Not so many place officially entitled as ‘Daerah Istimewa'(Special Region), and Jogjakarta is one of those few exceptions. This city in Central Java area known for its laid-back vibrant and creative atmosphere is also a treasure trove filled with acient, colonial and modern cultural edifies.
Exploring Jogja never fails to amuse me, as there are myriads of places that I could choose to go. The city emits a tangible laid-back vibrant but also maintain its pride and dignity, proven by the perseverance of the ‘Sultanate’ system in their governmental aspect.
My first destination in Jogja is the legendary Merapi Mountain. It is the most active volcano on the country that regularly erupts since back in 1548. I witnessed with my own eyes as the bubbling lava spewed to the ash-laden terrains. For those planning to see the mountain but not actually into hiking, worry not, as you can go by car through Merapi Lava Tour program, which takes you to enjoy Merapi from some vantage spot on safe distance by a jeep. It is a definite experience for adventurer at heart.
For the next stop, I headed to Parangtritis beach. Yes, like Bali, Jogja also owns its very own shorelines; in fact, some of them are the best you could find in Central Java. Parangtritis is known for its stunning sunset view, although the sea is not really safe for swimming due to strong current, sizeable waves and unpredicted channels.
Not feeling enough with my exploration, I also went to Gua Jomblang. A cave located on the feet of Mount Kidul with unique vertical entrance. This means you have to know some basic skills in rope climbing, as there is no walkable path to enter the cave. Soon after ‘landing’, I walked on the slope for about 15 meters and gaze upon one of the most beautiful sight in my life; lush ancient forest made by mixture of vegetations of moss and trees unlike anything you see on the surface. A little bit further, I stumble across a clear river flowing under the ground I stepped on, and sun ray which penetrate through the hole of the caves from 90 meters above, forming a glimmering pillar of light.
Before I wrapped my memorable holiday, I also get the chance to visit Keraton; a royal palace where the current Sultan of Jogjakarta and his family resides. Here is the best place to learn about the rich histories of Jogjakarta, as it also serves as a museum of culture, keeping the collections of Sultan’s belonging, from gamelan traditional instrument to the gift presented by the kings of Europe, traced back to its glorious era.