With only 3-4 hours of sleep, I hopped on the bus for a long westward drive to Borodobur, one of two UNESCO sites near Yogyakarta, a rather under appreciated city especially given how Cairn’s residence celebrate their two world heritage sites. I managed to grab the front seat and as we neared the village where we could catch the sunrise over the monolithic structure, the driver mentioned how Mark Zuckerberg stayed at a fancy hotel nearby once. Though cloudy, the sunrise was serene, then we rushed to beat the other tourists to the entrance and I was free to wander all through the complex and hidden away buildings which I located on my map.
From the museum through the lush green walkways to a large but secluded shop that contained unusual pieces of arts and crafts like a Monalisa painting with upside down eyes, to excavation sites, and a hike up Dagi Hill, I almost didn’t make it back to the bus on time.
I asked to be dropped off near Museum Sonobudoyo which featured a collection of ancient musical instruments where I tried my hand at playing a handful of replicas. Then I walked across an open air market in Alun-Alun Utara park and visited Keraton Palace in search of a shadow puppet show which I read about from a book in Papua New Guinea, but I only found a traditional musical performance.
Feeling a little rushed for time, I hopped on the local bus which conveniently goes straight to Prambanan, a Hindu Temple located on the east side of the city. The entrance was a fair distance from the bus stop, but I made it with sufficient time before closing to see the main temple structures (candi’s) as well as venture all the way north to Candi Lumbung, BuBrah and the Buddhist Candi Sewu, which is pretty unique because Hindu and Buddhist temples rarely coexist, especially in Indonesia.
As the sun set and the site closed, it began to get very dark, but I continued to wander around and get lost while looking for the theater where I was able to watch the Ramayana Ballet in an open air stage with the real Prambanan in the background while the massive profession theater production set the sage on fire to burn down two large buildings before intermission.
Somehow I managed to fit all this in one day.
A good way to maximize the day is to take a sunrise tour. It forces you to wake up early and immediately start the day successfully. You can also ask to be dropped off after the tour at another set of attractions so you can maximize value from the tour.