Part of our Indonesia trip was filled up with temple visits. We started with two remarkable ones: Borobudur and Prambanan. Both of them are located on the island of Java. The easiest thing to do is to find a nice hotel in Yogyakarta and visit both from there. We stayed at Gallery Prawirotaman. I could really recommend this hotel, it was stunning and the breakfast was great! Furthermore they provide pick-up/drop-off service from/to the airport against a fee.
Due to our time planning there was no other way than to visit Prambanan at sunset. The hotel allowed us to rent motorbikes for 70’000 IDR/day so we did. We had a very first “welcome to Indonesia” – moment when we noticed after only 1 min of driving that our tank was nearly empty. The sane question that comes to mind is of course ‘where to fill it up’, the surprising answer is ‘anywhere along the road’. All over Yogyakarta you will be able to find (or better yet: you won’t be able to avoid) little stalls full of glass bottles with a yellow or fluorescent blue liquid inside. This, my dear people, is gasoline for your bike. It costs you close to nothing and there is no need to panic when your gas is running empty. Beware though, having to ride a motorbike in Yogyakarta is not a present. You will need to drive along a million other motorbikes and a thousand cars, and traffic is a real mess. However, I am amongst those people who think you should do this to get the full Indonesia-experience, so dive in (and take a friend in the back that can give you directions and warn you for traffic lights and so on)!
Arrived at Prambanan, we paid entrance to the temple. You can get student discount when you show them your student card, so don’t forget it. Because we only had one hour left before closing time, we agreed on hiring a guide against the cost of 100’000 IDR. His name was Surpix (like “Surpriiiise 😀 “, his words I swear!) and he was actually great. Very enthusiastic and next to being our guide he developed himself as our personal photographer including posing advice. He has patience like no other when it comes to getting you that picture perfect. I have put a picture of him with us such that you can recognise him and send him my regards ;). Prambanan was built as a Hindhu complex in the 8th century and unfortunately destroyed by an earthquake in the 1800’s. The six main temples (the ones for Brahma, Shiva and Vishnu and their respective animals Angsa, Nandi and Garuda) are rebuilt but only a few of the 224 surrounding small temples are restored so far. The complex is beautiful and I really recommend going at sunset. The crowds will be less and the lighting conditions are stunning. Just make sure you have enough time to explore everything.
The next day (or let’s say night) we had to get up at 3 am since we signed up for the sunrise tour to Borobudur. I booked it when we were still at home through Viator, but I would not do that again. Although nothing was wrong it was just really really really expensive and you can book it all over Yogyakarta for a much lower price. Another option would be to just book a taxi and go explore the temple on your own. It is very easy and tourist-friendly as there are pathways indicating everything. Don’t expect to be alone, you will be disappointed… The sunrise is incredible. I must admit before we left we were more excited to see Prambanan instead of Borobudur, but now… There is not a single hair on my head considering letting Borobudur out of anybody’s Indonesia planning.
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Tips & Tricks
- Indonesian Rupiah (IDR) = 0.00007 Euro