They are some of the best-known icons of Indonesia’s tourism. Borobudur – southeast Asia’s largest Buddhist temple – and Prambanan – Indonesia’s largest sacred site dedicated to Shiva – have for a long time been major attractions for international travelers. Both are listed as World Heritage Sites and are run by a special authority, PT Taman Wisata Candi Borobudur, Prambanan, and Boko Ratu.
The company celebrated its 30th anniversary and has launched a program to upgrade services at both main temples and its surroundings.“Our target is to provide more service-oriented facilities to our visitors. We are also looking to offer additional products, which will give foreign travelers a more enriching experience,” explained Purnomo Siswoprasetjo, president of PT Taman Wisata Candi. The authority is not just upgrading facilities. It is also looking after a landscaping program or new rules to teach people to behave more properly within the temples compounds. “We realize that many visitors did not respect the fact that both sites are above all sacred sites for Buddhism and Hinduism. Since February 1, visitors are not allowed to go into Borobudur in short trousers. We provide then saronga for their convenience. We hope that it will also deter them to climb around the famous stupa with the image of Buddha,” said Siswoprasetjo.
A clean site is also another big problem that the authority has to tackle. “It is true that we face difficulties to teach people not to throw their garbage on the site. We now search people at the entrance and ask them to leave food and plastic bottles in containers,”, told Siswoprasetjo. Vendors are also restricted in the temples area. “We introduced a zoning for ambulant vendors and trained them to behave in a courteous manner to visitors to the Parks.”
Ticket sales were changed last year with the introduction of tickets combining the visit of two or three temples. Prices include also special services such as complementary tea and coffee, access to an audio-show, access to local museums, and a free shuttle transfer between Prambanan and Ratu Boko. “We are now finalizing a new service on our website, which will allow visitors to buy their ticket online. We should be ready over the next few months,” added Mr. Siswoprasetjo.
This year, the authority will release a new multi-media film and upgrade Prambanan’s shopping and food area to international standards. “We will then proceed similarly in Borobudur in 2011,” said Mr. Siswoprasetjo. Another project is to promote circuits integrating surrounding temples with the idea of improve visitors’ length of stay in the area. “Unfortunately, too little visitors are looking at other historical sites beside Prambanan and Borobudur even if we have 12 other temples or palaces to be seen around,” said the authority president. New maps have been edited in English and Japanese, which point out to visitors other temples located within a two-to-three km circle around Prambanan. “Sewu, Plaosan, and Sukuh have good potential to attract a higher number of visitors,” added the authority president.
The company also helps surrounding villages at Borobudur and Prambanan to develop guest houses for home-stays with international standards. The authority advises them how to contract eventually a bank loan to upgrade their house and how to manage their facilities such as proper toilets or a bathroom. “Visitors will then not only enjoy the visit of temples but learn also about local culture by staying with villagers,” explained Mr. Siswoprasetjo.
Information about Borobudur, Prambanan, and Ratu Boko Palace are available at www.borobudurpark.co.id .