There is no shortage of things to see in Yogyakarta, Indonesia. Jaw-dropping sights, both man-made and courtesy of Mother Nature are at every corner and every turn here in Jogja. One such attraction is the Tamansari Water Castle, which we’ve had the chance to tour on our ‘Visit Fascinating Yogyakarta’ familiarisation trip, hosted by the Indonesian Consulate in Kuching.

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Tamansari Water Castle was originally built as a place for the Sultan’s family to enjoy a leisurely time and also to retreat from potential threats. The structures are typically Javanese in design, and stunning of all are the towers, arches and walls that surround the Umbul Pasiraman. It was originally built as a place for the princesses to bathe and for the Sultan to look for a wife, a practice said to have helped ease the Sultan’s longing to go on hunting trips.

Tamansari Water Castle is a mere 15 minutes away from Kraton Yogyakarta by foot. Besides its pristine pools and beautiful gardens, Tamansari Water Castle also has an underground tunnel that was once used to hide from potential threats, and a unique circle-shaped mosque with a place beneath it where the Sultan used to pray. Touring this beautiful locale was definitely an experience not soon to be missed.

Shopping Spree

After having toured the city of Yogyakarta as well as some of its surrounding attractions, we couldn’t wait to proceed to the next agenda - shopping!

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For bargain hunters, Malioboro Street is the place to be for great deals on a wide range of products. This iconic street stretches a full kilometre and is lined with buildings from the Colonial era that house shops, cafés and restaurants. There are also shopping malls with less traditional offerings. The best thing about Malioboro Street is the fact that it stays alive 24 hours a day, everyday. So you can pretty much feel the excitement of this area even way past bedtime. Malioboro was once a centre of the Dutch government in the Colonial era (1700s to 1800s), hence its architecture.

We’ve had the pleasure of visiting Malioboro Street, arriving in a horse-drawn carriage that took us there from Tamansari Water Castle. After getting off our carriage, we headed straight for some stalls out on the five-foot ways, where colourful batik purses were just begging to hitch a ride in our luggage back home to Kuching. We got a pretty good deal from one of the stalls there, so we decided to grab a bunch of purses to give away as souvenir.

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With everyone agreeing on going our separate ways and meeting up later for dinner, we decided to head to a nice café for some coffee, cakes and pastries. And it just so happened that right next to the café was a branded store with apparels selling at irresistible prices. We ended up walking out of that boutique with more than 10 shopping bags in hand.

Our last two destinations saw some of us doing more shopping, this time at Batik Indah Roro Djonggrang Yogyakarta, located at Jl. Tirtodipuran, and a silver factory in Kotagede. Both destinations are worth the visit, especially for those of you who are curious to know how Indonesian batik and silver jewellery are made. Of course, you can also choose from a jaw-dropping array of batik designs and silver jewellery to bring back home with you.

Great Time

In summation, our ‘Visit Fascinating Yogyakarta’ familiarisation trip was a real blast. The culture, the nature, the heritage, the adventure, the people... what is there not to love about Yogyakarta? Come take a trip down to this wondrous land and discover all that it has to offer. Yogyakarta, truly is fascinating!