Photo: Snacking.

Candi Sukuh & Candi Cetho

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Located some 40 kilometres from Solo and set high among breathtaking tea plantations and lush green farmlands on the dramatic peaks of Mount Lawu, sit Candi Sukuh & Candi Cetho.

Photo of Candi Sukuh & Candi Cetho

These two ancient temples are little visited compared to Borobudur and Prambanan, but worth the sometimes precarious trip.

Candi Cetho is probably the most beautiful of the pair, set in often misty heights more than 900 metres above sea level up a very steep hill... so steep, that on our visit the motorcycle that our guide had earlier nicknamed the "mighty horse" barely made it. The Javanese-Hindu temple dates from the 15th century and is still largely intact, complete with carved stone reliefs.

About a 15-minute drive away, or three-hour hike, Candi Sukuh has a reputation as a "porn temple" for its rather prominent carvings of genitalia. Also built in the 15th century, this Hindu temple depicts life before birth as well as sex and was believed to be used by fertility cults.

The main statue of a phallus at the temple has been moved to the National Museum in Jakarta, however quite a few others are still around the place. Candi Sukuh is also set up high and offers sweeping views of the surrounding area, all the way back to Solo city. The temperature is dramatically cooler in the hills compared to the heat in Solo city, so bring something warm to wear.

How to get there
The temples are very difficult to access without a car or motorbike. Many guesthouses in town organise tours but it's also possible to hire freelance guides around the streets in Solo for less.

Expect to pay 120,000-180,000 rupiah for a motorbike tour or 300,000-500,000 rupiah for a tour with a car and driver. Bargain hard, or try and find others to share the cost of a car.

Alternatively, you can access the Sukuh Temple by taking the local bus from Solo to Pulur, then to Karang Pandan, then to Kumining. Sukuh Temple is then a 10-minute steep walk away, or motorcycle taxis can take you up for around 10,000 rupiah. Ceto is a three-hour hike from Sukuh, or a local ojek may take you for around 30,000 rupiah.

Candi Sukuh & Candi Cetho
from early morning until 16:00
Admission: 10,000 rupiah for foreigners, 2,500 rupiah for locals at each of the temples.

What next?

 Browse our independent reviews of places to stay in and around Solo.
 Check prices, availability & reviews on Agoda or Booking
 Read up on where to eat on Solo.
 Check out our listings of other things to do in and around Solo.
 Read up on how to get to Solo.
 Do you have travel insurance yet? If not, find out why you need it.
 Planning on riding a scooter in Solo? Please read this.
 Browse tours in Indonesia with Tourradar.

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