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Thread: Central Java, Indonesia

  1. #1

    Default Central Java, Indonesia

    Hey guys, after being inspired by photos from some CSers, I have decided to plan a photography trip with a friend of mine to Central Java. I will be heading there next month, and I'm hoping to get some valuable advice from you guys, especially from those who have been there before.

    I have come up with a rough itinerary, which still has some blanks here and there:

    Day 1:
    AM - Arrive at Yogyakarta Airport
    Early PM - ??
    Late PM - Sunset shooting at Borobudur or somewhere nice nearby.
    Accommodation for the night will be at Manohara Hotel (recommended by many of you)

    Day 2:
    AM - Borobudur sunrise and shooting at Borobudur after that
    PM - ?
    Accommodation for the rest of the nights at Magelang

    Day 3:
    AM - Sunrise at Rawa Pening Lake
    PM - ?
    Overnight - Mount Merapi hike

    Day 4:
    AM - Sunrise at Mount Merapi
    PM - Dieng plateau

    Day 5:
    Early AM - Sunrise at Punthunk Setumbu
    AM till late at night - Waisak celebrations at Borobudur
    Overnight - No hotel, head straight to airport

    Day 6:
    7am flight back home!


    Here's some questions for you guys that I have, which I hope will not just benefit myself, but also others who intend to travel to this region in future:

    1) I have left out Yogyakarta totally even though my plane arrives there, because Magelang seems closer to the places that I'm interested to go. Would you guys recommend me to spend a day in Yogyakarta instead?
    2) I can't seem to get much information about Magelang on the internet. How is this city as compared to Yogyakarta? Any good accommodation there to recommend?
    3) I'm considering getting a driver or guide to bring me to the different places, or maybe even renting a scooter. Any good guides or drivers to recommend? Or what do you think is the best way to travel around this region?
    4) Any places that you guys would recommend me to go, other than those I have already included in my itinerary?
    5) Any experiences or tips/advice to share, especially for Mount Merapi and the Waisak celebrations at Borobudur?

    Thanks!

  2. #2
    Moderator daredevil123's Avatar
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    Things to note:

    1. You will not be able to shoot borobudur sunset as the gates close at 5:30pm daily.

    2. Manohara is fully booked during waisak period as all the delegations and monks will be staying there. You need to book at least eight months in advance to be sure of a reservation.

    3. Waisak celebrations start several days before waisak day itself at another temple Candi Mendut. The procession of the relic will only move to borobudur on the last day. Celebrations at borobudur will only start after 7:30pm.

    4. For the last seven years, it has rained cats and dogs on every waisak period even though it is in the middle of the dry season. The rain will miraculously stop right before the celebrations at borobudur. Some say it is a test of sorts, rites of passage. So all the sunsets and sunrises during that period will be hit and miss According to statistics.

    5. Officially for waisak, you are not allowed to enter borobudur via manohara. You have to enter and exit via the main capark on the other side. It is around a 3km walk around the complex. So make sure you get a map or GPS to guide you back to manohara if you manage to get a room there.
    Last edited by daredevil123; 14th April 2013 at 10:19 PM.

  3. #3
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    Default Re: Central Java, Indonesia

    Hi Bro,

    Do PM me for driver/guide recommendation.
    I know a person and have been hiring him for 4-5 times. Trustworthy, polite and he knows the way.

    As for Magelang, frankly nothing much there. It is a smaller city and there is a famous semi-military school called Taruna Nusantara. Jogjakarta is far bigger and I would say better. It is 2nd best city for tourist in Indonesia after Bali. You will enjoy taking photograph there. Do let me know if you are interested, I can pin point certain location, food and stuff there. I have been there 10-20 times I think.

    Cheers! And I might be going to Borobudur for Waisak too, but it will depends on my schedule in Jakarta.

  4. #4

    Default Re: Central Java, Indonesia

    Thanks guys for the replies, as well as those who PMed me with some information, really appreciate it

    I have booked a driver through a recommendation from another CSer, and made some changes to my itinerary. I won't be going to Magelang at all, but will stay just one day/night at Yogyakarta. The rest of the nights will be in other parts of Central Java, outside the major cities.

  5. #5
    Member Obelix's Avatar
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    Default Re: Central Java, Indonesia

    Since you will be in that area during your 6-day trip, do consider Candi Prambanan as one of your stop. It is one of the majestic temples around Yogjakarta.

  6. #6

    Default Re: Central Java, Indonesia

    Just to add on. My grandparents live there, you may consider these places for food:
    - Gadjah Wong (or Gajah Wong) at night. Awesome ambience.
    - Bale Raos in Keraton . They serve royal food like Javanese Beer, this is my favourite and it is located ibside the palace/keraton.
    - if you don't mind eating in roadside, go to any of Angkringan (the famous one is behind Tugu Station) you can try coffee with burning charcoal. It's safe but don't get addicted.

    Apart from that, you can go to Mount Merapi area at the location where the entire village was vanished by the eruption and there you could see Mbah Marijan house (he is so called the person who guards the merapi). You could trek, hire a motocross or jeep.

    There is an old cigar factory at city where you can go on and take a look at the process, it only opens on weekday working hours though.

    I am sure you will enjiy Jogjakarta! Do let know if you need any other off the beaten track stuff. Cheers!

  7. #7

    Default Re: Central Java, Indonesia

    For mouny merapi, the terain is a hit rough. Get yourself a proper boots. And, get there before 3ish otherwise it will be very very foggy. And, pray that the sky is clear otherwise, well, things get less attractive. This month weather is fine,but you can expect a lil rain.

    For the motocross, it's manual gear. I tried it but failed. Hahaha you can ask the guide to bring you around th area. Most of them are the villagers who were relocated elsewhere, they put some money together and bought those Kawasaki (or Honda) motor to earn a living. My guess is, give them an extra tip after you get yourself a driver (don't say it before). Tell him to bring you around the villages on the left hand side and tell that you want to take photos. They will usually not allowing you to stop, but if you tell him beforehand and with 25-50% extra, they wil appreciate it.

  8. #8

    Default Re: Central Java, Indonesia

    Not sure if you're indicating to spend overnight in Yogya's airport. Airport there is not as nice, and by midnight i guess it will be dead quiet. There should be a lot of cheap accommodation near the airport. Even the city is not far from the airport.

  9. #9

    Default Re: Central Java, Indonesia

    Btw, just letting you know that I am highly likely to go to Solo-Jogja. Arriving Friday morning, leaving Saturday morning. If you need anything, you can call or sms me directly. PM me so that i can give you my Indonesian Mobile.

  10. #10

    Default Re: Central Java, Indonesia

    And yes, inyending to be at Borobudur for Waisak.

  11. #11

    Default Re: Central Java, Indonesia

    Quote Originally Posted by Obelix View Post
    Since you will be in that area during your 6-day trip, do consider Candi Prambanan as one of your stop. It is one of the majestic temples around Yogjakarta.
    Thanks, I have included it in my itinerary

    Quote Originally Posted by dimashp View Post
    For mouny merapi, the terain is a hit rough. Get yourself a proper boots. And, get there before 3ish otherwise it will be very very foggy. And, pray that the sky is clear otherwise, well, things get less attractive. This month weather is fine,but you can expect a lil rain.

    For the motocross, it's manual gear. I tried it but failed. Hahaha you can ask the guide to bring you around th area. Most of them are the villagers who were relocated elsewhere, they put some money together and bought those Kawasaki (or Honda) motor to earn a living. My guess is, give them an extra tip after you get yourself a driver (don't say it before). Tell him to bring you around the villages on the left hand side and tell that you want to take photos. They will usually not allowing you to stop, but if you tell him beforehand and with 25-50% extra, they wil appreciate it.
    Thanks for the tips! I intend to set off for Merapi early, hopefully the weather is good!

    Quote Originally Posted by jimmytango View Post
    Not sure if you're indicating to spend overnight in Yogya's airport. Airport there is not as nice, and by midnight i guess it will be dead quiet. There should be a lot of cheap accommodation near the airport. Even the city is not far from the airport.
    I'm not too sure how it's going to be like for that last night because I don't know how late will I stay at Borobudur for Waisak. If it's till pretty late, I will just head straight to airport, maybe can ask the driver to park somewhere and let us catch a nap in the car haha! My flight is at 7.25am the next morning, so I guess I have to get there by 6am?

  12. #12

    Default Re: Central Java, Indonesia

    Sure, i will be at Borobudur on Saturday evening too. Don't use flash there, you might see people using flash later on but well, let's respect them. Hope you enjoy your trip!

  13. #13
    Moderator daredevil123's Avatar
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    Default Re: Central Java, Indonesia

    Quote Originally Posted by dimashp View Post
    Sure, i will be at Borobudur on Saturday evening too. Don't use flash there, you might see people using flash later on but well, let's respect them. Hope you enjoy your trip!
    There will be around 2000 photographers there, many are newbies with flashes. I will be there as well. Stay safe, stay dry. Have fun and Good Luck!

  14. #14

    Default Re: Central Java, Indonesia

    Thanks Bro, I have just gotten a bessa. I guess i will shoot some bw film too. Haha.

  15. #15
    Moderator daredevil123's Avatar
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    Default Re: Central Java, Indonesia

    Quote Originally Posted by dimashp View Post
    Thanks Bro, I have just gotten a bessa. I guess i will shoot some bw film too. Haha.
    Most of the areas at the Waisak celebrations are quite dark.. averaging around ISO2000. If you are shooting pushed film to 1600, it might get a little harder.

  16. #16
    Moderator daredevil123's Avatar
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    Default Re: Central Java, Indonesia

    Another year added to the statistics... seems like rain for Waisak the 8th year running.

    Weather in Borobudur - AccuWeather Forecast for Jawa Tengah Indonesia

  17. #17

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    Quote Originally Posted by daredevil123 View Post
    Another year added to the statistics... seems like rain for Waisak the 8th year running.

    Weather in Borobudur - AccuWeather Forecast for Jawa Tengah Indonesia
    I arrived yesterday. Weather so far quite okay. Sunrise at Borobudur this morning was beautiful, but in the afternoon both yesterday and today, it got really cloudy but with no rain.

    On Saturday, if you guys see a photographer using 6D, and his friend with a D90, it could be me!

  18. #18

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    Didn't experience any rain here at all since Tuesday, why did it have to rain so heavily during Waisak

  19. #19
    Moderator daredevil123's Avatar
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    Default Re: Central Java, Indonesia

    Quote Originally Posted by hakhak View Post
    Didn't experience any rain here at all since Tuesday, why did it have to rain so heavily during Waisak
    Told ya.

    It was madness this year. Tons of screw ups and issues... and with the crowd double the size last year, it was a nightmare. Hope next year it will be better with the other organizer.

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