Borobudur, Candi Ratu Boko & Prambanan are up there with the best temples in Indonesia. This is why you have to visit these 3 Indonesian temples!
The temples in Indonesia are up there with the most beautiful I have ever come across.
In all my travels around the world, rarely have I found temples as beautiful as they are in Indonesia. The thing is, nobody has heard of them.
You know of Angkor Wat in Cambodia, right? Of course you have. What about Temple of the Emerald Buddha in Thailand? Maybe.
What about Borobudur? Candi Ratu Boko? Prambanan? No? Well they’re up there with the best temples in world. Don’t believe me? Then read on!
Indonesia is big.
In fact, it’s really really big. With a population of 256 million people and over 17,500 different islands, it’s one of the largest countries in the world. That’s not just in population but in land mass too. That means it’s got more than its fair share of Indonesian temples.
A lot of the time I get asked how many temples in Indonesia there actually are. The thing is, there are too many to count! There’s over 20,000 temples on the island of Bali alone. Add up all the temples on all the other islands, and it’s in the hundreds of thousands.
However, in Borobudur, Cadi Ratu Boko and Prambanan they’ve got three of the most impressive temples you’ll ever see too.
All 3 of these temples are located on the island of Java. This is one of the most popular places to visit in Indonesia.
If these places aren’t on your bucket then they really should be! Hopefully I can show you why.
Borobudur Temple, Indonesia
You could just see the outline of a volcano in the background, smoke rising into the air. A final few stars still shone brightly as a thin layer of yellow split the horizon.
Everyone was watching patiently, camera’s poised at the ready, the gentle click click click and the shuffle of tired feet the only real sounds to be heard.
Then, eventually, as the minutes ticked by, the shards of the sun shone brightly upon the stupas of Borobudur bathing everything in gold.
As far as sunrises go, this one is up there with the best.
Dating back to the 9th century, Borobudur is the largest Buddhist temple in the world and the biggest temple in Indonesia
Made up of over 2 million bricks and 504 Buddha statues, Borobudur is split into three complexes that you can explore.
Once you climb to the top complex there are 72 beautiful stupas (each enshrined with the figure of a Buddha inside). It’s amazing thinking how big this monument really is.
Also, the views of the rice fields and the palm trees from the top of Borobudur is something to behold too. Oh, there’s even a smouldering volcano on the horizon too. Honestly, this place is just so beautiful.
Sunrise is without a doubt the best time to go, not only for the most magical views but because once the sun’s high in the sky everything heats up like a furnace.
How much does Borobudur cost?
I’d really recommend going on a sunrise tour of Borobudur. A tour like this includes pick up from your hotel in Yogyakarta which is really handy. Also, the getting a ticket at Borobudur can be quite confusing, so having a guide taking care of this makes things a lot easier.
Obviously this includes your tour guide for the morning too so you can learn all about the history of the temple.
Candi Ratu Boko Temple, Indonesia
Just as Borobudur is the temple to go for sunrise, Candi Ratu Boko is the temple to go for sunset.
Perched up high on a hill, Candi Ratu Boko was once an old sultan’s palace, now a complete ruin. Of all the foundations, only one structure still stands – the main gate.
It is here that everyone watches the sun set, and with the sprawling city of Yogyakarta and the mountains framed in the background, it is without a doubt one of the best views in Java. This is an Indonesian temple that not every visits, but it is in such a unique setting.
Named after legendary King Boko (a popular character in folklore), Candi Ratu Boko is another huge archaeological site, and it’s well worth exploring this entire complex a good hour before sunset to see all it has to offer.
When it comes to sunset itself, the best place to watch it is in front of the main gate. Everyone lays out on the grass setting up their cameras for that perfect shot, and there’s a huge sense of anticipation in the air for that magic moment.
For me, this is one of my favourite temples in Java as not everyone visits here. It’s much more for the locals and I really love it for that.
How much does Candi Ratu Boko cost?
Tickets to Candi Ratu Boko cost 110,000 IDR (£7/$9) and gives you access of the complex which closes at 9pm. There are a few vendors inside the temple selling drinks for sunset too. Non-alcoholic of course.
Prambanan Temple, Indonesia
For me, Prambanan was my favourite of the three temples we visited in Java.
Prambanan is the largest Hindu temple in Indonesia and one of the biggest in Southeast Asia. Built in the 9th century, Prambanan is comprised of eight main shrines with 250 smaller ones surrounding it.
Nearly all the walls of the temple are covered in exquisite bas relief carvings, which narrate stories of Vishnu’s incarnations, adventures of Hanuman the Monkey King, the Ramayana epic and other legends.
One of the things I loved at Prambanan was it never felt too crowded, it never felt rushed. If you wanted to, you could walk around the temples all day and no one would hassle you, no one would bat an eyelid.
Each temple is so intricately carved that you can just spend hour after hour exploring each one, and as a photographer there are so many different types of shot you can get there. There’s a reason why this is one of the most famous temples in Indonesia.
Even though Borodudur is bigger and more popular with tourists, I much preferred how you could walk around all the different shrines and sanctuaries at Prambanan, all at your own leisurely pace. Prambanan temple is well worth seeing on any visit to Indonesia. I can’t recommend this place enough!
How much does Prambanan cost?
Tickets to Prambanan cost £26/$32 and gives you access to the complex with a one-hour guided tour. The There is also a traditional Ramayana ballet performance every evening with all the temples lit up at night.
With temples such as Angkor Wat in Cambodia and Wat Pho in Thailand, Borobudur, Candi Ratu Boko and Prambanan can easily be held in the same light.
They really are the most beautiful temples in Indonesia, and if they’re not on your bucket list they really should be!
Tours in Yogyakarta
Have you ever been to any of these Indonesia temples? If so, what did you think of them!? Let me know in the comment box below!
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