Exploring Prambanan temple & Borobudur temple on a budget

Yogyakarta or also known as Jogja is a city located in the Java Island, Indonesia, a place known for its traditional arts and cultural heritage. This is mainly contributed by the 2 UNESCO World Heritage Centre, Prambanan temple & Borobudur temple which are located here.

During my visit, I was contemplating if i should visit both Prambanan and Borobudur temple since I have previously visited Angkor Watt in Cambodia. My rationale was they were both ancient temples and the entrance fee was crazily overpriced. *The price probably increase by now* But visiting Yogyakarta without visiting these 2 attractions is like traveling all the way to Paris without visiting the Eiffel tower. The temples are the center of attractions in Yogyakarta itself.

If you are planning a getaway to Yogyakarta, be sure to visit Prambanan & Borobudur temple. I saved up almost 3 quarter of the transport cost getting there as well as saving up more than 50% on the entrance ticket. In this post, I will be sharing more on both the UNESCO sites and how you can travel there on a budget.

Prambanan Temple

Prambanan Archaelogical Park is located on the border between Yogyakarta and Central Java. The temple itself is a complex consisting of 240 temples, built in the 8th century AD. Prambanan temple is the largest Hindu site in Indonesia and one of the biggest Hindu temple in Southeast Asia itself. Thus, it is not surprising it is named as one of the UNESCO World Heritage Centre.

Such prestige comes with a high price. The entrance ticket itself is not cheap, at least to foreigners. Local tourists are charged IDR30,000 (USD2.25 or RM10) while foreigners are charged USD18 (RM80) for Prambanan temple itself. That is 8 times the price. However, I will share how you can save a few bucks and enter at cheaper rate later in this post.

Getting to Prambanan temple, the cheap way

To get there, there are several options:

Option 1: Get there by hiring a private transport

Most of the hostels in Yogyakarta will have contacts to a private driver should you need a transport to Prambanan temple. But be sure to compare the price before agreeing to one. Private transport is the most hassle free way to get to Prambanan temple. However, it is definitely not the cheapest way.

Option 2: Rent a motorbike

The second option would be to rent a motorbike and get there yourself. The cost of the rental would varies from IDR 50,000 to IDR 100,000 for a standard bike. Be sure to check if it includes insurance, helmet and petrol before renting it.

Option 3: Get there by public transport (Budget Option)

The third option is to get there by public transport which is also my favorite way of getting to Prambanan temple. From Yogyakarta town, get to the nearest bus stop and look for bus 1A. This bus does not stop at every station so be sure to check with the bus attendant before getting on it. The bus will head directly to the attraction site and it will take approximately 45-60 minutes.

Once you arrived, there will be lots of vendors/taxi drivers/taxi bike that will convince you to get onto their transport informing you that it is not possible to get there by foot. Before you get onto one, note that the bus stop is just 800 metres away from the entrance. Definitely reachable by foot.

The cool thing about Prambanan temple being a UNESCO World Heritage centre is it being populated by tourists. Thus, the transportation system is fairly good. Would definitely recommend getting there by bus.

Borobudur Temple

Unlike Prambanan temple, Borobudur temple is a Buddhist temple which date back to the 8th and 9th centuries. Borobudur temple is also part of the UNESCO World Heritage centre making it a must visit attraction. The interesting part about Borobudur temple is the magnificent view and scenery there. Many tourists opt to go there early in the morning right before sunrise just for the sake of the amazing photos.

Again, the fact that it is a UNESCO World Heritage Centre comes with a high price. The entrance ticket is USD20 (RM89) for the normal admission and IDR 450,000 (USD 34 or RM150) for the Borobudur sunrise entrance ticket. The amount of money people would pay just for the amazing view.

Getting to Borobudur temple, the cheap way

Option 1 & 2: Private car or rent a motorbike

Similar to Prambanan temple, you can reach Borobudur temple by hiring a private car or renting a motorbike. But as mentioned, it is not the cheapest way to get there. If you are planning to visit Borobudur Sunrise, then you have to choose either the private car or renting a motorbike as public bus do not operate before 5.30am. You would have missed the sunrise if you opt to take the public transport.

Option 3: Get there by public transport (Budget Option)

If you want to save up on transport cost and doesn’t mind missing the sunrise, then take the public transport. It is not as straight forward as getting to Prambanan temple but it will be a fun journey. To get there, you have to go to the nearest bus stop and look for bus 3B which will cost you IDR 3500 (USD0.26 or RM1.17). Get down at Jombor Terminal which is Jogja’s bus terminal.

At Jombor Terminal, get onto the bus that head to Borobudur terminal. The best way to look for that bus is by asking the people there. It will take around 1 hour to reached Borobudur terminal and will cost around IDR20,000 (USD1.5 or RM6.67).

How to pay lesser entrance fees

The entrance ticket to both Prambanan temple and Borobudur temple are not cheap for foreigners. Here are some ways to save up on the entrance fees. The ticket price for Prambanan temple is USD18 and the entrance price for Borobudur is USD20 respectively. Instead of paying USD38 for both temple separately, do this instead:

  1.  Buy the package ticket to both the temple together. Instead of paying USD38, you will be paying USD36. That is a cost saving of USD2.
  2. The second method only applies to students and those that still have their student card with them. If you are a foreign student (with university card as proof) or still own a student card, you are entitled to enter the temple at 50% off the price of the ticket. So if you were to buy the package entrance ticket, instead of paying USD36, you will pay USD18 instead. Most travelers are not aware of this deal, so be sure to inform the counter representative that you are a student before you pay.

You will be incurring USD18 instead of USD38 which is a pretty good deal. However, the second cost saving method is only applicable to students so be sure to bring you student card along while you travel.

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