Sightseeing in Yogyakarta, Java Indonesia
After 3 restful nights at Jimbaran Bay, we woke up bright and early where our local guide from Artisans of Leisure took us to Denpensar Airport for our flight to Yogyakarta on the Indonesian Island of Java. Yogyakarta also known as Jogja is famous for it’s royal palaces, folk art and whitewashed villages. A short flight in, we arrive and am greeted by our new local guide who immediately takes us on our full day tour!
Our first stop: Prambanan
Prambanan is a vast Hindu compound consisting of over 200 temples that was built in the 9th century. This Unesco Heritage Site is made up of small temples arranged in a grid that surrounds a group of tall central temples dedicated to Shiva, Vishnu and Brahma. Below are a few black and white shots I took of the compound and structures.
I'm always in awe when I see these incredibly old structures made with such intricate detail and craftsmanship carved out of stone, stacked on top of each other to withstand the test of time.
Observe the walls where stories of Hindu Mythology are carved into the relief.
Walk inside the temples to capture a different view of the grounds and structures
Second stop: Kraton
Our guide then takes us to Kraton, the palace for the Sultans of Yogyakarta and also the cultural heart of the city. Kraton is essentially a walled city that is home to about 25,000 people, schools, mosques, batik or silvermaking workshops, as well as the Sultan’s residence.
Third stop: Taman Sari, the sultan’s water palace built in the mid-18th century. Another Unesco Heritage site which is known as a resting place, hiding place, and bathing complex. There are pools in which concubines would bath in while the sultan would come and take his pick. Sounds fascinating right?
Probably the least favorite spot for me as the heat was starting to get a bit much and after seeing Prambanan and Kraton, the water palace feels a bit more underwhelming. I would say it's not a must see, while the other 2 are.
Our tour for the day concludes with the water palace, where our guide and driver then takes us to Amanjiwo, where we will spend 3 nights in absolute heaven. Amanjiwo is a spiritual and luxurious hotel nestled in the Menoreh hills, an hour drive from Yogyakarta and lies opposite the 9th century Buddhist Sanctuary and Unesco Heritage Site, Borodudur.
Of course once we arrive, we head to their open air dining room for a late lunch after a full day of flying and sightseeing. Pretty starved at this point:)
One of my favorite things to do when traveling is eating of course!! Trying local dishes from high end to low end and so I wasn’t going to hold back, especially since Aman properties are known for phenomenal food and have never disappointed in my experience.
I started with a super refreshing and flavorful salad made of snake beans, bean sprouts, tomatoes and cabbage. Then for my main I had the Javanese Fried Chicken. The chicken was cooked perfectly, crispy on the outside, juicy on the inside and super flavorful. They marinate and poach the chicken in freshly ground spices, lemongrass, kaffir lime, and coconut water before frying it. The sauce they then coat the chicken in, is rich in coconut curry flavor thickened by freshly ground peanut paste. It's got a little kick to it but not overpowering and the slight tang from the kaffir and lemongrass cuts through the richness from the peanut and the coconut. I'm a happy camper here!!
My husband got the Chicken Satay which comes with a side of fragrant rice and prawn crackers. They make the best freshly fried prawn crackers here (super light, crispy, not oily, and a thicker cut than most) We literally ordered them for lunch, dinner, and cocktails whenever we ate at the resort.
Well that concludes the day of sightseeing in Yogyarta. Stay tuned for the next posts where I will give you an inside look into Amanjiwo and what makes it one of the best properties to visit and stay at. And also a separate post on the beauty of Borobudur and why you can't miss this site if you plan to travel to Indonesia!