I am one of the lucky people (or, to quote a friend ” a lucky bastard” :d) who could frequent Yogyakarta for business, pleasure or combination of both. I had come to the province now and then with the family when I was younger, but not too often. The ‘regular’ schedule began in 2000 when I joined an international organization in Jakarta. Their work programs required some of the staff, including me, to travel extensively to all parts of this country and Yogyakarta is among them. From then on, I travel to Yogya 5 to 7 times a year. Interesting, huh?
When I travel for business, I wouldn’t have much time to explore the city. Even so, I love the setting of this province. Everywhere I go there will be a lot of people smiling to you, as if they can recognize an ‘outsider’ from distance. Or maybe it’s because of my not-so-Javanese-although-I-am-considered-a-Javanese face. Whenever I go to Malioboro, because I wouldn’t say I come to Yogya if I don’t set my feet on the street, there will be becak (pedicab) drivers offering people a tour to shops and paying them as low as 3 thousand Rupiahs. And remember, they have work hard to paddle the becak if I sit in it :)) There will be street singers singing to people eating at the lesehan hawkers. All the things I always miss
I witness the transformation, from when there were not many malls until now where there are several huge malls. From when college students were nice and behaved, until now when people always say the life is getting ‘crazier’ with a lot of sex and drug parties
One thing I love the most about Yogya is that everything is CHEAP. Back in 2000, my office provided a small perdiem of IDR 120,000 per day. In Jakarta, you can spend this amount for one meal. In a flash. In Yogya, you can have three meals in three days with the money. Now, I usually go there with some clients who will provide me per diem of IDR 300,000 to AUS$ 85. Can you imagine what I can do in Yogya with AUS$ 85 when one meal would only cost IDR 12,000 (AUS$ 1.5 or US$ 1.2)? The answer is SHOPPING.
I fancy Batik. With all my heart. When people were not aware of its beauty, I already hunted for it whenever I go to provinces that produce batik. When people wear Batik more often, I could never decide which one of my collections I will transform to a dress. They are just too gorgeous :)
Eating out is another experience. I will share in different blogs about each restaurant I savor.
One thing I wouldn’t miss when I go there is Reflexology massage. Sounds weird? Hhhmmm…. Try this. I always go to similar massage parlor in any province I go to. I am a massage freak. The one place I finally set my heart on in Yogya is called Kakiku (My Feet). There are several Kakiku but I regularly come to the one on Dagen street. My choice will be 90 minutes full body massage in VIP room. How much will it cost me? IDR 45,000 only (US$ 5). So, I usually set my shopping and eating out agenda to end at 8.30 then rush to Dagen area and get my massage of the day. Perfect to soothe my achy feet after walking and standing for so long.
Yogya will always be the place I love. Where I could spend a quiet weekend and go home with 7 new batik collections :)