Malioboro is chaos personified. Not the organized kind, but real organic chaos that gets right into your cerebral cortex. Alright, I’m exaggerating. It is an almost organized chaos.
Malioboro was a frequent haunt for us during our trip to Yogyakarta a year ago. Every afternoon until late at night, we’d be along this mile-long street dodging andung (horse-drawn carriages) while still managing to buy souvenir batik products and Jogja Istemawa souvenir shirts, chow on ayam goreng and drink bottle after cold bottles of Bintang or Teh Botol, depending on what side-streets we were on.
And now, after almost two years, we’re back at Malioboro, the craziest street this side of Yogyakarta, albeit on a limited time. Like one hour limited.
|HOW CRAZY IS MALIOBORO?|
I remember the first time I treaded on this street. We just came from Prambanan, and by bus, alighted to a different face of Yogyakarta. We’ve been around, walking mostly day in and day out, but it was our first time to see humanity as thick as tourists flocking Borobudur along the city itself. I mean, the whole right side of the road is closed off to motorized traffic!
|ANDUNG DRIVERS WAITING FOR TOURIST PASSENGERS|
|TOURISTS HAVING A HORSE-DRAWN CARRIAGE RIDE ALONG MALIOBORO|
And I can’t seem to get over the fact that the name Malioboro means a bouquet of flowers in Sanskrit. You definitely won’t see a stretch of flowers here. From what was once a quiet street lined with tamarind trees, the place has since transformed to a bustling sidewalk marketplace frequented both by tourists and locals alike.
|TYPICAL AFTERNOON AT MALIOBORO|
|CHANCED UPON A GROUP OF STREET PERFORMERS|
The street stretches for about a mile, from the Tugu Train Station on the south, up to the oldest Dutch hotel in town, Hotel Garuda, on the north. The Yogyakarta Palace is situated nearby, and that’s where its name really originated from. It was said that back in the day, whenever the palace holds an event, the street would be lined with flowers.
Ahh. There you go.
|YOU CAN BUY KNOCK-OFFS HERE|
|SHIRTS, BATIKS, SHIRTS, BATIKS|
Now, you’d hardly find any flowers being hawked along Malioboro. What you’d see, if you walk along its covered sidewalks, are mostly stuff made for tourists. And they’re pretty affordable too. I remember buying one of my most favorite shirts here, I don’t understand what the text on the print meant, but I love it all the same. But, that’s too nineties, as my friend M would say. But I’m a nineties guy anyways. I digress.
|LESEHAN, A TYPICAL EATERY ALONG MALIOBORO|
|AYAM GORENG PLUS TEH BOTOL|
If you tire of shopping, go on the other side of the street, pick an open-aired lesehan eatery and proceed on sitting on the carpeted floor. Bad news for big-tummy guys like me, but it’s quite an experience. We usually browse for minutes on end at the menu but always end up ordering ayam goreng or fried chicken, with a bottle or two of Teh Botol to push it down with.
|LOOKING FOR BINTANG|
Or, you can head on over to Jalan Sosrowijayan and Jalan Prawirotaman, if you wanna have something harder to drink. Like a bottle of Bintang, maybe? Being the backpacker district of Yogyakarta, the bars and restaurants along these streets are the easiest place to get your beer fix. And I do not tell you that lightly. It is extremely hard to get a hold of alcohol in Yogyakarta after small restaurants, convenience stores and even large supermarkets had been prohibited from selling them.
|I LOVE MALIOBORO!|
So, even with all its craziness, Malioboro remains one of our happy places in Yogyakarta. Well, it seems we’re always zeroing in on these kind of places. The more chaotic it is, the more drawn we are to it.
~ THE INDONESIA MINISTRY OF TOURISM INVITED ME AS A PART OF THE TRIP OF WONDERS TOUR. VIEWS, OPINIONS & BIASES, ALL MINE.