Yogyakarta, Indonesia (and a cockfight) in photos and words / by Jessica Lee


I wrote this last summer but never got around to publishing it. I'm currently gearing up for another adventure, so stay tuned!
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I’m currently in Yogyakarta, Indonesia. As I wandered the streets today, I worried that I may become infatuated with the town.


It’s a very cultural city. There are stalls of vendors peddling clothes with amazing patterns. I am inspired by the different fabrics and am scared I might end up buying way too much to carry around. Or worse, overspending my budget.

Yogyakarta’s main draw is it’s batik, which are colourful silk paintings done with wax. I was impressed at first, but then the pushy batik sales people kept expecting me to buy the art so it just turned me off to the whole idea of going to different galleries and looking at the batik.


Instead, I spent my time looking at the stalls and picking up little souvenirs. A pair of pants here can be bargained down to $2.50! I picked up three colourful print skirts and a pair of parachute pants. Maybe when I get back to North America, I can start a trend… or not.


I also went to the Kraton, which is the Sultan’s palace. I wasn’t amazed by it, so I’m not going to go to any more kratons in Indonesia. In my opinion, the palaces in China and Japan are much more exquisite. Visit those if you can.


What was really exciting for me however was the cockfight I witnessed when I went to the bird market! The birds really went at each other, pecking and scraping with their feet. At times, wings flapped. There was a small crowd gathered around watching. It's actually illegal, but it still happens anyway.


It is done for entertainment purposes and there was bloodshed.

It’s quite interesting what different cultures do for entertainment. What is allowed and what is not allowed. Put a cockfight in North America and I bet you animal activists would be all over it in a second. However, you should know that roosters sometimes fight on their own, naturally.

The rest of the bird market was quite lovely, though I felt a bit sad for the caged birds. I wanted to take home a bird, but obviously I would go through a lot of trouble getting the bird through customs and taking it with me to the other places I am going. I think I will just get a cat when I get home.