Lesson # 2 for the 57-hour Southeast Asia Challenge: Patience is key. Smile and everything will be alright.
Time ticked. Every minute was important. Once lunch was finished, we walked towards the exit of the airport and approached the TransJogja Bus Station.
At the door of the small station, I saw the Bahasa Indonesia word: Masuk (which means “in.” It’s nice to know how their language was similar to our own Filipino language. In Filipino, “in” is translated as “PASOK” which means to enter).
The fare to Prambanan is 3,000 IDR (Php 14.17 or $0.32). With all our bags with us, Ate Macon and I stood at the station waiting for TransJogja Bus-1A Prambanan. We were the only foreigners there while the rest of the passengers were locals.
About 15 minutes after, the bus arrived. It’s a coaster-type of vehicle. Thank God it’s airconditioned! It was fun riding Yogyakarta’s public vehicle. It gave me more insights about the locals’ lives.
An old Indonesian couple smiled when they saw me taking photographs. Maybe, they were wondering: Why are they riding public transportation when most of the tourists are hiring vehicles?
Candi Prambanan (or Prambanan Temple- candi means temple), our first stop in Yogyakarta, was just 20 minutes away from the airport. The TransJogja bus dropped us at the station, which was meters away from the entrance to the Prambanan Temple.
Bechak (Indonesia’s version of pedicab) and taxi drivers were offering us a ride but the gate seemed near. Being thrifty won over the comfort of traveling to our destination.
But there’s a challenge: Candi Prambanan was on the other side of the road so we have to cross the main highway with our backpack and stroller. What could be more thrilling/scary than crossing the street without a pedestrian lane? Yes, they don’t have any pedestrian lane. (It reminded me of my challenge in Vietnam as well). But we have survived and successfully reached the other side of the road.
What seemed near was far in reality. The positive thing about walking to Prambanan was stopping whenever we want to take photographs.
One of the street scenes that caught my interest was the architecture of the Masjid Raya Al Muttaqun, a mosque located at the south of the Prambanan Temple. Since it was not part of the itinerary and I’m not a Muslim, I just saw what’s on the outside but saw this post of Fairuz, who wrote about the interiors and history of the mosque. (Just use Google Translate).
We continued our walk towards the gate. It took us around 10 minutes to the gate of the temple and another 10-minute walk to the ticket counter. We paid $13 (Php 552.00 or 117,000 IDR) as entrance fee to the Prambanan temple. The staff at the counter then directed us to the locker area, where we left our bags. Thank goodness! And the locker was free of charge.
An Indonesian with umbrellas then approached us. I thought she was selling old-looking umbrellas. The language barrier was there but then we learned that it was for rent and not for sale. For 5,000 IDR (Php 23.00 or $ 0.54), we were saved from possible heat stroke. It was scorching hot in Prambanan.
Reaching Prambanan Temple was tiring but when we saw the temples, we were rewarded.
Candi Prambanan was regarded as the biggest Hindu Temple in Southeast Asia and one of the most beautiful temples in the world. The UNESCO recognized it as a World Heritage Site in 1991. The temple traced back its history in the 10th Century.
Legend has it that the Prambanan Temple was made out of a desperate love of Prince Bandung to Loro Djonggrang. Theirs was a love-gone-wrong story.
The Prambanan Temple has three main temples dedicated to: Vishnu, Brahma and Shiva. Before getting to the primary yard where these temples were located, we saw the ruins caused by the 2006 earthquake that has struck Java.
After a few clicks, we moved to the main yard where the temples were.
The sculptures on the walls were believed to depict the story of the Ramayana. Here are the other sculptures that I saw.
I entered one of the temples. The entry point was narrow and dark. The first thing that I saw was the statue of Hindu god Brahma (the creator).
Goosebumps. I didn’t stay long and went down.
We walked to a nearby tree to rest. Locals, whom I believe were clean-up staff of the park, started talking to us in Bahasa. We just smiled and told them that we’re Filipinos. Filipinos have similar features with Indonesians. That’s why most of the time, they thought that we’re locals. They then pointed us to the exit.
From the exit, I saw Mt. Merapi, the most active volcano in Indonesia. We walked further and saw Prambanan in a different angle. It’s picturesque in whatever angle you view it. But for me, I liked this view from the exit. It would make you want to come back.
Surely, I will come back, Prambanan. Next time, I want to see you when the sun is about to set and watch the Ramayana Ballet.
I took my last glance on this temple. And yes, it’s definitely one of the most stunning temples in the world.
On our way back, we decided to take a bechak for the experience of riding one and hide from the sun. The drivers gave us high prices but we haggled hard until one of them agreed to 10,000 IDR (Php 46.00 or $1.08) for the two of us. So it’s 5,000 IDR each (Php 23.00).
Whew! The challenge continues. Yes, we’re taking another local ride from the Prambanan Station to Malioboro, where another adventure awaits us.