Yogyakarta-Gateway to Borobudur and Prambanan Temple; things you need to Know

In our recent trip to Java, we had a litte stop in the city called Yogyakarta. It is (often called “Jogja”) the capital city of Indonesia Special Region of Yogyakarta. As the only Indonesian royal city still ruled by a monarchy,  it is located in the island of Java known for its traditional arts and cultural heritage. Its ornate 18th-century royal complex, or kraton, encompasses the still-inhabited Sultan’s Palace. Also within the kraton are numerous open-air pavilions that host classical Javanese dance shows and concerts of gamelan music, characterized by gongs, chimes and plucked string instruments. it is located in the Central Java and could be reached via several modes of tranportation.

TRANSPORTATION:

  • Train – there are a lot of routes available depending on where you are traveling from. There are two main train station that connects Jogja to different part of Java. As we were previously in Jakarta prior to going to Yogyakarta, it took us 8 hours on a train. We had the executive type of train so it was comfortable.
  • Plane – Yogyakarta has two international airport that you can fly in directly. Various places around Indonesia has flights available to Jogja as well.
  • Private Vehicle – This is possibe if you are traveling from another part of Java, the roads around Java are decent and you can definitely drive on your own with the help of online Map apps >> Google Map – Yogyakarta. Make sure to download offline maps.

We started our trip in Jakarta, had a ticket living from Gambir Train Station at 8am. The 8-hour train ride went on smoothly, had several scheduled stop to several stations. That’s pretty much it. The train has mini restaurant where you can buy food, and there are attendants that visits ever so often bringing food for sale. Upon arriving in the Jogja station, we waited for our bike rental which we reserved in advance and drove 20 minutes to our homestay. (tip: better to book for transport in advance to avoid drivers crowding you for service)

RECOMMENDATIONS:

  • Train ticket – You can book your train ticket in advance direactly the train company directly Kereta Api Indonesia , It is convenient and you can skip the long queue at the train station. You can just go directly to the check-in kiosk. You can also check out TRIP.COM they offer online booking on various services, Hotel ticket, train, flight. (Alternative)
  • Bike rental – Normally you can get this service through your accommodation. we got ours at IDR 70,000 ($5).
  • AccommodationTiga Lima Homestay , they were very accommodating. Breakfast was included in the package and they’d let you choose the time you want to have them from 6-9am, and they’ll deliver it at your door. The place was nice as well and had a pool and rooms are spacious.
  • RestaurantYam Yam Thai Restaurant, the food was great, they had different varieties of curries and all are equally delicious. You would want to reserve in advance as it could get really crowded.
  • RestaurantCanting Restaurant – Yogya , It is located inside a mall so it is quite easy to locate. It is on the top floor with an overlooking view of Jogja.
  • DessertsTempo Gelato , there were quite a few gelato places in jogja, and at night they are all packed. This ice cream bar is spacious, with a garden sitting, and the interiors is nicely decorated.
  • RecreationBliss Pool & Lounge , they are open until 4am, they got plenty of pool tables, the place is clean, and the crew are very friendly.
  • It is always better to drive on your own, as long as you are set to drive on a very busy roads. The city is big enough for a spontaneous city tour with a lot of interesting things to offer.

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Borobudur Temple – it is one of Indonesia’s top tourist attraction. Declaired as a UNESCO World Heritage Site as well as largest Buddhist temple in the world recognized by Guinness World Records . This temple has gone through multiple restorations and hardships; from volcanic eruptions of nearby volcanoes, stolen head of buddha, bombing, and overcrownding causing wear on the stone stairs. It remains popular for pilgrimage, with Buddhists in Indonesia celebrating Vesak Day;Buddha’s Birthday. The festival commemorates the birth, enlightenment (Buddhahood), and death (Parinirvāna) of Gautama Buddha in the Theravada or southern tradition. Click >> Borobudur Temple – Wikipedia for more details about the temple.

An image of Vairocana Buddha in Borobudur Temple
Multiple perforated stupa in Borobudur temple

THINGS YOU SHOULD KNOW:

  • An hour bike ride from Yogyokarta proper
  • Best to travel before the break of dawn to skip traffic
  • Best to visit during sunrise, but be prepared for influx of tourist doing the same thing as you. The earlier you are, the best spot you can get for sunrise
  • Compared to alot of temples in Indonesia, the entrance fee to the temple is more expensive, IDR 450,000 ($33) but it included breakfast buffet.

Prambanan Temple –  is a 9th-century Hindu temple compound in Special Region of YogyakartaIndonesia, dedicated to the Trimūrti, the expression of God as the Creator (Brahma), the Preserver (Vishnu) and the Transformer (Shiva). The temple compound is located approximately 17 kilometres (11 mi) northeast of the city of Yogyakarta on the boundary between Central Java and Yogyakarta provinces. The temple compound, a UNESCO World Heritage Site, is the largest Hindu temple site in Indonesia and the second-largest in Southeast Asia. It is characterized by its tall and pointed architecture, typical of Hindu architecture, and by the towering 47-metre-high (154 ft) central building inside a large complex of individual temples. Prambanan attracts many visitors from around the world. Click >> Prambanan Temple – Wikipedia for more details.

Quite gorgeous after sunset when people started leaving the compound. The puddle in the middle of the ground made it perfect
Dumbfounded by how beautiful Prabanan Temple was after sunset.

THINGS YOU SHOULD KNOW:

  • Best view on sunset, but very touristy
  • Just a 35 minutes bike ride from Yogyokarta proper, be longer if in a car because of traffic
  • Drivers are all over the roads, and it would be very stressful to drive around if you are not an experience driver.
  • Once you leave the city proper roads are getting better and there’s an allocated lane for bikes
  • If you want to have a photo with less people in it, visit early in the morning as people tend to go to Borobudur Temple for sunrise.
  • This destination is very expensive compared to other temples, entrance fee IDR 370,000 ($25)

APPROXIMATE TRAVEL BUDGET:

  • IDR 500k per night in Tiga Lima Homestay breakfast included
  • IDR 70K per day bike rental
  • IDR 450K per pax entrance fee to Borobudur Temple buffet breakfast included
  • IDR 350K per pax entrace fee to Prambanan Temple (there are other temples situated in the premesis of the compund)
  • IDR 50K for petrol
  • Meal prices is not included as it varies depending on where you go eat

I somehow have a mixed opinion regarding both temples, as both are world acclaimed site, it was way too expensive to visit both. They have fully commercialized both temple that even when you are not dress appopriately to go inside a temple, they tend to overlook them. The people guarding the premesis often overlook tourist that are disrespecting the the temple, like standing, and sitting on the parts of the temple. At the end of the trip, I fully appreciate the ancient people who have built these massive temple it must have taken them years to contruct th huge temples. I am in awe of the intricate designs carved on the walls, it tells stories of what happened hundreds of years ago. Yogyakarta, what an amazing place you are.

If this artible has been helpful to you, please share and like. And thank you for your time. and please take some time reading my humble beginnings >> Filipina Travelling Around Indonesia and featuring one of the wonderful island in the Philippines>> Carnaza Island, Philippines – Travel Guide . Cheers to more travels!

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