After 4 nights in Bali, we decided to venture to Yogyakarta, Java, to see the massive temples of Borobudur and Prambanan. We had three nights in that corner of Indonesia's most populous island; here are the photo highlights.
The volcano Mount Agung, in the middle foreground, is the highest point on Bali. In the background on the right is the highest point on nearby Lombok, the volcano Mount Rinjani (check out this photo from an eruption that occurred less than 20 years ago - it's pretty amazing).
The volcanoes of Java, not far from Yogyakarta.
The pool at the Phoenix Hotel in Yogyakarta. Five star quality for 3 star prices.
View of one of Yogyakarta's main streets, from our taxi.
The sultan's palace in (Muslim) Yogyakarta is called the kraton. It was a large complex, and mildly interesting, although it wasn't the reason we came to town.
Suzanne inside the kraton complex.
Taman Sari, aka the Water Castle, which dates to 1765.
Suz couldn't resist dipping her feet in the waters of Taman Sari.
Suzanne at Taman Sari.
Yours truly with a Javanese wayung kulit (shadow puppet). I purchased one of these, although not quite as large.
The rooftops of Yogyakarta.
The pool at the Phoenix Hotel.
Forks prepared for fondue at the Phoenix Hotel.
White and dark chocolate fondue fountains inside the Phoenix Hotel.
The next morning we woke up extremely early to drive 25 miles to Borobudur, to experience the largest Buddhist monument in the world at sunrise. It was otherworldly.
The stupas of Borobudur are quite remarkable, and many of them house statues of Buddha inside.
An exposed statue of Buddha.
I believe this is Mt. Merapi, although there are several volcanoes in the area.
We weren't the only tourists.
As sunrise grew closer, the excitement built.
I positioned myself accordingly.
I'm certainly not a Buddhist, but I couldn't resist the cliched "enlightenment" photo.
Borobudur from the distance. It's very, very large.
Mount Merapi, which we got fairly close to courtesy of our driver.
It erupted most recently in 2010, killing over 350 people.
It really was a perfect looking volcano.
That same day, we ventured to the nearby Hindu temple complex known as Prambanan.
The temples comprise the largest Hindu complex in Indonesia.
The detail around the temples is remarkable.
Unlike with Borobudur, there were actually areas where one could walk inside. Suz is posing in one such doorway.
I believe this was the Shiva temple, the largest and principal focus of the complex.
The detail of this wall relief is amazing (this isn't a composite image, by the way).
Suzanne, walking the exterior of one of the temples.
These are the smaller temples, just so you know. The Shiva temple is to the left of this photo.
The complex was definitely worth seeing, and although our itinerary was rather ambitious, we were grateful to have been able to juxtapose Borobudur with Prambanan in the same day.
Back at the Phoenix, I dared to sample the durian ice cream.
The flavor was rather peculiar at first, but I got used to it.
Suzanne is a coffee drinker, so she just had to have java in Java. This is a US$10 cup of kopi luwak, the most expensive coffee in the world. This photo was taken on our third day in Java, in which we didn't leave our fortress-like hotel.
After Java we flew back to Bali, and ventured to the Gili Islands, off the coast of Lombok. Stay tuned.