Batik in Yogya

April 4, 2015

After the palace tour me and Olivia had one day left in Yogya before we would part ways and we had decided to spend it doing a course in batik painting. A couple of days earlier one of the guys working at Easy Going, the restaurant we frequented, had asked us to check his English in a document he was writing. We were happy to help and while reading it we realised it was information on a batik course he was holding. It sounded really interesting so we talked to him about it and it turned out him and his friend were just about to start the business and this was his final project in uni. We agreed to be their first customers and to meet outside Easy Going in two days where we would be able to get a becak and follow him on his bike out to their studio.

The studio was in a nice neighbourhood on the outskirts of Yogyakarta and we got to ride through beautiful country scenery on the way there. When we got there we were greeted by the friend and his Japanese wife. They lived just next to the studio and so did his parents whom we also met. We started with a coffee and a chat about the day and his mother brought us delicious Indonesian fried snacks.

The aim of the day was for us to create our own batik t-shirts. We started with sketching up a motive. We looked through lots of books with batik and other designs from Asia for inspiration.


After drawing our motive on paper it was time to transfer it to a t-shirt. We got the guys to help us with this as we weren’t used to drawing on fabric and didn’t want to mess the t-shirts up.


It took us pretty long to come up with motives and draw them, so when we were finished we went for lunch. The guys drove us on their scooters to a warung nearby where we had a tasty soto ayam, chicken soup.

When we got back we started with the actual batik technique. The first part is drawing lines with wax onto the fabric. The wax is melted in a pan and then drawn onto the fabric with this “funnel pen”. We filled in the drawings on our t-shirts with wax best we could, it was pretty hard to get the right amount of wax and do straight lines.


Then we moved onto colouring. We were told there were different colouring methods and what we were gonna do was paint our t-shirts with brushes. You fill in the areas between the wax and the wax keeps the colours from spreading. Everything was taking us pretty long so we had some help with the colouring to speed up the process.



When we were done the t-shirts were dipped in a liquid to set the colours and then left to dry for a bit. After that they were washed again to remove the wax and then again hung to dry. We were both pretty happy with the final results considering how hard they had been for us to create.


When the t-shirts were dry it was pretty late and we were ready to go back. We got a lift back to Easy Going on their scooters. It was a great day and I would really recommend doing a class with these guys, hopefully they’ll have their company setup soon with more info online.

Later in the evening we went out for a couple of drinks at a bar near our hotel where a band was playing. It was a nice last night in Yogya and with Olivia. The next day I left for Bali and Olivia started her trip back to the UK.

Yogyakarta, Java

March 30, 2015

The final day of our tour only had one activity scheduled, a guided tour of the sultans palace. In the morning we checked out of our hotel and moved our bags to Duta Guesthouse before we drove the short distance to the palace. There Bambang got us a guide before he left for a long drive back to Carita.

We started the tour with a traditional puppet show. We only stayed for a short time as we couldn’t follow the story at all but it was cool to have seen it as we had read about the puppet shows in Yogya. Behind the puppets were a big orchestra playing music throughout the show.


Then we walked around the temple complex. There were some areas we couldn’t go as they were the living quarters of the sultan and his family. The sultan seemed pretty important to the people there, or it could just have been our guide doing her job. She said he was a very good sultan and his praying had helped protect Yogya in Merapis last eruption.



We spent an our or two in the palace and then we tried walking into town, but had trouble finding the way. All the time the becak (trishaw) drivers were bugging us wanting to drive us somewhere even when we kept telling them no and “jalan jalan” which kind of means “walking walking” in Indonesian. In general in Java, people can be quite annoying trying to sell you items or transport. In the end we got talking to a man who was working in the tourist office. He recommended us a few places to go in Yogya, one was this batik workshop where some students showed people how they worked with batik. It was free and sounded interesting so we finally got a becak and went there. We got there and were greeted by a guy who took us to see this girl working on a batik painting while he explained the process of batik to us.


They had a lot of paintings for sale there, made by both professionals and students, the latter being a lot cheaper. We spent quite a long time looking through them all and in the end I bought a student painting I liked. Since it’s batik it’s made on a fabric that can easily be folded and washed so I thought it wouldn’t be too hard to carry with me on the rest of my travels.

We then walked to a mall where we visited another branch of Bread Talk and bought maybe a few too many cakes… We brought them to a nearby cafe where they gave us each a free donut with our coffee on top of all the cakes.


After that we walked around the city center for a bit. It’s definitely the nicest city on Java I’ve been too and I wouldn’t mind visiting Yogya again. We walked back to our hotel, it turned out to be pretty far and we agreed not to do that walk again. Being a nicer city it’s still not that nice to walk longer distances through.

In the evening Olivia had a massage and I went and got a pizza at a recommended Italian place close to our hotel. I brought it back and watched some Swedish television in front of the pool. After I finished my food the lovely staff brought me a cake and a tea.


The rest of the evening we spent in the hotel. For a while we tried streaming a movie but the internet connection just wasn’t good enough.