Our Awesome Planet

Our Awesome Planet

Menu
October 05, 2016

BOROBUDUR TEMPLE: Experiencing the Most Wonderful Sunrise in the World!



October 05, 2016

BOROBUDUR TEMPLE: Experiencing the Most Wonderful Sunrise in the World!

by Sheila Renei Gómez

Borobudur Sunrise

The majestic BOROBUDUR TEMPLE lies in the heart of CENTRAL JAVA. Its nine tiers overlook rolling hills and lush greenery that are best viewed at sunrise. Borobudur is only an hour’s drive away from Yogyakarta City, the center of education and traditional Javanese arts.

Built in the 9th century during the Sailendra Dynasty, this marvel boasted 2,672 bas-relief panels and 504 Buddha statues in its prime. And get this--no mortar or cement was used in the process. These massive structures were expertly “glued" together with interlocking volcanic stones. It's no surprise this temple is widely considered one of the Seven Wonders of the World! 

Related Blog Post: BOROBUDUR Sunrise Experience (The Largest Buddhist Temple in the World)

Here's my unforgettable experience at Borobudur... 

THE TRIP OF WONDERS INDONESIA SERIES 2016

INDONESIA: Experience the Wonders of Indonesia on your Next Trip in 2017!
BANDUNG: Top Must-See Destinations at The Weekend Capital of Indonesia
BOROBUDUR TEMPLE: Experiencing the Most Wonderful Sunrise in the World!
• SASAK TRIBE OF LOMBOK: How Ancient Traditions Still Endure in the 21st Century
• KOMODO NATIONAL PARK: On Dragons, Terrific Treks & Pink Beach!
• THE ROYAL AMBARRUKMO: Rubbing Elbows with Kings & Presidents through History
• ALILA SEMINYAK: Bali’s Prime Luxury Resort Destination!




Borobudur Sunrise

Officially named as a UNESCO World Heritage Site in 1991, Borobudur Temple is now recognized as the largest and greatest Buddhist monument in existence.

 

Borobudur

The structure is designed in a Javanese-Buddhist fashion, which explains the combination of Indigenous Cult Worship and Buddhist Tenets in the bas-reliefs. Divided in 3 levels, the temple is made up of the Kamadhatu (world of desire), Rupadhatu (world of forms), and Arupadhatu (world of formlessness). The top tier is representative of the highest form of inner peace called Nirvana, or a transcendent state of nothingness and absolute content. 

On Vesak, or Buddha Day, devotees make a pilgrimage by starting at the bottom level and making their way around the monument through a series of unique passageways.

 

Borobudur Sunrise

Borobudur was rediscovered in 1815, buried under mounds of rock and ash. Starting 1970, the Indonesian government worked closely with UNESCO to fully restore the temple to its former glory. This project took eight years to complete.

 

Borobudur Sunrise

To experience Borobudur’s one of a kind sunrise, arrive at Manohara Hotel by 3:30AM. Guides take people in batches--the first batch typically gets the better “seats”.

MANOHARA HOTEL BOROBUDUR

Komplek Taman Wisata Candi Borobudur Jl. Badrawati Borobudur, Magelang 56553 Jawa Tengah, Indonesia
Telephone: +62 293 788131, 788680
Email: reservation@manoharaborobudur.com
Website: Manohara Hotel Borobudur

 

Borobudur Sunrise

Register at the lobby and you will receive a ticket with two stubs. Make sure you hold on to these so you can avail of complimentary snacks at the café after the tour.

What I found peculiar was the lack of a dress code prior to visiting the temple. Normally, visitors are required to cover their lower extremities as a sign of respect since this is a sacred Buddhist sanctuary.

RATES (Indonesia Rupiah)
Foreigner: IDR 450,000
Local: IDR 270,000
Guide: IDR 50,000

 

Borobudur Sunrise

Along with your ticket, you’ll receive a handy flashlight, which you will return by the end of the tour in exchange for a special souvenir!

 

Borobudur Sunrise

The walk to the top will take around 15-20 minutes, but may take longer depending on the “traffic”. The passages are quite narrow and steep, so take extra care and be patient with the people in front of you.

 

Borobudur Sunrise

Sunrise begins at around 5:26AM. When you’ve finally found a good spot, I implore you to sit back and take in the moment. Often times, we find ourselves wanting to take the best picture while forgetting to look and admire the actual subject.

 

Borobudur Sunrise

By 6AM, the area is fully lit and you’ll have ample time to explore the rest of the temple. 

 

Borobudur Sunrise

The view from the top is unlike anything I have seen before--it's so unreal. While the history behind Borobudur was foreign to me at the time, the sheer beauty of the site instilled a profound sense of understanding for its place in the world. And may I mention that our guide was nowhere to be found?

 

Borobudur Sunrise

I can’t blame our guide for being all over the place. The sheer number of visitors to the temple is bound to be overwhelming.

We only got to stay at the temple for a few hours, which simply is not enough time to appreciate its intricacies.

 

Borobudur Sunrise

Prior to visiting Indonesia, I perceived the country to be vastly Islamic and conservative. The fact that a Buddhist temple is maintained as a national treasure in a Muslim country truly altered my perception.

 

Borobudur Sunrise

According to the locals, Borobudur is less populated during weekdays (i.e. Sundays to Fridays). That doesn’t mean you won’t have people still walking into your shots, however.

 

Borobudur Sunrise

The temple has seen a huge increase in visitors over the years. While policies exist to protect the site from damage, vandalism and natural disasters contribute to the monument’s further deterioration.

 

Borobudur Sunrise

These walls were painted with white plaster, called Varjalepa, and bright colors before wearing out through the centuries. Archeologists made this discovery after finding fragments of blue, red, green, black, and gold leaf, at the site.

 

Borobudur Sunrise

There are a total of 72 perforated Stupa (the dome-shaped structures) that house a Buddha with various Mudra (prayer poses) that represent the Five Dhyani Buddhas.

 

Borobudur Sunrise

The Stupa’s design strongly reflects the Buddhist concept of Nirvana by pointing towards Heaven.

Note: Do not climb or sit on the Stupa or be promptly chided by the caretakers. Remember the significance of what you’re using as a "chair".

 

Borobudur Sunrise

I am in awe at how these structures have withstood the test of time, even after centuries of neglect prior to the temple’s rediscovery.

  

Borobudur

Of the 504 original Buddhas, 300 are damaged (headless), while 42 are missing. Many of the heads have turned up in places like the Tropenmuseum in Amsterdam and The British Museum in London.

 

Borobudur Sunrise

When the tour is done, you will head down to Manohara Societea Cafe for some local snacks. This is where the 2nd stub of your ticket will be collected.

 

Borobudur Sunrise

We enjoyed hot ginger tea, Indonesian coffee, Pishang Goreng (fried banana with cheddar cheese), and Serabi (a Javanese cake made with rice flour and coconut milk; it is typically doused with sugar syrup for taste).

 

Armor Kopi

The Pishang Goreng is similar to the Filipino Maruya, but is made better with cheese!

 

Borobudur Sunrise

Credit to Aileen Adalid for posing.

In spite of the inevitable commercialization of Borobudur from Buddhist Temple to tourist site, it was still such a humbling experience for me. The sense of wonder I had for the place is enough to keep me coming back to Borobudur. 

OAP personally thanks Indonesia Travel for helping tick off another the item from our bucket list.

Indonesia, you are truly wonderful!

INDONESIA TRAVEL
Sapta Pesona Building, Jl. Medan Merdeka Barat No.17, Jakarta
Website: www.indonesia.travel
Facebook: Indonesia.Travel
Instagram: @indtravel
Twitter: @indtravel

RATES AT BOROBUDUR
Foreigner: IDR 450,000
Local: IDR 270,000
Guide: IDR 50,000

 

Borobudur Sunrise

HOW TO GET THERE
Taken from www.wikitravel.org. Sentences were modified for brevity.

BY PLANE
The nearest larger airports are Yogyakarta's Adisucipto International Airport (IATA: JOG) and Solo's Adisumarmo International Airport (IATA: SOC). Both handle domestic flights and some international connections to Singapore and Kuala Lumpur. AirAsia flies from Kuala Lumpur and Singapore to Yogyakarta daily.

Another option would be to visit Borobudur on a day trip from Bali or Jakarta.You can also visit via Semarang to Borobudur. There are direct flights from Kuala Lumpur and Singapore to Semarang with AirAsia.

 

BY BUS
The buses to Borobudur leave from the Jombor bus terminal. You can get to the Jombor bus terminal by taxi or bus. The Trans-Jogja busses 2B and 2A (IDR 3,600) runs from central Yogyakarta to Jombor bus terminal in northern Yogyakarta, where you can change to another bus to get to Borobudur Bus Terminal.

The bus to Borobudur takes about 60-90 minutes and costs IDR 25,000 one way (pay on the bus). The bus will stop at Muntilan Bus Terminal in between for around 10-15 min. From the Borobudur Bus Terminal, you walk 5 minutes to the south and reach the temple’s parking lot.

When you arrive, exit the bus station and turn left (away from the arch-like structure on the main road). The temple is only 100m away.

 

BY CAR
Borobudur is about 60 to 90 minutes north of Yogyakarta by car, depending on traffic condition as the roads from Yogyakarta to Borobudur can be very congested during daytime. A taxi from central Yogyakarta to Borobudur costs around IDR 200,000, and fixed price taxis from Yogyakarta airport are IDR 190,000.

Try Central Java Transporters for starters.

CENTRAL JAVA TRANSPORTER
Telephone: +62 852 2599 3574
Email: thejavatransporter@gmail.com

 

BY TRAIN
The nearest stations are in Yogyakarta which is the major rail hub of Central Java. Connections are frequent from major cities in the west such as Jakarta and Bandung, and in the east such as Surabaya. From the main Tugu station it is easy to arrange taxi or bus transfers to Borobudur.

 

BY JOINING A TOUR
MANOHARA HOTEL BOROBUDUR
Komplek Taman Wisata Candi Borobudur Jl. Badrawati Borobudur, Magelang 56553 Jawa Tengah, Indonesia
Telephone: +62 293 788131, 788680
Email: reservation@manoharaborobudur.com
Website: www.manoharaborobudur.com

BOROBUDUR SUNRISE TOUR
Email: info@borobudursunrisetour.com
Website: www.borobudursunrisetour.com

YOGYA TOURS INDONESIA
Email: info@yogyatours.com
Website: www.yogyatours.com

 

TIPS & REMINDERS
—Don’t litter; better yet, don't bring food into the temple to avoid the temptation.
—Respect the monument and do not vandalize.
—Wear loose, comfortable clothing so you can move around easily.
—Be patient, as there will be a lot of people walking into your photos.
—Out of respect, you can bring a sarong to cover up during your visit.
—Bring a light jacket, parka, or scarf for the chilly morning.
—By 8AM, the weather gets quite sunny and hot. Bring a hat!

 

THE TRIP OF WONDERS INDONESIA SERIES 2016

INDONESIA: Experience the Wonders of Indonesia on your Next Trip in 2017!
BANDUNG: Top Must-See Destinations at The Weekend Capital of Indonesia
BOROBUDUR TEMPLE: Experiencing the Most Wonderful Sunrise in the World!
• SASAK TRIBE OF LOMBOK: How Ancient Traditions Still Endure in the 21st Century
• KOMODO NATIONAL PARK: On Dragons, Terrific Treks & Pink Beach!
• THE ROYAL AMBARRUKMO: Rubbing Elbows with Kings & Presidents through History
• ALILA SEMINYAK: Bali’s Prime Luxury Resort Destination!

 

Live an Awesome Life,

sheila signature

SHEILA of Team Our Awesome Planet

Disclosure: Travel and style bloggers from Indonesia, Philippines, Cambodia, Singapore, and Malaysia were invited by the Indonesian Ministry of Tourism in the second run of #TripofWonders. During the course of our adventure, we experienced various destination highlights in Bandung, Yogyakarta, Lombok, and Labuan Bajo. I wrote this article with my biases, opinions, and insights

P.S. There are some really amazing Batik finds in Jalan Malioboro, Yogyakarta. Do visit if you have time!

comments powered by Disqus