Java Day 1 – Yogyakarta – first impression of Indonesia

Java in Indonesia has completely different feel that Sri Lanka – as soon as we arrive we notice that it’s more developed, Islam is the main religion and the cuisine is completely different – much richer in variety of ingredients, flavors and smells… To ensure our experience is even more enjoyable we skip Jakarta (Indonesian capital) – most fellow travelers say it’s just big boring city. Instead we start our Java adventure from the cultural capital – Yogyakarta.

Malioboro – lively commercial street in Yogyakarta

It’s still dark outside when we get up after a couple of sleepless hours during our last night in Sri Lanka. It’s only 3 o’clock in the morning but we need to catch our flight at 7 am to Jakarta, Indonesia. We hardly slept due to heat in our room and noise from planes flying overhead at close range. Instead of having breakfast we walk towards the airport struggling to catch any tu-tuk so early! It starts raining and we get a bit soaked but finally we manage to catch a tuk-tuk so we get on time to the airport. There are a couple of queues to wait in…to enter the airport, for check in, passport check, luggage check …etc.

The flight with Minh Lankan Airways is not too bad but food is not great and only one meal option for everyone. We are seemingly specially selected to fill in a feedback form, only a few people on the plane were – presumably the white people get asked to fill the form for whatever reason. It takes around 4 hours to get to Jakarta.

At the airport in Yogyakarta, Java

At the airport in Yogyakarta, Java

As soon as we land in Indonesia we can feel the difference! People seem to be unusually polite, there is a variety of food places at the airport, and everything seems to be more developed and nicer ……than in Sri Lanka. While waiting at the airport for our internal flight to Yogyakarta, we are enjoying a nice lunch at one of the restaurants at the airport serving Indonesian food. Some random guys approaches us once we move to the waiting lounge and asks if he and his daughter can have a picture taken with us! It seems a bit odd to us….but it turns out later on that is very normal out here!

Finally we land and catch a public bus to get to the hotel – Monginsidi Guest House located close to the most interesting part of the city – Malioboro. We meet on the bus Welsh couple that help us to locate the bus stop we are meant to get out at.

Public bus in Yogyakarta, Java, Indonesia

Travelling on public bus in Yogyakarta, Java

Our hotel is lovely especially that it costs only ~ 33 US$! And now the hardest part begins…..we decide to have a dinner at our hotel but there is no English menu and we are struggling to communicate with the hotel staff who can barely speak English. Having access to internet and google translate helps though and we realise that most dishes on the menu contain “claw” – chicken feet….
After all we have ordered chicken fried rice and dumplings. We are not sure what other ingredients were used but it was yummy!

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