If you are just like me always on the hunt for good travel deals, then you would understand that it’s totally okay to check AirAsia’s page every once in a while 😀 Marc and I have been eyeing on a getaway trip during Chinese New Year because there are 2 public holidays during that week! But.. it was too expensive to go anywhere because of the peak period.
When we found out that there was a cheap promo to Yogyakarta (Jogja) 2-3 weeks before the departure date, we booked it immediately! The only other arrangements we did was to booked accommodation and asked my local Indonesian friend, Erik on how much it will cost to eat and travel for a day. The rest? YOLO.
That’s what we did for ALL of our other travels anyway.
Fly there first, then plan.
We didn’t consider quite a bit of stuff which made the trip interesting in so many ways. As usual, we did it backpacking style but I don’t think this location is quite feasible with our circumstance.
To sum it up, here are the 5 things you should consider before travelling to Yogyakarta:
#1 – Tourist spots are all far away from each other
The first thing you should know about Jogja is that everything is far away from each other. The infamous Borobudur is not even located in Jogja, but a place called Magelang which is a 1.5 hours drive from the city. We wanted to plan a route that is along the way of that so it doesn’t feel too far away but nowhere was within 15 mins drive besides a spot or two. Each place felt like it was at the other extreme end of the region which is averagely a 40 mins drive.
This leads to my next point…
#2 – Know how to ride a bike OR bring enough money for a driver
As everything is far away from each other, it’s either you rent a bike and then go wherever you want OR you rent a car to drive around. Sounds pretty straight forward right? Except for the fact that you gotta be confident in riding a bike in heavy traffic & in the dark (because oh you know, you want to catch sunrise in the temples) OR you own an international driving license.
To which we couldn’t do either.
Marc was okay riding bikes in the islands but on high traffic roads? No, thank you. So, we were left with the last option. Hire a van driver for a day. A huge chunk of our budget went for that, gas and parking. Everything also need to pay, but the experience settles for the downsides I guess.
Despite the setbacks, we made it to both the Borobudur and Prambanan temples! Also managed to sneak in some look out points which was pretty amazing! ❤
#3 – Yogyakarta city has not much to offer
We thought if all else fails, we could still chill and explore the places within walking distance. At least that’s what we do when we don’t feel like doing much. Just sleep in, have brunch and then just walk around.
Although there were the Kraton and Malioboro street (apparently the must-go to places), it was a super huge let down! We finished the Kraton in 15 mins because there was barely a 200m walk of history fun facts while the Malioboro street looked the same after a 150m walk. Didn’t help that there was not much eateries.
Thank God for Teis & Nikita, a couple from Denmark who happened to be staying in the same AirBnb place with us. We ended up hanging out the entire day as because they felt that the city as underwhelming too. Our hangout, however, was so fun! We talked about everything under the sun and ended the night with some fun card game called Arguk. That was probably one of the main highlights of our trip because we get to meet such amazing people!
#4 – Most tourist spots require entrance fees (by that, I mean a lot!)
This was the part we wished we have done a little more research. I asked Erik and he gave me a few options of places we can go, but what I didn’t know is that there is a huge difference of entrance ticket fee between the locals and the foreigners!
To go to both the infamous Borobudur and Prambanan temple, we had to pay USD32 per pax while the locals pay only USD4. Say what! -_____-
Because of that, we were short on cash and we had to make some adjustments to our trip itinerary. We didn’t want to exceed our budget for the trip, so no withdrawal for us. A little bummed out, but like I said, we had quite an experience.
SO YES, BRING MORE CASH.
#5 – Use Gojek
It’s actually quite cool if you have an internet connection. Gojek is very much like Grab & Uber but they also offer shared rides on motorbikes. We only used the car rides because it was more economical that way for the both of us. Other than that, we managed to get a few free rides because of the promo codes. So, try it! 🙂
We hope this would give you a little insight to your upcoming trip! Did you have a similar experience like us or it was completely different from us? Let me know in the comments below! 🙂