When I visited Yogyakarta in 2011, I didn’t have a chance to go to Taman Sari, a site that I first read about on Atlas Obscura.
Side note: Atlas Obscura is a fascinating website to read about weird and wonderful places to visit around the world. You’ll find yourself making long mental lists of where to visit in your next holiday.
Taman Sari is the former garden and bathing house of the Sultan, built in the mid-18th century.
The complex used to be in the middle of an artificial lake, which contained several man-made islands reachable via underwater tunnels.
The lake has since been drained, and now there is a residential neighborhood surrounding what remains of Taman Sari.
While the lake is no longer there, the tunnels are still accessible and open to visitors. I was most excited to see the underground Mosque and the MC Escher-esque stairs described in the Atlas Obscura article. And judging by how much Hugo loved exploring the tunnels at Wat U Mong, I was pretty sure he’d love it, too.
Here’s where our visit got a little disappointing:
The whole site is undergoing some major restoration work, which means the pools have been drained and the tunnels are closed to visitors. According to my guide, they will be open again in March not long after we leave Yogyakarta. Oh well, I guess I’ll have to return to Yogyakarta again!
Leaving Taman Sari feeling a little let down, we hopped into a becak (a three-wheeled cycle taxi) for a short tour of the neighborhood.
The neighborhood surrounding Taman Sari is home to many workshops for traditional arts and crafts. We saw some batik artists at work:
Some wayang (Indonesian shadow puppets):
And some marionettes:
After a long day out, our becak returned us to the Taman Sari gate to go home.