She is too Special to Forget

Be cautious my friend, for Jogja is just like a lover who silently sows the seed of yearning in your heart. Her simplicity teaches us to be a more mature human being, her hospitality comforts us, and her romanticism will always be remembered.

Updated on 19 November 2018

People, or a person like you yourself perhaps, who have come and stayed in Jogja will obviously agree that she is so special. Born with simplicity, she has, without being noticed, become a caregiver for thousands of people and helped them achieve maturity. Later on, at a certain point of time, at which they have left Jogja for years, they will finally realize that she is too special to forget. Jogja is a place that will never let you leave without the desire to return again. Eating at an angkringan (traditional food tenant), meeting humble and friendly people, enjoying the evening or simply chatting about love and the sorrow that follows in coffee shops and affordable 24-hours cafes are fragments of the seeds of longing soaked into the joints of your life without you ever realizing it. Ah... Joko Pinurbo was right after all when he said, "Jogja is made out of yearning, a journey home and angkringan."

1. Eating at Angkringan

Almost every person who has visited Jogja knows exactly how delicious this tiny and simple wrapped rice is. It's the one that saves people, regardless of their social class, from hunger. It saves not only students running out of monthly pocket money at the end of the month, or a starving pedicab driver, but every single person who wish to feel a boundless simplicity in this town as well. The flame from senthir (small-sized oil lamp) lighting upon gorengan (deep fried foods such as tempe, tofu, etc.), various types of sate (skewered meal, usually of meat), the smell of burning charcoals competing with the fragrance of ginger, and pandan mats spread out next to the cart are the pillars that sustain the life of angkringan. Angkringan is what will make you want to return to Jogja to enjoy a little piece of boundless simplicity.

Read also: 10 Things I Miss Most about Jogja

2. Shopping in Malioboro

Malioboro, a 1-km-long street, is the heart of the city of Jogja that keeps pumping up the sense of yearning into your whole body. Rows of tenants selling souvenirs, batik, and even antiques are some of the many things that spoil your eyes. This is the place where you can buy various stuffs without ever worrying of draining your pocket out of money. Shopping in Malioboro is more than just shopping. It is also a form of enjoying the existing romanticism. Rows of pedicab drivers, relentlessly offering their services and old andong (a type of horse cart) running back and forth have become inseparable parts of Malioboro. Those are why, for tourists and newcomers, Malioboro is a must-visit place. It is the history, tale and memory that will cling forever in the minds of those visiting Jogja.

3. Midnight Gudeg

Gudeg, a sweet-tasteful food made from young Jackfruit, becomes one of the signs implying that Jogja never sleeps. Every night at 9 pm, when many other shops have closed, sellers at gudeg tenants start to arrange the food on simple tables. Pandan mats are spread right outside the shops or on sidewalks that are resting from their daily services. A bunch of people waiting in line at night for a plate of gudeg to relieve their hunger is surely a sight that can only be found in Jogja. Read also: 7 Famous Gudeg in Jogja

4. Southern Square and Wedhang Ronde

Enjoying a bowl of warm wedhang ronde (hot beverage made of brewed ginger) while sitting on top of pandan mats is the thing that perfects your visit to the Alun-alun Kidul. Colorful sparkles from various shaped odong-odong (custom made carts designed to carry passengers for entertainment purpose) circling the square, plus shouts of astonishment mixed with anger coming out from those who could not successfully walk through ringin kurung (twin banyan trees planted at the Southern Square) fuse into one perfect combination. If you have once stayed in Jogja, then you might at least have experienced that kind of situation and look forward to repeating it again someday.

5. Her Exotic Beaches

The Southern coast of Jogja is the paradise for those who admire the beauty of the ocean. Be it black or white, the sands blend with the clear sea water and gently caresses your feet. These exotic beaches have given you an escape from your works, papers, and your thesis that keep haunting you. It might have even been the place you want to be when you wished when you're feeling blue. Read also: Beaches

6. Her Sweet and Romantic Sunset

The sun almost falls into its slumber, and Jogja is just a little bit quieter. The sky magically turns into something so romantic. Perhaps, sunset in Jogja is one of the sweetest goodbyes that have ever existed. At a moment like that, a smile so mesmerizing from a girl would make your heart pounds crazily and everything would be more perfect. Read also: 10 Best Sunsets in Jogja

7. Humble and Friendly People

Jogja is home to truly humble and friendly people. Their greetings and smiles are very sincere. They will also be your family during your time in Jogja. They are the ones who will always be ready to help you, although you're just someone they barely know. Jogjanese will also gladly give you directions when you're losing your way around and have no clue which road to take. They will try to honor your presence if, in turn, you respect their culture.

8. Home to Many Artists

Being in Jogja is no different from being in the house of the artists whose works can sometimes be enjoyed only after you have fulfilled one specific requirement of "visiting Jogja". We can easily find something artsy in this town. You can find anything in practically all corners, from fly over walls fully decorated with murals to street musicians playing real music. In Jogja, artists are awarded a special place in the heart of the people. They can freely express themselves, wherever and whenever they want to, and we can enjoy their works in whichever way we desire.

9. Everything is Cheap

For students, either university or high school, Jogja is a very friendly city. Not only becoming a second home that is convenient to many people, she has also become a good friend for those who do not have a lot of cash in their pocket. Jogja is an everything-is-cheap city that will not make you starve though your pocket money is not transferred timely. There are hundreds of burjo (a franchised food stall) that sell intel (indomie-telor, instant noodle with egg) and tante (indomie tanpa-telor, instant noodle without egg). There are also angkringan that can be found almost in every alley with nasi kucing (a tiny pack of rice with a portion that, many said, is only enough to feed a cat, hence the name nasi kucing-rice for cats), gorengan, and sate which are very tasty.

10. Coffee Shop and 24-hour Cafe

Rows of countless coffee shops and 24-hours cafes have often witnessed lively chatters between groups of best friends that look a lot like a fellowship due to the high intensity of intimacy. These are the kind of place where same old jokes are told over and over again, and yet still have enough power to attract people's loud laugh. Perhaps you'd taken a girl you like and introduced her to your friends, before it turned out that she, in fact, had fallen in love with one of your very own buddies.