Friday, October 19, 2012


In Japan, there are national holidays in most months. However, in June there is none. Actually, from Golden Week in the beginning of May until Sea Day in mid July, there are no holidays at all. It is two months and a half just working amid the Japanese rainy season. This routine sometimes makes you feel slightly blue, specially when it has been raining for days without stopping!

Last July, we decided to break routine and have a 5 day holiday to go to Indonesia. Direct flights to Indonesia take around 8-9 hours, but we had quite some miles from Delta/KLM and decided to use them for a Tokyo-Singapore round-trip flight. From Singapore, it was easy to get to Indonesia using Air Asia or any other cheap company. The aim of our trip was clear, we wanted to visit Borobudur and Prambanan in Jogyakarta, Central Java, and the island of Bali.

Upon arrival in Jogyakarta airport, the heat and humidity of the tropics welcomed us to Indonesia. We left the airplane in the middle of the tarmac and walked to the arrivals building by ourselves in a very chaotic way. That was the first sign we were back traveling! Next to us, in the visa counter, there were the typical westerners traveling for a long time in South East Asia: big backpacks and some T-shirt with the local beer of some neighboring country... after getting our visa on arrival, we were greeted by a taxi driver I had chartered for the day. Yes, traveling from Japan, time is minimal, so I had to give up on cheap options and I had to go for the most time efficient solution. Anyway, chartering a taxi for a full day is less than 3000-4000 yen (around 30-40 euros). 

Our first stop was Prambanan, but on the way we stop to see some smaller temples like Kandi Kalasan

 and to taste the local food:

After lunch, we visited a nearby temple, Candi Plaosan which turned up to be really impressive, specially since we were craving for cool temples!


Just a couple kilometers from Plaosan, the UNESCO World Heritage site of Prambanan stands in all its magnificence. This Hindu temple complex is composed of several massive temples made of stone which seem to try to reach out for the sky.

The first view of the site is surely breathtaking, but the crowds and the high price (slightly less than 20 USD per person) make this place less out-worldly.

When the Sun goes down, the contours of the tall temples shadow the sunset sky and dwarf all the crowds watching the day agonize away.

Next to Prambanan, there is another small temple which is well worth visiting, Candi Sewu. It is a Buddhist temple and that contrasts quite a lot with Prambanan. Architecture is quite different and most importantly, there are many Buddha statues! ;)

From there, our taxi driver took us to our hotel for the night: the only hotel within Borodupur, the Manohara hotel, which turned out to be one of the highlights of the trip, together with the temple itself. Without any doubt, one of the most impressive sites in Asia and probably in the world.

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