Yogyakarta, The Art Center of Indonesia

When I went to Indonesia for a business trip, I knew that I couldn’t afford to miss a city known for its art & culture like Yogyakarta (pronounced Jogjakarta). It also helped that Yogya is a gateway to two beautiful UNESCO heritage sites of Borobudur and Prambanan. And so after our company convention, we went there from Jakarta via Air Asia. We book our tickets in advance so we got them cheap.

Upon arrival in Yogya we started our tour of the city. Our hotel is only about 10 minutes via becak from the Tugu railway station, one of the oldest train stations in Indonesia. Built in 1887, this station has an old building and about a century of history. It is also strategically located at the center of Yogyakarta, and serves as the departure and arrival of executive and business class trains from Jakarta, Bandung, and Surabaya.

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Walking on the city streets is also a breeze and recommended. From our hotel in Tugu, we walked along Malioboro, the shopping street where you can find handicrafts, art pieces, batik clothes, and small items to bring as souvenir. At the end of Malioboro, we found the President’s Palace, a few more steps and you’ll reach the Kraton.

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Going to the Water Castle or Taman Seri though was serendipity for us. While walking near Kraton, we decided to walk towards the sign that points to Taman Seri. When we reached a corner street where most becaks are parked, a person talked to us and volunteered to take us to the castle. We go with our guts and instinct and went along with the old helpful gentlemen. With him, we entered a side street, which was a short cut to the water castle. Along the way, we saw some batik schools. If not for him, we wouldn’t see this street and hence fail to see how the locals see the surroundings of the castle. I guess travel should always be a combination of safety precaution and instinct. We wouldn’t want to miss an opportunity to befriend a local.

And so we went inside Taman Seri and saw this man, creating a Rama puppet. We asked and tooked his picture.

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The water in the castle looks clean in the pictures but that’s not the case. Although, I’m not sure if people actually use the pool nowadays.

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