Sunday, July 11, 2010

Prambanan Temples

Shervin and I made a stop at Jalan Malioboro and Jalan Sosrowijayan before heading to Prambanan. We asked the travel agents around the area if they sell bus or train tickets for Surabaya, en route to Probolinggo, our next destination the day after. Unfortunately, they could only be bought from the bus or train station.

Prambanan Temple complex, a Unesco World Heritage Site.

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).

At the travel agent's small booth.

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.

Indonesia's version of a 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.

Lookie! Naruto chips.

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 where you'll find Vishnu, Brahma, and Shiva temples.

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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Weekend Haven said...
June 4, 2010 at 3:47 AM

Dropping by again. Awww... papasa kaya akong indonesian? haha. Or maybe estudyante na lang. ;)

Thanks for the wonderful info on yogya - bromo tour. Hanap na lang kami sa Malioboro ng agent.

☮Pinay Travel Junkie☮ said...
June 4, 2010 at 11:57 AM

Haha! Yeah, you could pass as an Indonesian too. Kaso mahahalata when we start talking, especially English does not play a part in Bahasa Indonesia.

Have a fun trip in Java!

The Nomadic Pinoy said...
August 9, 2010 at 9:57 AM

I salute you for doing everything you can to get a discount. In the backpacking world, we do everything we can to get anything as cheaply as possible! Too bad, I don't know any sign language hehehe!

☮Pinay Travel Junkie☮ said...
August 14, 2010 at 5:31 PM

Hahaha! Yeah Dennis. But I actually feel bad we did so. Desperate times. Tsk.

Unknown said...
April 30, 2012 at 10:25 PM

Hi Pinay Travel Junkie! I've been referencing your blog for our own adventures since I stumbled upon it.

My partner and I are planning a trip to Indonesia. Your Bromo adventure inspired us to do the same. Unfortunately, all the forums I've read suggests not to take any of the packaged tours as most are scams. But it seems that you had a different experience. Do you remember the name of the agency or perhaps you were able to save their number/email/website? It would be such great help.

Thank you in advance.

Pinay Travel Junkie said...
May 1, 2012 at 9:28 AM

Aww... Sorry can't remember. On Jalan Malioboro, there should be lots of tour operators. Check if the office looks permanent, and I reckon it should be good. Check also the recommended agencies of hotels.

Unknown said...
May 1, 2012 at 1:12 PM

Thank you for the tip and quick response. :D

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