Remember how we said we were templed out when we left Siem Reap? Fortunately, its been a few months, as we spent another day in Yogyakarta temple hopping. We booked a private car (and completely overpaid given we only wanted it for half a day) and wandered around to several different temples.
We started our day at Prambanan, the largest Hindu temple in Indonesia. It was built back during the 9th century. It is another Unesco World Heritage site and, in some ways, I liked it even better than Borobudur. While the carvings weren’t as intricate, it was much easier to get a view of the entire temple complex. Most people visit Prambanan at sunset, but we arrived at 6:30 a.m. and were one of only a handful of people there so we pretty much had the temples to ourselves for awhile.
Plus, there were beautiful views of Mount Merapi at that time (the view was pretty much all clouds by 7:30 am) and we were able to see the volcano smoking from multiple vents. So cool!
Included in the Prabanan ticket price (350K IDR or about 25 USD) are three other temples. They have a little shuttle train that will take you to the other temples (for a small price), but we walked as it was only a couple of kilometers to the furthest one.
We started at the furthest away temple, which is Sewu Temple, and the one of the three we found most impressive. Sewu Temple is a Buddhist temple from the 8th century. Much of it was in ruins, but there were still some impressive towers.
We also visited Bubrah Temple. This is a Buddhist temple from the 9th century and is just a single tower and not that impressive. Nonetheless, we walked right by it so there was no reason not to visit. (We didn’t visit the third temple as it was mostly ruins and closed for renovations)
As you leave the Prambanan grounds, be sure to stop at the cafe. There is a guy on the side selling “serabi solo” which are pancakes made of coconut milk and rice flour. The outside is crunchy, the inside is creamy and you can get them with chocolate added. Yum!
(Note you can get a combo ticket to Borobudur and Prambanan which saves you some cash but it is only good for two days. You can also get a combo ticket to Prambanan and Ratu Boko. We had intended to visit Ratu Boko but, for reasons completely unknown to us, the combo ticket didn’t go on sale at Prambanan until 8 am — given the ordinary price of Ratu Boko is also 350K IDR we decided to skip it).
Next stop on our temple tour was Plaosan Temple, a Buddhist temple built in the 9th century. This temple is surrounded by rice fields, homes, and shops. It is next to impossible to get a shot of the entire temple which mainly consists of two large towers. Nonetheless, t is worth a few minutes if you are in the neighborhood (especially as the entrance fee was only 3000 IDR (about 21 U.S. cents).
Our last stop of the day was Ijo Temple, a Hindu temple built in the 10th and 11th centuries. Ijo Temple is located high in on a hill and is apparently best visited at sunset, but we didn’t feel like heading back out to the area late in the afternoon. Ijo Temple is one large tower and several smaller towers. Unfortunately, the day we visited the large tower was full of men climbing all over it and removing moss so we didn’t get very good photos, but it is worth a short visit if you are nearby.
All-in-all, it was a lovely day in the countryside around Yogyakarta.