IML Walk in Indonesia Yogyakarta
Jamie and his wife, Yvonne, regularly man the IML Information Desk at the Aussie Peace Walk. Come and ask them about their adventures walking around the world.
Officially known as the Jogia International Heritage Walk, the Yogyakarta IML event is held in November each year on the Indonesian island of Java. The event has been an IML and IVV event since 2013.
Unfortunately, there are no direct flights to Yogyakarta from Australia. We flew from Melbourne to Denpasar, Bali on the Friday morning and, after a relatively tight connection in Bali, we boarded the next flight to Yogyakarta.
The brand new Yogyakarta airport (YIA) is in Kulon Progo which is roughly 1.5 hours’ drive from Yogyakarta. The older airport (JOG) closer to town is much smaller and is now only used for small domestic flights. We had pre-arranged transport with the walk organisers of the Jogja International Heritage Walk (Yogyakarta is also commonly referred to as Jogja) to pick us up from the airport.
As part of the walking package we paid for online, this included accommodation and meals at the Welcome Dinner, transport to and from the walks on the Saturday and Sunday. Plus the Farewell Dinner on the Sunday night and transport back to the airport on Monday.
We stayed at the Royal Ambarrukmo Hotel. We have stayed at this hotel previously and we love the convenience of the local shopping mall to purchase drinks and snacks as well as the nice pool they have, which is a welcome relief to relax in after each walk.
“It was a late decision for my wife Yvonne and I. She had opportunity in her work roster for a 4-day weekend and said, “Let’s go to the IML walk in Indonesia for the weekend?”
(We had already taken part in this event four times before; the last being in 2018.)“
Jamie is the current IML Vice President Pan Pacific region.
Pictured below: With Yvonne at the event.
5:30am Pickup For Our 1st walk
When we arrived at our hotel, there was a small bag in our room which contained the Start cards for the two-day walk, two souvenir t-shirts (you can choose to wear 1 each day, but is purely optional).
There was a list of pick-up times for all the weekend activities. We were picked up in a comfortable air-conditioned minivan at 5.30pm for the Welcome dinner which has is held at a different venue each year.
We spent much of the evening catching up and reminiscing with walking friends from many other countries.
In my new role of IML Vice President Pan Pacific region, the organisers asked me to give a speech welcoming the walkers. The dinner concluded by 8.30pm and we arrived back at our hotel after 9pm.
The next morning, they collected us at 5.30am for a 6am start. The first walk started at the Prambanan Temple, a 9th century Hindu temple.
The Prambanan temple compound is a UNESCO World Heritage Site. It is the largest Hindu temple site in Indonesia and the second-largest in Southeast Asia after Angkor Wat.
Early Start To Avoid The Heat
The early start is an attempt to avoid the heat and humidity of Yogyakarta. There were 5km, 10km and 20km options, so with our age requirement for the IML stamp, we always walk the minimum 20km option.
The walk takes you around the Prambanan Temple complex before then walking through various local villages and pass by rural fields. Many of the locals are often outside their homes or shops to greet all the local and international walkers.
It’s a good idea to learn a few basic Indonesian greetings such as “Selamat Pagi” (Good Morning) and “Terima Kasih” (Thank you).
All the road crossings on the Saturday have local Scouts directing traffic to enable a safe crossing for walkers. When attending the international walks, we always walk with Australian flags displayed from our backpacks and another tip is to also carry some small souvenirs to give local children.
There are many rest areas and check points along the way where you can replenish your water, drink as well and sample some of the tasty Indonesian snacks. As this walk is in hot, humid weather, it is doubly important to keep your fluids up.
At the completion of the first day at Prambanan, you can get your IVV stamps in your IVV books and then relax in a shaded area where a small buffet lunch is provided for the International walkers. You’ll then be driven back to your accommodation so you can relax in the pool or just sleep!
Saturday evening didn’t involve any walk organisation activities, so we decided on an early dinner and sleep to prepare for the Sunday 20km walk and 5am pick up from the hotel.
Australian keyrings, pens, small kangaroos, koalas etc, put a smile on the faces of local kids that can melt your heart.
Walking along the foothills of a live volcano
Day Two Volcano Walk
On the Sunday we were transported by bus about 50 minutes away to a more mountainous area of Yogyakarta, near the village of Turgo, which is an eco-traditional village on the slope of Merapi Volcano, an active volcano about 5km from the top.
The walk started at 6am and involved many gradual hills until we reached a lookout area where we caught glimpses of the top of Mt Merapi. The walk meandered through villages, past rural fields and forested areas. Yvonne commented that this route was her all-time favourite of the routes we had completed at this event. I agree.
After completing the walk by 11.30am, we received our IML stamp in our IML passport. They provided a lunch box with tasty Indonesian treats to the International walkers and then we were entertained by local performers.
Once we got back to the hotel at 2pm, we went for a swim in the pool again and then relaxed until we were picked up for the Farewell Dinner.
The dinner was at a different place to the Welcome Dinner. They provided a delicious buffet before IML awards were handed out to walkers who had completed 21 IML walks, 30 IML walks, as well as Global and Pan Pacific awards for walkers who had completed a minimum of 10 European and 8 Pan Pacific region walks. Again, I was called upon in my role to hand out these awards to the walkers.
Then all walkers were called to the stage country by country to receive their Royal medal for competing the two-day walk. In some other years, this medal was presented to the walkers by the Princess or Sultan of Yogyakarta, however, with them away in Jakarta, a local tourism authority delegate presented the medal to walkers from each of the countries represented.
After many goodbyes and hugs with walking friends, we were transported to our hotel to for some minimal sleep, before the organisers picked us up at 2am on Monday for our 6am flight to Singapore!
We knew in advance that we would have an extremely tight connection in Singapore, for our flight to Melbourne. We had to go through customs, collect our bags, clear immigration, take a sky train to another terminal, and check in with another airline before their check-in desk closed an hour before the flight. After a lot of running through the airport with our bags, we arrived at the check-in with under five minutes to spare.
If you aren’t restricted by time, I would highly recommend you arrive in Yogyakarta by Thursday at the latest, as a 10km IVV welcome walk is arranged on the Friday morning as part of the weekend activities.
I recommend a later flight on the Monday or even on Tuesday to enable you to explore more sights in the region or have a well-earned sleep in after the weekend walks!
If you want more information about this walk or other IML walks, please visit me or Yvonne at the IML table during the Aussie Peace Walk weekend.
Remember that the Aussie Peace Walk is also an IML and IVV accredited event; so don’t forget your IML and IVV passports in March.
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