Prambanan Temple Complex (Taman Wisata Candi Prambanan)
The cost for tickets to Prambanan is in line with that of UNESCO World Heritage sites elsewhere in the world. Save money by buying combo tickets that also include access to Borobudur or the hilltop palace complex, Ratu Boko. Some packages for the Ramayana dance show that takes place at Prambanan include not only tickets but transport and dinner.
Prambanan is usually visited as a day trip from Yogyakarta or as part of a multi-day Central Java excursion. Some Prambanan tours bundle the temple complex and Borobudur together into a single day, typically with sunrise at Borobudur; history buffs will find that Prambanan and its surrounding temples deserve at least a day. Cycling is an underrated way to explore Prambanan, outlying temples such as Plaosan, and the lush rice fields between them.
Things to Know Before You Go
Prambanan is a must for lovers of history and landscapes.
The term Prambanan can mean three things: all of the many Hindu and Buddhist temples scattering the plains around Prambanan, the fenced-in Prambanan Archaeological Park, and the Prambanan temple group within the archaeological park.
A mini-train connects the museum to Sewu Temple, but you’ll still need comfortable shoes to cope with the walking.
How to Get There
Prambanan lies about 10 miles (17 kilometers) northeast of Yogyakarta on the main Yogyakarta–Surakarta highway. It’s possible to take the public bus, Trans Jogja 1A, from Jalan Malioboro in Yogyakarta; it’s about a 40-minute ride. If you’re looking to combine the temples with Borobudur, you’ll need to join a tour or drive. Outlying temples can be reached by bicycle.
When to Get There
The Prambanan Archaeological Park is open from early in the morning until late afternoon seven days a week. While you’ll never have the place entirely to yourself, it’s worth visiting before 9am or after 4pm to beat the worst of the crowds and avoiding weekends and Indonesian public holidays.
The Ramayana at Prambanan
The Ramayana is a Hindu epic that tells the story of Prince Rama’s quest to rescue his beloved wife Sita from a demon king, Ravana. Scenes from the story are depicted on Candi Shiva Mahadeva, while the work is performed as a dance-drama at Prambanan. During the dry season (May to October), the Ramayana is performed on an open-air stage; during the wet season, it moves to a covered theater.