Yogyakarta (often known as Jogja) is a bustling city with beautiful archaeological sites that take you in to another world. For me, it was a little break after the volcano treks. It took me away from the cold showers, lack of sleep and cold temperatures to warmth, city vibes, batik designs, temples, slow non strenuous walks and live theatre shows. This usually happens when travelling, you end up needing to give yourself ‘a break’ from moving around so much.
Oh yeah and it was a special moment for me: I bought my first BACKPACK!!!
It was not easy getting my backpack and I had limited time after I recovered from tonsillitis in the hotel. When I finally found a department store that had backpacks they only had two. I took the biggest one and was glad it was only £30.
I said goodbye to some of my old dresses. It was sad to see some of the outfits I discarded in that suitcase as they were symbolic of a beautiful life I had in my 20s. But clothes are clothes and real memories are held within…or on a big hard drive you have at home. I was happy enough to think someone else in the city would be wearing the clothes I loved.
My top 5 things to see and do in Yogyakarta
- Take yourself on a date to the Prambanan!
The Prambanan is known to be the biggest Hindu temple in South East Asia and a lovely sight especially at night!
I wanted to go out so I did what I would have done with my other half or a friend and put on some make up, wore something pretty and booked myself in to watch The Ramayana Ballet at the Prambanan. It was a beautiful night with me, myself, my hot tea, my scarf and the view of this beautifully lit 9th century Hindu Temple.
It could have been the romantic evening I had with myself or it could have been the amazing view I had for those few hours, it may well have been the fact that I was unwell and surprised I was motivated enough to go out. Whatever it was I felt that I was falling in love all over again, with me, my resilience, my silliness and the world around me.
2. Borobodur – The Worlds Biggest Buddhist Monument!
The Fearless Chick!
It was at the Borobodur I would meet lovely Sara. She was the first lone female traveller I met who had been travelling alone for so long. I was amazed by her fearlessness. It was fearless to me because she had consciously planned her trip. I think that takes a lot of guts and commitment and a ‘go get it’ kind of attitude.
What I saw in this young woman was a fearlessness I recognised. She was a reflection of me and a reminder to continue on my travels. It was validation. A confirmation. A “yes, lets do this properly” kind of feeling. That realisation alone takes away any fear that dared to enter my mind from doing it.
Although I have written about being fearless on my HLC blog and despite giving a ‘being fearless’ workshop for women in Singapore it was not until I was on this journey that I could really feel and see what this actually meant for me personally.
How many of us have nudges here and there and refuse to look at them? How many of us become blinded by our own inner voice and ignore the signs to do what we love?
This could be praise you get from others or it could be everything going completely wrong with the current decisions and commitments you have made. Ironically it is the difficulties that get us waking up, pushing us pass our comfort zone and unveiling a life we were meant to have.
The statement ‘meant to have’ is a powerful statement. You know what it is when it just feels right.
It may be travelling alone, it may be learning something new, loving another or starting a new career. Whatever it is, if you feel stuck in a life you want to change or simply not doing what you love, the truth somehow waits for you to wake up. When you do, it can be amazing.
I feel so passionately about this simply because I have seen it from others and experienced it. It is like witnessing a magic trick and wanting to share it with others because it just felt out of this world! The realisation you are more than what you are consciously aware of is truly an awesome feeling.
3. Jalan Malioboro
Jalan Malioboro or Malioboro street is a major shopping street in Jogya. Here you can find department stores, market stalls and street food!
4. Batik and Puppet Making
Yogyakarta is known for its Batik and puppet making. As I walked around looking at my map to find my desired shop I met a local who would make sure I got there without getting lost. There are plenty of shops to choose from and nice pieces you could squeeze in to your backpack.
South East Asia’s random act of kindness 4:
Trusting in others to take me to a Batik shop.
I love the trust I had towards others and also the genuine kindness I saw in their eyes.
5. Water Palace (Tamansari)
Although there are palaces to see in Jogja, a tour to the Tamansari was a nice way to see the history of the city. I would recommend it if you like that kind of thing.
One of the stories I was told during my tour of the Tamansari was that one of the sultans had 40 wives. The wives would bathe in the pool below where he lived and he would throw a flower from the window to the one he wanted. She would then join him in his pool. I was wondering, how on earth do you throw a flower to the woman you want from that distance? The mind boggles.
To find out more stories, visit Yogyakarta!
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