and you think you are going to die. And everything is incredibly cheap.
There are some nice temples and places of interest not too far away, taxis are reasonable and the shopping is cheap. If you want to visit mount Bromo (active vulcano & sulphur lake) then be aware that it is 11 hours each way ergo an overnight stay, the nearest airport is still 5 hours away.
Never visit Jogya during December. It was pouring like cats and dogs. I was lucky during the second day, the weather was fine. I managed to visit Borobudur and Prambanan, Kote Gede (for silver items), and Kraton (for batik). Missed out on the Ramayana ballet performance apparently, they don''t show the performance in Dec due to raining seasons. Borobudur and Prambanan was truly magnificient. Borobudur has a Mt Kaliurang at the back drop. It was covered with clouds and totally breath taking. Another site worth mentioning, Mendut, which is on the way to the Borobudur. As i was told the originally the buddha statute was. Each year, they celebrated Wesak Day on the fourth month of the fifteen day where a celebration will take place where Buddhist devotees will walk to the Borobudur. Prambanan has its own charm and can''t seem to put into words. I think if you have the chance to watch the Ramayana ballet performance that could really transport you back to the era.<br> <br> Please be reminded in all the historical sites you visited, you are expected to pay US$5.00 and extra for a guide (optional) at about Rp40,000. A local will only pay Rp7,500. The only thing I dislike is that you are discriminated when it comes to paying. For instance, despite you have already paid for the entrance fees to the historical site, any extra in the site for instance viewing a museum, you need to pay extra again. I had a bowl of bakso (noodle soup) in front of one of the shop selling silver items. I paid Rp5,000 (not expensive though) however, when I asked the taxi man how much would he have to pay if he was eating? He said it will only cost him Rp3,000. Unless, you are travelling in twos or threes, it would be more economical to go with a travel group. I rented a taxi which cost about Rp300,000 minus the parking.
Central Java in general, full of interesting and historical places. During our staying in Jogya, we had pleasant opportonities to visit many interesting places such as Parangritis Beach, Borobodore Timple, Batic factory and Silver factory. We had a nice time during lunch in a beatiful restaurant with traditional dances performing. We are sure that there are more interesting places we haven''t visited yet because of short of time but hopefully we wish to visit central Java in the future with more excitement.
You can reach Yogyakarta from all major cities in Indonesia by plane or bus. I like to call Yogyakarta a heritage city. It has a lot of things that have been kept for hundred years, such as king palace, museum, candi, batik, wayang puppet, gudeg and etc. You could enjoy Gudeg (a traditional food) at Wijilan street near king palace. At night you could travel along Malioboro street just to spent your money to but crafts and gifts at this traditional hawker centre. Lesehan is a traditional way to eat gudeg at Malioboro street. Looking for more batik crafts? In the morning, Beringharjo market at Malioboro street is a great choice. Borobudur is one of the wonders of the world located 72 km north Yogyakarta. Prambanan is famous for its Ramayana dance and located near Yogyakarta. Bakpia pathuk are popular traditional cookies that you must try. So many things, so little time. That''s why I visit Yogyakarta every year and always find a new experience.