Jogjakarta, Indonesia

The first time I saw Jogja was during an episode of The Amazing Race. There's this Roadblock challenge in Borobudur where the contestants had to correctly count how many Buddhas are depicting a certain type of mudra (hand gesture). Anyway, Borobudur is not part of our itinerary for day 1 in Jogja.

We landed at Adisutjipto International Airport around 6 in the morning. Imagine how early we got up just to catch our flight. Thanks to online check-in we were able to extend our sleep for another one and a half hours.

The name of their airport is tongue-twister material, right?! Try it. Read it, repeat it for 10x while going faster. :)

We stayed at Mawar Asri. Our early check-in was not for free though. I suddenly missed Gosyen Hotel.

For today, we only went to three places: Kraton Palace, Tamansari and Malioboro. No pics for Malioboro though because it's a market so there's nothing much to see. Just imagine the cleanest alley in Divisoria and you'll get the idea. ;p

We hired a tour guide to tell us everything about this place. This place is a huge complex where there's an area for the main palace of the Sultan.

This is where the "crowning" of the sultan takes place:

Our tour guide explained how one set of clothing differs from the rest. Kids, single adult, married adult, servant, they all have different ways of presenting themselves clothing-wise.

Indonesia's not an Islamic country from the get go. Hinduism and Buddhism thrived until such time when Islam pervaded the country. The amalgamation of culture and religion produced a very interesting yet sometimes conflicting way of life among the locals, especially when it comes to politics. In this photo, I'm pointing at a column which is architecturally-inspired by the three aforementioned religions. Of course the lotus represents Buddhism. :)

Let's now head to our next stop! On our way to Taman Sari, we rode the becak (pronounced as 'betcha'). Parang pedicab ng Pilipinas, only that the driver is at the back.

Taman Sari is where the concubines of the Sultan are gathered during the old days. Right now, it's non-functional. But the place is being preserved/restored to be part of the UNESCO World Heritage Centre. This is one of the two entrances to the palace.

Here is the entrance to the pool where all concubines are gathered to swim and "display" themselves to the Sultan. The Sultan will then pick "the chosen one" and she will then be transferred to another big pool (solo nya!).

This is the aromatherapy room of the Sultan.

Within the same complex of the Water Palace, this man's making puppets out of water buffalo leather. I was amazed at the quality of work showcased by this man. The task may look very simple but the outcome looks very complex.

Look at this set of finished products. Ann bought a pair of Rama and Sita puppets. Cool!

A woman making authentic batik textile.

Here's the other entry point:

Here is our very nice and humble tour guide, Andreas Sony. Other than stories about the water palace, he also told us about the Javanese caste system. My heart broke a little, I think. Oh Sir, you will always be in my prayers.

Departing from the Water Palace and heading to Malioboro.


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