Gedong Songo Temple is not just one temple. But it’s a cluster of Hindu temples located in Semarang, Central Java. The temple or Candi Gedong Songo, that’s what the locals called – is located on the slopes of Mt. Ungaran. Researchers believe that this temple complex was built between the 8 and 9th centuries.
Thus making the temple way former and older than the infamous Borobudur and Prambanan temples. In its structure, Gedong Songo Temple resembles the temples on the Dieng Plateau. Another popular temple is located in Dieng highland and near the Sikidang crater.
Besides the structure, both temples were also made of volcanic stones. In addition to that, both are believed and claimed to be the oldest Hindu temples in Java. But Gedung Songo temple features not just an ancient structure. The attractions have grown big enough to include a pine park, and a sulfuric wading pool. And last the newly established photo spot called the Ayanaz.
Gedong Songo The Five Temples
Gedong Songo in Javanese means nine buildings. But despite its name, there are actually only five temples inside the complex. There used to be nine temples but four have been broken beyond repair. And the remaining five are still intact after going through restorations.
There are some distances between the temples. In total, the five temples are situated on a plot of land that spans almost 4km wide. The first Gedong Songo temple is situated not too far from the main gate. From there, the journey to the second, third, and so on is walking uphill. And when the day is sunny, tourists could catch a glimpse of the fifth shrine from the first temple.
There is another leisurely way to absorb the temple’s beauty besides by circling it on foot. Luckily, the management provides a horseback riding service. It starts from the first temple and could take guests up to the farthest one.
The location is right before the first temple, where the horse stable and guides line up. The fee to ride on the horse depends on the distance and how many spots trippers would like to visit. While the price for this service ranges from Rp50.000 to Rp150.000.
The Ayanaz Gedongsongo
Among the many attractions inside the temple complex, Ayana Gedongsongo is relatively new. It was built to give the antiquated temple area a modern look. Despite its relative newness, Ayanaz Gedongsongo proves to be very popular among tourists.
To enter the area, visitors must pay Rp10.000 for children and Rp20.000 for adults. While the operational hours are a bit different than the temple. It opens later and closes earlier, from 8 AM to 5 PM.
Inside the Ayanaz, the management provides 35 designated photo areas. Among them are the bubble tents, stationary air balloons, hammocks, and more. To occupy the bubble tents and air balloons visitors must pay an additional Rp5.000. Excluding those two, other photo areas are available to use for free.
Vanaprastha Gedong Songo Park
On the way up to the second temple or Candi Gedong II, an iron gate will be present on the left. This is the entrance to Vanaprastha park. Located in the middle of the forest inside the Gedong Songo Temple complex. This area is specially set aside for overnight stay purposes.
Inside the area, there are three villas that have been designated as “heritage houses” by the local government. This modest inn was made of teak wood. And it has been in this spot for over a century. Visitors who wish to stay overnight in one of these cabin bungalows can do so. The heritage house is available for rent and open to the public.
The rental price for two smaller bungalows is Rp1.200.000. While the bigger one is slightly higher Rp2.000.000. The cabin isn’t the only option for visitors who intend to stay overnight. There is a section of the park that has been set for camping. Other facilities in the park include hammocks, a playground, and outbound game sets. The admission ticket for the park is Rp5.000.
Natural Hot Spring
During the walk up to the fourth temple, visitors will pass by a wading pool. There is something unique about this pool. And that is this pool contains sulfur. Not far from the entrance to the pool, there is a section in the cliff that pours sulfuric fumes. Water that passes through this cliff is routed to enter the wading pool.
To soak in the pool, visitors must pay an admission ticket of Rp5.000. A small charge to dip in the natural hot spring. The pool is just moderate in size and only less than 2m deep. Locals believe that the sulfuric wading pool has a healing effect useful for the body. And soaking in this pool regularly will give people longevity.
Gedong Songo Temple Opening Hours
Gedong Songo Temple opens every day from 6 AM to 6 PM. While the other attraction such as the Ayanaz. A place with modern photo spots and air balloons opens later at 8 AM.
|Gedong Songo Temple Opening Hours|
|Monday – Sunday||06:00 – 18:00|
Gedong Songo Entrance Fee
The admission ticket to enter the temple for foreign tourists is Rp75.000. And this ticket is only valid for exploring the temple. To dip in the natural hot spring. Or exploring the Ayanaz where there is plenty of awesome photo spots. Tourists will have to pay an additional ticket to each attraction inside the temple complex.
|Gedong Songo Entrance Fee|
|Vanaprastha Gedongsongo Park Weekday||Rp5.000|
|Vanaprastha Park Weekend||Rp8.000|
Gedong Songo Temple comes fully equipped with supporting facilities. Inside and outside the complex, visitors will be able to find food stalls, snack kiosks, and public bathrooms easily. Don’t forget to prepare small notes of Rp2.000 to use the toilet.
The temple also provides multiple stories of a parking lot. The parking fee for a car is Rp5.000 and for a motorbike Rp2.000. Just a short distance away, there’s a gazebo that the temple provides for tourists to rest.
There’s also a mosque not far away from the gazebo. Gedong Songo Temple also provides a camping ground for tourists who intend to stay overnight inside the complex. But there are plenty of comfortable lodgings outside the temple area too.
How to Reach Gedong Songo Temple
The temple’s location is about 40km away from Semarang. It’s a 1 – 1.5 hours trip. Travelers can go to Gedong Songo by private vehicle or public transportation. For trippers who preferred a private vehicle, the rental fee for a motorbike starts from Rp50.000/day. While the car’s rental is Rp120.000/day in a rental place downtown.
On the other hand, taking public transportation to Gedong Songo is a bit trickier. It requires multiple transits so it might get confusing. Especially for a first-time traveler coming to Indonesia. The route going to the temple is Ungaran – Ambarawa – Bandungan. Take a public van (elf) from Ungaran that heads to Polin Ambarawa, the fare cost Rp10.000.
And from Ambarawa the option is to continue with another van Rp3.000 to Bandungan. And ride a motorcycle for Rp20.000 to get to the entrance. Or from Ambarawa, order a hailing app and choose between a motorcycle or a car. The fare starts from Rp20.000-Rp25.000 for a motorcycle. And Rp40.000 to Rp50.000 for the car to get to the temple entrance.
Address & Location
Gedong Songo Temple including the hot spring located in Darum village, Krajan, Bandungan district, Semarang, Central Java 50614.