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Thursday, February 20, 2014

#PRAMBANAN2014: Free Museum, Souvenirs, Nasi Gudeg and the Notorious Becak Ride

You cannot just look around the temple and that's it. I mean, there has to be something else than sightseeing right? Buying souvenirs perhaps or trying some of the food offered in the place? At Prambanan Temple Complex, you will most likely do more than that. For one, the exit (like in Borobudur) is made in such that tourists have no choice but to go through a maze of shops and food stalls which will tempt you to buy and eat.


Before the exit itself, there is this museum with the sign "gratis" in front which means, it's free entrance. Everybody loves it when it's free so we entered without second thought. It is a compound of several single storey bungalows with a lots if green space and displays of carved rocks on the greens. 
free museum
The place feels like it's more Japanese than Indonesian. Perhaps because of the style of the buildings coupled with the minimalist appeal of the gardens. Or maybe it's just me. 

At any rate, here you get to appreciate the history of Prambanan Temple Complex more as it has displays of  many carved rocks similar to the relief you can find on the walls of the temple as well as other gold and pottery finds and products of the area. It also shows old maps of the area in which you can find the locations of other temples in the town as well as old pictures of these temples and the account of the reconstruction that took place.
On display at an open hall are traditional Indonesian musical instruments which made my wife very happy seeing in person because being a Music, Arts, Physical Education and Health (MAPEH) teacher that she is, she only gets to tell students about these based on information and pictures in books.
And then there's the souvenir alley where one can find many local produce.
There is a common belief that items in shops inside tour sites are usually expensive. Not all the time. If you compare some of the items here, there is minimal difference with the price when you buy them downtown in Malioboro, the famous shopping street in Yogyakarta. Some of the items on sale in Prambanan Temple Complex you can also find in Malioboro but there arr many that could only be purchased here. My wife and our friend Rupert from simple key chains ( with the figure of Prambanan Temple) for only 1,000 Rupiah each which is roughly 3.70 pesos each. Not bad right?

shopping for souvenirs in Prambanan Complex
After a little shopping for small item souvenirs, we had lunch at one of the food stalls, still inside the complex, before going downtown for check in. I noticed that the price is also similar to the ones you can find around town. We ordered Nasi Gudeg for only 10,000 Rupiah. Cheap.


for lunch

Nasi means rice. Nasi Gudeg is It's basically sweet jack fruit stew boiled in coconut milk and palm sugar, making the fruit soft and tender.

Other spices are thrown into the mix but teak leaves give it a brown coloring. Like nasi uduk, it is served with rice, boiled egg, chicken and crispy, fried beef skin.
Nasi Gudeg

And there's the notorious sambal which could make every meal really hot and spicy. 
Add with moderation . ^^
We were supposed to get a cab to take us to our hotel in downtown Yogyakarta bit it was a bit expensive so we decided to take Transjogja Bus Rapid again. Since we were too tired for another five-minute walk, we took the becak to Yogyakarta station. Becak is a cycle rickshaw typical in Yogyakarta. This is the equivalent of our pedicabs in Manila except that with this one the driver is at the back. Passengers could therefore have an uninterrupted view of the road. 

Becaks according to a local blogger friend were not originally meant for public transportation but tourists became fond of it and so the widespread use of moving people around. Comes at a hefty price though. We find it outrageously expensive for such a ride. Becak drivers inside the temple complex wanted to charge us 30,000 per becak for a five-minute ride to the terminal. That's around 120 pesos. Outrageous! Worse, one becak can only fit two persons maximum and there were three of us so we have to hire two becaks for 60,000 Rupiah total. We walked out of the complex and tried to haggle with another becak driver passing by.
It was still a struggle. He wanted 25,000 rupiah for two people. We finally forced him to agree with 25,000 on the condition that he would fit all three of us. Imagine two of us seated while our friend was on top of our laps. There is no special lanes for becaks so it has to compete with motorized vehicles on the road. And there is no other way to the bus station but through the main road where cars and motorbikes pass at great speed. At some point I felt like we could just be hit by a car and fly out of the ride. At one point it was fun. Haha!
The decision to take Transjogja was a bit of a mistake. Cheap as ever at surprisingly 3,000 rupiah to any station. The ride to the airport was twenty minutes as usual but from there it took like eternity. So many stops from the airport to our first destination somewhere along the famous Malioboro Street. Understandably because the route of in loop so you get to have a tour around the city before you get to your destination.
It was interesting looking around at first but it got monotonous after a fee minutes. I was standing the whole time and I was sooooo sleepy. Such a drag. I guess it took more than an hour before we got to our first stop, waited for 10 minutes or so for another bus to come and we were off again after six stations. 

We had to walk ten minutes to our hotel from the second stop. Destination, Edu Hostel Yogyakarta where we spent two nights in the city. More on Edu Hostel on my next update. Cheers!

Postcard Perfect PRAMBANAN TEMPLE in Yogyakarta

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