Central Java by bike: Borobudur, Dieng and more

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There are many beautiful places to see around Central Java! I started from Yogyakarta, and when I first got there, my plan was to only see Borobudur. But…after some research and talking to other travelers, there were suddenly many new pin points on my map.

The idea was to rent bikes and go to Dieng Plataue area, stopping in Borobudur and visiting other beautiful places on the way. So on one sunny morning me and my new Italian friend started our adventure.

Day 1: Yogyakarta to Borobudur

We rented bikes for 70000 Rupiah (5€) each per day. There are plenty of bike rentals on Sosrowijayan Street. The road to Borobudur is pretty good, highway and almost straight all the time. We drove for around 1,5 hours, plus the stop for the lunch. The distance from Yogyakarta to Borobudur Village is 40km. We were in Central Java during the rain season (February 2015), so it had been raining almost everyday. Thus it is better to leave earlier, as it tend to start raining around 2-3 pm and it would rain for around 2 hours.

Place to stay in Borobudur
Lotus II: great guesthouse with nice rooms, breakfast, wifi and friendly English speaking stuff. 225.000 Rp (15€) for standard double room and 250.000 Rp (17€) for huge room with 2 double beds and a small chill-area. Breakfast is served upstairs with the nice view of crop fields.

Day 2: Borobudur and around

Next morning we woke up at 4 to catch the sunrise in Penthuk Setumbu. Beautiful place to see the sun rising behind the volcano. Maybe not breathtaking, but if you are there, definitely do it. It took us about 25 min (15min drive and 10min walk up the hill) to get to the spot. Entrance fee was 30.000 Rp (2€) each and 2.000 Ro for the bike parking. Check online for the sunrise time and better plan to be there 20-30 min before to catch the sky change the colors.

After breakfast we visited Borobudur temple, the worlds’ oldest Buddhist temple. The entry fee is somewhat over exaggerated, 250.000 Rp (17€) compared with 30.000 Rp for the locals. Since we stayed in Borobudur over night, we got 15% discount. We entered the temple around 7:30 am and it was packed with groups of school kids, who were literally attacking us to take pictures with us. They were all so cute and we ended up having lots of pictures with locals. Around 9 am almost all school kids left and we had about one hour quite window before the main tourist wave.

After the temple we jumped back on our bikes and started the way to Dieng Plateau. The distance from Borobudur to Dieng Plateau is 76 km, and it took us around 3,5 hours to get there. Prepare for the bumpy road between 10th and 30th kilometers. The last couple kilometers was a bit cold, as we were approaching the mountain area. The scenery around started to be fantastic, green crop fields and mountains.

Day 3: Dieng Plateau and around

We decided to stay 2 nights in Dieng Plateau so not to have to rush. Since the weather tend to get cloudy and rainy after the midday during rain season, it is advisable to plan all activities for the morning / early afternoon. Here are few things you can do around Dieng Plateau:

Sikidang Crater: rather small but nice crater, especially if you have not seen anything like this before. The smoke and the grey boiling liquid inside is impressive. It smelled weird and quit unpleasant. Mask is advisable, which you can buy at the entrance (2000 Rp).

Telaga Warna & Telaga Pangilon: 2 lakes with nice viewpoint. Travel advise: the entrance fee is 100.000 Rp (8€) per person, but if you go left from the entrance and keep going along the road there is a hole in the fence, where you can enter without paying! From there go to the viewpoint, which is either good but longer road on the left all the way around the lakes or bad and muddy road to the right.

Drive around with the bike: we took the main road in Dieng village and drove further (opposite direction as we arrived from Borobudur) passing the gas station. Beautiful scenery with green crop fields, small villages and smiling locals. Stop for food in any local food stand, and try tempeh, Indonesian traditional soy bean cake.

Place to stay
Unfortunately I can not suggest any good place to stay for a reasonable price. We stayed in 2 different homestays, but both of them were not really nice. Average price is 150.000 Rp (10€). If you are willing to pay more, there are few ‘fancy’ places. If not, prepare to sleep in simple and very basic conditions, for that you will be blown away with nature and the scenery.

Day 4: Dieng Plateau to Borobudur

The highlight of Dieng Plateau for us was the sunrise at Sikunir Mountain. When we were there in February, the sunrise was around 5:30 am. We arrived around 6 am and the view was stunning. We did not have to pay the entrance and paid only 3.000 Rp (0.2€) for the bike parking.

Around midday we started the way back to Borobudur. The rain caught us the half way, forcing us to wait around 1 hour under the roof. So if you travel in February like we did, buy a good rain coat for the motorbike.

Day 5: Borobudur to Yogyakarta

Small but nice breakfast in our hotel and we hit the road back to Yogyakarta. If you want to see something else, there is a nice viewpoint at Ketep Pass, which is kind of on the way. Again you would have to get there quite early if you want to have good visibility. We arrived around midday and unfortunately the visibility was very bad. There is an entrance fee of 17.000 Rp (1,2€) for 2 people and a bike.

General tips
Getting around: We used Google Maps and maps.me apps to get around, and only once have Google Map brought us somewhere wrong. Maps.me tends to be very accurate, it even shows the viewpoints.

Bike rent: look for the bike that is not too old. The bike I rented has driven 20.000 km already and I could maximum drive 20 km per hour up the hill. Since half of the way until Dieng Plateau is up the hill, that was a bit frustrating and slow.

Safe travels and enjoy Java***

5 Thoughts on “Central Java by bike: Borobudur, Dieng and more

  1. Amy on 4. June 2015 at 20:15 said:

    Hello,

    I just discovered your blog and love it. It’s giving me lots of ideas for my next trip to Indonesia. Very useful information and beautiful photos! . What camera did you use ?

    • Katharina on 5. June 2015 at 6:27 said:

      Dear Amy, thank you very much for your comment! I am very glad you like my blog and that it can be helpful with ideas for you.
      To your question: I use for most posts Canon 60D with Canon 24-105 lenses. Some photos from Indonesia and Philippines are takes with GoPro Hero 4 Silver.

  2. hakim on 22. January 2016 at 16:56 said:

    hello!

    I really love your blog !nice read and good pics too! I’m planning to have a trip there! to get to dieng from yogya by renting a bike and i got some few questions regarding the trip. how was the route? was the route easy to find? and the fuel for the bike was is sufficient from yogya to dieng ?
    Hope to hear back from you! (:

  3. Hi,

    Great post! Looks like we’ll be following in your bike tracks over the next few days!

    Just wondered is there was any particular reason why you didn’t visit Prambanan temple (or did you?!)?

    TIA!

  4. Emmanuel on 13. August 2016 at 20:37 said:

    Great Blog – yes you are right I couldn’t find accommodation for family of 3. Where did u stay? Any recommendations?

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