Monday, January 31, 2011

In transit from Jakarta to Jogja: Eating no-gravy KFC, finding Hotel 1001 Malam and hitting the batik trail

Indonesia - Overnight at Soekarno Airport
Curled up in slumber at Soekarno Airport T2
Thanks to off-season airfare discounts, my Christmas break moved to January when there's less tourist traffic.  A bit of backstory: the idea of going to Borobudur started out as a private joke among friends who love rolling the consonants of the word around especially when pronounced quickly.  In time, the plan seemed to take on a life of its own -- the planning (thanks Abie & Araceli), the resources, window of free time -- falling into place.

Soekarno sleepover.  We got the flight skeds that cost the least so we arrived in Jakarta at  midnight.  We dared not risk the Jakarta traffic (and finding digs that will be add up to our expenses) so we waited out until our 7am flight bound for Jogjakarta at Terminal 2 of the Soekarno Hatta airport.  The chairs-cum-beds in T2 do not afford a full stretch and mosquitoes abound but that didn't keep people, us included, in grabbing a few hours of sleep.
Indonesia - Jogjakarta Malam 1001 Room Art
Comfy, artsy digs at Hotel 1001 Malam
Finding Malam 1001.  It's true what the guidebooks and internet fora say -- walk out of the Jogja airport to halve your cab fare going to downtown.  From a high of 90,000 Rupiah, we got an Avanza for Rp40,000 at the main road way past the Maguwo train station.  Our taxi driver was kind and patient enough to weave through the small street of Malam off Malioboro to find the passageway to Hotel Malam 1001.  Tucked well inside an alley and hidden from view, the hotel is charming, full of artful details, with a pocket garden.  The rooms are cool and cozy, the T&B clean and well-maintained with hot shower; wi-fi is free and zippy -- really good value for your money.  (The Nasi Goreng at the nearby restaurant is also good)  Hotel 1001 Malam also offers trips to the popular spots but we opted to hire a van with arguably, the best driver in Jogja (more on this later) for expediency and cost-effectiveness. 
Indonesia - Jogjakarta Malam 1001 Yard
Hotel 1001 Malam pocket garden
Info: Hotel Malam 1001; Room rates: Rp70,000/approx. P400/US$8 per day (1-2 pax); Rp100,000/approx. P500/US$11 per day (3-4 pax) • Free coffee or tea; free complimentary breakfast; free wi-fi; hot and cold shower; a/c • Best to reserve as the rooms fill up as fast as they are vacated • To reserve, click this link or email
Indonesia - Malioboro Horse Drawn Carriage
Batik shops abound along the stretch of Malioboro
No gravy Ayam and batik overload.  As soon as we dropped off our bags, we hit the main street of Malioboro in search of breakfast.  Famished and in need to get our bearings, we settled for the familiar -- KFC with a twist: chili sauce in place of gravy.  The chili sauce wasn't as hot as we suspected but KFC is still KFC.  The kind staff at Malam 1001 pointed us to PT Baruman Abadi in Natour Garuda Hotel (near the Tugu train station; open Mon-Fri 7am-7pm, Sat, 7am-3pm) to get good rates for our dollars and it does offer excellent rates -- up to Rp9010 - US$1 for clean notes -- even if the environs are very upscale.
Indonesia - Malioboro Sidewalk Artist
Street meets art along Malioboro
Continually resisting the insistent offers of becak (non-motorized bike carriages) drivers, we scoured the strip of Jalan Malioboro and found a long stretch of batik stores.  Ditto wayang puppets as well as other souvenirs of the iconic temples such as Prambanan and Borubudur.  Amazingly, our search yielded NO ref magnets, my favorite souvenirs.  Seeing the traffic and busy commerce of Malioboro, I can then understand the wisdom of staying in one of the  alleys -- within walking distance of stores and eating places yet a quiet place to retire to at the end of a long, tiring day.
Indonesia - Prambanan Lighted Bambooscape
Notes:  We took a Cebu Pacific promo rate trip to Jakarta and an Airasia flight from Jakarta to Jogjakarta to save on time (travel time: less than hour) • As an alternative, there are buses plying the Jakarta-Jogja route (aprox. 9 hours); there are also trains (approx. 7-8 hours; fares from Rp300,000/P1,500/US$33, one way) for business class • Rates quoted are based on a prudent exchange rate of US$1 - Rp9000 and Php1 - Rp200

Next in Lagalog's 7-Part Series on Indonesia: 
Part 2 -- Prambanan: Under the veil of rain and cloak of darkness


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