Borobudur is the world’s largest Buddhist site and Indonesia’s most popular tourist attraction. It is also a UNESCO World Heritage Site and a majestic example of Indonesian architecture. Borobudur Temple is undoubtedly the crown jewel of the country. There may be a lot of other beautiful and stunning temples in Indonesia, but nothing compares to how spectacular Borobudur is.
From a distance, the site is already breathtaking… But as you take each step closer to the details of this place, you will see how enchanting it is up close–from the intricate carvings throughout the whole place, to the statues and the view of sunrise from above. There are no words that can give justice to how beautiful it is in person. It is something you have to see and experience at least once in your life.
Borobudur Temple was built in the 9th Century. The story of the majestic temple dates back to the Shailendra Dynasty. The clan actively contributed in actively spreading Buddhism across Indonesia. Their biggest achievement was the Borobudur Temple. It took roughly 1,200 years to finish the magnificent temple. The outcome was spectacular engineering, which boasts of a 95-foot tall step pyramid. Borobudur Temple takes pride in its 2,672 bas-relief panels and 504 Buddha statues. One more notable fact about the construction of the temple is that no mortar or cement was used in the process of building it. The marvelous structures of the temple were expertly put together with interlocking volcanic stones.
For centuries, Borobudur was a major pilgrimage site. Then, it was abandoned in the 15th century. No one knows why Borobudur was left to be reclaimed by the jungle, but it remained that way for 400 years. The colonial governor of British Java decided to have it excavated after some time. It was rediscovered in 1815, buried under volcanic ash. In the 1960s, a massive campaign was launched by the Indonesian government and UNESCO to save and restore the site. The temple has remained strong even through ten centuries of neglect. Eventually, after the Borobudur was thoroughly cleaned and restored, the site was reopened to the public. The temple is now a UNESCO Heritage Site and is considered as one of Indonesia’s most valuable treasures.
Pre Travel Guide
How to go to Borobudur Temple
Located on the island of Java, Borobudur Temple is a Buddhist park near Magelang. The temple is located about 40 km to the northwest of Yogyakarta and some 86 km west of the city of Surakarta in central Java. The temple lies in an area between two volcanoes namely Mt. Sundoro-Sumbing and Mt. Merbabu-Merapi, as well as two rivers–Progo and Elo.
Ways to go to the temple:
- Flights from Jakarta:
- Since there are no direct flights to Yogyakarta from Manila, you have to pass by Jakarta first. There are 17 direct flights from Manila to Jakarta each day:
- Then from Jakarta, you may (1) ride a train to Yogyakarta (2) or take another flight.
- (1) There are 11 trains that run daily from Jakarta to Yogyakarta. It takes about 8 hours to go from Jakarta to Yogyakarta by train.
- (2) I prefer a flight to Yogyakarta instead. Aside from the fact that fare is quite reasonable (around 1500PHP,) you will definitely save time and energy. We booked via Skyscanner.
Where to stay?
If you want to visit Borobudur, the best option you have is to stay Yogyakarta. There are a lot of options when it comes to accommodations ranging from budget type to luxury hotels. For my personal experience, we just walked in to one of the accommodations, but just to be sure, it is best to book your accommodation in advance.
Here are some budget accommodations near Borobudur that you can check out:
- ZEN Premium Tegal Panggung Danurejan
- Address: Jl. Tegal Panggung No. 39, Yogyakarta 55122, Indonesia
- Book HERE.
- Use my code “COLZ” to get 20% off
- ZEN Rooms Bausasran 34 Pakualaman
- Address: Jalan Bausasran No, 34, Yogyakarta 55122, Indonesia
- Book HERE.
- Use my code “COLZ” to get 20% off
- EFATA Homestay
- Address: Jl. Balaputera Dewa 33 56553 Borobudur Indonesia
- Book here: https://www.efatahomestay.com/en-us
- Amata Borobudur Resort
- Address: Jalan Mendut, Jl. Sendangsono, Cabean, Progowati, Mungkid, Magelang, Jawa Tengah 56512, Indonesia
- Book here: https://www.amataborobudur.com/
- Wahid Borubudur
- Address: Jl. Medang Kamulan, Dusun XIII, Borobudur, Kec. Borobudur, Magelang, Jawa Tengah 56553, Indonesia
- Book here: http://www.wahidborobudur.com/en-us
Where to book Borobudur Tour?
There are numerous tour agencies that are available along the streets of Magelang and near Borobudur, so you will not have a hard time looking for a tour. Just make sure to go around first and assess the rates, so you can find the most reasonable deal there is.
To save yourself from hassle, book your tour with Klook. Availing your tours with Klook will make your trip easier and hassle-free–from the transfers to the actual tour itself. It is definitely worth your money!
- Keep yourself connected at all times: I highly recommend you to purchase your 4G Simcard online since it is cheaper – 4G Simcard
- To get the best experience, wake up and prepare for the trip as early as 3:00 AM. It is advisable to leave this early so you can catch the iconic sunrise in Borobudur. Make sure to get enough sleep and prepare everything you need the night before. Do not forget to have breakfast, so you will have enough energy for the day.
- There are ATM machines in the area, but it is still best to prepare your onhand money at the airport to avoid any hassle. Always allot extra budget for emergency or unexpected expenses.
- Bring water to avoid getting dehydrated.
- Apply sunscreen and bring it with you for reapplication to protect yourself from the harmful rays of the sun.
- Be respectful and dress modestly when visiting the temple. Avoid clothing that exposes a lot of skin. You may also use sarong as a cover-up.
- Be mindful of your body language. Don’t display affection in public or talk with your hands on your hips.
My encounter with Borobudur is majestic as the place itself. We woke up extra early in the hopes that we get to experience the once in a lifetime chance of witnessing the iconic sunrise over the temple. Seeing the sunrise was the first agenda of the day. From there on, we explored the temple and I was constantly in awe of its intricate details. We made the most out of the tour by roaming the grounds and taking a lot of photos for safekeeping. Although not one photo can give justice to the actual experience, we tried our best to treasure each moment by capturing them in photos. All thanks to Klook, we did not need to worry about our transportation. We experienced convenient transfers to and from Borobudur and our accommodation. It was such a great day one cannot easily forget.
- 3:30am-3:45am hotel pick up
- 3:45am-4:30am transfer to Borobudur
- 4:30am-7:30am Borobudur temple sunrise
- 8:15am-9:30am end of trip, hotel drop off
- Optional: Pawon and Mendut Temples (entrance fees excluded)
Other places to visit
- 1. Dieng Plateau – Located only three hours away from Yogyakarta, Dieng Plateau is an ideal side trip from the popular sites in the city. Don’t miss the chance to witness the natural charms and ancient heritage of this place. Also, visit the sulfur hot springs and Color Lake to make your trip more memorable. Explore the potato plantation, exotic local culture, and ancient temples for the full experience.
Book your tour HERE:
2. Prambanan Temple – Prambanan Temple is only a one-hour drive away from downtown Yogyakarta. Much like Borobudur, it is also one of the highlights of any trip to Indonesia. It is actually the largest Hindu complex in Indonesia. So if ever you’re in Yogyakarta, go on a tour to see Prambanan Temple. Explore its grounds and learn all about its history. It is also highly recommended to catch the sunset there, so prepare to get the most iconic photos in the site.
Book your tour HERE.
3. Timang Beach, Pengger Pine Forest, and Pindul Cave – If you have another day to spare, here is another highly recommended day tour. Make the most out of Yogyakarta and visit Timang Beach where you can admire its pristine white sand. You can also try out a fun gondola ride there. Then, if you’re feeling adventurous, explore Pindul Cave and you can go on a tubing adventure in the cave’s underwater river. Lastly, visit Pengger Pine Forest which offers the most scenic spots.
Book your tour HERE
The Borobudur Temple is one of the greatest Buddhist monuments in the world and for the right reason. From its rich and interesting history to the astounding beauty that it is today, Borobudur Temple is truly a masterpiece. I have been traveling around for quite some time now, and there are places that really stuck with me no matter how many more new places I encounter. And this one right here is one of the most distinct and memorable experiences that I will always remember.