A stress-relieving weekend in Yogyakarta

A stress-relieving weekend in Yogyakarta
Cozy restaurant: The Kemangi Bistro has tables in an outdoor area conveniently shaded by sea grape trees.

For some people, holidaying in Yogyakarta in Central Java is not complete without a compulsory stroll along Jl. Malioboro or a visit to the kraton (palace). But those seeking to spend their time relaxing and de-stressing away from crowded tourist traps might want to consider selecting the most suitable accommodation in the city.

Situated on the scenic northwestern outskirts of downtown Yogyakarta, the Hyatt Regency Yogyakarta (HRY) offers an idyllic place to unwind and convenient access to the majestic Borobudur Temple, Mount Merapi lava tours and Kota Gede. On Sunday mornings, you can hop on the hotel's andong (Javanese horse-pulled carriage) and take a short tour around its outer area or rent a bicycle and go explore by yourself.

Set on 22 hectares of land on Jl. Palagan Tentara Pelajar, HRY has a stunning view of Mt. Merapi, its own nine-hole golf course, a multi-level swimming pool as well as a spa and fitness centre.

During my recent stay at the property, I found its 30-square-meter standard room quite spacious with a veranda overlooking a lush green garden. I also enjoyed having breakfast in its main restaurant, Kemangi Bistro. Serving international favorites as well as traditional delicacies like Javanese fried rice, soto (savory meat soup) and jamu (herbal drinks), the restaurant has tables in an outdoor area conveniently shaded by sea grape trees.

One of the highlights of my visit was the opportunity to join a cooking class to learn the secrets of Indonesian cuisine. Available every Sunday, the class involves a visit to the local market followed by plucking your own ingredients right from the hotel's herb garden.

On that fine day, I learned how to cook one of Kemangi Bistro's signature dishes called Ikan Kuah Kemangi (fish soup). Each group was given a stove, a set of cooking utensils, ingredients and a recipe. We used red snapper which was first smeared with salt and lemon before it was grilled in a pan. Coconut milk, turmeric and other ingredients were mixed in a saucepan to create the savory soup. We later decorated a bowl for the soup with kemangi (lemon basil) leaves, crispy potato sticks and chopped tomatoes.

In Saturday evenings, the outdoor area of the restaurant turns into a lively setting dubbed the Ramayana Night Market with warung (food stall)-styled stations serving Indonesian cuisine and cultural entertainment.

It immediately became another highlight of my visit as I paired my tasty Indonesian dinner with a glass of wine under the starry sky while a wayang ballet performance unfolded on stage, presenting a riveting portrayal of the Ramayana epic.


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