Lost in Malioboro – a Heaven to Shoppers and Culture Hunters
During my trip to Jomblang Cave last month, I spent my first day in Yogyakarta exploring the famous Malioboro Street. This wasn’t my first time stepping my feet on this iconic market, but the unique sensation it spread got me hooked everytime I visited this historical city.
I stayed in Gallery Prawirotaman, about 4.0 km away from Malioboro. It has a pretty comfy room, large pool, and all the facility I need. The staffs were so kind that I felt like I was talking to my own friends. With such low price and top quality, this hotel is one of the best accommodations near Malioboro I’d recommend. To be honest, it will be hard to find an accommodation like this in Jakarta. So I was really happy about it.
After unpacking my loads and refreshing myself in a nice hot shower, I grabbed my purse and ordered a taxi to Malioboro 1 Street. Malioboro is divided into two sections, Malioboro 1 and Malioboro 2 Street. Malioboro 1 is a heaven for shoppers, while Malioboro 2 is the place to enjoy the historical side of Yogyakarta.
It wasn’t hard for the driver to find my hotel, since Gallery Prawirotaman was pretty famous. The driver was so nice. He talked about his family and asked me about my destinations in Yogyakarta. He suggested me to go to Borobudur but I thought I’d skip that. Before I knew it, the 14-minute ride was over and I was arrived in Malioboro. The driver reminded me to keep my purse at front, since there could be thieves mopping around the street. Thank you, sir!
Hello, Malioboro! We Meet Again
As usual, Malioboro Street is always crowded. It’s filled by a lot of street vendors, pedicabs, horse cart, and tourists from various places.
the signature Malioboro street sign stood almighty in the corner of the rather small boulevard, surrounded by tourists who took turn in taking photos with the iconic street sign as a prove that they’ve been there.
I moved my feet to the common route people take when visiting this crowded market. It was store terraces that were converted into a path with a lot of local merchants in both of your sides. What made me hooked with this place is how unique and affordable the items they sold. You can get a comfy “I Love Yogyakarta” shirt for only RP 30,000 ($2,3 approx) and a great batik dress for RP 45,000 ($3,4 approx). If I hadn’t taken control of my shopper instinct, I would’ve gone in shopping spree in instant.
Besides apparel, you can find a lot of unique and cute accessories, such as key chains, bamboo-case pens, and batik bags. My favorite is the key chains. The crafters made it resemble Yogyakarta road signs, Wayang, and other cute shapes. What unique is, some of them are made of polished coconut shells. Not a common item you can find in your everyday life. I couldn’t help but bought some of them as souvenirs for my friends (and myself).
After strolling around Malioboro 1 Street for nearly an hour, I stopped at a local café to rest a bit while sipping a cup of nice ice tea. Cafes and restaurants in Malioboro 1 commonly decorated with Indonesian interior – wooden furniture, Javanese wall hangings, traditional masks and tableware. Even the staffs are also dressed in Indonesian traditional apparel. They really wanted to spoil tourists with Yogyakarta culture, which I found really nice.
Then, it was time to move to Malioboro 2.
You can get there by pedicab. It wasn’t hard to find them, since they’re everywhere. Malioboro 2 located near the Keraton, a palace complex of Yogyakarta royal family. This is where Sultan Hamengkubuwono, the highest authority in Yogyakarta, rules over the province.
But my destination wasn’t the Keraton.
I stopped at Vredeburg Fortress, Netherland’s ex fortress that is converted into a museum. The entrance ticket was as low as RP 7,500 (it’s less than $1!). I got to see the war remains from colonialism era. Starting from the weapons, tools, miniatures, paintings, to statues of the heroes (including Soekarno who read the proclamation text).
It reminded me how deep is the history that Yogyakarta keep. It wasn’t easy to discover a historical city with rich culture intact between this modern era. I thought that what made people never been bored of Yogyakarta and keep coming to enjoy its beauty.