Yogyakarta tourist offices organise whole day trips both to Borobudur, which is the largest Buddhist Temple in the world and to Prambanan Park, the largest Hindu temple in Indonesia. However it is also possible to visit both temple complexes on the same day. This is especially possible if you have your own transportation, but tour operators also cater for those who wish to see both sites in one day.
This is what we opted for. We travelled to Borobudur in the early morning hours, spent around 2 hours there in total and then got back in our minibus and travelled towards Prambanan.
Here is a map to demonstrate where these temples are in relation to Yogyakarta:
As you can see the two temples are in opposite directions from Yogyakarta. So once we finished visiting Borobudur the minibus then started travelling towards the centre of Yogyakarta. It takes about an hour when there is no traffic, but with the mid-morning traffic it took about two hours to get from Borobudur across to Prambanan and then about another 20 minutes to Prambanan. The worst thing as that there was no air-con on the bus, it was really cramped on board and there were no curtains on the windows. The bus was like a tin can soaking up the sweltering heat and no-one had any water with them!! It was hellish.
The first thing everyone did when we finally stopped at the car park of Prambanan Park was to seek out the one and only facility where we could get some water: a vending machine by the ticket office.
Prambanan was a nice surprise to us. With the emphasis is usually on Borobudur, visitors may give this temple a miss, however I think it is definitely worth the visit. It very much reminded me of the temples of Angkor in Cambodia, but it was a lovely manageable site. Dozens of temple spires broke up the brilliant blue of the sky, tourist were everywhere, but mainly actual tourists, not locals, which gave us a bit of a breather from the past few days whereby we ourselves have become tourist attractions (more on that in the next post).
We walked around and explored the sites, up and down steep steps, in and out of shrines and covices, got to talking to another visiting couple, which was very nice. We visited a couple of the museums nearby and then had a bit of lunch in the nearest restaurant before heading back to our minibus and then to Yogyakarta.
All in all it was a long day what with visiting two of the most important religious sites in the whole of Indonesia in one super hot day, but it had to be done. It was well worth making to journey to Yogyakarta for this – I could highly recommend it. If you are in the area you can also hike up the nearby Mount Merapi – the most active volcano in Indonesia. You can actually see the volcano from Prambanan. I think all three – Borobudur, Prambanan and Merapi – could be done in one day if you are super organised and maybe if you hire a driver and car.
Next stop on our itinerary is Jakarta, until then,