Rediscovering Yogyakarta

The Keraton has a serene ambience inside

I haven’t really written about being back home in Asia, in Indonesia especially. Everyone always talks about being homesick and culture shock when moving to a new country. This actually also applies when moving back to your home country after being away from some time. Living in Europe has taught me a lot of things: being independent, travelling solo, adapting to new cultures. Moving back home has not been the easiest but it has taught me some life lessons too.

When it comes to travelling, there are a lot of differences between Asia and Europe. The transportation, the people, the weather (especially!) and the atmosphere – everything is different. I also see that Asians are so mobile conscious (…and camera conscious for that matter)! Everytime I want to go somewhere, someone is always recommending me a mobile application to ease my travel and as a traveller I love this. Recently I came across a very interesting campaign about mobile application and Asia by one of my favourite airline, KLM. I took my first flight to Europe when I was 10 years old with this airline (and also when I came back to Europe in 2011) so the trip has always stuck on my mind. Recently they launched a crowdsourcing challenge in Asia, in which it asked video creative to communicate the wide variety of mobile and online services it offers. They received a lot of great ideas and the contestants even made the videos themselves. This resulted in some very funny videos, all communicating that one important message: with KLM, you can take full control of your trip with your mobile. This is one of the funny video that I really liked. I totally recommend you to download their application.

Now, back to my hometown. I haven’t really been in Yogyakarta ever since I moved out in 2009. Coming back home feels weird but I was able to settle in quite quickly soon after I rediscovered my favourite things to do and eat in the city, it was a great feeling to be “accepted” back into my hometown. Yogyakarta is a great city with so many amazing heritage. I tend to forget that since I live here. A few friends came over to visit me after being back for a month last September and so I decided to show them around my home city. It was at that moment when I realized what a gorgeous city I live in.

Typical houses in Yogyakarta
Typical houses in Yogyakarta

Yogyakarta has a great history background and it’s a lively city with tons of things to do. Although I lived here through out my senior high school and bachelor years, I was and still am surprised by the amount of things that have changed and the new things I discovered ever since I got back. Anyway, when my friends came, I showed them some of my favourite part of town. Although I have been there so many times, after some years of not being here, this time it was as if I saw it for the first time. My hometown is truly special.

The Keraton

Keraton is our palace. The Sultan (king) lives here. It is truly a great place, there’s so much history here. The palace boasts so much elegance and rich in culture. There are different type of architecture inside, most of them are gifts from friends of the Sultan. For example, you can see a lot of European influence architecture all around the palace.

Inside the Keraton
Inside the Keraton

I felt a sudden serene as I entered the place, this is probably my fourth time coming here and yet I felt like it was my first time. I especially loved looking at the pendopo which is a large gazebo where people can gather to see dance performances and listen to traditional music.

Gamelan, the Javanese traditional music instrument
Gamelan, the Javanese traditional music instrument

The Water Palace

A long time ago, the Sultan used to come to the water palace to relax. The water palace is situated just near the keraton. I have always come there using my motorbike, this time I walked from the Keraton and I could feel the atmosphere of the whole complex. It was so different to the rest of Jogja. My friend Halim, who is an expert in Jogja and Solo, showed us a small neighbourhood behind the water palace. The place looked abandon though it still has its beauty. I always got lost in this neighbourhood, it’s a great place to get lost too! Halim showed us a hidden mosque, which I tried to find for years since the last time I was there, so glad I had a great guide!

Stairs at the hidden mosque (Masjid Bawah Tanah Sumur Gumulung)
Stairs at the hidden mosque (Masjid Bawah Tanah Sumur Gumulung)

The water palace itself has two pools. A big one and a smaller one, hidden by the side. There is the room for the Sultan, it used to also be a kind of sauna too. The Sultan liked to relax there and I can really see why. Once I got inside, I really could see the relax ambience reflected in the whole place.

The Water Palace at Tamansari, Yogyakarta
The Water Palace at Tamansari, Yogyakarta

The backyard of the water palace is connected to the small neighbourhood with the hidden mosque. It is actually quite a complicated place but I love it. There are a lot of artists hiding in this neighbourhood, like painters and people who could make gorgeous batik, our traditional cloth.

Some artwork in the neighbourhood
Some artwork in the neighbourhood

Prambanan

Prambanan is just 30 minutes from where I live. I always take friends here since it is an amazing temple, well it’s actually a group of Hindhu temples. Each temple has a name of a god or goddesses. Prambanan was badly damaged during the earthquake in 2006, a year after the earthquake happened my friends and I went to visit the temple and I could see some work in progress to restore this heritage.  Now things are back to normal, however there is a place where to enter it you have to wear a construction hat.

Sunset at the Prambanan
Sunset at the Prambanan

I also wanted to see the Boko Temple which is famous for its gorgeous sunset, however I didn’t make it on time as it was already closed. I did however get to see a beautiful view of Jogja from above.

Yogyakarta from above
Yogyakarta from above

I rediscovered my own hometown after some years of being away with some friends. It was a great feeling being reconnected with Yogyakarta. I realized that travelling in Asia is definitely different than in Europe but it is as much fun. During this time I have also discovered a lot of new things in places I’ve been before like Singapore and Malaysia. It’s important for me to have a connection with the places I live in, which was why I enjoyed every moment acting like a tourist in my hometown.

Have you ever left your hometown for a long time? How did you feel when you came back?

This is a sponsored post, however all opinions are my own.

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