In Yogyakarta, there are dozens of universities, including the oldest and the most well-known universities of Indonesia. The northern part of this city is the area with biggest number of students and shopping centres with different services, such as laundry and photocopy, to meet students’ demands. It is interesting to find out that laundry itself generates job opportunities for not only local labourers, but also other foreigners.
Lydia Lestari, our local tour guide, told us that the delicious food of Yogyakarta has turned the city into an unforgettable tourist destination. It is quite easy to find a restaurant or even a street stall serving the traditional food of Javanese people. The most famous and delicious dish is Java fried rice, very similar to that of Vietnam in terms of preparation and aroma. For tourists not yet used to the traditional food of Javanese people, such a dish is a perfect choice.
During a two-day stay in Yogyakarta, we passed by a small statue many times at the intersection of key streets. Our guide said that anyone who kisses the statue, will likely return to the city one day.
Apart from food, Yogyakarta is famous for its Batik, a cloth traditionally made using a manual wax-resist dyeing technique. This traditional cloth itself, and products made from it, are sold at many shops on Malioboro Street from dawn till midnight every day except Sunday, when local people pour into the street to do exercise and go jogging together.
Yogyakarta has great tourism potential with the typical culture of Javanese people in Indonesia, and is the home of a number of beautiful locations such as Candi Prambanan, a 9th century Hindu temple compound, and Borobudur, the 9th century Mahayana Buddhist temple.
Local people’s income is mainly from services provided for domestic and international tourists. However, leaders of the local tourist sector still nurture the ambition to turn this land into one of the brightest tourist spots in the region and the rest of the world.
The head of the city’s tourist department Mr. Tazbir told the Vietnamese reporters that to make this ambition come true, the city plans to cooperate with localities with tourism potential in regional countries, including Ha Long City of Vietnam.
Visiting the popular Prambanan and Borobudur Temples, we met a group of local students practising English language. They said that talking with international tourists is a compulsory lesson. It is sure that the city tourism will be partly popularized by many of those self-motivated and daring students, with their good command of English. Perhaps its tourism strength has helped Yogyakarta develop other fields, such as education and trade. This in turn will contribute to making Yogyakarta known worldwide in the long run.
More than one hour to drive from Yogyakarta is Solo, which is the home of Batik producers with innumerable Batik companies and workshops. In this city, following the recommendation of Patrick Orlando, a staff member of Solo Tourism Information Centre, we visited Batik Karí, one of the three biggest Batik companies in Solo. Even at lunch break, workers still kept working. Having been weaved and dyed, Batik cloth become more alluring with fine patterns which are handmade or printed with moulds.
Batik is made in many places across Indonesia, but the handmade Batik patterns in Solo are among the best. Solo Batik is found across Indonesia and in European countries and rest of the world. Notably, Batik cloth production plays a vital role in the city’s economic development. Thus, to honour this traditional specialty, staff at Solo’s government offices and other sectors wears Batik uniforms once or twice a week at work.
A week-long journey in Indonesia left deep impression on us. The unforgettable memories in the capita city of Jakarta, Yogyakarta and Solo are still lingering in our minds. We could not kiss the statue in Yogyakarta this time, but we do hope to return to Indonesia one day.