Central Java Points of Interest

Posted on April 3, 2018
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Central Java Points of Interest and Places to Visit : Prambanan, Plasan temple,Mendut temple, Borobudur, Mount Merapi, Candi Sukuh, Imogiri King Cemetery, Jomblang Cave, Solo, etc.

Central Java is the heart of the Indonesian island and is where you will discover Javanese culture in its purest form. In this region you will find an interesting mix of ancient sites and bustling modern cities. Most travellers heading to the central portion of the island will make their way straight for the Special Region of Yogyakarta. This region does hold some of the best attractions but heading off the beaten track will also yield some interesting destinations and give you a more rounded idea of Java, its people and culture.

 

Top Tourist Attraction

At a glance Information and admission for foreign visitors :

The world’s largest Buddhist temple and one of Indonesia’s biggest attractions is Unesco World Heritage–listed Borobudur Temple. It’s built from two million stone blocks in the form of a massive symmetrical stupa, literally wrapped around a small hill. Standing on a 118m by 118m base, its six square terraces are topped by three circular ones, with four stairways leading up through carved gateways to the top. Viewed from the air, the structure resembles a colossal three-dimensional tantric mandala (symbolic circular figure).

PRICE
adult/child US$25/15, sunrise or sunset 450,000Rp, 90-min guided tour 1-5 people 100,000Rp

HOURS
6am-5pm

This exquisite temple, set within a cute neighbourhood around 3.5km east of Borobudur, may look insignificant compared with its mighty neighbour, but it houses the most outstanding statue in its original setting of any temple in Java. The magnificent 3m-high figure of Buddha is flanked by bodhisattvas: Lokesvara on the left and Vairapana on the right. The Buddha is also notable for his posture: he sits Western-style with both feet on the ground.

PRICE
3500Rp, incl entry to Candi Pawon

HOURS
6 am-5.30 pm

Comprising the remains of some 244 temples, World Heritage–listed Prambanan is Indonesia’s largest Hindu site. The highlight is its central compound, where its eight main and eight minor temples rise up majestically like ornate 9th-century skyscrapers. Erected in the middle of the 9th century – around 50 years later than Borobudur – little is known about its early history. It’s thought that it was built by Rakai Pikatan to commemorate the return of a Hindu dynasty to sole power in Java.

PRICE
adult/child under 10yr US$25/15; guide 100,000Rp

HOURS
6am-5.15pm

In a magnificent position 900m above the Solo plain, Candi Sukuh is one of Java’s most enigmatic and striking temples. It’s not a large site, but it has a large, truncated pyramid of rough-hewn stone, and there are some fascinating reliefs and Barong statues. It’s clear that a fertility cult was practised here: several explicit carvings have led it to be dubbed the ‘erotic’ temple. It’s a quiet, isolated place with a potent atmosphere.

PRICE
admission 25,000Rp

HOURS
7am-5pm

Dating to 1757, the Mangkunegaran Palace is in better condition than the kraton and is the home of the second house of Solo. The centre of the compound is the pendopo, a pavilion built in a mix of Javanese and European architectural styles. Its high, rounded ceiling was painted in 1937 and is intricately decorated with a central flame surrounded by figures of the Javanese zodiac, each painted in its own mystical colour.

PRICE
admission 20,000Rp

HOURS
8.30am-3pm Mon-Wed, Fri & Sat, to 2.30pm Thu & Sun

Kraton Ratu Boko (Palace of King Boko) is a partly ruined Hindu palace complex dating from the 9th century. Perched on a hilltop overlooking Prambanan, it is believed to have been the central court of the mighty Mataram dynasty. You can see the large gateway and the platform of Candi Pembakaran (the Royal Crematorium), as well as a series of bathing places staggered on different levels leading down to the village. The sunset view over the Prambanan Plain is magnificent.

PRICE
admission adult/child under 10yr US$25/15

HOURS
6am-5.30pm

Exquisitely beautiful and ringed by highland forest, the lake has turquoise and cobalt hues from the bubbling sulphur deposits around its shores. To lose the crowds, follow the trail counterclockwise to the adjoining lake, Telaga Pengilon, and past holy Gua Semar, a meditation cave. Then for a lovely perspective of the lakes return to the main road via a narrow trail that leads around Telaga Pengilon and up a terraced hillside.

PRICE
weekdays/weekends 100,000/150,000Rp

HOURS
7am-5pm

Danar Hadi is one of the world’s best batik museums. A terrific collection of antique and royal textiles from Java, China and beyond are housed within an elegant whitewashed colonial building. Entry includes an excellent guided tour (around 1½ hours, in English), which explains the history of the many pieces (11,000 in the collection). You’ll also get to visit its workshop where you can watch craftswomen at work creating new masterpieces, an upmarket storeroom and a souvenir shop. No photography.

PRICE
adult/child 35,000/15,000Rp

HOURS
9am-4.30pm, showroom to 9pm

In a commanding hilltop location 34km southeast of Solo, the mausoleum of former president Suharto is a curious sight. Suharto planned this monument to himself well in advance of his death, securing the land and appointing an architect back in 1998. The resulting building is curiously low-key and lacking the gaudy excesses favoured by many ex-dictators – an unadorned mosque-like structure built on traditional Javanese pendopo lines.

PRICE
admission by donation

HOURS
8am-5pm

About 2km from town, Grojogan Sewu, a 100m-high waterfall, is a favourite playground for monkeys (as is the parking area). It is reached by a long flight of steps down a hillside, but you probably won’t want to have a dip in the chilly, and filthy, swimming pool. From the bottom of the waterfall a trail leads to a good track to Candi Sukuh, a 2½-hour walk away. Some Solo guides offer treks.

PRICE
admission 110,000Rp

HOURS
6am-6pm

Candi Cetho (pronounced Cheto) sits on the southern face of Gunung Lawu at around 1400m. Thought to date from around 1350, this candi closely resembles a Balinese temple in appearance, though it combines elements of Shivaism and fertility worship. It’s a larger temple than Sukuh and is spread over terraces rising up the misty hillside. The entrance is marked by temple guardians and you’ll find a striking platform with a turtle head and a large lingam on the upper terrace.

PRICE
admission 10,000Rp

HOURS
8am-4.30pm

This lonely, shabby old compound has some interesting exhibits of the history of kretek production, including some fascinating old photographs and machinery, though the fountain out front is as funky as the inside of a pair of charred lungs. Almost all explanations are in Bahasa Indonesia but there’s a guide here who speaks English well. Next door, Rumah Adat is a traditional wooden Kudus house exhibiting the fabulous carving work the town is noted for.

PRICE
donations accepted

HOURS
7.30am-4pm

Ronggowarsito Museum is a large provincial museum with antiquities, crafts including batik and wayang puppets, and assorted fossils and curios collected from all over the state. The most interesting exhibit is a recycled stone panel from the Mantingan mosque – one side shows Islamic motifs, while the reverse shows the original Hindu-Buddhist scene. Javanese dance displays are held here on Friday morning. It’s approximately 2km before the airport.

PRICE
admission 10,000Rp

HOURS
8am-2pm Tue-Sun

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