We left early at 3:30 am for Borbudur because we opted for the sunrise tour. We took a minibus with six people in total for 120000 IDR per person. The student ticket cost for the temple was 400000 IDR and non student cost was 475000 IDR, both with breakfast included. The drive from Yogyakarta to Borbudur took about 1.5 hours.
Borbudur is a Buddhist temple which was built in the 9th century by the Sailendra dynasty.
It is the largest Buddhist temple in the world and one of the three main archeological sites of Southeast Asia. As part of the sunrise tour, you are part of a small group of people who get to experience the sunrise from the top of the temple, with a backdrop of the rainforest and two Volcanos. It is a wonderful experience. I have visited other world heritage sites like Angkor Wat and the Pyramids of Giza. Amongst all of those, I found the Borbudur and Prambanan temples to be the most well maintained. The Indonesian government has gone a long way to protect its heritage.
It is important to mention that Indonesia has over 200 highly active volcanoes. There are quite a few volcano treks that you can do whilst in the region. Yogyakarta is on the lap of two such volcanos, Mt Merapi and Mt Merbabu, which are both highly active. The last Mount Merapi eruption was as recent as 2018. Earlier, the Indonesian government allowed treking to the summit of both volcanoes, but due to some recent incidents involving tourists, this trek is no longer open.
We got done with the Borbudur tour and breakfast by 8:30 am. The onwards journey to Prambanan was another 1.5 hours. The entry ticket for Prambanan was 350000 IDR for non students and 210000 IDR for students. There was a combined ticket for both Borbudur and Prambanan which was considerably cheaper but unfortunately it does not include the sunrise at Borbudur.
The Prambanan complex consists of 9th century Hindu temples which were built by the Sanjaya dynasty and their construction marked the return of Hinduism to Central Java. The main temple complex originally consisted of a total of 240 temples. Out of these, the three main temples include the Trimurti temples which were dedicated to the holy trinity of Brahma, Vishnu and Shiva. The other three important temples were the Vahana temples and these were dedicated to the animal that each of the three gods were associated with (Hamsa, Garuda and Nandi). The other smaller temples lie mostly in ruins. Along with the main temple complex, you can also access smaller buddhist temples in the area. These incude: Lumbung, Candi Bubrah , Sewu temples.
It was a wonderful experience. Especially being Hindu myself, it really made you understand everything. The architecture seemed like it was influenced from South Indian hindu temples, like the ones at Hampi. The walls of the temples also depicted scenes from the Ramayana.
We returned to the hostel by 2 pm. I had to change hostels since they did not have beds available for tonight. The hostel staff was kind enough to book me into their sister hostel which was called Otu by Ostic house. Overall, this was an even better hostel with a chill pool. The beds and toilets were clean and the staff was helpful. They had no in-house restaurant but that was not a problem because there were plenty of food options nearby.
Getting a sim card in Indonesia is a bit complicated. The sims that you get locally, are only operational in the city where you get them. Eventually, I found a special sim which was a data only sim card. The company was Smartfren. It gave me 1 GB 4g data per day plus an additional one time 2 GB data and it worked everywhere I went, except Labuan Bajo. The cost of this sim was 180000 IDR. This might not be the best option but I just went by what people told me. I am sure there are other options for sim cards available.
A few friends and I got dinner at this place called House of Raminten. It was the best Indonesian local food that I ate in all of Indonesia. I went with a couple of friends from my hostel, with whom I was also planning on going to a nearby waterfall tomorrow. This restaurant was recommended by a local and it was completely worth the 10 minute cab ride. The restaurant was perpetually packed and we had to wait for 45 minutes to get a table. I got a local version of a chicken porridge and it was amazing.
As far as cabs are concerned, the best way to go about it is to download the Grab or Ojek app on your smartphone.