Thursday, September 10, 2015

Explore Java on shoestring

p/s: Hover on coloured words, I've put some links on them for more information! :)
And I'm still drafting my Melbourne post *^^*

Just got back for a short 6 days trip to Java Island, managed to cover Jakarta-Bandung-Yogyakarta.

Java Island trip was one which I really wanted to do. Bought flights 2 years back but had to cancel the plan due to some circumstances, and this time I bought the flights less than a month from the travel dates! Flights were cheap so took advantage of the Independence day holiday.

Travel dates: 29 August 2015 - 3 September 2015
Traveled with 3 companions.

Flights' fares (AIRASIA)
Kuala Lumpur to Jakarta: RM147.00 ea
Yogyakarta to Kuala Lumpur: RM197.41 ea

Both flights exclude baggage. 
We went on backpack so each of our baggage were less than 10kg. 
We  took 40kg and shared baggage fares.

Trains' fares (booked online at
Jakarta to Bandung: RM29.89 ea
Bandung to Yogyakarta: RM70.73 ea

3hours ride from Jakarta to Bandung on Argo Parahyangan train. Departs from Jakarta Gambir Station and arrival at Bandung station (take note there are 2 exits- South gate and North gate)

8hours ride from Bandung to Yogyakarta on Lodaya Malam train. Departs from Bandung station and arrival at Yogyakarta station (also having South gate and North gate)

Took executive (air-conditioned) because there wasn't much price difference as we took the lower section of the class. They have economy (lowest class) and Business (mid class) which are both non air-conditioned.

Print and bring the pdf file with the booking number, and print your ticket at the station up to an hour before departure time.

Total fare for accommodation is RM154.76 per person for 5 nights,
breakdown will be shown below. All 3 places we stayed I do recommend.
I pick these through ratings and proximity to places we wanna go. 
Do check out the reviews before making your booking.

Expenses (Food+shopping+transports+entrance fees+2 mobile cards with Internet etc.): RM965.24
Approximately Rp.3,689,000.

For list of Indonesia's delicacies, can be viewed here:

In Indonesia, beware of scammers and conman, they are everywhere. There is no such thing as queue and Indonesian time is like Malaysian time, I don't mean time difference. When you say 8AM, it's 8.15AM, or 8.30AM =.=

TOTAL TRIP EXPENSE (for me): approx. RM1565.00
(without shopping, approx. RM1200.00 Jakarta-Bandung-Yogyakarta)
The only difference of expense between us was shopping expenses


29 August 2015
Landed in Jakarta Airport late afternoon, took taxi from the airport to the hotel. Rp150,000 per taxi for a 30mins ride, which is approximately RM50 (KL's price). Checked-in Citi M Hotel ( Cost: RM50/night per person (twin room), stayed 1 night.

Upon arrival in Jakarta, we went for late lunch! Stopped by at D'Stupid Baker, which is one of the franchise of D'Stupid outlets in Jakarta. It's a walking distance from Citi M Hotel. Ate, talked then went back to our hotel to clean up.


My Indonesian friend, Vandani brought us out for dinner! 
V and her bf took us to eat Nasi Uduk which is Jakarta's signature dish 
at one of her favourite place. 

After dinner, we went to MONAS (Monument Nasional) 
but it was closed so we only view from outside (made plan to visit again on the next day). 

Ate Kerak Telor, another Jakarta's dish. Ate on the mat, picnic style, 
which is an Indonesian tradition. 

Ate on the floor, on a mat like Indonesians :)

V then brought us to oldtown. Traffic in Jakarta is really bad, and there was coincidentally a festival at old town "Kota Tua", which is Jakarta's downtown with Dutch former building and Wayang kulit museum with some fancy vintage cafes. We got down anyways and walked among the crowds!

30 August 2015
Early in the morning, we went to MONAS. MONAS opens at 8AM so V gave us tips to arrive there before 8AM and queue for the viewing tower first instead of going around the museum. Plus it was a Saturday. So we arrived there at 750AM just by foot (it's walking distance from out hotel!).

Had problem finding the entrance, try finding an LED signboard. And apparently there is no such thing as queue in Indonesia. When the gate opened, whole group of people just rushed in.

We also rushed to the "Puncak" (means top) ticketing counter as fast as we can. Even right at the counter, with the barrier, there was no such thing as queuing. But since we were fast, got tickets in 15mins and rushed to the "Puncak" and "Cawan" queue for the lift to the top.

Ticketing with no queue =.=

View from "Puncak"

At "Puncak"

Do not spend time at the museum first because when we got down, the queue for the lift was so long. Queue for the lift while there are still not many people. MONAS ticket price to "Puncak" and "cawan" is Rp5,000 ea. We didn't know there is a foreigner price of Rp10,000, guess I passed with my Indonesian slang. More info on MONAS:

Museum, you'll notice group of people sitting around. 
It was a Saturday so there were many school kids

At "Cawan" (base of the Tugu)

Scam 1: After MONAS, we took the public transport "Bajai" to Tanah Abang. I read that it cost Rp25,000 to Rp30,000 max so we agreed on Rp30,000. However when we arrived at our destination and wanted to pay RP30,000, he said it is Rp30,000 each! Which makes it Rp120,000. It was our first time on "banjai" or any public transport in Indonesia. Got so confused and the driver showed his poker face. We were still not use to the currency so just paid Rp120,000. At Tanah Abang Block A, while some friends shop for textile we asked for the actual price, the salesman said Rp25,000 should be the maximum T_____T We realized we got scammed. All got so angry, lessen learnt the expensive way. Tanah Abang is cheap for textile shopping, but you'll need good bargaining skills and lots of time to look around. From Tanah Abang to hotel, we managed to agreed on Rp30,000 for the "banjai", which I insisted even when he wanted Rp50,000. And we make sure to confirm that it's for the whole "bajai", not per person T___T. If it's more expensive, I'd rather take the expensive but more comfortable taxi.

On the "bajai" which we got scammed. 
That time still smile so happily because thought we 
got a good offer for Rp.30,000 for whole "bajai" FOL

At Jakarta's train station, I find it very convenient that there are machines which allow us to print our tickets based on the online booking number. On the tickets, there are barcode which they used for scanning during entry. This system is like the airline service which we yet to have in Malaysia. While waiting for our train to Bandung, we ate Bakmie! Not sure whether we are too hungry but it was really delicious!

Departed Jakarta station to Bandung at 12.45PM.


30 August 2015
Arrived in Bandung train terminal at 3.47PM, checked in Eleanor's Home (homestay concept, Cost: RM22.5/night per person (twin room), stayed 1 night. Traveled from train station to our homestay using Uber.

After checking in, we went to Rumah Mode! It is just walking distance from Eleanor's Home. Spend all evening at Rumah Mode, then dinner at Batagor Kingsley to eat batagor of course. They serve all the dishes and if you don't wanna eat it, just leave it untouched then they won't calculate those untouched dishes in your bill.

Rumah Mode, read as "Mo-de"

Dinner at Batagor Kingsley

In Bandung we decided to use Uber for all of our trips after the scam in Jakarta. Made our way to Paris Van Java, things are expensive here, not factory outlet it's more like a mall. However we just chilled, Bandung's weather is very nice and enjoyed the nice lighting. Bought crepe and celebrated Malaysia's Independence at the living room of our hostel :)

31 August 2015
Booked a car (Avanza) with driver and fuel for half a day, cost Rp.550,000. Made our way to Kawah Putih at 730AM. Due to peak hour, traffic was quite bad. We initially booked for 6AM but the driver arrived late. Make sure your driver is trustworthy and punctual else it will be your lost. Arrived Kawah Putih after 3 hours ride, spent almost 2 hours there.

Criminals look because of sulfur so had to wear mask 

*Please do not attempt, I failed anyways*

Loving the view! And weather in Bandung is perfect!

After that went to Patenggang Lake. There is a stall selling fried toufu, banana fritters and other deep fried snacks near the parking, really yummy we bought more on our way back!

Tea plantation on the way to the lake

The lake has paddle boats and sampan rental where 
you can hire guide to bring you to the other side of the lake

Since we need to be in Bandung city before 3PM, we made our way back right after. Stopped at Warung Cepot for Sunda food.

After lunch, we went back to get our baggage. (checked-out early in the morning before going to Kawah Putih, stored baggage at the reception). Wanted to go Rumah Mode again but we were short on time and it was approaching traffic peak hours. So we went straight to the train station. Walked to Kartikasari to get some brownies and had ice cream!

Scam 2: I guess we were also scammed in Bandung T___T Rp.550,000 is standard for car rental in Java Island but we realized that the fuel wasn't use even half tank. We agreed with the driver that the car rental is Rp.300,00 with driver. However he filled full tank Rp.250,000 for less than 12 hours ride, which we think is a scam because it could be just Rp.150,000 or less and he filled without asking us first.

Make a deal with your driver and make sure there is no change in deal after agreed. And, pay everything only at the end of trip/rental.

Departed Bandung station to Yogyakarta at 6.55PM. 8 hours ride wasn't as bad as flight's because the seat was quite comfy, big leg space and they even provided nice smelling blanket! What I love about trains, unlike plane rides, we get to walk around, no such thing as seat belt signs etc.


1 September 2015
Arrived in Yogyakarta at 2.58AM. Be careful of taxi scams at Yogya station. Price written was Rp.50,000 in town but they charged us Rp.70,000 (yes! even when the price was obviously written on the board!).

We insisted on Rp.50,000 so they gave in. Our hostel is just 4km away! (Make sure you know the distance so you won't get scammed, they actually told us Ostic's is outskirt Yogya city, which is not!) Anyways, checked-in Ostic's House ( Cost: RM27.42/night per person (8beds dorm), stayed 3 nights.

Ostic's House is one of the best hostels I've ever stayed in, huge beds and very clean. They even make up the bed everyday, which is veryyy rare for hostels. The staff will assist you on anything and they are super friendly. This one is highly recommended. Stay in a mix dorm with 8-beds and still comfortable.

Guide from Ostic's House!

After the 8hours long train ride and arriving in wee hours, we slept in till 9AM. We then went on to explore the famous Malioboro Street! This time, we went around Yogya (also called Jogja by locals) in scooter. It was the best choice we made after all the scams. Rented from Osctic's House at Rp.60,000/day each. Full tank fuel is approximately Rp.20,000. Shopped around Malioboro, it's THE place to get souvenirs.

Ate lunch at Gudeg Yu Djum for Yogyakarta's gudeg at Malioboro street. 

Put our purchase back to our hostel and prepared for almost an hour ride to Parangtritis Beach! The highlight of the trip was ATV ride among the sand dunes! It was awesome (plus much cheaper than Malaysia) with the sunset. I think it was Rp.90,000 each so RM15 per person?

Riding ATV! One of the best time in Java! 
The place was nice because we get to go on sand dunes.

Went back after sunset and a friend brought us to dinner at Dowa. It is a shop selling handbags but above it is a restaurant called Honje, so I think it's actually Dowa Honje Restaurant (?) They have their own signatures Nasi Ayam Honje and Nasi Komplit Honje. Honje is actually a type of fragrance flower used in cooking.

Nasi Ayam Honje

Nasi Ayam Komplit

Went to Alun-Alun Kidul (Southern) after dinner where there are lighted tricycles, called "odong-odong" for rental and walked through the 2 trees with a legend of it's own.


Myth said that the "masangin" game, walking between 2 banyan trees shows your life intention. Our friend said that if you have good intention, you will be able to walk straight and what you wish for will come true. However, it is just a myth. It is to show that to get something it is not easy and you will need to work hard, I guess the blindfold/blindness means the challenges?

Us doing the "masangin" game

Right after, we went back and slept, ready for another day in Yogya.
**Take note that all parking is Rp.2,000 for mobil (4 wheels) & Rp.1000-2000 for motor (2 wheels)

2 September 2015
Left hostel around 10AM. Went to Malioboro again to shop for batik at Mirota Batik (now called Hamzah Batik). It is located at the end of Malioboro street, opposite Pasar Beringharjo. This is a must go at Yogya! Batik is really cheap and you can get souvenirs here too!!

Lunch was Fried Chicken Ayam Kalasan at a shop next to Gudeg Yu Djum, cannot remember the name because we were in a rush and just entered the shop >_< But it was nice! And there were 2 other tourists so I guessed it was a recommended place to travelers (?)

Rushed to Prambanan and Ratu Boko to catch sunset! Started our journey to Prambanan at 2PM, arrived in 40minutes. Entrance fee to Prambanan listed below. It was a great time to visit as there were not many people.

Candi Prambanan:



Ratu Boko is just a short ride away. I guess there are 2 entrances to Ratu Boko. The one we followed on our GPS lead us to one which was already closed, so the security guard lead us to another which is uphill. Ratu Boko is located on top of a hill and sunset was beautiful.

On our way to Ratu Boko, catching sunset! Journey surrounded by paddy fields


After sunset we went back to Yogya for Bakso dinner at Bakso Ito (and I just found out Running Man filmed here during episode in Indonesia!) Ordered Bakso Komplit with mixture of boiled and fried meatballs. The coconut drink with syrup is yummy too!

Went back early to rest and prepare for the most awaited trip- Borobudur!

*Java Island was hit by a quake in 2006 so many parts of Prambanan and Borobudur were still under reconstruction.

Tips to save on fees for Borobudur, Prambanan and Ratu Boko:
1. Get a combo ticket. Prambanan & Ratu Boko are located near to each other but Borobudur is of opposite direction. All 3 can be visited in a day but will be very rushed. You can choose to see sunrise at Borobudur and sunset at either Prambanan or Ratu Boko.
2. Get 50% student discount for Borobudur, just bring your student card (from anywhere, even if non-Indonesian school/university). Malaysian Kad Siswa works as well. If you can get the 50% discount, go for the Prambanan and Ratu Boko package.

more information:

3 September 2015
Our last day in Java Island and yet we took the risk to visit Borobudur on this day. How lucky we are for all 6 days the sun was out and there wasn't a day that it rained. We woke up and departed at 4AM to catch sunrise at Punthuk Setumbu as the Manohara package is way too expensive. Arrived approximately an hour later because there was no traffic. Hike up Setumbu and managed to get a spot. However we are really bad in catching sunrise >__< We went down the hill to be at Borobudur before the sun actually rise, because we thought there was haze and it couldn't be seen. Only when we were halfway down did we saw sunrise among the paddy field and coconut trees T____T

by 530AM it was already crowded

Rode to Borobudur, which was not that far away. But with motorcycle, we can only park outside the Borobudur park. Got our tickets and went in. Security was really strict, we had to go through body scans. I don't remember having to go through all these at Angkor Wat =.= And they have a different entrance for locals and foreigners.

Borobudur was...smaller than I expected, maybe because I have been to Angkot Wat. But the structures are different. The stupas which hold Buddhas were magnificently build and carved. All the details still amazed me. The journey out of Candi Borobudur was what tire us, they made us take a long winding path through countless stalls with persistent sellers.

View on Borobudur was very beautiful, 
that explains why the Manohara sunrise view is so expensive

Departed Borobudur around 930AM. After arriving at our hostel, did some packing and checked-out. Extended our bike rental till 230PM so we went for Soto lunch at Soto Sulung Stasiun Tugu (inside the Tugu train station) which is reviewed as a legendary soto. Took cab for Rp.100,000 to Yogyakarta Adisucipto Airport. Dropped by at Bakpia 25 to buy oleh-oleh Yogyakarta.

The END.

Covered as many as we can for a 6 days trip in Java Island. Too bad we didn't have much time for Bromo and Merapi, and one of the place I would wanna visit which is Surabaya.

Our basic itinerary:
Day 1: Jakarta (MONAS, Kota Tua)
Day 2: Jakarta (MONAS, Tanah Abang) + Bandung (Rumah Mode)
Day 3: Bandung (Kawah Putih, Patenggang Lake, Tea Plantation, Kartikasari)
Day 4: Yogyakarta (Malioboro, Parangtritis Beach, Alun-alun Kidul)
Day 5: Yogyakarta (Malioboro, Candi Prambanan, Candi Ratu Boko)
Day 6: Yogyakarta (Punthuk Setumbu, Candi Borobudur)