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Taman Sari (Water Castle) in Jogjakarta, Indonesia

Due to a National Holiday in Indonesia (the Silence Day for Hindu people), I took the chance to go to Jogjakarta. Jogjakarta is a beautiful city. Unique and peaceful. Why is it unique? Because it is the only place in Indonesia that still has a “King” to rule the city. They call it a Sultan. the current Sultan who rules Jogjakarta is Sultan Hamengkubuwono X. It does not mean that they don’t abide our President, but the Sultan’s system is already there since ancient time, and people in Jogjakarta somehow like to listen more to their Sultan than anyone else. So it really is important for the President to keep everything in balance and get into the heart of Jogjakarta’s people. Until now, all things work together in harmony. Sultan leads the people in Jogjakarta and reports to the President of Indonesia.

Our trip started by train at Senja Utama, a business class train, non-Air Con, but with good seats. We paid for Rp. 250.000,- for a one way trip Jakarta – Jogjakarta. Departed at 7.30 pm and arriving in Tugu Station, Jogjakarta on 5 am. It is a very long journey. I am lucky because my partner gave me his seat and he slept on the floor, so I can conviniently sleep on the chair. It is very common for those who travel by train to sleep on the floor. Usually, they already brought a Newspaper/Carpet for their sleeping pad on the floor.

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Picture 1 : The restaurant on the train. The food is cheap, and the beef steak is very delicious.

It was surprising me when I saw there is also a restaurant inside the train. I think it’s the one and only official restaurant from the Train Company. The menu is not so big, but the taste of the beef steak is delicious, the fried rice is just so-so. I still think it is better to bring your own food or eat before you departed. They also don’t have any chilli sauce for us. Eating without chilli or sambal for Asian is kinda torturing :D

The business train seats are more luxury and nice comparing to Economy class. One thing quite annoying is when in some stations, the sellers try to offer their stuff, such as water, banana, cakes, peanuts, tissues, anything. In some stations, they even came inside the train and try to sell their food to us. OMG. We arrived at 5 am in the station and we got into a taxi. Actually it’s not an official taxi with the sign on it. It’s a private car which is suitable for 5-6 person and they charged us Rp. 50.000,- to the place of my friend which is not so far.

Then we went to Taman Sari (Water Castle) by Becak (Rickshaws). Becak is an authentic local transportation in Jogjakarta. It’s manually ride by human, such as a bicycle. Because it’s used by human, it’s quite expensive comparing to go with the taxi or bus. My impression of Jogjakarta is the city of Becak. You can’t easily find other public transportation here. Even taxi, there are not so many. But in Becak there are a lot. If you are going around here I think it is better you rent a bike or motor, so you can easily go everywhere.

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Picture 2 : We’re going around Jogjakarta with the Becak (Rickshaws)

But riding on a Becak does give you a special feeling. You will love the strains of Becak. You also can see the view of the city easily, enjoying it, and take pictures. Becak in Jogjakarta has an unique offering system. Usually they will offer you to take you to every place you want in the city, and they will wait for you, and return you to the very first place you depart. Why? Because they don’t want to go back with empty seats. They usually ask you Rp. 30.000 – 40.000 for returns cost and able to wait for you to finish your activities around 2-3 hours.

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Picture 3 : The Tour Guide in Taman Sari (Water Castle) explains about the history of the buildings

We met with a guide that is very nice. Unfortunatelly, I forgot his name. He was guiding us through the Taman Sari. It’s a beautiful day, bright and rich of sun. Taman Sari itself is a beautiful old building. It used to be a shower place for the Sultan and his wife. The Sultan used to have 11 wifes. So wow, huh! :D Basically it is a place with a pool inside the building. But the water is so blue and has a very nice color. Previously, just plain transparant water, because of the chlorophyll, it became blue and being the attraction for the tourist. The ticket to enter this building per-person is Rp. 4.000,-  Very cheap.

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Picture 4 : Outside and Inside of Taman Sari (The Water Castle) in Jogjakarta City

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Picture 5 : Pool for Sultan and his wife to get shower

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Picture 6 : A man is making the puppet from the skin of cow. For one puppet, he need a month to finish.

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Picture 7 : A woman is making the handmade Batik

Because of the earthquake, the building which previously was much more bigger, is now separated in two. And some area became the local people’s house. So we need to walk pass people houses to go to the Second Building of the Water Castle. I love the alley in here, because there are so many paintings on the wall. Jogjakarta is famous for it’s creative people who love art so dearly.

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Picture 8 : We’re going to another side of Water Castle and need to pass across people’s houses. We can see how creative Jogjakarta’s people are

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Picture 9 : This is how the information is being spread out to the people in Jogjakarta

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Picture 10 : Outside of the Second Building, ruined because of the earthquake

In the second building, there is a beautiful stairs that actually has it’s purpose as a place to worship and pray to God. For Moslem people known as “Sholat.” The Prayer Leader will stand in the middle of the up stairs, and everyone below will follow his moves.

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Picture 11 : The stairs for Moslem’s daily prayers. The place that I stand it is a place meant for the Prayer Leader, so everyone below can follow his moves

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Picture 12 : Some parts in the Second Building

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Picture 13 : The tunnel inside of the Second Building

We paid the guide Rp. 50.000,- actually we think it is not so expensive, since we are in total of 4 people, so we shared the costs. He is also a good guide, excellent English and accompany us for almost 2 hours. Even he didn’t define any price he wants for guiding us. A little bit confusing I know, but we were so happy and satisfy with the tour. It was a hot and very sunny day, but also good for us to take pictures. Don’t forget to take a visit to this place once you are in Jogjakarta. Some couples even use this area for making their pre-wedding pictures.

// Wrote by Dea Sihotang, Indonesia