Ratu Boko Palace is an archaeological site near the city of Yogyakarta on the Indonesian island of Java. It is popular with tourists and locals alike because of its hilltop location and panoramic views of the Prambanan Plain and Mt Merapi, the most active volcano in the country.
Yogyakarta’s star archaeological attractions are Borobudur, the single largest Buddhist monument in the world, and the 9th century Hindu temple compound of Prambanan. Once you have seen these two sites, it is fair to say that nothing else in the vicinity is likely to compare. We were therefore a little indifferent about visiting Ratu Boko Palace. It was our last stop on a long day of destination-research we were undertaking for a local travel company and our enthusiasm for yet another historical site was definitely flagging.
But what we found was surprised us. For starters the majority of visitors don’t actually bother to look round the ruins. They only come to see the view, which is especially popular around sunset. This ensures that the palace is nice and peaceful; something that Borobudur and the temples at Prambanan are not if you get your timing wrong. Furthermore what is left of the palace and outer buildings is actually quite impressive. There are several smaller stone structures along with the main pendopo (audience hall) that are all worth a look and a good local guide will help bring the place alive.