My overseas professional career started at Jakarta, Indonesia thus the country will always have a special spot in my heart. It was the perfect place to introduce myself for all the adjustments needed from being away from home and it feels like home indeed that I found myself spending a good three years of my life.
With my minimal Bahasa speaking skills, I expertly moved around the city using microlet, found myself DVD shopping at Ambassador Mall, Kuningan and celebrated a work accomplishment with a bottle of Teh Botol and a bowl of Bakmi Special GM, my comfort food.
Three years and never took the opportunity to explore this wonderful country, that will always be one of my regret. Back then, I was so busy working and saving money, completely shutting down the idea of travelling across Indonesia or anywhere else. If I only knew that travelling will somehow keep my sanity over the years, I should have started ten years ago.
It feels like I need to make up for those lost opportunity to see parts of Indonesia once again as much as possible and then one day found myself purchasing a ticket bound for Yogjakarta, Java, Indonesia.
Like many other tourists, Borobudur Temple is the main reason why I travel to Yogjakarta, however as what the souvenir t-shirts says “You really never been to Jogja unless you been to Malioboro Street”.
Stretching from Tugu Railway Station towards Sultan Square, the 2km Malioboro is a one way street for the city public bus way, private vehicles and a small dedicated section for becak (three wheel pedal power cart) and andong (horse drawn carriage).
It must be the most crowded place across the whole Yogjakarta, a well-known shopping complex for both locals and tourists particularly priding itself for authentic batik and Javanese handicrafts, though the most frequented shops are those selling souvenir t-shirts.
My Bahasa speaking skills came handy when negotiating at shops around Malioboro. Somehow it also helps to scare away pickpockets who lurks around the crowded street targeting unsuspecting tourist. Though it is generally safe, one thing that will make your walk across Malioboro a good experience is to sling your bag across your body or carry it in front of you.
Inside the complex, there are many things to see and experience apart from the displays relating to the rich lives of Javanese Sultans, it a complete compound showcasing what Javanese culture is all about- the decorations details, the Batik museum, the musical performance at Pendopo (pavilion) and the palace servants on traditional clothes performing their daily chores.
Don’t let the becak driver overcharging you for a ride to Kraton or the chaotic scenes outside the complex gate deter you from entering the palace. I believe it is worth visiting if you want to learn about Javanese culture, though be reminded that it is only open between 8am to 2pm with entrance fee of 5,000 Rupiah plus a camera or video permit of 1,000 Rupiah.