After a full day of exploring Jumog Waterfalls, Sukuh and Cetho Temple outside Solo, I decided to take it easy that morning at Istana Griya Hotel. Dabbing my wounds with ointment the night before I can still feel the sting and the soreness underneath the skin. It’s a good thing today is about transit, going from Solo to Magelang for Manohara Hotel Borobudur.
Transit from Solo to Magelang
I was told to look for Bus Eka at Tirtonadi Bus Station in Solo as it leaves every hour directly to Magelang. There were no stalls there to buy tickets, the people at the station told me to just wait in a corner for the bus to arrive. After a few minutes before 10am the yellow bus arrived and people started for the door.
Bus Eka was big and comfortable and almost looks new. The bus fare was IDR 20,000 (US$ 2). It wasn’t full so I enjoyed the 2 seats in my row during the almost 2 and a half hours ride as it made its round first around Yogyakarta City before rolling to Magelang. I was dropped at Mungkid where I took an Ojek straight to my hotel.
Stay at Manohara Hotel Borobudur
I wanted to be in the vicinity of Borobudur Temple for the sunrise so I decided to book a room at Manohara Hotel Borobudur even if I had to pay a premium of IDR 745,000 (US$78). (Check out my review of Manohara Hotel here). It’s actually cheaper if shared but since I’m on my own I had to pay for the room in full. It is still a good value since it includes the IDR 190,000 (USS$20) park fee and I get unlimited access to Borobudur Temple. The Sunrise Access where in hotel guest can climb the temple as early as 430am is also cheaper at IDR 230,000 (US$24) per person unlike non-staying guest at IDR 380,000 (US$40) per person.
I think some of the perks in staying in Manohara Hotel is that they have nightly Ramayana Ballet and Wayang Kulit performance with the backdrop of the magnificently lit Borobudur Temple. Both performance tells the epic tale of the heroic Prince Rama and his loyal wife Sita, a metaphor of how good triumphed over evil. The difference is that the Ramayana Ballet is done by performers while the Wayang Kulit is a shadow puppet performance.
The Ramayana Ballet only had 2 performers at that time but this small performance was still gripping as we understood from their dance and motion what the story was. The gamelan ensemble accompanying the performance wasn’t as mesmerizing as the ones at Cakra Homestay but it was enough to set the mood. The Wayang Kulit was interesting to watch as the puppet master drew his puppets one by one to depict his story.
I definitely was satisfied with my stay in Manohara Hotel. It is indeed a sanctuary for healing as well with its pleasant environment and cultural showcase. A perfect place to relax for a change and recuperate.
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Ferdz Decena is an award-winning travel photographer, writer and blogger. His works has found print in publications such as Singapore Airlines’s Silver Kris, Philippine Airlines’ Mabuhay, Cebu Pacific’s Smile and Seair InFlight. He has also lent his expertise to various organizations like the Oceana Philippines, Lopez Group Foundation, Save the Children and World Vision, contributing quality images for their marketing materials.