Our favorite Java travel destination-Yogyakarta! Jogja, as it’s known in these parts, is a cultural mecca on the southern coast of Java that’s full of history and surrounded by temples. On our first trip to Jogja last year, Borobudur won out as our top temple to visit and we were not disappointed. I would say it was spiritually moving, but I think the heat distracts my brain from having any kind of heavy, divine thoughts. Nonetheless, we loved learning the history of the structure and we were flattered by the minor celebrity status that we received as the token white people.
Having conquered Borobudur meant that we would move down our list of Must See Temples so this trip we would be taking on Prambanan. Also a World Heritage Site, Prambanan was constructed in the 9th century and is the largest Hindu temple in Indonesia.
It’s also worth noting that Boys II Men had a concert at Prambanan last August. While scooting through Semarang Joel pointed out a billboard advertising the concert and I nearly fell off the bike. My devastation set in when I realized that the show had taken place the previous weekend. Motown Philly was an important piece of artistic expression of my youth and being able to relive that as a grown-ass-adult in Indonesia would have been a juxtaposition of earth shattering proportion. I die a little inside every time I remember my shitty timing; but I did my best to put that out of my mind as we made our way around the complex.
They’re really bringing together the old and the new with the Instagram frame out front. I think this scene makes it official that Instagram has taken over the planet.
You can see from the piles of rubble on the outskirts of the complex just how devastating earthquakes are to ancient temples. Mount Merapi is just a stones throw away and erupts regularly so the region definitely has it’s far share of tectonic drama. Rumor has it the master plan is to rebuild it all gradually and there were some areas under construction. But the piles of bricks go on and on so rebuilding will be slow and arduous. I don’t envy anyone facing that task!
Just after I mentioned to Joel that I was so happy people were respectful of the ‘no climbing’ signs I saw this little girl having her photo taken on the ledge. In her defense, she didn’t climb up, she was gently placed by her daddy. As long as she’s not pushing bricks off the edge, I think they’ll let her slide. And it pales in comparison to the American National Park vandals making the news lately.
There is little shade inside the complex unless you’re in the shadow of a temple. Even arriving at 8:00am didn’t save us from some pretty severe sweating. We knew the drill since our visit to Borobudur was similarly scorching, so we were prepared with lots of water. We took a short train ride around the Prambanan complex that offered a reprieve in the way of a small breeze. The scooter ride home was nice and windy too.
Our weekend solidified Jogja as my number one Javanese city for sightseeing, maybe even my favorite spot in Indonesia. We’re headed to Bali next week for our honeymoon so we’ll see if it can steal my heart away from Jogja. Even visiting during the height of tourist season, Jogja felt as authentically Indonesian as ever. We’ll see if Bali can say the same!