Semarang to Yogyakarta: 1 day Itinerary (Gedong Songo, Borobudur and Prambanan)

There are no shortage of must-visit mountains and temples in Central Java. Among them are the UNESCO heritage sites, Borobudur and Prambanan. The most popular way to see these temples is from Yogyakarta which is a lively city rich in tradition and cultural heritage.

I on the other hand went to Semarang, a city four hours away north of Yogyakarta, to see another historic yet often overlooked site--the Candi Gedong Songo.

Instead of going there from Yogyakarta and do a full circuit trip, I mapped out an itinerary that would take me to these special places in the most practical way possible.

Semarang to Yogyakarta: 1 day itinerary (Gedong Songo, Borobudur and Prambanan)
route from Semarang to Yogyakarta 

In order to do that, I would need to hire a car and driver to take me to these places. Fortunately, there are plenty of Yogyakarta drivers available for hire and many of them have their own websites (beware of scammers). One highly recommended driver cum tour guide is Ukhi. Many Tripadvisor members have vouched for his services and recommends him highly.

While at Semarang, I called Ukhi to inquire, he gave me a quote of IDR 700,000 (52 USD). That was for the car, fuel, driver, and parking (entrance tickets not included). Normally he charges between IDR 400,000-IDR 600,000 for a full day itinerary in Yogyakarta. But since he is going to drive extra 3 hours to pick me up at Semarang he still gave me a fairly reasonable price. 

The itinerary was to pick me up from my hotel in Semarang, go to the three temples—Gedong Songo, Prambanan, and Borobudur, then drop-off at Malioboro.

Looking for other options, I consulted the concierge at the Quest Hotel regarding my itinerary. I asked him if he can find me a driver and tour guide from Semarang to do the same. He presented himself, right then and there. I asked if it’s part of his job in the hotel. He said no and told me that he will take a day off and drive me with his brother’s car. Obviously, he's done it before. We negotiated the price and agreed on IDR 600,000 IDR (45 USD). We shook hands and agreed to meet outside the hotel the next morning.

Here's the summary of that trip.

We left the hotel at around 7 am and went to Pagoda Avalokitesvara, a Buddhist temple in the outskirts of Semarang.

Pagoda Avalokitesvara at Semarang Indonesia
The sleeping Buddha at the Pagoda Avalokitesvara
Candi Gedong Songo Indonesia
Candi Gedong Songo

Around 2 pm we arrived at Borobudur. We ate lunch at one of the eateries outside the temple.

Indonesian food Nasi Ayam
Nasi Ayam and Lamb Satay

After the scrumptious lunch we headed to the vast Borobudur complex to see the magnificent Buddhist stupa and temple.

Borobudur Temple Indonesia
Borobudur Temple

Another 1 hour and an a half was spent driving to Prambanan temple. We arrived around 5:30pm and stayed until the closing hours.

Prambanan temple in Yogyakarta Indonesia
Prambanan Temple

We capped off the tour at Malioboro street in Yogyakarta city at around 7 pm. 

Overall, it was a really eventful day. I explored three very different but equally magnificent sites in 12 hours. Days like these are hard to come by nowadays. The journey of nearly 4 hours was split into short trips in between the four attractions making it seem shorter and way way more comfortable.

Fauzi the tour guide and driver

I would also consider Fauzi, my tour guide a big factor on why I enjoyed the trip tremendously. Since he was a hotel concierge, he had great communication skills and travel knowledge. Also, when buying tickets he always managed to get me the local price for admission which was half of the rate for foreign tourists. More importantly, he didn't mind taking my stupid pictures and tried not to laugh at my stupid poses.

More on Semarang, Indonesia

Semarang City Attractions

Gedong Songo Itinerary: A Guide to Java's Hidden Gem

1 comment:

  1. Hi, do you have Fauzi's number? I would like to contact him...