Borobudur Prambanan and a chicken-shaped church!
No matter how many photos you have seen, no matter how many articles you have read, no matter how much they have told you … there are places that never lose the ability to impress. Because there are sites that were not born to be read but to be felt. And Borobudur and Prambanan are a good example of this . So are two of the most impressive temples in Asia … and the entire world.
The last time we spoke, I had just told you about everything we did in Yogyakarta, the friendly city on the island of Java . A city that, as I told you, is interesting in itself, but especially because of its proximity to the Borobudur and Prambanan temples . And we are going to talk about these today.
How to get to Prambanan and Borobudur
Indeed, Yogyakarta (Jogja) is the reference city if you want to visit the aforementioned monuments. In case you are a little green in Indonesian geography, I will tell you that Jogja is located in the center of the island of Java and that, due to its tourist importance, it is relatively easy to get to.
If you are traveling in Indonesia , you should know that there are several daily flights that connect Yogyakarta with important cities on other islands . If you are in Java itself, in addition to the flights, there are buses and trains that cover this route. In case it serves as a reference, about 550 milometers separate Jogja from Jakarta (the capital of Indonesia), a journey that takes about 8 hours by train.
Once in Yogyakarta, you will probably have to stay overnight, so these accommodation recommendations may help you .
- Airbnb offers a few lodging options and at all prices.
- If you want to make the most of the experience, check out the highly-priced The Phoenix hotel for 60 euros a night.
- An intermediate option is the Neo Malioboro hotel, where you will pay 35 euros to go with your companion.
- We stayed at Losmanos, a nice and cheap hostel highly rated on Booking.
Perfect, you are already in Yogyakarta and you already have a tailor-made accommodation. So it is the perfect time to prepare your visit to Borobudur and Prambanan temples . And how can you get there?
Borobudur and Prambanan Temples Tour
If you have little time to visit the area or you prefer not to complicate yourself too much, my advice is to hire a tour to visit them. And, although Prambanan is relatively close and it is not difficult to get there by public transport, the logistics in Borobudur is much more complicated, so if you want to fit the two together on the same day, it is best to do them in tour format. Most accommodation and local tourist agencies offer them, but if you want something in Spanish you may be interested in this option.
Important: tours do NOT usually include the entrance fee to the temples, $ 25 each , although you can save a little by buying a combined ticket. Of course, if you want to visit Borobudur at dawn (a nice option if the day is clear), you will have to pay a little more for the entrance and the option to combine it disappears. Keep this in mind when organizing.
Go to the temples by public transport
If you can spend more than one day in the area and want to save on costs, you will be happy to know that it is possible to go by public transport to the temples . Now, the trip can be a bit long, especially in heavy traffic hours.
HOW TO GET TO PRAMBANAN BY PUBLIC TRANSPORT
Just 20 kilometres separate Prambanan from the center of Yogyakarta so it is relatively easy to get to. Just take the Pram ban Express from the Lempuyang train station at the right time (check the Prameks website because the frequency is low and it doesn’t always go there) or take bus 1A from Malioboro, a somewhat longer trip but it takes you it will cost less than 1 euro.
HOW TO GET TO BOROBUDUR BY PUBLIC TRANSPORT
You can go to this temple by taking a Trans-Jogja bus at the Jombor terminal , north of the city, where you can get there by taxi or on the local bus 2A or 2B. In total there are about 50 kilometers by public transport so you can already arm yourself with patience … a lot of patience. Of course, for the entire trip you will not pay more than 1 euro.
Go to the temples with a rental vehicle
How could it be otherwise, getting some type of private transport could make things much easier for you. As is the tradition in Asia, the motorcycle can be a very economical option to do this tour, but if you do both temples in one day it can be exhausting . If you can afford it and it does not require you to drive on the left, do not discard the rental car.
How much does the entrance to the temples cost?
I’m not going to deny it: between one thing and another, visiting these temples is one of the biggest expenses you will probably make on your trip to Indonesia , although I assure you it is worth it.
- Entrance to Borobudur: $ 25.
- Entrance to Borubudur + sunrise: $ 31.
- Admission to Prambaban: $ 25
- Borobudur + Prambanan combo ticket: $ 45 (does not include sunrise at Borobudur).
We were lucky enough to be able to go there with Anita, an adorable Couch surfer , so we “just” had to pay for gas and tickets.
Borobudur – The largest Buddhist temple in the world
Almost nothing, huh? In a religion where records are the order of the day (the largest lying Buddha in the world, the largest sitting Buddha, the golden one …), you can imagine that such a milestone is not easy to achieve, even more so considering He says that it is believed that it was built between the 8th and 9th centuries after Christ .
However, in the 14th century the religious interests of the country turned towards Islam, making this temple fall into oblivion . An oblivion in which it would remain for more than 300 years, until a British governor (in the short time they sent to the island) “rediscovered” the monument, then covered with vegetation and ashes.
From then until now, numerous restorations have given this sacred place the appearance it has today, especially thanks to the work of Unesco between 1975 and 1982, after which it was distinguished as a World Heritage Site . Without a doubt, a distinction commensurate with the beauty and importance of this space.
More than 100 meters measures each of the sides of this immense enclosure shaped like a great stupa (a type of Buddhist building dedicated to religious worship), although it is considered a temple due to its dimensions.
Scattered around some of its corners are various gargoyle-shaped pipes (rain drains), as well as several thousand reliefs with both narrative (karma episodes, for example) and decorative functions.
Nor is there a lack of statues of Buddha , strategically placed at various points in the temple.
In general terms, the temple, like all those of this religion, represents a journey through the three levels of Buddhist chronology , a journey that guides you through its different floors and stairs.
I admit that the upper part of the temple was the one that impressed us the most , and in which we invested almost all our photographic energy. Everything that is there make up a unique experience.
Sunrise at Borobudur
Although you may have already guessed it from the photos, we managed to reach Borobudur at dawn (getting up at 3 in the morning), but the rain deprived us of a perfect experience.
As I mentioned above, the price of admission to Borobudur is higher if you want to visit the temple during sunrise , so I recommend you value it well depending on the weather. Of course, with the sunrise the rain stopped, the light became very beautiful and, thanks to the early rise, we did not have to “share” the stage with many people. It was worth the effort.
With more than 1000 years under its belt, Prambanan is a set of temples dedicated to the three most important gods of Hinduism: Shiva, Bisnú and Brahma .
In front of them, three other smaller temples represent the animals that act as mounts for these Gods .
On the sides, dozens of mini-temples line the four sides of Prambanan. In total, more than 200 buildings of different sizes make up this architectural wonder , although it is believed that at the beginning they exceeded a thousand. With such dimensions, this is understood to be one of the largest Hindu works in all of Asia.
Several of these temples, the largest, can be visited from the inside …
… Although it is the exteriors that will steal most of your photos. Like its friend Borobudur, this archaeological site also lived in ostracism for many centuries , suffering a major deterioration with an earthquake in the 16th century.
It was necessary to wait for the year 1918 for an important restoration work to begin on the monumental complex, a task that still persists today and is necessary. But the sum of all these efforts has managed to recover a unique space in the world also included in the Unesco list .
Sunset in Prambanan
In the case of Prambanan, what we did, and what is usually done, is to visit it during the sunset , although the sky did not do its part either. In addition, the temple closes before 6 o’clock, sunset time, so they took us out of the compound at the best time.
Now, the light at that time of day is always wonderful so, just for that, it pays to visit it in the afternoon. Also, in this case, you don’t have to pay more for it.
Gereja Ayam – The chicken church
Although it is somewhat ironic to speak of such a church in the same post in which I share the wonders of Borobudur and Prambanan, I did not want to stop dedicating a space to Gereja Ayam, popularly known as “Chicken church” .
Although you can read more about this “Martian” in the previous post , just tell you that this “avian” temple is close to Borobudur , so if you have gone there by your own transport, you may still want to make a stop. Curious is the least.
Churches of the chicken apart, Borobudur and Prambanan were the last two stops of this first trip through Indonesia, two exceptional cherries for a wonderful cake . Indonesia, that country to which chance and a sustainable tourism project took us …
… But in which we could also enjoy an exceptional route . A route that would begin with the Komodo National Park , one of the most beautiful natural spaces that I have seen in my life …
… propped up with a week traveling from Ubud to the always perfect Bali …
… And seasoned with a pinch of the Gili Islands , that endangered paradise.
In total, about a month of travel making contact with a small part of Indonesia, the country of 17,000 islands . 17,000 islands of which we did not see more than 10, so I can think of 16,990 reasons to return. So I don’t think it takes time to share a new route with you. For now, I hope you enjoyed this one as much as I did.