A journey through time awaits you in this otherworldly beautiful remnant of Java's glorious past.
Borobudur is not just a temple. It's a pinnacle of spiritual, architectural and artistic achievement of Indonesian ancestors.
Located on the center of Javanese cultural basket with Yogyakarta to its south, you'll get more than you'll expect by visiting this place.
"If those stones can talk," you can't help but wondering what it has seen for centuries as the sun rises, slowly unveils the temple from its misty cover. A strong silhouette at first, as black as the night, before manifesting in its entire splendor, like a silent guardian.
Head to Yogyakarta. You can set your base here as this city has a lot to offer, tourism-wise. Borobudur is just one of them. It’s only one hour from Yogyakarta by car which you can rent directly or via your hotel.
The Borobudur Temple Compound is one of the greatest Buddhist monuments in the world and was built in the 8th and 9th century AD during the reign of the Syailendra Dynasty. The temple was revealed by Sir Thomas Stanford Raffles in 1814 in ruined conditions and buried. The overall height was 42 meters, but it's now only 34.5 meters after the restoration. The dimensions were 123x123 meters (15 129m²) and it consisted of 10 floors.
Beside the actual temple, visitors can visit two museums, called Karmawibhangga Museum and Samudra Raksa Museum. The Karmawibhangga Museum is an archaeology museum that focuses on the temple’s history, restoration work of thousands original stones carvings and relics from the temple. The Samudra Raksa Museum is a maritime museum that tells the story of the ancient trade amongst Indonesia and its neighboring countries.
Besides shorts and mini-skirts, there is no other restriction on dress code. Female visitors should dress politely and modestly as they would to visit any religious place. It's always wise to show a sense of respect for Buddhist and Hindu temples in this predominantly Muslim country.
For a perfect Borobudur experience, you need to come early, as in before-the-dawn early. The epic sunrise at Borobudur is a thing you don’t want to miss.
There’s a place called Punthuk Setumbu, which is like the best place to enjoy the sunrise at Borobudur. As a follow through, after enjoying your breakfast, you can go to the temple complex for an up-close and personal experience with the temple itself.
Yogya is like the culture capital of Indonesia. So, if you set your travel HQ in Yogyakarta, you can do a lot of things. For example, enjoying the city, which is famous for its culture, art and vibrant communities.
The early morning and late afternoon are considered as the best
times to visit the temple. You can watch the sunrise or sunset while
visiting a less crowded temple compound. It takes at least 3 hours to
visit the whole compound including the museums. The opening hours are
daily from 6am till 5pm.
The dry season lasts from April till October and the wet season from November till March. The dry season also coincides with the peak tourist season. It rains more often during the wet season, but there are enough perfect days where you can enjoy the uncrowded Borobudur.
Yes, there are 4 waypoint temples near the actual Borobudur temple compound. They're called: Candi Mendut, Candi Pawon, Candi Ngawen and Candi Canggal. These temples are considered as waypoints on the ancient road to Borobudur and they offer statues and reliefs of the highest quality. You should visit them to get the whole insight into the history of the region.
August is considered as the mistiest month at Borobudur. The morning mist creates a mystic atmosphere and the views are incredible. Furthermore, the mist will offer you the feeling of being the discoverer of the holy temple.
Borobudur contains approximately 2.670 individual bas reliefs. The panels tell 4 different stories about: the Javanese life, Karma, the birth of Buddha and Sudhana’s search for the ultimate Truth. The panels are astonishing detailed and taking a look at all of the bas reliefs is definitely worth it.
You can hike Mt. Merapi, which is the most active volcano in Indonesia. Maybe that’s why it's so desired and popular by the countless hikers that go there every year. The mountain is locally known as the fire mountain, so bringing a camera could be useful. You might get the picture of your life.
You can go on a 3 hour rafting tour on the two holy rivers near Borobudur. The rivers are called: The Progo and The Elo. There are many rafting operators around and they offer packages that not only provide rafting, but also a culture insight by the guides.