Prambanan

Travel Guide Asia Indonesia Java Central java Prambanan

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Introduction

Prambanan temples

Prambanan temples

© theo1006

Prambanan is an unassuming town on the main road between Yogyakarta and Surakarta (Solo) of some 40,000 inhabitants. But it is the location of the second must-see attraction – after Borobudur - for those doing Central Java: the Prambanan Archaeological Park, a UNESCO World Heritage Site, with its six slender temples of Hindu deities. Most tourists base themselves in Yogyakarta for a quick visit to the Park. Yet if one would spend some more time in the area, Prambanan has more than the park to offer. There is another Archaeologal Park, Kraton Ratu Boko, not yet on the UNESCO list. There are the performances of the Ramayana Ballet three times a week, during the dry season in the open air with the temples in the background. And there are more than ten lesser temple sites, some on walking distance from the UNESCO Site, some only recently discovered or restored. For volcano lovers, Kaliurang and Kaliadem on the southern slope of Merapi can as well be reached from Prambanan as from Yogyakarta. Nearby Klaten city is the starting point for an alternative route to the top of Merapi volcano. Of interest in Klaten is also the Gondang Winangoen sugar museum and factory, the latter still working during the sugar cane harvest season with 19th century machines.

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Sights and Activities

Prambanan Archaeological Park

Relief inside Plaosan Monastery

Relief inside Plaosan Monastery

© theo1006

The Prambanan temples - located in Prambanan Archaeological Park - are six slender structures, the central one being 47 metres high, dedicated to the Hindu trinity Shiva, Brahma and Vishnu and their steeds. The park has more, however. Walking from south to north one meets restored Lumbung temple, the ruins of Bubrah temple and the Buddhist complex of ‘a thousand temples’, Candi Sewu. Outside the park, but on walking distance are two more Buddhist sites. Plaosan Lor was a monastery and Plaosan Kidul a group of small temples.

Kraton Ratu Boko

Kraton Ratu Boko, located on a limestone hill overlooking Prambanan village, was not a temple site, but is believed to have been a court of the Mataram Empire. The complex is large, expect to spend an hour strolling around. No finely sculptured statues or reliefs here.

Kraton Ratu Boko, double gate

Kraton Ratu Boko, double gate

© theo1006


One needs some imagination to visualize what the royal court may have looked like. Most remains are piles of stone or roughly renovated constructions. It is recommended to see the sunset from here.

Temples

  • Candi Plaosan Lor or the Northern Plaosan Temples actually served as a Buddhist monastery. There are two buildings, one for men, the other for women. Located northeast of the Archaeological Park.
  • Candi Plaosan Kidul or the Southern Plaosan Temples was a complex of several Buddhist temples, a few of which only have been restored.

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Events and Festivals

The Ramayana Ballet is a Javanese version of the Indian Ramayana epos, enacted through dance, music and song. The venue is on the opposite side of Opak River from the Heritage Site. Tuesdays, Thursdays and Saturdays from 7.30pm to approximately 9.30pm. In the dry months, May through October, extended versions covering four nights.

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Getting There

By Plane

The nearest airport to Prambanan is Yogya’s Adisutjipto Airport, a 15-minute drive or ride from Prambanan.

By Train

There exists a commuter train, named Prameks, between Yogyakarta and Surakarta (Solo), riding about ten times daily in each direction. But contrary to its name, only twice a day the train leaving from Yogyakarta Airport or Yogyakarta Tugu station stops at Prambanan station. In the other direction it makes more stops at Prambanan.

By Car

Depending on traffic and location of departure, a car or taxi ride from Yogyakarta to Prambanan may take from15 minutes up to an hour.

By Bus

From downtown Yogyakarta (Tugu railway station, Malioboro street, the post office) or from Adi Sutjipto airport, take Trans Yogya bus line 1A to Prambanan terminal.

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Getting Around

By Foot

From Prambanan railway station or bus station it is just feasible to walk to the entrance of the Heritage site and the Ramayana venue, if one brings a water bottle during the heat of day. Otherwise there are becak standing by to take you there.

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Eat

  • Kali Opak Resto - An enchanting place to have one's dinner previous to attending a Ramayana ballet performance. Located among bamboo groves on the bank of Opak River, on walking distance for the ballet venue. From the entrance to the theatre head north and look out for the signs.

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Drink

Within the UNESCO site there is a small Garden Restaurant decorated with some antiques, good for a snack and a drink when one needs a rest from strolling the site.

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Sleep

  • Poeri Devata Resort Hotel - The most upmarket Prambanan has to offer. It is conveniently located at a few minutes walk from the ballet venue, therefore a good choice if one does not want to return to Yogya at night after attending a performance.

Budget Hotels

There is a string of budget hotels on Jalan Candi Sewu, the road where one finds the entrance to the UNESCO Site: Candi View, Prambanan Indah etc.

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Keep Connected

Internet

Internet is becoming more widely used in Indonesia, and warung Internet (warnet) - Internet cafés - are emerging everywhere. A lot of restaurants and cafés in big cities normally have wireless internet available for free. Internet connection speed in Indonesia varies between ISP and location. Prices vary considerably, and as usual you tend to get what you pay for, but you'll usually be looking at around Rp3,000 to Rp5,000 per hour with faster access than from your own mobile phone. In large cities, there are free WiFi hotspots in many shopping malls, McDonald restaurants, Starbucks cafes, 7 Eleven convenience stores, and in some restaurants and bars. Some hotels provide free hotspots in the lobby and/or in their restaurants and even in your rooms.

Phone

See also: International Telephone Calls

You can use 112 as an emergency number through mobile phones. Other numbers include 110 (police), 113 (fire) and 118 (ambulance).
The international phone code is 62.

If you have GSM cellular phone, ask your local provider about "roaming agreement/facility" with local GSM operators in Indonesia (i.e.: PT Indosat, PT Telkomsel, PT XL Axiata). The cheapest way is buying a local SIM card, which would be much cheaper to call and especially use internet compared to your own cell phone's sim card.

The Indonesian mobile phone market is heavily competitive and prices are low: you can pick up a prepaid SIM card for less than Rp 10,000 and calls may cost as little as Rp 300 a minute to some other countries using certain carriers (subject to the usual host of restrictions). SMS (text message) service is generally very cheap, with local SMS as low as Rp129-165, and international SMS for Rp400-600. Indonesia is also the world's largest market for used phones, and basic models start from Rp 150,000, with used ones being even cheaper.

Post

Pos Indonesia provides the postal service in Indonesia. Pos Indonesia is government-owned and offers services ranging from sending letters and packages to money transfers (usually to remote areas which have no bank branch/ATM nearby) and selling postcards and stamps. Sending a postcards, letter or parcel is relatively expensive, but fairly reliable. It takes several days at least to send it within Indonesia, at least a week internationally. It is recommended to send letters from a Pos Indonesia branch, not by putting it inside orange mailbox (called Bis Surat) in the roadside, because some of the mailboxes are in very bad condition and aren't checked regularly by Pos Indonesia. Opening times of post offices usually tend to follow general business hours: Monday to Friday from 8:00am to 4:00pm (sometimes shorter hours on Fridays), Saturdays from 8:00am to 1:00pm, closed on Sundays. Bigger cities, tourist areas and central post offices tend to keep longer hours, into the evenings.

Private postal services based in Indonesia include CV Titipan Kilat (CV TIKI), Jalur Nugraha Ekaputra (JNE), Caraka, and RPX. There are also foreign postal services that have branches in Indonesia, including DHL, TNT, UPS, and FedEx.

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This is version 33. Last edited at 21:02 on Dec 15, 19 by Utrecht. 4 articles link to this page.

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