Saturday, May 12, 2012

Yogyakarta Trip Day 1 - Prambanan

We took a 4-day-3 night trip to Yogya (pronounce as Djog-ja, or Jog-ja). Our brief itinerary- first day, we reached Adisutjipto Airport at 9:30 am, settled and took our early lunch at our hotel, followed by a 3-hour tour around Prambanan. We took our first dinner at Malioboro night market. The second day, we departed early to Borobudur and spent a whole morning there. Then, Kraton Palace and Tamansari Water Palace in the afternoon. We went to Malioboro Mall at night. On the third day, we went shopping at Malioboro in the morning, then we went back to Tamansari Water Palace to catch some of the interesting parts that we missed on our second day's visit. After that, we spent the rest of the afternoon time at Ambarrukmo Mall, the largest shopping complex in Yogya. We had our very wonderful dinner on the top floor of our hotel. Fourth day, we took our early flight back to Kuala Lumpur.

Yogyakarta is a city built on the old kingdom of Sailendra and Mataram. Beside the city are two prominent religious edifices. Borobudur, 40 km north west, and Prambanan, 17 km east, are both UNESCO World Heritage Sites.

Overall, the trip to Yogya was more leisure than our previous trip to Siem Reap, with more time to spare and to rest. The weather in the month of April during our visit was hot and humid, which we had no problem to get along with it, as we enjoy the same weather condition in Malaysia whole year round. Hot weather is a blessing in the sense that, we could take beautiful photos with clear blue sky.

So, let's start with our trip to Candi Prambanan (Temple of Prambanan). 17 km east of Yogya, the temple is in fact located in the province of Central Jawa (not in Yogya). We took a taxi from our All Season Hotel, with RP 70,000 (approx. RM 24 or USD 8) and extra RP 5000 for the entrance to the parking area. The journey took us 25 minutes. The taxi driver refused to wait for us at Prambanan. He gave his company's business card to us and instructed us to call for another taxi to return to the hotel. We paid RP 125,000 per person for the entrance ticket of Prambanan National Archaeological Park (approx. RM 42 or USD 14). The local name for the park is "Taman Wisata Prambanan", which means "Prambanan Tourism Park".

Candi Prambanan is believed to be built by Rakai Pikatan and other Kings of Mataram at 850 AD, 300 years earlier than Angkor Wat. As a counteract to the great Borobudur and Candi Sewu of Buddhism, the purpose of building the temple itself made it had to be huge, majestic, and a wonder of architecture. With the highest point of 47 m, it is considered one of the largest Hindu temple outside of India.

The temple faces east- a sign of the dominancy of Shivaism. So, it's not a surprise for us to know that the tallest tower at the middle of the temple is dedicated to Shiva. Flanking the Shiva's tower are two lesser towers dedicated to Brahma and Vishnu respectively. These three huge towers are called the Three Trimurti. In front of the Three Trimurti are three small towers dedicated to the Vahanas- Nandi the bull for Shiva, Hamsa the goose for Brahma, and Garuda the eagle for Vishnu. The tower dedicated to Shiva was closed to visitors during our trip. The main temple complex is surrounded by 224 small pervara towers (the guardian towers). However, by far, only two of the pervara towers have been restored.

We can see all six major towers from the main entrance of Candi Prambanan (facing east).

Our photo with Candi Prambanan a hundred meters away.

The towers of Vahanas, dedicated to the Nandi (right) and Garuda (left). The photo taken from the tower of Brahma.

Story of Ramayana starts at the Shiva's tower and continues to Brahma's tower, depicted by the bas-relief at the inner side of the balustrades, starting from left to right. So, the correct order to read the story is to follow the bas-relief in clockwise direction. Story of Krisnayana is depicted at the bas-relief at the Vishnu tower. As we didn't hire a guide, what we could only try our best to figure the story behind the aging stone works, by ourselves. Anyway, the bas-relief somehow brought our memory of Angkor Wat and Bayon back to us- same stonework, but at different period of time, at different places, by different civilization.

The staircase is not as steep as the temples at Angkor. We had no problem climbing to the upper levels of the tower of Brahma. The first level of the tower of Brahma with panels of bas-reliefs depict the stories from Ramayana (upper right). The lower row shows two of the panels available at Brahma's tower.

A part of the Shiva's tower with great detailed artworks.

There is a legend that connects Candi Sewu (Temple of a thousand towers) to the statue of Durga in the tallest tower of Candi Prambanan. The legend tells that there was once Prince Bandung falled in love with Princess Lara Jonggrang of Boko,  and pressing for a forced marriage. The princess succumbed with a term- the prince had to build a temple with a thousand towers in one single night. The task was not too hard for the prince as he summoned spirits from the earth to help him. At the very blink in completing 999 towers, the princess deceived the spirits by faking the sunrise- pounding rice and setting fire at the east of the temple, which lured the cocks to crow, and drove all the spirits back to the ground. Mission failed, and the prince drove mad. He cursed the princess and turned her into a stone statue. Well, the story ended sad, the unfinished temple turned to be Candi Sewu, while Lara Jonggrang, turned to be Durga statue in Candi Prambanan.

We spent more than one hour at Candi Prambanan, admiring to architectural wonder and the wisdom of the past. We were lucky to have the chance to witness the greatness of Candi Prambanan with our very own eyes. One of our friends went to Prambanan a year earlier in 2011, with the construction of recovery was undergoing. He couldn't see much as the protective curtains had blocked many parts of the temple. Well, our advice to all our readers, go and visit the temple as soon as possible before next quake hits it (touch wood).

Towers of Prambanan from the west- backside of the temple.

A closer look on the temple.

Most of the guardian towers are still lay in ruin. Many years are required to restore the temple to its former glory.

This is how Prambanan looks like from the northern side of the temple. This photo is taken at the opposite side with the previous photo.

There are other three temples in Prambanan National Archaeological Park- Candi Lumbung, Candi Bubrah, and Candi Sewu. Lumbung and Bubrah were literally lay in ruins. The restoration was still ongoing during our visit, but we could anticipate that the full restoration is still a long way to go. These two temples could be seen along the way from Candi Prambanan to Candi Sewu. We took around 20 minutes to walk from Prambanan to Sewu. Shading trees and the resting areas had made our journey by foot bearable (we were indeed quite tired after staying for more than one hour at Prambanan).

This is how Candi Lumbung looked like during our visit.

The condition of Candi Bubrah was even worse. We couldn't even see any gathering stones that resemble a temple. However, we could see the restoration work was ongoing (upper right).

Candi Sewu (Temple of Thousand Towers) is around 800 m away from Candi Prambanan. It is the second largest Buddist temple complex in the area (which the biggest is Borobudur). The temple is believed to be built 100 years before Candi Prambanan. Although named a thousand, the actual number of towers are 249, with the main tower building errects about 30 m above the ground. Candi Sewu is a temple that worth a visit. We stayed and roamed around the temple for 20 minutes.

This is how the second largest Buddist Temple looked like from the main entrance during our visit. The main tower complex have been restored. 

A close look on the main tower complex. The highest point of the tower reaches 30 m high.

We climbed to the top level of the main tower complex, turned around, and this is what we saw.

Photos taken inside (left) and outside (right) of the main tower complex.

Most of the small towers surrounding the main temple complex were still in ruin.

Candi Sewu is badly damaged over time. But not all of them by nature. The missing head of the Buddha is believed had been taken by somebody as a private collection (upper left). Many of the missing pieces of the puzzling temple has been found in the villages nearby. On the same type of the towers, the photo on the lower left shows the one with many of the original stones found, while the lower right shows the one with the replacement stones.

On our way back to the entrance (park operator office), we visited the park archaeological museum and audio visual presentation. The archaeological museum was quite attractive (free entrance), which many of the statues and pieces of the ruins discovered were displayed. The audio visual presentation, on the other hand, was not in good quality. However, with RP 5000, the presentation was proven a bit helpful for us to understand more about the background of the temples. The air condition helped to cool us down after a long walk.

The park was quite densed with trees, so travel by foot is not a problem, even under the blazing sun (upper right). Many artifacts were displayed in the museum (lower left), which includes many stones and sculptures which their origin are yet to be identified. A part of the museum has the photos on display, showing how Candi Prambanan been discovered and restored. The photo on lower right shows the condition of Candi Prambanan in 1923.

The entrance to the parking area of Prambanan Archaeological Park (upper left). We need to pay RP 5000 to enter the parking area. The ticket counter is around 100 m from the entrance (upper right). Food stalls and souvenir shops are available only at the exit of the park.

After we left the park, we call the hotline number writen on the business card, which was given by our taxi driver. The operator requested our location and handphone number. Our experience was, we have to understand a little bit of Indonesian Language (which thank God, is quite similar to Malay Language) in order to communicate with the operator, and we had to tell the operator that we are the tourists with oversea handphone numbers, or else, the operator will keep on asking and confirming our handphone number. Our taxi reached within 15 minutes.

Our advice to all of our readers, if you can endure the hot and humid (like us), a visit in the afternoon can be a good idea. We arrived at Prambanan around 1 pm and went out around 4:30 pm. There were less visitors during that period of time and we had a lot of opportunities to take good photos with all the temples. Bring along a foldable umbrella or a hat is a good idea. A pair of comfortable shoes or sandals is a must. Bringing a bottle of mineral water is really essential, as the one-and-the-only-one canteen in the park is the only place that we can buy drinks and food. Tram service is available from time to time, but walking around might offers different experience to us. Last but not least, if you can't understand any of Indonesian Language, rent a car might be the safest way for you to visit Prambanan. Or, get a taxi, deal with the driver to get him wait for you at Prambanan. Most of the taxi drivers that we encountered were not good in English. Try to use simple language when you deal with them.

Trip to Prambanan was a great experience to us. We would like to recommend that your trip should start with Prambanan first, before you step your foot on Borobudur. Borobudur is much more "monumental" than Prambanan. So, if we start with Borobudur, we might get so called "anti-climax" experience. 

Second day in Yogya, our trip to Borobudur started early in the morning. Please follow us to Borobudur now.



[Yogyakarta Trip Day 1- Prambanan] [Yogyakarta Trip Day 2-Borobudur]

21 comments:

  1. i saw a glow over the buildings in one of your pics: http://3.bp.blogspot.com/-WbkXUB4w4rA/T6TBfFyYyVI/AAAAAAAACDo/S7y9Lec1-6s/s640/Prambanan-03.jpg

    mystical~

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    1. Yes Alex, we were surprised by the effect, which we can't explain it as well. We take it as unexpected "special effect" :p

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  2. I will be going to Yogyakarta next April and will definitely use your itinerary as guidance in planning my 4D/3N trip. One major difference is that I will not be going to Borobudur since I had been there and will instead try to climb Mount Merapi.

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    1. Thanks for stopping by my friend. Saw your photo at Borobudur. Climbing Mount Merapi should be adventurous. Wish you have a nice trip there, looking forward for your sharing :)

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  3. nice, nice, nice , read too http://pembayun-mangir.blogspot.com/

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    Replies
    1. Thank you very much. Read your blog, but not quite understand your language. Are you Indonesian?

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  4. Nice article, dude! Maybe http://www.jakpost.travel could be a good recommendation for you to find another interesting destinations in Indonesia...

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    1. Thanks gigitata. Our reader might be interested to read the recommendation there :)

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  5. Great to know that our sharing about Prambanan has been published at http://www.jakpost.travel/city/yogyakarta#travelog

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  6. i like this pict and i like prambanan temple

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  7. I will be going to Indonesia this November, and this article help me lot in preparing the itinerary since im not using travel agency. But i wonders can both (Borobudur in Prambanan) tour can fit in one day? and how about shopping in yogya , are the price cheaper than Bandung?

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    1. Good day c.i.d.a.
      Borobudur and Prambanan can be visited on the same day. We would advice to visit Borobudur first early in the morning, then Prambanan in the afternoon.

      Regarding the shopping, we can't really answer the question, as we have not been to Bandung. Based on our experience (without taking account the inflation or deflation), things in Yogya is a bit cheaper than Bali, and richer in variety as well.

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  8. nice your blog :)
    Rental Mobil Jogja, Xenia, Avanza, Apv Rp. 150.000,- Wisata Jogja Rp. 150.000,- fasilitas Mobil + Driver + Hotel full service. Hub kami 0274-788.1681 / 0857.2928.2928 / 0812.1554.1554 / BB pin:230C5DC1. Hanya ada di Satrio Langit Transport, Rental Mobil Jogja terpercaya.

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    1. Thank you dimas. Dear readers, the car rental information for Jogja is available at https://www.facebook.com/rentalmobilyogyakarta, provided by Satrio Langit. Hope the info is helpful to you all :)

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  9. Replies
    1. Same to you my friend. Hope you success in your business with the winning through good services too.

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  10. Great info. Plan to go there this year :

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  11. i have read your article and looked at your all images you took while you were in yogyakarta,those are so nice,and i am excited you enjoyed visiting yogyakarta my city,but although your trip day was middling long actually,there are still many destinations you had not visited,i hope you will be eager to visit yogyakarta again next time,and if you want to ask about yogyakarta,i am glad to answer it

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    1. Thank you for your offer. There is no place in Indonesia like Jogya indeed. We will contact you for information in future, if we have the chance to visit lovely Jogya again :)

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