The 6:00 flight from Lombok to Yogyakarta was the only direct one, so we took this one instead of transferring in Denpasar again. Most of Java was still pretty dark when we flew over. As we were getting closer to Yogyakarta, the highest peaks started to glow. We had an amazing view over Mt. Merapi, flying eye level with the intimidating cone and the rising smoke.
We were situated at Andelis Homestay. A cozy guesthouse in the northern part of Yogya. The manager Bram was just the sweetest guy. He gave us a few pointers on what to see in the city and how to reach the main sights.
We took a couple of very cheap buses to Malioboro street, a major shopping area, mainly with stuff we didn't need. The coolest point was Beringharjo Market, a huge place full of spices, fruits and vegetables. We bought some stuff since we learned to cook in Bali :P
Candi Prambanan is a 9th-century Hindu temple complex. It's located 17 kilometres northeast of the city and we reached it by bus. The temple compound, a UNESCO World Heritage Site, is the largest Hindu temple site in Indonesia, and one of the biggest in Southeast Asia. Originally there were a total of 240 temples standing in Prambanan. It is represented by typical tall and pointed Hindu architecture, and by the towering 47 m high central shrine, dedicated to Shiva.
I also visited the nearby Candi Sewu, a Buddhist temple complex. The second largest only to the mighty Borobudur. We bought combo tickets for Prambanan-Borobudur, which were a bit cheaper and we went to Borobudur the very next day.
Bram from Andelis Homestay offered us a day trip to Borobudur which was the most convenient for us. We woke up early before sunrise and drove out of Yogyakarta. Borobudur isn't that close at all - about 40 km away from the city. We first drove to a viewpoint and watch the sun rise behind Mt. Merapi. As is got brighter we could spot Borobudur in the mist below. Absolutely stunning.
After sunrise we rushed down the hill to reach the entrance before the massive crowds. 9th-century Buddhist temple in Central Java is one of the greatest Buddhist monuments in the world.
The temple consists of nine stacked platforms, six square and three circular, topped by a central dome. The temple is decorated with 2.672 relief panels and 504 Buddha statues. The central dome is surrounded by 72 Buddha statues, each seated inside a perforated stupa.
The temple was packed but you could easily escape the crowds and explore the floor on your own. We came to Yogyakarta for the temples and we were very much impressed.
The scenery around Borobudur is stunning. There are green mountains all around. Our last stop was Gereja Ayam, kind of a creepy temple. The locals have dubbed it the Chicken Church, while the crumbling chapel is actually meant to look like a dove. The man behind this structure supposedly received a holy vision that inspired him to create the dove church.