It all started with a play of words, how the word “Borobudur” fondly rolls out your tongue as you one repeatedly utters it. Then the interest to visit this one of a kind UNESCO site came. Unfortunately, I wasn’t able to join my group of friends on their planned visit so I embarked on a journey to Yogyakarta and Solo on my own as a birthday gift to myself. It was 5 Days in Yogyakarta and Solo of discovering mountain slope temples, admiring wonderful batiks, got into a motorbike accident and met hospitable strangers. Here’s recounting the trip with itinerary and trip cost.
It’s a 9km ride to out next destination coming from Sukuh Temple and Jumog Falls. We go higher up the slopes of the sacred Gunung Lawu and the views just keeps getting better. The afternoon light illuminates the vast tea plantation hills and we pass by a few tea harvesters going up and down the slopes. We are now 1400 meters above sea level and I see the gates to the Cetho Temple (Candi Cetho) bathed in warm light with stone guardians to welcome us.
I still feel nervous when I hopped back on Wazit’s motorbike after that motorbike accident to Suku Temple but I really have no choice but to go with him. I did notice he’s more cautious now as I told him to be very careful after showing my nasty wounds to him. We were on our way to Jumog Waterfalls which is just 1.5km in the vicinity. I really wanted to squeeze this in despite the short afternoon we have here. I think I needed something like this to refresh my senses after all that happened.
“Who are you again? Where did we first meet?” asked my driver, Wazit, who seemed to have his senses knocked out of him. He has been asking me this question for the nth time after our motorbike accident in the highway midway to our destination – the slopes of Gunung Lawu for the Sukuh Temple. Suddenly my bruises on my left arms, waist and knees seems so minor. Do I continue with my trip to Gunung Lawu?
I really have no concrete plans on my 2nd full day in Solo. The night’s full rest with no alarm to wake me up made me feel rejuvenated. Originally, I was planning to stay in town but during breakfast, I was approached by a man named Wazit who offered his motorbike service to Sukuh and Cetho. He seemed okay and the price was reasonable. I was looking into going there as well so I agreed to tour with him later after lunch. But that morning I wanted to continue my walk and this time at the inner streets of the city towards one of the Kratons (Palace) in Solo – The Surakarta Kraton or Keraton Kasunanan.
I’ve seen the fascinating Batik patterns in many shops when I was wandering the streets of Solo Indonesia. An Indonesian Batik is a cloth traditionally made using a wax-resistant dyeing technique. It is believed the age old tradition of batik making was introduced in Java between 6th and 7th century from India and Sri Lanka. Batik are usually sold in meters (2-2.5m) like tubes or sarong, but these days wit has been widely popular for contemporary use like a polo shirt for formal occasions (akin to Filipino’s barong) or a kebaya, similar to what the female flight attendants of Garuda Airline wear. Interestingly, the Indonesian Batik was also awarded by UNESCO as one of the “Masterpieces of the Oral and Intangible Heritage of Humanity”, this makes it worthwhile to go deeper and inspect how these Indonesian Batik are made.
Walking has been the usual way for me to get oriented with a new place. It gives me a better perspective on a place and familiarize myself with the landmarks near the place where I am staying. It’s also a great way to take a glimpse of the local’s everyday life. Like for Solo (or Surakarta), this city unraveled its unique character by seeing it on foot along the paved pedestrian walk of Jl Slamet Riyadi. The low-rise buildings, the less touristy crowd, a sit-back and relax atmosphere, amiable people and great showing of Javanese culture. After setting down my baggage at Cakra Homestay, I went out for an afternoon walk along Solo’s main avenue.