The plan for today: Visiting the UNESCO heritage Prambanan. But I wake up having some bad cough and a running nose. Great, did I manage to catch a cold on the last gew days by all the running aircondition? . After somehow getting all the coughing in check, we walk down to the dining hall. Wow, I didn’t expect such a big breakfast buffet. Indonesians seem to be blueberry-crazy… You can get marmelade, pancakes, yoghurt… almost everything with them here. Strange, but delicious.
Walking the same road we took yesterday, we arrive at the sultan’s palace and decide to have a look inside. If you are staying at Yogyakarta you could visit this place, but overall, it’s not a “must-do”. There are some buildings around the front courtyard having some traditional robes and uniforms from the 19th century on display aswell as various paintings and photos. It looks a bit like a small museum. You don’t seem to be allowed to enter the interior though: A huge gate is secured by a wooden bar. “Nope, pushing the bar aside and entering the gate in is probably not a good idea. Maybe you’ll be left tied up as human sacrifice without any water in Prambanan or something like that… ” . The climate in Java actually feels much more warmer and humid than the one in Bali. We’ve been barely 15 minutes outside and the shirts are already sweaty. No wonder any local seems to be going by foot – everyone prefers to ride a scooter regardless the distance.
Once outside again again, we take the Trans Yogja Bus which will take us straight to the entrance of the ruins of Prambanan for just 3000 IDR (0.22 USD). Taking the bus is actually the best choice, since the entrance to the expressway is a bottle neck. Whether you rent a scooter or take a taxi, you will not get any faster there.
The final stop is also in front of the temple grounds. We get surrounded by a group of rickshaw drivers the moment we get out of the bus, offering to drive us to the temple. Come on guys I can see the temple from here! At the entrance there are two different booths: One for locals and one for tourists. The prices for locals are only a fraction of those for tourists, but keeping in mind that you also earn far more compared to the salary of an Indonesian, you COULD call that fair. (But on the other hand… compared to the Balinese temples whose entry fees are just a fraction of this one… or completely free… well). We had already noticed that there is a combi-ticket for Prambanan / Borobudur, which is cheaper, but you have to ask for it (it is nowhere announced). The combined ticket costs 350000 IDR (26.20 USD) or 30 USD – it makes sense to pay in Rupiah .
Renting a sarong is included in the price, but we brought the ones we bought with us, which will give us an advantage later. The temple area itself is huge. Probably even bigger than the one in Besakih. Since there was an earthquake in 2006, many buildings are back in restoration phase, especially the smaller temples in the north and the biggest temple in the middle. But this does not mean that the visit is not worthwhile. Yet, to me personally the temples in Bali (except Besakih) left the greater impression. Perhaps because these are actively used and are more surrounded by nature and “feel less” like just a “tourist attraction”.
We stay quite a long time in the main area and take our time – since you are also allowed to enter the different temples (the main temples are all dedicated to a main Hindu deity) you can escape the heat outside for a while. While strolling around the area I get a bit annoyed about the security: Though those guys are present, they couldn’t care less about disrespectful tourists: There are signs all over the place prohibiting touching or climbing the stones, yet this place seems to be a climbing contraption for some people. Yeah, we are in an Islamic country, Buddhist or Hindu temples may be less “important” compared to Bali. But we are talking about a cultural world heritage here…
Since we have our own sarongs, we are allowed to stay until the sunset. The rented sarongs have to be returned about an hour before closing time, so that visitors have to leave the main area before sunset. As we make our way to the exit we are surprised by the abundance of souvenir articles here: This is no longer a “giftshop” at the exit, but a whole maze of souvenir shops.
Uff, I’m glad to be through there. It almost felt like a small village only consisting of small souvenir shops. We return to Yogyakarta by taking the same bus back.