Xia's Journey

Exploring Yogyakarta

on April 15, 2015

Date of Trip : 12 to 17 February 2015, Thursday to Tuesday

To : AirAsia QZ 659, 12 Feb 2015, Thursday, 11.10am – 12.25pm
Return : AirAsia AK 1791, 17 Feb 2015, Tuesday, 7.25am – 10.25am
Cost of Flight : S$220 per pax, with two way 15kg check-in luggage

5 nights Accommodation at Whiz Hotel : SG$123.46 per pax (twin-share)

When I told my friends I’m going Yogyakarta, most of my friends would go, “Huhh, Where? Jakarta you mean…” “No. Not Jakarta. Yogyakarta.” I explained (over and over again). Haahaa… 🙂


Off to Yogyakarta, not Jakarta.

Yogyakarta can be quite a mouthful for some, and although both are in Indonesia and ends with a ‘karta’, they are not of the same place. As we can see from the map below, Jakarta is pretty much north of Java, whilst Yogyakarta is on the south.


Same same ‘karta’, but different.

This blog post will hopefully give you a better insight into Yogyakarta; what to expect and what to take note. I’ll be covering some favorite places of interest in the next blog post. Do keep a look out for it.

Where is Yogyakarta?
Located in Indonesia, Yogyakarta is home to Borobudur temple, the largest Buddhist temple in the world. It is also within close proximity to the Prambanan Temples, the Sultan Palace (Kraton), Jomblang Cave, several beaches and museums. Many tourists visit Yogyakarta for its strong Javanese culture and tradition. Today, it is the second most important tourist destination in Indonesia after Bali. With such a massive site for photo opportunities, what could stop my photo pal and myself from making a trip there? It was another check off our bucket list.

Attractions Collage

Clockwise from top left : Jomblang Cave, Prambanan Temples, Borobudur, Parangritis Beach.

Price Haggling
Well, I would never have thought that my price haggling skills would start right from the minute I land at Yogyakarta till the minute I depart.

As we were exiting Yogyakarta Adisucipto International Airport (JOG), cab drivers started crowding around us, asking us where we wanted to go and started tailing us. For a ride from the airport to the city centre / Malioboro area, one of them quoted us IDR 100,000 (SG$11). We did our research and thanks to many of you out there who had so generously shared your information with us, (which I shall attempt to do so as well), we read that a ride from the airport to the city should costs no more than IDR 50,000 (SG$5.50). After much haggling and walking away, he finally relented and charged us IDR 50,000 ~ half of his initial quoted price.


Lots of cab drivers awaiting to hound you.

On our return journey to the airport, we hailed a cab from the street just outside our hotel. We were told by the hotel staffs that the cab drivers outside our hotel ran on meter and hence got into one of the cabs. After we settled in comfortably, the cab driver quoted us IDR 70,000 for the ride. We insisted that he ran on meter since the hotel staff said so. Disgruntled, he turned on the meter and took us to the airport.

The flagdown rate started at IDR 6,650 and it was a IDR 400 jump each click. When we arrived at the airport, the meter read IDR 54,650. We did not have anymore small change with us and gave him a IDR 100,000. He did not have small change either (or perhaps pretended not to have, I’m not sure, I choose to believe in the first) and returned us IDR 35,000. Our trip to the airport had costs us IDR 65,000 instead of the metered IDR 54,650.


Bought these shawls that went from 3 for IDR 100,000 to 2 for IDR 50,000 to 3 for IDR 60,000.

Over the week, we had several instances of price haggling from getting onto a becak to purchasing a shawl. We were outside Candi Merdut when the street vendor offered her shawls at 3 for IDR 100,000. As I expressed interest, she went from 3 for IDR 100,000 to 2 for IDR 50,000 and then 3 for IDR 60,000. Ultimately, I got my purchase at 5 for IDR 100,000 as she didn’t have IDR 40,000 change.

Mode of Transport
After getting into Yogyakarta city, there are several main modes of going around. For several of the day trips, we chartered a cab. Other times, we either went on foot or caught a becek (trishaw). Below is a guide of the prices we paid.

Took a becak from Whiz hotel at Malioboro area to Kraton (about 15 mins ride) = IDR 20,000


The quoted price for a becek was IDR 20,000 (SG$2.10 for 2 paxs). Its rather affordable and we didn’t have the heart to bargain it down further.

Chartered Cabs
Chartered 2 ways cab from Whiz hotel at Malioboro area to catch Borobudur sunrise from 4am to 3pm = IDR 350,000
Chartered 2 ways cab from Whiz hotel at Malioboro area to Jomblang Cave from 7.30am to 3pm = IDR 500,000
Chartered 2 ways cab from Whiz hotel at Malioboro area to Parangritis beach from 4.30pm to 9.30pm = IDR 200,000
Chartered 2 ways cab from Whiz hotel at Malioboro area to Prambanan Temples from 2pm to 10pm = IDR 150,000
Cab from Airport to Whiz hotel at Malioboro area = IDR 50,000 (negotiated down from IDR 100,000)
Cab from Whiz hotel at Malioboro area to Airport
Actual metered costs = IDR 54,650
Paid = IDR 65,000 as we did not have smaller bills. (Do ensure that you have some smaller bills even until you have arrived at the airport for departure.)


Called up the owner of Jomblang Cave directly and he arranged for this cab to come pick us up. Very costly at IDR 500,000.

As you can see, the costs for the chartered cab to Jomblang cave was the most expensive, as firstly, not many drivers know the way there and secondly, the last 300m to the cave was very very very bumpy which needed a 4-wheel drive to get through. Although it was a mere 15 minutes drive on that very bumpy stretch, it felt like forever with your guts spilling out from your throat with every bump. For this day trip, we called up the owner of Jomblang Cave directly (Mr Cahyo Alkantana +62 81111 7010), and he arranged for a driver to come pick us up at IDR 500,000. I reckon you could find your own driver at a lower cost if he is familiar with the roads and knows his way there.

We did a 5 nights stay at Whiz Hotel which was located at the Malioboro area. It wasn’t exactly right smack on Malioboro street but a side road adjacent to it. To me, I think it is an excellent location as it is within 1 minute of walking distance to all the food and shopping amenities but yet not as crowded and as noisy on the Malioboro street. The street that we stayed on is known as Jl. Dagen and Whiz Hotel is the first hotel on this stretch after a right / left turn from Malioboro street. Malioboro street is an equivalent to Singapore’s Orchard Road with lots of shopping and eateries etc.

Whiz Hotel

Love this hotel for its price and location. Highly recommended!

At about SG$25 per pax, per night for a twin room, not only is it affordable, it is also clean and modernly furnished. Although it is a tad small, I’ll still give my two thumbs up for its price, location, cleanliness and convenience. A hotel that I’ll highly recommend.

Hotel Collage

Costs SG$25 per pax, per night – its a two thumbs up!

Local Delights 
I’m no foodie but the below is an account of the local food and eateries which we tried.

Lunch at Gudeg Yu Djum: IDR 70,000 (SG$7.40)
This eatery was highly recommended by the staffs at our hotel and we decided to give it a try since it was nearby.


Was starving when we landed and thankfully the first meal at Yogyakarta was this delicious Gudeg Yu Djum’s, Gudeg with chicken and beef rind on rice.

We ordered the signature dish, Gudeg with chicken and beef rind on rice. Gudeg means jackfruit in sweet curry, and as such, it was rather aromatic and sweet on the taste buds.


One set of Gudeg with chicken and beef rind on rice costs IDR 30,000 (SG$3.20) and a bottle of Teh Botol at IDR 5,000 (SG$0.50).

Dinner at Roadside stalls: IDR 10,000 (SG$1.05) + IDR 146,000 (SG$15.40)
We strolled along the streets and came to some makeshift stalls. Curiosity got the better of us and we decided to have a shot at these local stalls. We ordered the dishes without knowing what they were and how much they costs, as our conversations were only limited to ‘ayam'(chicken), ‘ikan'(fish), ‘lembu'(beef), ‘satu'(one), ‘dua'(two), ‘tiga'(three), ‘goreng'(fried), ‘pengkan'(bbq) etc. Haahaa… But well, we survived!


It was quite an experience for us eating by the roadside, sitting on the mats. Our first order was a simple ‘Cai Fan'(Dishes ontop of the rice) costing IDR 10,000 (SG$1.05).

Still feeling greedy, we got to another roadside stall and ordered ‘Zi Char’ (Dishes prepared upon order).

We had an oily deep-fried fish, prawns, stir-fried kangkung and side salad totalling IDR 146,000. The deep-dried fish costs IDR 65,000 and it was quite yumzz and fresh. The prawns on the other hand fared quite badly as they were tiny and didn’t tasted fresh.




Dinner at Dafter Restaurant: IDR 59,400 (SG$6.30)
We ended up at Dafter restaurant for one of our dinners. It was another ‘sit-on-the-floor’ dining and my travel pal was almost concussed from the contortionisms.


My poor travel pal nearly got cemented on the floor with leg cramps  : X

We decided not to have another yoga session and moved to a table seating instead.

We ordered Dafter restaurant’s specialty, Ayam Rica Rica which was fiery and spicy but a little too tough. There were five different types of sambal and each costs IDR 2,000 (The five saucers in the middle of the picture).

We tried a Wedhang Uwuh, which is a hot Javanese drink made of cloves, nutmeg, ginger and palm sugar. It was hot and spicy at the same time. The total cost for this dinner came to IDR 59,400 (SG$6.30). It was really cheap considering it was a shared dinner amongst both of us.

Dinner at Boko Resto: IDR 138,000 (SG$14.60)
Our initial plans were to visit Prambanan temples and then shoot sunset from Ratu Boko. Alas, we ran late at the Prambanan temples and had to forgo the sunset shoot. It was such a shame. However, since we were already at Ratu Boko, we decided to make the best out of it and settled for a dinner at Boko Resto (a restaurant at Ratu Boko hilltop) before hopping back to watch the Ramayana Ballet performance.

The dinner at Boko Resto was nothing extraordinary but the view that came with it was breath-taking. It had not been one of our best days and a view like this was soothing balm for the nerves.


The food was well…. nothing to rave about… but the view beside me was awesome!

Our dinner came to IDR 138,000 including a packed meal for our driver costing IDR 30,000. It was still a relatively reasonable and affordable meal considering the absolutely gorgeous view that we had.

Hotel Dafam Fortuna rooftop bar and resto
Long Island Tea: IDR 70,000 (SG$7.40)
Inspiration Cocktail: IDR 80,000 (SG$8.40)
Buffet Dinner: IDR 62,000 each (SG$6.50)
Total: IDR 331,500 (SG$35.00)
Hotel Dafam Fortuna is situated along Jl. Dagen, about a 5 minutes walk from our accommodation, Whiz Hotel. From afar, the rooftop looks ‘happening’ with glittering lights and buzz. We decided to go check it out and what a pleasant surprise it turned out to be.


Cheers to a great trip and Happy Valentine’s Day, my travel pal…! May God grant you, your dreams of finding someone lovely soon, so that you can Celebrate Life with that person and no need to be tormented by me for future trips. Heh heh hehh… 🙂

We visited on a Valentine’s Day night and they were having a Valentine’s Day special performance with buffet dinner at IDR 62,000 per pax (SG$6.50). (The usual buffet dinners on Saturdays costs IDR 60,000). The Valentine’s Day buffet dinner comprises of a variety of fishes, shells, warm items such as spaghetti and soup etc. What caught our attention was the free-flow of fishes cooked in any rendition; deep-fried, barbeque or tom yum. If you had remembered (from one of my earlier dinners), a deep-fried fish at the roadside street stall costs IDR 65,000. Here, we could have as many as we wanted at only IDR 62,000…!!


Wooo… Look at the number of fishes on display…!! Bet the staffs didn’t expect that these two gluttons would gobble up half of the stock they had there…!! Wahahaha…. : D

And yes, as you could have guessed, we lost no time in sitting ourselves down and ‘preping’ our tummies for the feast. Would you like to make a guess how many fishes we had by the end of the buffet? 2, 3, 5, 8, 10… Go on… It was a whopping 13 fishes in two hours! We tried all three renditions on the different variety of fishes. And if you think we only had one bite on each fish, nope, that was not true. We finished up the entire fish for all 13 fishes. By the end of the meal, we could feel fins growing out from our limbs and had this urge to jump into the pool and start swimming around. Haahaa…. 🙂

Dessert at roadside stall
Kuehs: IDR 8,000 (SG$0.84)
Not only did we try the local delicacies, we even laid our hands on some of the local desserts.


This seller was so cheerful and friendly that we couldn’t resist to stop and make a purchase from him.

We passed by this ‘kueh’ stall and the seller was so cheerful and friendly that we decided to get some ‘kuehs’ from him. Not knowing what they were, we ordered one of each item and the total came up to IDR 8,000 (SG$0.84).

The local putu (bamboo steamed rice cakes) costs IDR 1,000. Lumpia (fried popiah) costs IDR 3,500. Cenil (glutinous gummy with coconut flakes) costs IDR 250. Kelepon (known commonly to us as ondeh ondeh in Singapore) costs IDR 500. Onde Onde (Fried Sesame Balls) costs IDR 2,000. Now, that got us a bit confused right…?! Haahaa…. Yes, because their kelepon is actually our ondeh ondeh and their ondeh ondeh is actually our fried sesame balls. Hence, its Same Same but Different.

Ronde: IDR 7,000 (SG$0.70)

Every night, we will stroll along Malioboro street and I was tempted to get a bowl of Ronde. However, every night we got ourselves so stuffed up that there was no more room for desserts. One fine night, we decided to go easy on our dinner and make room for a bowl of Ronde since it exuded such a killer ginger aroma.


This Ronde had a killer ginger aroma. Finally got to try it after a few nights of temptation.


Ronde; Like our Tang Yuan in ginger soup, but Jogja version includes jelly, bread and peanuts.

Ronde tasted very much like our local Tang Yuan in ginger soup, but the Jogja version includes jelly, bread and roasted peanuts to the soup, giving it a crunchy bite.

Thumbs up
Shopping has never been on our agenda, especially for a ‘cultural-themed destination’ like Yogyakarta. However, we stumbled upon some great finds like some of the items below. Remember to bring some extra bucks for you’ll never know what treasures you may just chance upon.
Some of the items that were a steal :
5 Scarves = IDR 100,000 (SG$2.10 each)
Men’s Batik Shirt = IDR 20,000 (SG$2.10 each)
Ladies Batik Skirt = IDR 30,000 (SG$3.10 each)
‘Couple’ T-Shirts = IDR 30,000 each (SG$3.10 each)


Love this couple Tee. So cute. Only costs IDR 30,000 (SG$3.10) per piece 🙂 Too bad I don’t have anyone to buy for or wear with… Sighh…. 😦


The price range for a Magnum went from IDR 12,000 (SG$1.25) to IDR 15,000 (SG$1.60). For Magnum fans like myself, you’ll probably have your eyes popped out cos’ a Magnum in Singapore costs anything from SG$4 to SG$4.50. And in Yogyakarta, each Magnum went for SG$1.60 or less!


OMG… Magnum at IDR 13,000 (SG$1.40). Please teach me how to resist ?! Haahaa… : /

We did a “stock-up” of Magnums – not in any of the fridges but in our tummies. We had an average of two Magnums each day and still feel that we didn’t have enough. Haahaahaa…. 🙂


As there were quite a number of attractions at Yogyakarta, I decided to split up the blog post and cover the different attractions in the next blog post instead. Do keep a lookout for it.


8 responses to “Exploring Yogyakarta

  1. […] Exploring Yogyakarta Apr […]

  2. Roo says:

    Hi, its very cheap for your transport to Prambanan – IDR 150k from 2pm to 10pm. Could you kindly share the contacts of the driver? or you find him randomly on the street? thanks!

    • xia says:

      Dear Roo ;

      Apologies, but I do not have the contact of this driver. Perhaps, you could try to negotiate with other drivers using this price.

      Best Regards,

  3. suenyau says:

    Hi, very interesting sharing! I am going Yogyakarta next week with hubby. Just wonder, would it easy to find a cab back to hotel from Parangtritis beach if we do not chartered cab? Coz we are thinking to go beach for sunset view after Imogiri and Kotagede. Might take one way cab to Imogiri and Kotagede. Still considering whether chartered cab is a must since we can take becak in Kotagede as well. Tq.

    • xia says:

      Dear SuenYau ;

      Thank you for reading.

      I don’t remember the beach being an easy location to hail a cab back from. We saw lots of cars parked along the road, but most of them were private transportation. Hence, I reckon most locals would drive themselves there and tourists like us would usually charter a transport and get the driver to wait till the sun sets before driving back.

      Maybe you could have a check with your hotel front desk and ask for their opinion if it would be easy to hail any transport back. If not, I would suggest you charter a transport lest you get stranded at the far-away beach without having any transport back to your accommodation.

      Have loads of fun. Take care and keep safe… 🙂

  4. Mingyi says:

    Hi. May i know where are the exact locations of the roadside stalls that you mentioned in your blog post on Jogja?? Especially the dessert and dinner place.

    • xia says:

      Hi Minyi ;

      The roadside stalls didn’t have an exact unit number, but if I remember correctly, I think I chanced upon them along Jalan Malioboro (the main shopping street), where its buzzling with life every night fall. I hope that helps.

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