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.Â Ceto is a three-hour hike from Sukuh, or a local ojek may take you for around 30,000 rupiah.
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