The attractions of the historic town of Jogyakarta are many, but what makes it really special is that its incredible cultural heritage is still very much reflected in the character of the town today. Here is a place where you can get into conversations about philosophy, art and civilization, and forget about the ways of the mad capitalist world.
Jogyakarta is also the only functioning sultanate remaining in Indonesia. And in the royal compound, the Kraton, you will come across ancient Hindu motifs, Buddhist lotus flowers, and Islamic calligraphy. Such religious tolerance is wonderful to see, of course. The religious fanatics could learn a thing or two here!!
The main road not far from here leads to the isolated yet beautiful beaches at Parangtritis, domain to Nyai Loro Kidul, the legendary Queen of the South Seas. Venerated yet feared by Jogyakartans, she has been known to drag people who dare to wear green – for only she can wear this color - off into the ravaging seas.
Yet even she must be deeply saddened at the tremendous loss of life – over 6,000 dead – away from the seas and on dry land as a result of the violent earthquake that struck in the early hours of 27 May.
But this does not mean you should now stay away from Jogyakarta. In fact the reverse holds true: by opting to go there you will be helping in your own small way to support the economy of this wonderful town.
Destructive as the earthquake was, the damage was not extensive as only five of the 12 four/five star-rated hotels in Yogyakarta have had to close down:
Indonesian Hotel and Restaurant Association chairperson Wiryanti Sukamdani said the star-rated hotels that had temporarily closed to allow for repairs were the Sheraton, Jayakarta, Quality, Ibis and Melia Purosani hotels.
Although damaged by the disaster, none of the five hotels had reported injuries to guests.
"The reopening of the hotels will depend on the how badly they were damaged and the length of time needed to renovate the buildings," Wiryanti said in a briefing on the country's tourism industry.
She said that seven other four and five-star hotels in the quake-stricken city were still operating as normal, while all non star-rated hotels were in good condition.
And although some ancient temples did suffer damage - like the truly magnificent 9th-century Prambanan Hindu temple complex - what’s incredible is that the temples at Prambanan are still standing at all: many of the modern houses surrounding the temple complex simply collapsed like cards.
Moreover, the incredible Borobodur Temple complex – considered by many to be one of the seven wonders of the world - was completely undamaged.
So pack your bags and head for Central Java. Now!
Prambanan: still standing proud