Semarang to Jogjakarta

Tuesday, June 19, 2012

After spending the morning with Tamara and her three kids they take me the shuttle bus which is a few minutes from their house. Tamara has reserved me a seat, however, there end up being only myself and one other passenger for the trip to Yogyakarta. When I go to pay I suddenly note the lack of a debit card. A sinking feeling that I may have left it at the last atm machine hits me…in my hurry to check out of the guest-house on time yesterday morning I ended up going to 6 atms before I found one that was both working & accepting my card, by which time I was running late…hm…such an absent minded traveller. Not totally at a loss, I did change some money into USD back in Port Moresby and hopefully a few places will take credit cards (almost no one did in Bali) as I have 43,000 Rp (~4 USD).

The drive to Yogyakarta (Jogja ) It’s a lovely, clean, comfortable, mini-bus, with reclining seats, air-conditioning – this can’t be profitable – the tickets are 50,000 Rp – 5 USD. We climb the hills leaving the traffic of Semarang, which in comparison to Kuta is nothing, and in the confines of the air-conditioning there is a refreshing lack of the nauseating diesel smell. The mountains, again, barely visible in the distance rise up in striking contrast to the seemingly flat landscape in front of me. Land forms always fascinate me I think it’s because they have all so uniquely formed by different forces and those forces make themselves evident in the peaks and folds.  I doze in and out of consciousness as we make our way up through the green canopy and small towns made of red-brick buildings, stucko and tile roofs. The traditional architecture of the region seems to be well disguised by western influence but the agricultural practices still show signs of the traditional methods. The views are stunning and I’m glad I’m taking this route, seeing a country from this vantage point gives me a better sense, more connection to the place than simply arriving in an airport and walking out the doors into a metropolitan area.

Another driver of a van agrees to take me to ViaVia for 20,000 Rp – half of my remaining local currency.  ViaVia is this fantastic cafe/travel agent/guesthouse, who fortunately takes CC as that will be my biggest expense in Jogja.  On the way over I immediately like Jogja, it’s a bit gritty but real and is known as the cultural centre of Indonesia, hosting most the universities in the country, including its oldest.

My room at ViaVia is simple, but it’s the bathroom I LOVE. It’s right on the street, literally outside, open to the sky, privacy provided by bamboo walls. As I unpack the sunset call to prayer begins ringing through the street, it’s hauntingly beautiful.

The ViaVia guesthouse is about 200 meters down the road from their Travel store and restaurant and Mikal has told me the food is good. After arranging for a tour tomorrow morning to Borobudur and Prambanan (Buddhist and Hindu temples respectively) I have a small meal and go to bed – my tour starts at 3am so I can see the sunrise. Oh and in Jogja there aren’t Taxi guys – but pedi-cab guys.

2 thoughts on “Semarang to Jogjakarta

    • Hi,
      The sunrise tour is slightly more expensive but well worth it because you avoid a lot of the crowds. The tour itself is put on by the hotel at the base of Borobudur and includes a breakfast when you are done. You don’t need to be a guest to take the tour. I believe it was roughly 300 Rp. I used: http://www.viaviajogja.com/viavia_yogyakarta_borobudur.htm (note the tour listed there isn’t the sunrise tour but they are very helpful in finding a guide who will take you, also the price listed there doesn’t include the entrance fee). Cheers, Molly

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