Arriving in Yogyakarta, after three weeks in the rural landscapes of Bali and Lombok was definitely a change and this busy street scene speaks volumes to what we found. Scooters and motorcycles are the main form of transportation, together with bicycles, often laden with goods going to market. Together they manage to weave in and out of traffic, like a carefully choreographed ballet. Indonesia also has the largest population of all the Muslim countries, and the five scheduled calls to prayer throughout the day were a comforting backdrop to the busyness of this large city.
Yogykarta has been described as the soul of Java. As the rest of this powerhouse island continues to modernize, Yogya maintains a careful balancing act between old and new, sustaining a slower, more conservative way of life in the quiet kampung that thrive only a stone’s throw from the throbbing main streets. And this is where our Trip Advisor research led us in our search for accommodation.
The Ministry of Coffee Guest House, located in the Prawirotaman kampung, is just a five minute bacek ride from the bustle of the Maliaboro area. The rooms were clean and reasonably priced, the staff extremely attentive, and we looked forward to our lattes each morning. Less than 100m down the road is Via Via Cafe, and with its ever changing menu, this friendly little restuarant quickly became our go-to choice for both lunch and dinner.
Via Via in Yogya is actually one of twelve planned gathering spots throughout the world, created to actively promote the concept of sustainable tourism. They also offer a number of small guided tours and we took advantage of several of these, including a tour of the magnificent Buddhist temple of Borobodur.
As a westerner, I must admit that I had little knowledge of the history and culture of the eastern world. I found myself repeatedly impressed with the architecture and detailed stone carvings of this 1300 year old temple, built at a time when western Europe was still in the dark ages. Equally impressive was another temple complex we visited. Pranbanan is one of the largest Hindu temples in the world and coincidentally was also built over 1300 years ago. What I found most interesting, however, was the coexistence in Indonesia of three of the world’s major religions, Muslim, Hindu and Buddhist. We have much to learn.
Our Trip Advisor Best Picks for Yogykarta, Java – Accommodation & Eating
- Ministry of Coffee – quiet neighbourhood; clean and reasonably priced
- Via Via Cafe – good selection of great food items; friendly staff
- Via Via Tours – Borobodur; Pranbanan; Jamu Herbal Medicines
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