Visiting Borobudur Temple, Java, Indonesia

As we drove up the windy and rough path, and into the lush countryside, I spotted them, on the hill. Giant Bell shaped structures, layered in a square complex, all guarded by various Buddhas. The sun shone through the gaps and created a mystical vibe.

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We had arrived at Borobudur Temple, which is about an hour outside of the city Yogyakarta, where we were staying. It was a perfect day, the Mountains surrounded us, and took us miles outside the feeling of a busy city.

It was busy, but not as busy as the Temples of Angkor Wat, or other tourist destinations I had been to. There was a real sense of peace and calm, as we walked around, admiring the stone structures.

I knew then, why this was a UNESCO heritage site, and one of the most visited attractions in Indonesia.

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The long windy path, led us up to a steep stone staircase. Various hawkers along the way attempted to sell us postcards and other tat, but we ignored them and continued walking.

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Customs and Culture

Buddhism is the main religion practised here, and monks often make the pilgrimage to meditate at the top platform. Borobudur must also be entered and exited differently. You enter from the East, and exit to the West.9

At the beginning of your visit, you will be offered a welcome drink, and given a sarong to wear. There appeared to be no rules against uncovered shoulders.

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You must always remember not to sit with your feet pointed toward Buddha, as is their custom.

If you happen to be in Java in April or May, check out if Waisak Day is happening. It is a major event in the Buddhist calendar and a huge cerebration occurs at the Temple, with visitors welcome.

History

There is no recorded date, that Borobudur was built, but it is thought to be in the 8th or 9th centuries.

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Getting There

Getting to the Temple can be done in various ways; either a private taxi (expensive), hiring a scooter (dangerous), or the most popular a tour bus (can be expensive, but shop around).

We booked through the hostel in Yogyakarta (EDU Hostel) we were staying at the night prior to moving on to the posh hotel for my birthday.

There were a few options, with different sites that could be added on to the one tour. We choose the sunset tour, as it was the shortest, and it went to Borobudur alone. My sister had been unwell, and neither of us jumped at the idea of waking up at 3am to see it at sunrise. I already had hiked up a volcano in Bali to see the sunrise; so was satisfied. 

Cost

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If you are planning on getting there yourself, the ticket price will be US $20 standard or US $10 if you have a vaild student ticket. We paid US $23 each which included the transport and ticket, which we considered cheap for transport there and back.

Views and Experience

Visiting Borobudur at sunset is an incredible experience; the views of Mountains and Rainforest is awe inspiring; like you’ve step out of one World and into another. Take your time to stroll around, visit the Museum and be inspired by the history and culture. We spent a good few hours there, and felt it was well worth the Journey.

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