In a blink of an eyes it is already last day of our tour. We only have a morning to spare before pack up and heading towards Yogyakarta Adisucipto International Airport for flight back to Malaysia. Short itinerary of the morning, we are visiting Taman Sari Water Castle of the Sultanate of Yogyakarta.
Normally we will choose to walk by our self towards the place but after listening to some sharing by John's friend, we decided to hire becak to the place instead. According to them, most of the becak (those that with traditional becak, without motor) in Yogyakarta are not actually resident at the city itself but from other remote village outside of Yogyakarta. They cycling their becak far from their hometown and arrive in Yogyakarta in order to make a living for them, and their families. Most of them will continue to works for probably a week before heading back to their respective hometown for a day or two, and keep on repeating. What is terrible for them is they do not actually have a proper place to rest throughout the week, guess what? Yes, their becak is their bed, this is how hard their life is.
After coming out from our Hotel, we start to walk around and immediately few becak approach us offer the ride to Taman Sari for a visit. We agree with the price of 30000 rupiah per becak to Taman Sari, the distance is around 2.2km. With some small contribution, we earn the experience transporting with becak, while we are also helping a man to support their family financially by a bit. If you are planning to visit Yogyakarta, do support them.
Hard earn money under hot sun.
One of our becak on our trip to Taman Sari.
After we done with the tickets for the entrance which is 7000 rupiah for foreigner, a guy claim to be resident that stay in the area of the castle approach us and offer to give us a tour into the entire Taman Sari. At first we quite defensive and keep saying we are okay to walk by our self, but he insist to follow us until we are at the bathing complex area. His explanation is quite detail and full of humor, hence slowly we are good with it and we let him lead the way for the rest of the visit in the place. Luckily we did as we have only limited time to visit the place and the direction is not so clear on how to properly visit the area.
Teachers bringing cute kiddo to visit Taman Sari.
From his story, bathing complex is a place where Sultan will watch concubine bathing from the tower window. Then the Sultan will choose one of the concubine to serve him by throwing flowers over. The chosen concubine will then move to another side of the tower with a small pool with the Sultan while the rest of the concubine will return to the palace.
King's view from the tower at highest level.
View from 2nd level of the tower.
The batching complex is the only area in Taman Sari which is well preserved, while most of other area are actually occupied by residents nowadays. Our tour guide escort us through these places and explain clearly on details such as Yogyakarta empire history, the Sultan's residential area, religious area, which we are quite sure we won't be able understand if visiting by our self. There is also lucky well somewhere near Sultan's residential area as well, in which you hold a coin on your hand, then you stand with your back facing the well, walk three steps forward, make a wish, and without looking backward you throw the coin towards the well. Legend said that if you able to follow the sequence and get the coin to fall into the well, then your wish will be granted. I am glad that I did it!
He then bring us to Sumur Gumuling, which have a very unique staircase structure that becoming a very hot spot for photography. This building is functioning as Mosque during the time of Yogyakarta empire.
Everyone is waiting to take photo here.
On our way back to the entrance, we pass a normal village house, which just simply look more luxury compare to the other nearby. Our tour guide told us that this is actually house to mother of current Sultan of Yogyakarta. Meanwhile Sultan himself is staying at Keraton castle nearby, and like others resident, he will ride his motorbike and come to some local coffee shop to have his breakfast like normal people, without any bodyguard! He does not make himself have special privilege, but he earn respect from his people by being close to them. Something to learn for Malaysia. Too bad due to time constraint, we don't have extra minutes to visit Keraton, who know we might bump into Sultan himself there!
House to mother of Sultan.
We stand on edge of the wall to take interior of the house.
That conclude our short visit to Taman Sari. Although our guide did not actually demand anything from us, but we do give him some tips for escort us with so many valuable information. On the way back, again we hire becak but this round they demand for 35000 rupiah per becak. We complaint why and politely they say the way back to the hotel now is uphill road, which is very tough path. Well, we smile and agree with the price negotiated.
On our way back to Hotel.
Taman Sari - Yogyakarta