One agent offered us a packaged tour to Gunung Bromo instead. 300,000 Rp inclusive of: mini bus to Cemoro Lawang (town near the crater of Gunung Bromo), accommodation, breakfast, jeep to volcano trail, then big bus to either Denpasar (Bali) or back to Yogyakarta.
It was a good deal we thought, because even if it's a bit more expensive than traveling independently, we'll be safe from people who will be ripping us off along the way. So we paid for the tour and we were asked to come back the next day at 8:50 (they also offer hotel pick up but then we were staying at a residential area far from city center).
I bought a cheap batik blouse for my mom at Jalan Malioboro before we got on the 'busway' once again to finally head to Prambanan (17km from the city center). Busway (or Trans Jogja) pertains to a public bus (and its 'way' or route) circling metro Yogyakarta. Expect to pay 3,000 Rp to any destination, operating hours 6:00 AM to 10:00 PM. Route information is easily provided at every station, and most likely someone who speaks English will be around to assist you for further inquiries.
The nearest bus station to Prambanan is still a bit of a walk. We got there around 11-ish in the morning so before entering the temple grounds, we had lunch at a warung selling very cheap meals. A 'warung' in Indonesia is like the Philippines' carinderia.
But instead of pointing at a viand you like, you scoop your own portions of food (as in buffet style) and just take your plate to the cashier. The cashier will then make an estimate of how much your meal costs, and will type it in the calculator to show you (if you're a foreigner) the amount.
At the warung, while finishing off our meal (oh, we had Naruto chips for desert), Shervin and I planned on how I'll get past the ticket booth as an Indonesian. Admission fee for foreigners was $15, foreign students $7, and locals 15,000 Rp only.
Pinay Travel Junkie's confession: I suggested I could pretend I'm deaf and mute. So we devised our own sign language to make it more believable.
It worked. We entered the VIP area (for foreigners), and Shervin did all the talking. He got a discount as a student (he still had his uni ID), and a staff escorted us to the locals' entrance and bought the ticket for me. Handicapped people are indeed treated special!
To tell you honestly, I felt guilty after. But we didn't have much choice because we were really low on budget.
Prambanan was constructed between the 8th and 10th centuries. It is a Unesco World Heritage Site and is the largest Hindu temple complex in Java. To know more about its history, it is worth hiring a guide for just 40,000 Rp.
The primary yard was crowded for it was a Saturday. With the scorching heat, we didn't stay long - oh, and I got immediately tired pretending to be mute. I couldn't keep my mouth shut even for a few minutes!
Pinay Travel Junkie's tip: As with most stunning temples, the best time to visit Prambanan is at dawn or dusk when the sky is most picturesque. You may never get the temple complex to yourself, but a small crowd is always better. Complex is open 6:00 AM-6:00 PM, last admission at 5:15 PM.
It started raining when we got off the station near Sandi's (our Couchsurfing host) house. We had a snack at a restaurant where students usually hang out, while waiting for the rain to subside. When it did, we went to an internet shop and Googled information about Bali, our next stop after Gunung Bromo.
We ended the day doing our laundry.
[This blog is part of the South East Asia in Six Weeks series which took place May-June 2009. Price of goods, transportation and so forth may already be different.]
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