Temple Hopping in Yogyakarta
I took a ferry from Singapore to Jakarta and planned to travel through Indonesia hop over into Australia (never made it to Australia). I'm ashamed to admit it but it wasn't until I reached Jakarta that I had learned about Yogyakarta. I vaguely knew that somewhere in Indonesia there were picturesque Hindu temples but I think I just assumed they were in Jakarta. It wasn't soon after I reached Jakarta that I learned from a fellow traveler that Yogyakarta was a must stop for anyone visiting Indonesia. I didn't hesitate and bought a train ticket and left the next day.
Yogyakarta has served as the capital of Indonesia and remains as a cultural and educational center. Through it's history sultans ruled over the island of Java from this city and have left behind wonderful Hindu temples as gifts to the gods and of course to demonstrate their wealth. Below is a simple map and the location of the temples.
The temples range from small road side stops to grand palaces. My first stop was to a modest temple called Candi Sambisari, candi means temple as you'll pick up visiting the different sites. This temples was medium sized and it's best to start small and work your way up to the more impressive temples. You'll enjoy the small temples more if you they're your first stop. The other advantage of the smaller temples is they're much less crowded. You can walk around them in relative peace and enjoy them sometimes by yourself.
The next stop was to Candi Borobudur. This temple was slightly different from the others in that it was more of a pyramid than a temple complex. You could scale to the top and look out over the landscape.
At the top of Borobudur were net bell shaped structures with buddha statues in them. Here is one with the statue partially exposed.
Next stop and one of my favorites was Candi Plaosan. The Candi Plaosan complex was comprised of two main structures surround by smaller structures many of which were still left restored. You could walked into each of the main structures where it was a nice and cool offering a good break from the daily heat.
Statues guarding the complex.
Westerners are still a little rare in Indonesia and many of the locals are quite eager to say hello and ask to take a picture with you. It's one of the more endearing parts of Indonesia and it really makes you love the country. Sometimes you even feel like a rockstar with people running up to you and asking for a picture.
The last stop and main event is the Candi Prambanan complex. This is a very impressive temple complex and rivals the main temples of Angkor Wat. This complex definitely had the most tourists, most of whom were Indonesian, but you'll bump into the occasional foreigner.
Lastly there are several other temple complexes within walking distance from Prambanan. They are definitely worth the spending sometime visiting. Most of the crowds will be at Prambanan so can escape them by exploring the other temples. Here is Candi Sewu, which was another one of my favorites.
Overal Yogyakarta was one of my favorite cities that I've had the chance to visit. The city itself is a bit over crowded but the temples offered a really fantastic experience. If you're ever going to Indonesia Yogyakarta is a must stop.