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Borobudur and Prambanan temples are the main attractions on the island of Java, often visited on classic tours that include travel by car or bus.

We managed to organise an alternative tour for visiting Borobudur and Prambanan in one day by bicycle with the help of a local agency. It was a great experience! We passed through picturesque villages, immersed ourselves in the surrounding natural beauty and discovered the daily life of the city of Yogyakarta in a more authentic way. 

Here’s our tour from Borobudur to Prambanan in one day by bike!

Discovering the Borobudur and Prambanan temples by bike!

When we were planning our trip to Indonesia, we decided to include a visit to the Borobudur and Prambanan temples in our itinerary. We were about to decide between a classic tour with a guide and car or going it alone when we found a local agency that offered slightly different experiences from the classic ones. They suggested we do this private bike tour, and it seemed like a great idea!

As we only had a limited amount of time, we were worried we wouldn’t be able to explore the local way of life in Yogyakarta and see what daily life is like. However, this bike tour from Borobudur to Prambanan allowed us to visit traditional villages and the city, which are two completely different worlds. We also saw cultivated fields, rice paddies and nature, which helped us understand more about life in Yogyakarta. This is how the Borobudur Prambanan cycling tour works!

A bit of info on the Borobudur Prambanan bike tour

The bicycle tour from Borobudur to Prambanan complex is a private experience and, for two people, the cost was around €150. This amount includes the car transfer from our accommodation to the Borobudur Temple in the morning, transport from Borobudur to the meeting point with the guide for the bike tour, lunch and, of course, the bike tour.

We recommend booking in advance, especially during peak season, as the agency only has one guide for this tour Borobudur Prambanan by bike.
To make a booking, you can send an email to the agency, which will respond quickly (taking into account Indonesia’s time zone) or send a WhatsApp message. You will be sent a booking confirmation and no advance payment is required. Payment can be made directly at the agency’s office in Yogyakarta. You can find the agency’s official website at this link.

Entrance to Borobudur and Prambanan temples is not included in the tour price. We recommend that you purchase the ticket for Borobudur Temple in advance, as access is limited and has fixed hours, so you can let the agency know the time for your pick up from Borobudur.

The guide – Jaya

Our guide for the Borobudur Prambanan cycling tour was Jaya. He was a great guy: really attentive, kind and prepared for anything. He looked after us all the time, giving us breaks when we needed them, telling us about the roads we’d be taking and updating us on the remaining distances. He also told us lots of things about daily life in Yogyakarta and took loads of photos.
At first, he stayed in front of us to get us acquainted, but after a while he asked us if we felt up to it and gave us turn-by-turn directions by ringing the bell!
When we approached busier areas or intersections, he went back to the front to guide us safely through the traffic.

Templi Yogyakarta Borobudur Prambanan - Sport in bicicletta per i templi di Giava in Indonesia - Borobudur to Prambanan

From Borobudur to Prambanan by bike

The bikes for the Borobudur and Prambanan in one day tour

The bikes provided for the Borobudur and Prambanan in one day tour were mountain bikes in excellent condition, perfect for the various types of roads we rode. They had comfortable padded saddles (be prepared to have a pretty sore bum at the end of the day!) and a handy bottle holder, which was really useful.

Before we started the Borobudur Prambanan tour, we did a full check of the bikes to make sure everything was in order. We checked the brakes, tyres, gearbox and did a general check.

The route between Borobudur and Prambanan temples

Our journey began at Borobudur and ended at Prambanan. We left our hotel at 6am and returned around 6pm.

It was quite a tiring day, with little time for rest, as we cycled more than 50 kilometres through dirt roads, uphill, downhill and traffic, as well as spending time visiting temples. However, it was really satisfying to be able to complete the entire Borobudur Prambanan tour by bike.

We spent about five hours cycling from Borodubur to Prambanan, with a short break for a quick meal and occasional stops to hydrate or rest.

The route was mainly through fields, natural landscapes and traditional villages, where we encountered few cars. The final part of the route, about 10 kilometres, took us through the city of Yogyakarta, where traffic was heavy and we had to be careful.

The roads from Borobudur to Prambanan

The roads we travelled on our Borobudur Prambanan cycling tour were pretty diverse.
The route initially passes through cultivated fields and rice paddies, so there are dirt paths, paved ones and even some paved ones. In some places, the ground was a bit sandy, so it’s best to be careful.

When we crossed the forest, the roads were all paved because they’re also used by scooters and cars, but we only saw a few people.

Inside the villages, the roads are a mix of dirt and paved or tarred.

We also crossed a long construction site that ran alongside the Selokan Mataram river. It was the most tiring and complicated stretch, over unmade earth and many potholes.

In all the areas we just told you about, the traffic was almost non-existent. However, when we travelled the inner city section, we had to cross several intersections, sometimes even of multi-lane roads with a central reservation, with queues of cars and scooters. But we had no problems with our driving.

Templi Yogyakarta Borobudur Prambanan - Tour con guida in bicicletta per fare sport a Yogyakarta in Indonesia - Borobudur to Prambanan

Tour Borobudur and Prambanan in one day: with our guide Jaya

The cultivated fields and paddy fields along the Borobudur Prambanan route

The Borobudur Prambanan bike route passes through fields and rice paddies, and riding along it was a great experience. We were immersed in a constantly green landscape and met people working in the fields, who were all really welcoming.

Our guide told us that, since tourism isn’t as big in Yogyakarta, most people there make their living from farming.

On our Borobudur and Prambanan in one day tour, we passed fields planted with chillies, corn and green beans, and saw countless rice fields.
Along the roads that cut through the rice fields, we noticed lots of sheets spread out on the ground, on which rice, one of the population’s main sources of livelihood and Indonesia’s main food, is spread out to dry in the sun.

We’d suggest stopping for a few minutes to admire this wonderful green landscape and take a few photos of the fields.

Villages around Yogyakarta

While you’re on the Borobudur and Prambanan in one day cycling tour, you’ll often pass through villages. It’s a great experience! Each village entrance is marked by an arch with the name of the village on it. As you ride through the traditional villages, you’ll get a feel for what daily life is like for the Indonesian people, who are always very welcoming and smiling.

Some villages are in better shape than others. Some have beautiful, colourful houses, while in other areas, houses are made of sheet metal and there’s more dirt and decay. What really stood out was the amount of rubbish being burnt (unfortunately, there’s no other way to dispose of rubbish, there’s no collection in the villages) or piled up in the bends of the rivers. This is a great reminder of how much more needs to be done to help the wonderful Indonesian people.

The permanent residents in the villages are the cute but crazy chickens, who you have to watch out for because when they cross the road they don’t run away like other animals but start running back and forth in confusion!

La natura lungo il percorso del tour Borobudur e Prambanan

Durante il nostro tour Borobudur Prambanan in bicicletta, bbiamo percorso lunghi tratti di una foresta lussureggiante, sia su strade asfaltate che su terreni non pavimentati, ma tutte in ottime condizioni. La foresta è stata un’oasi di frescura che ci ha permesso di fare una pausa dal caldo e dal sole che si stavano facendo sentire intensamente! È stato un piacere attraversare questa natura incontaminata, attraversando fiumi e immergendoci nelle foreste verdi e rigogliose che caratterizzano le isole dell’Indonesia. 

L’attraversamento della foresta non è pericoloso ma è un’esperienza che arricchisce questa gita ed è anche un’ottima occasione per godere del silenzio e staccare dal caos del traffico della città.

Templi Yogyakarta Borobudur Prambanan - In bicicletta in un villaggio a Giava in Indonesia - Borobudur to Prambanan

Borobudur and Prambanan in one day: Villages along the road

Templi Yogyakarta Borobudur Prambanan - Sport in bicicletta su strade di terra a Yogyakarta in Indonesia - Borobudur to Prambanan

Borobudur Prambanan Tour: Dirt road along the river

Templi Yogyakarta Borobudur Prambanan - Sport tra le risaie in bicicletta a Yoyakarta in Indonesia - Borobudur to Prambanan

From Borobudur to Prambanan: in the rice fields

What to bring for the Borobudur and Prambanan cycling tour

To do this Borobudur Prambanan cycling tour, you’ll need to bring plenty of water. We were pretty hot and sweaty (although Jaya told us we were lucky it was a fairly cool day!). We’d say you should bring at least two or three litres of water with you each (we’re not exaggerating!).

It’s also worth bringing sun cream, as many sections are in the sun and sunburn is just around the corner.

As for clothes, apart from a cap to protect you from the sun (since the tour includes visits to the temples), you’ll need to wear appropriate clothing. So no tank tops, shorts, tops, but a short-sleeved T-shirt and a pair of knee-length shorts will do.

Our guide also wore a bandana in front of his nose and mouth to protect himself from dust and smog. It’s a good idea to wear one around your neck to pull up when you’re at intersections in traffic.

We hope we have made you want to experience this by reading this article! For us it was tiring but really beautiful and interesting and we would do it again without any doubt. If you are interested in this tour write to us and we will be happy to give you the contact details of the agency! With the same agency we also did a fun private evening tour to discover the street food of Yogyakarta, which we have told you about in the article below.

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