Sunday, January 29, 2012

Jogja Day 1

With a blink of an eye, 2012, the year that we once thought is far away, has arrived. Many things have changed, perhaps it is our perspectives that have changed, where things are still remaining the same. This is the longest holiday I had since I began my previous job in March 2010. Being caught in the rat race for an extensive period of time, suddenly I had forgotten how to rest, in particular my mind.

I went to Yogyakarta, Indonesia for 5 days during the Chinese New Year break. It further proved my assumption that life only gets real during travelling. As a family, we chose a holiday destination where it is less likely to be flocked by Chinese tourists, and the airfare was a good deal. Unlike my usual well prepared 'homework' before departure to the travel destination, this time my trip preparation was minimal, with last minute accommodation bookings, thanks to my boss who is ever so generously in assigning seemingly infinite volume of work tasks.

Somehow, getting ready for a trip to Yogyakarta (locally known as Jogja) was not as easy or smooth as I prepared for Vietnam. Trip advice was minimal, and hotels were almost fully booked due to the long weekend of Perayaan Imlek (Lunar Calendar which refers to Chinese New Year in Indonesia). It was beyond my prediction that the local tourists would flocked into the city and sites of interests for the weekend holiday. The flight was full, only with a few Chinese. 2.5 hours to there with Air Asia was not the most pleasant flight due to the narrow seats and extra charges for drinks. Yet there is nothing much to complain about for the price we paid therefore the expected experience. We reached Jogja safely, passed the immigration and collected our baggage. We ordered a taxi which costs Rp 115,000 (about RM40) to the hotel we pre-booked just the night before. Usually the hotel arranges airport pickup and drop-off services but we booked last minute. My dad and I were amazed at how well the road conditions and infrastructures in Jogja were. The flat roads there made us envious as what we have here are uneven roads with patches and potholes everywhere. It took us about 30 minutes to travel from the airport to Turi, where our hotel is located.

As I mentioned it was a last minute booking for 1 night, I did not have any expectations on the hotel. The reviews reflected that it should be a pleasant stay except located quite far from the city centre. Upon our arrival, we were pleasingly surprised by the intricate wooden carvings and uniquely built traditional Javanese house (Joglo). We were really excited by the opportunity to stay in a Javanese house and experience Javanese culture. The hotel has only 19 rooms in total and there were limited number of workers, but they all were friendly and hospitable and treated us like royals! An elder man whom we believed was the owner also welcomed us and showed us around. The porter carried our luggage to the room and there were surprises at every corner - Javanese puppets, shadow puppets (wayang kulit), various species of tropical plants, and a mini pond. My parents liked our villa very much because it also came with Javanese wooden carvings outside and inside the room! Mum and I fell on the comfy bed straight away then my dad screamed with excitement when seeing the bathroom! It was the biggest bathroom and bathtub we ever experienced in a hotel. Of course immediately we regretted for booking only 1 night there and considered whether to cancel the bookings of another hotel in city centre...

We had lunch in the villa restaurant, tried some delicious traditional Javanese foods. The place was rather quiet and relaxing it makes all the hassles and bustles from everyday life disappeared. We did not do much on the first day since the rain was heavy and we just want to enjoy the tranquility of the villa to the max. The dinner was funny, we were adventurous and walked down 300 meters to a nearby village and had mie ayam with bakso. Total bill was Rp 21000 (RM7) which was ten times less than what we paid for the lunch. I thought that was the most delicious meal I had throughout the trip in Jogja. It rained heavily again afterwards and we were soaked after we walked back to the hotel.

What can be better to have a soaking warm bath in a big bathtub like this? =)

Hence the first day of our trip.

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