i LOVED yogyakarta. not because of it’s famous temples, or the 1-hr away beaches, leather goods, or other tourist activities available. it’s because i did close to nothing there but sleep, walk a little bit, and making myself available to rabid mosquitoes.
i did start to DIY my indo trip bit by bit here (note to self: research ahead!)
Tour Done My Way
my good friend has a helpfully (albeit late) told me that she enjoyed ratu boko more than borobudur and introduced me to her tourguide when she went to yogyakarta. and what a stark difference in service it was.
iwan, who worked at satu dunia tour and travel, asked me first where i wanted to go and what i wanted to do. i mentioned prambanan, ratu boko, and the ramayana ballet at prambanan. and from there he secured a tourguide for the day and a fee. had i known about them earlier i probably would have enjoyed borobudur more
since the cheapest ticket for ramayana was sold out (i was only willing to part with IDR100,000), it was just prambanan and ratu boko with pipin, who was easy to get along with. tourguide fee was IDR200,000 (i think i would have paid IDR250,000 if i went to the ballet)
Roam Around Ratu Boko
we got to ratu boko by scooter, and yes, i did enjoy the place more than borobudur or prambanan because there were no people, mainly just locals picnicking in the vast lands atop a hill. hence i had more freedom to roam around and take in my surroundings.
legend has it that the guy who built the palace did so to impress the father of his bride (don’t quote me; that’s what pipin said). the whole place is in ruins, brought about by an earthquake way waaaaaay back, and the one in 2006. there are plans to restore it; UNESCO had already given the restoration money for the affected temples in yogyakarta, but the government has prioritized the bigger temples (and corruption) hence the state it’s in today.
entrance fee for non-student foreigners IDR110,000, which includes a simple dinner. my original tour was supposed to end in prambanan for sunset, but given that there’s dinner, might be best to spend the sunset here (also, pipin prefers the sunset here, though prambanan’s not bad either)
…is grander, though the scaffoldings are irritating (the entrance fee is also steeper at IDR225,000). it’s an homage to hinduism (it IS a hindu temple, duh), and within the temples are statues of different gods. on the walls are scenes from ramayana.
i also liked this place better than borobudur because of the space. there were tourists too, but there were more temples to climb and just the land area appeared bigger, hence jump shots here are made easier (if that’s your thing).
all in all, i suggest doing all three in one day, and throw in the ramayana ballet if you’re there on a tuesday (people at the hostel who went were raving about it). book it with satu dunia so you’ll be able to customize the tour to your own liking