A Splendid choice of destination for those looking for a cultural experience rather than a fancy stay in five-star resorts, Yogyakarta is considered the most important reference sites of java’s culture and art. This region has the highest cencentration of historical and natural site anywhere in Indonesia. It Has become a destination of insightful holidays.
Entitled ‘Daerah Istimewa’ (DI), Yogyakarta is a centre of Javanese culture and heritage with more than a few days of ancient sites and natural landscape to visit. I dedicated my recent trip to Jogjakarta to explore some of the understated places that live just a bit below the radar of international and national tourism. The first stop of my trip was at Gumuk Pasir Parangkumo, a vast area of soft sand formed by the natural phenomena called ‘oelean’ in local tongue. It is basically formed as wind carries sand from ocean beaches and deposits it inland to form large dunes. Here I got the chance to try my hand at sand boarding, an adrenaline pumping recreational activity using a paraffin waxed board to glide down a dune’s steepest slope. This activity has been officially listed as one of the ‘Wonderful Indonesia’ programs promoted by the Indonesian Tourism Ministry.
After my sand boarding excitement I went off to find some of Yogyakarta’s famous traditional dishes. I was pleased to come across Gudeg, a sweet stew made from young unripe jackfruit boiled for several hours with palm sugar and coconut milk. This is commonly served with egg, chicken and comes with a plate of hot rice. I tasted one special variant called gudeg manggar, originally from Bantul and where young coconut flower is employed as its main ingredient creating a distinctively unique flavour.
My journey ended at Situs Ratu Boko, situated on the eastern side of Yogyakarta in Dawung village of the Prambanan regency. The origin of this prehistoric site can be traced back to the 8th centuries. This magnificent site is thought to have been the inspiration of the heartfelt love tale of Roro Jonggrang and Bandung Bandawasa. Perched 195 meters above sea level, Situs Ratu Boko is a truly beautiful spot and perfectly positioned to take in the sun rising up to its dawn.
During my visit here, The Phoenix Hotel Yogyakarta was my choice for accommodation. Located in the heart of Yogyakarta near the ever-popular Malioboro district, this 5-star hotel set in an historic colonial building offers an elegant, traditionally furnished interior that blends vintage elements and modern facilities seamlessly throughout the 144 refined rooms.