How to visit the Prambanan complex in Java
It’s been too long since I last wrote something about Indonesia, but I still have so much to share with you guys! Java is famous for its beautiful temples, and I have been lucky enough to visit some temples during my trip through Indonesia last year. One of my favorite temples was Prambanan. This is the largest Hindu-Javanese temple complex in Indonesia, and definitely worth a visit. This is what you should know before visiting Prambanan.
What is Prambanan?
Prambanan dates back to the ninth century, and is dedicated to Shiva. The entire Prambanan complex consists of 240 temples in total. The most striking aspect of the temple complex (apart from its size of course) is the fact that they are so remarkably decorated. Many of these temples can be visited, others have been preserved as ruins. The name Prambanan means “many priests”. The big temple you see in most pictures, and which you will undoubtedly visit as well, is called “Lara Jonggrang”. The three main temples worship Shiva, Brahma and Vishnu. The carvings are well made, and have a lot of detail. I kept strolling through the complex and feeling the relief under my fingertips (which is not really good for the temple, but hey, I’m human being and very curious).
How to visit Prambanan
Prambanan is not too far from Yogyakarta: about 19 kilometers east, towards Solo. The other well-known temple of Java, the Buddhist Borubodur, is about an hour’s drive from Prambanan.
You can visit Prambanan on your own, or with a guide if you want. During our press trip we were able to visit the temple at our own pace, but I would recommend you to go with a guide. I would have liked to learn more about the temple, and the meanings of the images on the walls. We were there at the end of the afternoon, which is a good time (just like early morning) to avoid larger groups of tourists. And if I were you I’d be wearing something a little conservative. Although it is not directly necessary, I think it shows some respect when visiting a temple.
Entrance Prize Prambanan 2017:
As of May 1, 2017: IDR 325K (= 21.50 euro).
Students receive 50% discount on display of their student card.
Visiting the Ramayana ballet
We also got to see the Ramayana ballet, something I would highly recommend you doing too. This is a traditional Indonesian ballet that is accompanied by gamelan music depicting the story of Shinta’s abduction and the mission to save her. There is no spoken dialogue. Because it was raining we sat inside, but when the weather is nice the show is being held to the background of Prambanan. Highly recommended.
Viewpoint Ratu Boko
If you want to see a beautiful sunset with a view over Prambanan, you have to go to the viewpoint of Ratu Boko. It requires a bit of climbing, but you will end up at a beautiful gate, and if you’re exactly in the right place, the sun will shine through that gate. You will have to fight for a good spot, but seeing the sunshine over Prambanan and Mount Merapi is a very special experience. Besides, you can visit a number of temples at Ratu Boko, if you want.
Entrance fee Ratu Boko 2017:
Between 6.00 and 15.00: IDR 325K (= 21.50 euro).
Sunset + dinner: IDR 175K (= 11,50 euro).
Prambanan vs Borobudur?
If there are two big and famous temples within a relatively short distance of each other, comparisons will be made of course. If you do not have enough time to visit both of them, then you really have to come back, because their beauty simply can’t be compared, and they are both worth a visit. Whereas Prambanan is a Hindu complex, and knows a lot of details, Borobudur is a Buddhist temple that impresses because of its size. If I had to choose, Prambanan had my slight preference, purely because I love those beautiful detailed ornaments and there were fewer tourists so I had more space to just wander around like I was Lara Croft. I did really like Borobudur’s surroundings, (and the temple too, of course) but in the end Prambanan had left a bigger impression.
Hotels and guesthouses near Prambanan Prambanan
€ – The beautiful Griya Nalendra Guest House is built in a traditional style, with free wifi and breakfast. There is also a restaurant for dinner. The rooms are comfortable and have free air conditioning. Check out the most recent prices here. Photo source: Booking.com.
€€ – In the center of Yogyakarta, you will find Jambuluwuk Malioboro Boutique Hotel, a 5-star hotel with free wifi and breakfast and a beautiful outdoor swimming pool that resembles like a tropical fairy tale. Check out the most recent prices here. Source picture: Jambuluwuk Hotel & Resorts.
€€€ – I couldn’t choose, so I chose two amazing hotels. If you want to stay in Yogyakarta yourself, the luxurious The Phoenix Hotel is highly recommended: a stylish classic hotel with a beautiful courtyard with swimming pool. Check out the most recent prices here. If you prefer to stay in a tropical luxury resort and spa, on the edge of Yogyakarta (near the airport) then I recommend the Sheraton Mustika Resort and Spa. This amazing hotel is surrounded by water. All rooms have a private kitchenette. Check out the most recent prices here. Photo source: Sofitel.
Did you visit Prambanan and have more tips to share with us?
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