Yogyakarta, the cultural city

Yogyakarta (also Jogjakarta, or Yogya and Jogja for short) is the capital city of the Yogyakarta Special Region (Daerah Istimewa Yogyakarta) in Java, Indonesia. It is famous for its tradition, culture, and arts. It is every traveler’s paradise and shopper’s delight. When visiting this cultural city, make sure you do not miss these 8 must-visit spots.

Malioboro Street

Malioboro Street is the biggest shopping street in Yogyakarta. Around one-kilometer long, Malioboro Street offers  different choices of shops, hotels and restaurants for its visitors. The shops vary from traditional local shops, to big shopping centers. Local vendors are spread along the sidewalks in Malioboro, and you can choose from many types of souvenirs: batik clothes (traditional cloth painted with wax), wayang (Javanese puppets), and much more.

Kraton Yogyakarta

Kraton Yogyakarta (or ‘Yogyakarta Palace‘ in English) is the heart of Yogyakarta. It is not only a palace complex, but also where the Sultan of Yogyakarta and his family live. Be prepared to be amazed at the Dutch-style stained-glass windows which decorate the palace, or the intricately decorated roof and marble floor. Here, you can find several small museums which display artifacts from the different sultanates, as well as other Javanese artifacts from different eras. You can also find old photographs of former Sultans of Yogyakarta.

Taman Sari Water Castle

Taman Sari is a water castle located approximately two kilometers south of Kraton Yogyakarta. It is an old royal garden built in the 18th century. The complex includes a workshop area, a resting area, a meditation area, a defense area and a hiding place. Basically, Taman Sari can be divided into four different zones: the Segaran Lake area in the west, the Umbul Binangun bathing complex to the south of Segaran Lake, the Pasarean Ledok Sari and Garjitawati Pool in the south of the bathing complex, and the remaining parts of the complex.

Prambanan Temple

Being one of the largest Hindu temples in south-east Asia, Prambanan Temple was also believed to be the testimony of love from a powerful young man named Bandung Bondowoso to Princess Roro Jonggrang. The temple itself was built in the 10th century as an tribute to Shiva. Visitors will be mesmerized by its many magnificent structures. The temple opens daily from 7:30 am to 5 pm. Tickets are classified by domestic or foreign visitors. The latter are charged USD 18.

Borobudur Temple

Borobudur Temple is clearly the crucial destination to visit when in Yogyakarta. Being the largest Buddhist temple in the world, visitors will be delighted with a breathtaking view from the top of this 800-AD temple. Beat the crowds and the heat by visiting the temple at sunrise, at approximately 4:30 am. The local guides will help visitors understand the ornately decorated relief walls around the temple. Foreign visitors are charged USD 18 to enter.

Ullen Sentalu Museum

The Ullen Sentalu Museum is a private museum on art and Javanese culture. It is situated in Kaliurang, Yogyakarta. Established in 1994, the museum belongs to four of the central kingdoms of Java: two kingdoms in Yogyakarta and the other two in Surakarta. It displays a wide range of paintings, artifacts and relics from royal houses and palaces (kraton) of Yogyakarta, Surakarta, Pakualam and Mangkunegaran.

Mount Merapi

The beautiful yet terrifying Mount Merapi is the perfect tourist attraction for adventurous travelers. This very active volcano in Indonesia has erupted 68 times since 1548. Dare to hike the mountain to shoot spectacular photos while grooving on amazing scenery. A ticket booth is available before the village of Selo, and it is the only way to hike to the summit of the mountain. Most climbers start their hike at 1 am to be able to reach the summit by sunrise at 5:30 am.

Beringharjo Market

Being the oldest market in Yogyakarta, Beringharjo Market upholds the town’s historical and philosophical values. It is a multi-level market with diverse sellers, offering different items from fabrics, clothing, herbs and spices, to wedding supplies and souvenirs. It is also the land of batik in Yogyakarta, especially inexpensive stamped batik (batik cap). The market opens daily from 7:30am to 4pm. Visitors are advised to bring cash and to utilize their bargaining skills when shopping in the market.

source : http://theculturetrip.com/

Good backpacking tips for limited budget

Those who want to travel but do not have a big budget. MAY tips below are suitable for us.

Just because you’re pinching pennies doesn’t mean you can’t have a fun backpacking trip. It does mean being smart, finding ways to cut corners and watching your spending throughout your journey. Figure out which country you want to visit and how you’re getting there, and then make it your goal to have a little money left over for your next trip. Use these 10 tips to keep your backpacking trip on budget.

Pack light

The key to backpacking is “less is more.” If you try to bring 4 pairs of jeans, there’s no way you’re hiking that mountain or catching that last minute train. Leave stuff behind and it will all be there when you come home. This includes objects with sentimental value! Whether it’s your favorite piece jewelry or a letter from a grandparent, bringing valuable items is asking for disaster. Only pack what you wouldn’t mind replacing. Dodge an emotional disaster and avoid paying airlines for overweight luggage or extra checked bags.

Camp out

If possible, try camping out for at least part of your journey. In developed countries, there are plenty of comfortable campsites that won’t dent your budget. It’s a great option for a seasoned camper who doesn’t mind carrying their own tent. Just remember to stay safe, especially if you’re backpacking solo.

Get a hostel with a kitchen

If camping isn’t your thing, then try one of the hundreds of backpacker-friendly hostels across the world. Check to see if they have complimentary breakfast or, better yet, a communal kitchen stocked with basic utensils and cooking items, as these are the best places to backpack. Making a couple meals at your hostel will save you a lot of money in the long run. A communal kitchen is also a great place to meet and bond with other travellers.

Bring your own snacks

Backpacking can be exhausting. Snacking between meals will help you stay engaged in all your adventures. Even in the cheapest countries to visit, local vendors know this, and will upcharge tourists who come to them for a quick bite. Bring your own granola bars and save that money.

Buy a train pass

In certain regions, like Western Europe or Asia, you can pre-purchase a train pass that allows you to travel relatively freely over a period of time. If you know you’ll be travelling a lot within the region, the pass could save you money over the course of your trip.

Walk instead of taking a cab

It may seem convenient to take a cab to your destination, but don’t do it! Between the mileage cost, tipping, and the added secret tourist fee (many cab drivers can charge tourists more than locals because they don’t disclose rates) you could rack up a hefty bill. Walking a little extra is good for your body, the environment and your wallet. If something is too far to walk, then take a bus or metro. Public transit costs less than $2 in many cities.

Be careful of pickpockets and scam artists

Whether you’re backpacking through Europe or Southeast Asia, every city has some form of pickpockets or scam artists. They can spot a tourist from down the street and they will take advantage of you. The fastest way to lose money when traveling is having it stolen, so keep that cash close to your body, in hidden pockets and money belts.

Visit the liquor store

As you’ve probably realized, local businesses are eager to squeeze every penny possible from foreigners—and can you really blame them? Bars and clubs located near major tourist sites will charge more for beers, because travellers won’t know the difference. Pregame at your hostel and buy less drinks when you go out. Many cities also allow public drinking, but check the local laws in your travel guide before you leave.

Also be aware that a lot of European clubs use drink cards. The club gives you a card when you enter, it gets punched each time you order a drink and then you cash out your card at the end of the night. Pay attention to your bartender to prevent over-punching. And don’t lose your card! The fees for a lost card can be astronomical.

Avoid tourist traps

Follow the locals. Where do they go for lunch, how do they spend their Friday afternoons? Make a list of things that are free all week: parks, sculpture gardens, window-shopping, etc. Make sure you have enough free entertainment throughout your backpacking trip that you never feel forced into paying money (take advantage of free walking tours, but keep in mind you’re expected to tip your guide). Then figure out which tourist attractions offer the best deals. Museums and playhouses sometimes offer student discounts, or free/reduced admission on certain days. Prioritize your activities to keep net costs low.

Travel with a group

Solo backpacking is a freeing experience, but if your friends are willing and able, bring them along! Travelling in a group can save you major money. For starters, you share necessities and downsize your luggage. One person carries toiletries, the other brings snacks. In a group, less food is wasted and you can take advantage of each other’s particular set of skills. You might not know how to pitch a tent, but your friend does (see tip 2). Meanwhile, you might be the only one who knows how to cook (see tip 3). Of course, travelling with other people complicates the planning process, and you might not always agree on where to backpack, but don’t let that scare you. Even if you split up for part of the trip, you can reconvene in certain cities.

source : http://www.studentuniverse.com/

The best place in Asia for real travelers

Many interesting places in asia that must be visited. Here are places in asia that must be visited if you are a true travelers.

  1. Siem Reap, Cambodia

When the morning light washes over the overgrown temples and ruins of Angkor Wat, a simple Siem Reap sunrise becomes a profound event. The ancient structures are contained within one of the largest religious complexes in the world. The complex and the 12th century Angkor Thom royal city are considered the main reasons to visit Siem Reap. Get a lesson in national history at the Cambodian Cultural Village, and a lesson in bargaining at the Angkor Night Market, a bonanza of shopping stalls, food vendors, and bars.

2. Hanoi, Vietnam

The charming Vietnamese capital has aged well, preserving the Old Quarter, monuments and colonial architecture, while making room for modern developments alongside. Hanoi may have shrugged off several former names, including Thang Long, or “ascending dragon,” but it hasn’t forgotten its past, as sites such as Ho Chi Minh’s Mausoleum and Hoa Lo Prison attest. Lakes, parks, shady boulevards and more than 600 temples and pagodas add to the appeal of this city, which is easily explored by taxi.

3.Ubud, Indonesia

The village cluster of Ubud is the ideal place to try a famed Balinese massage and soak up the ambiance of one of Asia’s top spa destinations. Acupressure, reflexology, stretching and aromatherapy star in the island’s distinctively firm massage treatments. Ubud is also the vivacious center of Bali’s arts scene, home to a small treasure trove of museums and galleries. Monkey around at nearby nature reserve Monkey Forest Park, home to hundreds of mischievous long-tailed macaques. Don’t miss the valley of tomb cloisters at Gunung Kawi.

  1. Bangkok, Thailand

Golden palaces, floating markets, majestic porcelain-laid spires…you’ve never seen a capital city quite like Bangkok. Visit Pratunam or Siam Square for premium shopping, then unwind in the European-style gardens of Dusit. Thon Buri is home to the awesome Wat Arun temple, and over in Phra Nakhon, you’ll find the Wat Pho temple of the Reclining Buddha. Savor mango sticky rice at a food stall before taking in the gilded splendor of the Grand Palace.

 


  1. Hongkong, China

Delectable dim sum, floating islands, and a one-of-a-kind skyline are just some of Hong Kong’s unique features. Get an eyeful of traditional Chinese architecture in Ngong Ping village, then take the tram to the tippity-top of Victoria Peak for unparalleled views. The rocks and gentle hills of Nan Lian Garden will bring you inner peace, as will a calming cup of tea in a Stanley café. Become one with everything at the Chi Lin Nunnery, a serene Buddhist complex.

  1. Tokyo, Japan

Tradition collides with pop culture in Tokyo, where you can reverently wander ancient temples before rocking out at a karaoke bar. Wake up before the sun to catch the lively fish auction at the Tsukiji Market, then refresh with a walk beneath the cherry blossom trees that line the Sumida River. Spend some time in the beautiful East Gardens of the Imperial Palace, then brush up on your Japanese history at the Edo-Tokyo Museum. Don’t forget to eat as much sushi, udon noodles, and wagashi (Japanese sweets) as your belly can handle.

  1. Kathmandu, Nepal

Nepal’s capital is surrounded by a valley full of historic sites, ancient temples, shrines, and fascinating villages. Mingle with locals and animals amid Durbar Square’s monuments, or join mountain trekkers in the bustling Thamel District. Explore shops for exquisite work by local artisans—carpets and paper prints are specialties.

  1. New Delhi, India

New Delhi is all at once chaotic and calm, a complicated city where cows often wander the shanty-lined streets. The 17th century Red Fort is a mass of domes and turrets, while Chandni Chowk is an exercise in friendly haggling. Jantar Mantar features larger-than-life sundials and astronomical instruments that are still used to predict the weather. Travelers and locals flock to the India Gate, the national monument of India that honors the soldiers who died in World War I and the Third Afghan War.

  1. Taipei, Taiwan

You can eat very well—and very cheaply—in Taipei. The restaurants may not look posh, but the quality of the food is superlative. And there’s a huge variety of restaurants—in addition to local Taiwanese specialties, you’ll find regional cuisines from all over China, as well as great Indian, Japanese and even Italian options. Just make sure to leave some room for snacks—street-vendor food here is addictive.

  1. Hoi An, Vietnam

This city on the central Vietnamese coast is a well-preserved example of the important Southeast Asian trading port it was from the 15th-19th centuries. Already a common stop for backpackers, it is becoming better known to tourists. On the 14th day of each lunar month, the town trades its electric lights for traditional colored lanterns. Sights include the Japanese Covered Bridge and the Quan Cong Temple. Let the town’s expert tailors make you some bespoke clothing.

  1. Kathu, Thailand
  2. Krabi Town, Thailand

The southern Thailand town of Krabi serves as base camp for exploring the province of the same name, a lush region of jungles, limestone cliffs and idyllic isles floating just offshore in the Andaman Sea. Buddhist shrines still used by local monks are tucked into the chambers of the town’s top attraction, Tiger Cave. The riverside pier links travelers with ferries and longboats to the best scuba diving, rock climbing and white sand beaches on the coast.

  1. Jaipur, India

If you take one look at the glorious stucco buildings that line Jaipur’s wide streets, you’ll understand why this is nicknamed “The Pink City.” Spend your days exploring City Palace, Hawa Mahal, and Amber and Jaigarh forts. And if you’re looking for a unique souvenir, head to one of the bazaars, where you can pick up a pair of camel-leather slippers.

  1. Chiang Mai, Thailand

You could spend your whole Chiang Mai vacation exploring the famous Night Bazaar. Once you’ve exhausted the art of the cheerful haggle, however, there’s plenty more to explore. The National Museum and Botanic Garden are great places to soak up some local culture and to breathe in the delicate fragrance of Thai orchids. In the city’s center, the remains of ancient walls embrace over 30 temples. Limber travelers can climb 300 stairs to Wat Phrathat Doi Suthep, an ornate Buddhist temple in the hills.

  1. Bophut, Thailand

Learn to dive, sunbathe on a sandy beach or indulge in inexpensive spa services (including amazing Thai massages) in Bophut, a beach village that recently has become home to many new hotels and villas. Try the main street for trendy shops and restaurants, or visit the Fisherman’s Village for more traditional shops.

  1. Beijing, China

Welcome to a capital city whose story goes back at least 3000 years. In Beijing, you’ll find a wealth of history, both ancient (the Hall of Preserving Harmony, Summer Palace, Forbidden City) and more recent (Chairman Mao Memorial Hall, Tiananmen Square). For the best market experience, choose the Dirt Market over the touristy Silk Market. A visit to the Great Wall, the longest manmade structure in the world, is absolutely essential.

 

  1. Singapore, Singapore

The Singapore cityscape looks like it was ripped from the pages of a science fiction comic book. If you’re hungry for a true Singapore experience, sample the myriad street foods or take a cultural cooking class. The Botanic Gardens and the Gardens By the Bay offer a slice of horticultural heaven, and the observation deck of the Sands SkyPark makes you feel like you’re high above the clouds. The banks and walkways along the Singapore River bustle with local activity.

  1. Ho Chi Minh City, Vietnam

Vietnam’s bustling largest city sets the cultural and economic pace for the country. The former Saigon boasts charming French colonial architecture and wide boulevards, usually thronged and choked with traffic. Taxis are an option for seeing the sprawling city. The War Remnants Museum shows the Vietnam War through Vietnamese eyes. Don’t miss the impressive Jade Emperor Pagoda. Go to the frenetic Ben Thanh Market for food, flowers or frogs. Tour through the Mekong Delta, past rice paddies and houseboats.

  1. Kyoto, Japan

The shrines and temples of Kyoto offer a rare link between modern life in the city and its very ancient past. The Shimogamo Shrine dates to the 6th century and seems suspended in time, its serenity and spiritual power still palpable. Visit Fushimi Inari Shrine, then see the life-sized Thousand Armed Kannon statues of Sanjūsangen-dō. Enjoy traditional geisha performances, then savor a tranquil meal at a restaurant overlooking the Kamo River.

  1. Goa, India

The sandy coast of Goa is perfect for reclining by the sea. Nestle into a cushioned chair at a beach shack and savor a curry while you sip a Kingfisher beer, watching the sun slip lazily below the horizon. In Old Goa, the beautiful Basilica of Bom Jesus is a UNESCO World Heritage Site and a fine example of baroque architecture. Visit during Christmastime to experience a fantastic religious and cultural mash-up of East and West.

  1. Shanghai, China

The largest city in China is also its most cosmopolitan, offering visitors a chance to experience the past, present, and future all at once. The Huangpu River splits Shanghai into two districts: Pudong and Puxi. The Pudong skyline looks like it was ripped from the Jetsons, with the bulbous Oriental Pearl TV and Radio Tower looking a bit like a two headed lollipop. On the Puxi side, you can walk the Bund riverside district to get a taste of old Shanghai.

  1. Seoul, South Korea

Seoul is the business and cultural hub of South Korea, where skyscrapers tower over Buddhist temples. Take it all in from the N Seoul Tower, built atop a peak in Namsan Park. The teahouses and shops of Insadong give you a taste of Korean flavor, which you can further experience with a visit to the grounds and museums of Gyeongbokgung. UNESCO World Heritage Site Changdeokgung Palace is a fine example of authentic ancient architecture.

  1. Kuala Lumpur

The cultural hub of Malaysia, Kuala Lumpur is visually defined by the iconic Petronas Twin Towers, which, at 88 stories high, are the tallest twin buildings in the world and a vision of modern architecture. On the flip side, the Sri Mahamariamman is the oldest Hindu temple in Malaysia, its façade a colorful totem pole of iconography. Shopping at the Central Market is a joyful experience that involves haggling, handicrafts, and happiness.

  1. Osaka, Japan

Home to nearly nine million and powering an economy that exceeds both Hong Kong’s and Thailand’s, Osaka packs quite a punch. The confident, stylish city is a shopping hub, with fabulous restaurants and nightlife. It’s an ideal base for exploring the Kansai region; Kyoto’s World Heritage Sites, Nara’s temple and Koya-san’s eerie graves are within 90 minutes by train. Top city attractions include the aquarium, Osaka Castle, Universal Studios Japan and the futuristic Floating Garden Observatory.

  1. Mumbai (Bombai), India

Though Mumbai can feel chaotic and crowded, there are peaceful moments to be found here. Nibble a paper cone of bhelpuri while you stroll the sands of Chowpatty Beach. Then, take a short walk to Mani Bhavan, where Mahatma Gandhi once lived, strategized, and was ultimately arrested. The markets are spirited places to bargain for spices or souvenirs. Take a guided tour of Dharavi – made famous by “Slumdog Millionaire” – for an eye-opening glimpse into what Mumbai life is like for nearly a million people.