Yogyakarta: Planning and Day 1

We’re back from Yogyakarta for more than a week now, and all the photos have been uploaded and shared and so I thought I’ll do a post on what we did and where we went. This can be useful to anyone else planning on visiting this place.

Changi Airport

This trip was one of the most hurried and last-minute trip ones I’ve done. We were vacillating between destinations and then when we zoomed into Yogyakarta, we realised that travelling by a full service airline was almost two to three times the cost of travelling by budget airlines and S was not really interested in using a budget airline. Finally I managed to convince him and we chose the budget airline, Air Asia Indonesia to travel. The flight originates from Yogyakarta and leave from there at 7:30 am and this meant that we had to stay an extra night there. The only other airline servicing this destination is SilkAir, the regional arm of Singapore Airlines.

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Eastparc hotel, photo from Agoda.com

Next up was a place to stay in. As usual I looked up TripAdvisor and decided to finalise the Eastparc Hotel, which was one of the top rated hotels in Yogya. The hotel is very close to the airport (around 10 minute drive) and to the Prambanan complex (around 20 minute drive). There is a mall close by (10 minute walking distance) which is standard as malls go, but has shops and a hypermarket which is good for necessities.

We also decided to splurge on a higher class of room, called the Premier room, which would guarantee us connecting rooms. This was around SGD 10 more than the standard room rate and was totally worth it. The room’s minibar was complimentary and the kids and S had a blast using it.

With two UNESCO World Heritage sites in its vicinity as well as others in the city and close to it, we decided to use the services of a driver and/or guide. I used trip advisor and the yogyes.com site and emailed quite a few of the names mentioned there. After going back and forth with some of the agencies, we finally settled on Danar and Ibot from Jogjakartadrivers.com as we felt they gave us the best deal. We spent around IDR 110,000 for the use of a driver for 2 days and Yus, the driver was a wonderful person, warm and affable and went out of his way to accommodate us and our needs. The money didn’t include any entrance fees to the sites, any guide fees and food and drinks. But Ibot, whom I was liaising with, sent me the amounts for all the attractions and also helped book tickets for a performance we were interested in (more about that later). So all in all, fantastic service and I will not hesitate in recommending their service.

Changi Airport

The flight out of Singapore was at 11 am and we were expected to reach Yogyakarta around 12:30 pm. We had arranged for the hotel to send us a vehicle to pick us up as this was a new place. This was not a free service and we paid the equivalent of SGD 10. We also used this on our way back also as we had to leave the hotel at 5:30 am and I was not sure if we could successfully get a taxi at that time, which also happened to be the first day of the fasting month of Ramadan!

The flight was uneventful and when we reached the hotel, only one room was ready. So we had lunch at their in-house restaurant Verandah which was quite good and rested for a while till the other room was ready. Then we decided to venture out to buy some provisions for the next two days which was supposed to be very hectic.

The next day, Yus was supposed to pick us up at 3:30 am to take us to Borobudur to see the sunrise and then on to the Dieng Plateau which was supposed to be a three hour drive from Borobudur. The third day was also action packed with sightseeing within the city envions including the Sultan’s Palace, an erstwhile water palace, the temples of Prambanan and Ratu Boko to see the sunset and capped by a Ramayan ballet performance to end a hectic day. We planned to keep the last full day in Yogyakarta free to shop and just recover from the two hectic days.

I’ll post more about the places we saw next week….

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