Prambanan and Borobudur temples are always a must in a trip to Jogjakarta. Two different architectural wonders yet inseparable, that’s why we call them the “Prambudur” combination. Furthermore, the price of the tickets if you buy the pass for both Prambanan and Borobudur in the same day will be cheaper than just one of them.
Borobudur in early morning is so mystical. From the top of the 3 levels and sorrounded by stupas the views of the vegetation mixed with the mist makes it so unique.
Prambanan complex with millions of reliefs on the walls also looks majestic.
They really worth a visit, like many other historical monuments and places of interest in Indonesia. However, the tourism industry specially in that area is getting non responsible and a little bit self-interested.
The local tour agencies in Jogjakarta sell the very same products and excursions one another. No hallmarks. Nothing new and fresh. For example, they get comission if they bring the visitors to certain places. They also insist tourists on getting a local guide to explain the information, otherwise they won’t find any written information.
What I found after several years of traveling around Jogjakarta, the sorroundings, Central Java and Bromo volcano, is that the quality of the tourism sector is mediocre and often money-oriented.
I have been put in a bus for 11 hours and only stopped one time in total to go to toilet and to eat. I had to pay for a guide in Dieng Plateau when I never asked his service. I have been on a trekking excursion where there was no time to actually stop and walk around the mountain. I have slept in dirty rooms because the excursion required us to spend the night in that place. Or, for example, in high season the sunrise point near Bromo called Cemoro Lawang was so full of people that was hard to see the sky. What is the goal of all this? The experience of the traveler doesn’t seem to be the priority for those travel agencies.
Luckily, travelers or backpackers are not too demanding and therefore they measure the quality of the trip not based on the services but on the people they travel with and the beauty of the places.
The management of the sector industry could improve only by being a little bit more fair and caring. Is not about offering free drinks or drivers with a perfect English grammar is about being more professional with the customer.
I would recommend anyone to try alternative options to that mass-tourism model. Try the “slow tourism“. If you have enough budget find an agency that can take more care of you and that can be sustainable.
If your budget is limited don’t buy services by agency, use train, buses and later rent a motorbike to explore by your own. Another good option in Indonesia can be traveling with local people (join them on Couch Surfing or try to make new friends during your trip).