Yogyakarta in Java is home to two beautiful temples: Borobudur and Prambanan. You can visit the two easily within one day. You can either take a Grab and do it yourself or join an organized tour, which takes you from the Yogyakarta to the two temples.
If you are traveling in a group of 3 or more people, it might be cheaper to take your own Grab. If you are traveling alone or with another person, you are better off joining an organized tour. This is definitely also the more convenient way since you don’t need to figure out where to enter the temples etc.
The tours give you enough time to stroll around and take some amazing pictures. You have the option to book the tour with breakfast included. If you don’t want to have a small breakfast included, you can always get one in the restaurant where everyone else is using their breakfast voucher, you just pay there.
The temples in Yogyakarta are proof that Indonesia is home to different religions. While the most common religion is Muslim, the temple of Borobudur is a Buddhist temple and the one of Prambanana is a Hindu temple. By going with an organized tour you should also have a tour guide in the Prambanan temple, who explains the history of the temple and also about the religion. Don’t worry, we are not going to bore you about it here in this article.
Options for the Borobudur Temple
For the Borobudur Temple you have the option to see the sunrise there. For this privilege you have to pay extra. If you decide not to pay it, the tour will drop you off at a different place, where you will enjoy the so called “sunrise from the hill” in the forest. After the sunrise they will take you to the temple where you have time to enjoy it.
We decided against the option to see the sunrise within the Borobudur areal. We still got plenty of time to check it out after the sunrise. The cool thing about the sunrise on the hill is that you see the sun coming up between three volcanoes.
Earthquake destroyed Prambanan
What you should know before going there is the fact that the region of Yogya is frequently hit by earthquakes. The last strong one was in 2007. While the temple of Borobudur got away in good shapes, the Prambanan temple was terribly affected. The reason for that is that Prambanan consists of many different temples: 3 big ones for Shivu, Wishna and …. (the main Hindu Gods) and hundreds of small ones. Many off the small ones got completely destroyed and are in the process of being rebuilt, which will take several decades if not hundreds of years to completely be finished.
If you are asking if it’s still worth to see it, the answer is: Yes, most definitely! The big temples, which are the most impressive ones, are still intact and you get an idea of the whole area. You definitely also get a feeling of the impact of an earthquake by seeing the destroyed small temples.
When visiting the Prambanan temple, make the effort the walk the extra 1km to visit the temple further away. This is totally worth it. The area of that temple is very big and with much fewer people there. You will enjoy it much more! Get a map at the entrance to see where it is.
Fun Fact about Yogyakarta
Yogyakarta is mostly referred to as Yogya by Indonesians. It is a special province because the Governor of the province is the former king of the province. So the governor is not elected by the people of Yogyakarta but passed on by the king.
The city itself is not the worst in Indonesia, but also not the reason to come here.
A reason to do come here is the Merapi volcano. At least it was. The volcano is one of the most active ones in Indonesia and has been closed for the public. If you are planning to visit this volcano, make sure it is open to hike it. Otherwise you have plenty of other options to hike volcanoes in Indonesia.