by Regin Reyno
Visiting and exploring old infrastructures is one of my interests in my travels. They never fail to amaze me. They reflect the ingenuity, creativity, strength of the people before-their intelligence as well. They also portray the country’s culture and history.
In my travels to Southeast Asia, I always make it a point to visit famous, old temples-Angkor Wat, Shwedagon, Wat Arun, to name a few.
So in May 2013, when I was invited to the 2013 ASEAN Bloggers Festival in Solo, Central Java, I immediately ask the organizer to extend my stay there and move the date of my return trip, because after the festival, I will visit one of the most amazing temples in the world, Borobudur.
Borobudur is the largest Buddhist temple in the world. It was built in the 9th century. Just like Angkor Wat, it is also made of sandstone.
After the festival, we took a train from Solo City to Yogyakarta to explore Borobudur. 3 Indonesia bloggers, Jun of Galang Pusa and his wife, Claire of Traveling Light , and Gael of The Pinay Solo Backpacker.
From Yogyakarta, we rented an AUV (Asian Utility Vehicle) to bring us to Borobudur, Prambanan, and back to Solo city where our port of departure is located. We arranged the AUV via our guesthouse’s front desk where we spent the night-that was in Marioboro, the backpacker’s district of Yogyakarta.
We departed our guesthouse at around 4:15 am, hoping to catch the sunrise. The trip was smooth with no traffic and a fantastic countryside scenery.
Our driver brought us somewhere where we were met by a guy on a motorcycle. He told us that he will guide us somewhere to a high place where it is overlooking Borobudur and Mt. Merapi and has a beautiful sunrise view. Unfortunately, he is asking for a certain fee. We knew already that that is a scam as we didn't agree on that route, so we declined. He insisted but we really declined and told them that we go straight to the temple.
We arrived at the temple entrance at around 5:30 am excited to go in. But upon arrival, we realized that it will still open at 6:00 am-so we have to wait.
So we just bought our tickets and waited. The entrance fee cost $20 or 190,000 rupiah for foreigners and 30,000 rupiah for locals. It includes the rental fee for the sarong which is required when visiting the temple, and free flowing coffee, rice coffee, and tea in the ticket booth building.
|Fresh Indonesian rice coffee|
I immediately went inside upon opening, hoping to catch the early morning sight. It was so beautiful. The fog/mist is present as it is located 265 meters above sea level.
TIP: Visit Borobudur early in the morning. The crowd is less, the sun is still rising, it is still cool, and a perfect time for mediation or just beholding the beauty of the temple and its surroundings.
As the sun was rising, a lot of people were snapping photos and meditating. I wasted no time and snapped photos as well.
Looking at the stones which make up the temple, I can’t help but compare it to the glorious Angkor Wat. They are similar. Both are jaw-dropping.
Remember it was built is the 9th century but it still stands majestically today.
Being the largest Buddhist temple in the world, I saw lots of Buddhists meditating, all the way from Nepal, Tibet, Singapore, and Thailand.
On top of the temple, it is nice to just sit back and relax-meditate if you may. The view around it is also amazing. You can see Mt. Merapi.
|Buddhist monk from Nepal|
Bas reliefs are present as well as Buddhist inscriptions. Since it is divided into layers, they say the best way to see Borobudur is to start down at the base on the east entrance and go around and upward the temple on a counter-clockwise direction.
Many Buddhist monuments can be found covered with a mustard bottle-like structure.
|Our Indonesian friend, Agus of agusmulyadi.com|
After touring the temple for almost half-a day we went outside and took some landscape photos of it and just behold it from a distance. Its sheer size is really amazing. What a wonderful experience-one of my best temple and historical experiences so far.
|Pinoy Travel Bloggers (PTB) Jun of Galang Pusa, Claire of Traveling Light and myself.|
When in Indonesia, don’t leave the country without visiting this beautiful UNESCO World Heritage Site.
Borobudur entrance fee: $20 (IDR 190,000) for foreigners
IDR 30,000 for locals
Travel time form Yogyakarta to Borobudur: 45 min.-1 hr.
Contrary to popular belief, Borobudur is not in Yogyakarta. It's part of Magelang, Central Java.