One of the quirkiest places to visit in Yogyakarta, Central Java, Indonesia is the Chicken Church (also known as Bukit Rhema and Gereja Ayam).
Located in the Magelang area and nearby Borobudur Temple, the Chicken Church is a church in a shape of a chicken. The story goes that it’s supposed to be a dove wearing a crown and not a chicken.
We originally heard about this place from another travel blogger who shared that this was one of the adventurous things to do in Indonesia. Since this unusual place is close to Borobudur Temple, we thought it was a good addition to the Borobudur and Prambanan day trip.
This guide shares what you need to know about visiting the Chicken Church and other important travel details.
About the Chicken Church (Bukit Rhema)
Daniel Alamsjah, a Christian follower, found this abandoned church in the middle of the forest area in 1992.
His goal was to have a “House of Prayer” which welcome everyone with different religions for prayers and meditation.
His team renovated the church and eventually had rooms to help those with drug substance abuse and health problems. Unfortunately, construction stopped due to the lack of money and was abandoned again in the 2000s.
With community support, the church resumed renovation and to this day is continuously updating the architecture.
Chicken Church’s popularity boomed as a tourist destination as it was used as a filming location for the Indonesian movie, Ada Apa Dengan Cinta 2.
Currently, Daniel Alamsjah’s vision continues as there are many rooms in the church for all religions to meditate and pray and even stay overnight.
How to Get to the Chicken Church
We had a driver who took us on a full-day trip to see the sunrise at Setumbu Hills, and exploring Borobudur Temple, Chicken Church, and Prambanan Temple. If you’re interested in our driver’s information, please contact us here.
From Borobudur to the Chicken Church, it’s 4.8 kilometers (3 miles) away and will take 11 minutes by car. Click to see the driving directions.
Drive a motorbike. If you have the skills to ride a motorbike, feel free to drive here. The roads are mostly paved so it’s not too bad of a drive.
Hire a Grab driver. Grab is a popular app to use for ride-hailing rides. It’s similar to using the Uber app. Everything is done through the app from the pick-up and end point and the cost of the ride. Since the ride is one-way, you may want to ask the driver if they can stay longer for a return trip. We didn’t use Grab for our Yogyakarta day trips but used them within the city.
From the Parking Lot to Chicken Church
From the parking lot to the top of the Chicken Church, you can either walk up the steep staircases or take an electric trolley (at an additional cost). Walking up takes about 5 to 8 minutes so it’s a good cardio and leg workout.
It’s very affordable to visit the Chicken Church. The cost is 25,000 IDR ($1.60 USD) per person which includes a short tour with an English-speaking guide and a snack.
If you want to take the trolley, the cost is an additional 10,000 IDR ($.65) one-way or 15,000 IDR ($1.00) round-trip per person.
Chicken Church Tour
After climbing or taking the trolley to the top of the Chicken Church location, you’ll see the giant chicken in the courtyard area. It’s the perfect spot to take photos with the giant chicken (or dove).
In the past photos of the church, you’ve seen the chicken as a gray color. Recently, it received a makeover with a new layer of paint and now has a white body, red beak, and yellow crown.
Walk to the right side of the chicken to write your name down for the tour. The English-speaking tour guide will call your name once the tour is ready to start. We had a small group of 6 people and the tour takes about 15 minutes.
There are a total of 7 levels in the Chicken Church. You will need to climb stairs to travel between floors. An elevator or escalator doesn’t exist here.
The two lower levels are a museum that has photos of Daniel Alamsjah and his team building the church as it is today. Unfortunately, photos are not allowed on the first two levels. There are also small meditation rooms.
The third level has a large event hall used for events such as weddings. From the third level and up, photos are allowed.
There is also a Wall of Hope where people can write down any wishes and thoughts on a postcard and they’re posted on the bulletin board.
Then, walk up a narrow staircase to the top level. If you’re tall, watch your head! You’ll pass by colorful paintings with iconic Indonesian landmarks, Indonesian culture, and scenarios of what happens to people when taking drugs.
Before climbing to the top of the church, one of the workers shows a short video of the Indonesian movie, Ada Apa Dengan Cinta 2, which showcases the Chicken Church.
Then you climb up another narrow spiral staircase and have only 3 mins to take photos at the crown. It’s best to think of poses ahead of time due to the short time.
The top of the crown is very tight. While it can hold four people or so, it’s better to have two people at a time.
Here are some photos that we took.
Once the 3 minutes are up, you’ll hear a timer go off. The sound is of a chicken clucking. It’s a suitable sound for the theme of this place! Be careful when walking down the spiral staircase.
Afterward, feel free to head to the cafe to redeem your ticket for a free snack. For us, we had a tray of freshly made deep-fried cassava with sambal. It was delicious! Enjoy your snack at one of the tables and enjoy the greenery in the area. You can also buy cold drinks and other snack items here.
We hope you get a chance to visit the Chicken Church, especially if you’re visiting Borobudur Temple. It’s an affordable and fun place to explore as a day trip from Yogyakarta. Since we visited in the morning, we didn’t have to worry about the crowds here.
Check out other places to visit when you’re in Yogyakarta: