If you ever find yourself in Yogyakarta, you will probably visit Borobudur or Prambanan Temples. But which one is family friendly? Well, we ventured to Prambanan Temple with kids (three aged five and under) and we’re thrilled we made the effort.
Why Prambanan Temple?
I was keen to visit either Borobudur or Prambanan but with the boys in tow it was always going to be a challenge. We chatted with some locals and decided the best option for us was Prambanan Temple. But is Prambanan Temple with kids possible? We were told there are smaller crowds at Prambanan and that there should be less people requesting to take our photo. It was also a shorter drive to Prambanan from our villa, which was important with the unpredictable traffic in Yogyakarta. There were certainly still large crowds of predominately Indonesian tourists. Our entire family will make star appearances in many tourists Prambanan photos. But, it wasn’t overwhelming.
Prambanan Temple is a UNESCO World Heritage Site, it’s an absolutely amazing 9th Century complex of Hindu temples. The huge and intricate structures are very impressive. I had a feeling of awe as we approached the complex. The older boys enjoyed exploring the ‘old buildings’ and climbing up into some of the temples.
What’s there to do at Prambanan Temple with kids?
To be frank, visiting Prambanan was definitely about Mr Wallace and I, and not something we thought would excite the boys. Much to our surprise and relief there were activities around the main temples that appeal to kids.
We did our best to encourage the boys to see the trip to Prambanan as an adventure. They could be explorers, exploring ancient ruins. That worked for a little while! Their legs are short and they got hot and sweaty fast. While we could have wandered for longer, after an hour or so of exploring, it was time to move on.
As you exit the main temple, there is a kid’s playground. It has more shade and some well-loved play equipment. There’s also a small train that younger kids can go on (around a short track). I also noticed a flying fox and some kind of go-karts that looked great for older kids. There are also pony rides near the exit from Prambanan, basically opposite the playground.
An open air bus can take you around the complex. I’d hoped to jump off the bus at Sewu Temple but no one was interested in joining me. The bus takes you past a deer enclosure. I have no idea what the deer are about but you can get off the bus to feed the deer through the fences. The bus then takes you to the exit of the site. As you leave you’ll stroll out through a bunch of market stalls. It is a little crowded but our boys were interested in the toys and puppets on display.
It’s hot at the Prambanan Complex and there is very little shade. Take water, hats and apply plenty of sunscreen. It may be worth taking an umbrella to shield you from the heat of the sun.
We took our stroller with us. While there weren’t many other strollers (perhaps one), it was too hot to ‘wear’ the littlest lad, who was about 16 months at the time. We were able to lift the stroller up the steps into the main complex. Once we conquered those stairs, the area around the main temples is flat and so the stroller was easy to use. There are a few stairs to navigate on the way out, but manoeuvring the stroller was relatively simple. There’s actually a well worn grass area beside the steps as you exit that we wheeled the pram down.
One last thing
Don’t expect Prambanan Temple to be the highlight of your kid’s trip. The following day we asked the biggest lad what he’d like to do. His response? I don’t want to go to another Pyramid! Ha. Yep, we were in Indonesia, not Egypt. I guess the temples do have a pyramid like shape. Despite that, Prambanan with kids is absolutely possible. I’m so glad we made the effort to visit. It was a wonderful experience and not as daunting or tough going as I’d imagine!
Have you visited Prambanan? Isn’t it amazing!