Just an hour drive from the city of Yogyakarta is the very historic Borobudur. Dating back about 9th century, Borobudur is a Mahayana Buddhist Temple that is protected as a UNESCO World Heritage Site. It is one of the world’s largest Buddhist temple, and one of the most popular tourist attraction in Indonesia.
I lived in Yogyakarta back in the mid-90’s and remember visiting Borobudur a number of times as a child. And even after 20 years, visiting Borobudur once again, I was just as fascinated and enchanted by the site.
Table of Contents
A little bit of history…
It is estimated that Borobudur dates back to somewhere between the 8th & 9th centuries. By the 14th century, it was abandoned for centuries, hiding under layers of volcanic ash and jungle growth.
In 1814, Sir Thomas Stamford Raffles came to know about “a big monument deep in the jungle.” He then instructed his Dutch engineer, H.C. Cornelius to visit the site of Borobudur to further investigate. For two months and with over 200 men, trees were cut down, vegetation was clear and soil was dug away in order to reveal what we know today as Borobudur.
In 1835 efforts continued to unearth the Borobudur temple, and between 1907 and 1911, restoration of the Borobudur Temple began. By 1975, a complete renovation took place, which was funded by UNESCO and took about 7 years to complete. The project costed a total of over U$6 million and involved over 600 people to restore Borobudur. A number of years after the renovation, Borobudur was then listed as a World Heritage Site in 1991.
Borobudur is about an hour drive away from Yogyakarta and there are plenty of tour companies on offer ready to take you there.
The best time to visit Borobudur is definitely first thing in the morning, or the later part of the day. By mid-morning and till about mid-afternoon, Borobudur is busy with many visitors and pilgrims making the journey to see this historic site. It’s also best to avoid weekends and public holidays, because it is most likely jam packed.
Another tour that is worthwhile experiencing is Borobudur during the sunrise. It does come at an additional cost and does need to be pre-booked, but what an experience it would be.
Borobudur is a big site, so be ready to do a lot of walking and climbing of stairs. Comfortable (yet modest) clothing and shoes is best, and make sure to bring with you a bit bottle of water.
Upon entering the gates into Borobudur, there are two ticketing areas. One for locals and one for tourists. The tourist price is approximately A$31 / U$23 per person and includes a bottle of water.
If you are looking to do the sunrise tour of Borobudur, it is approximately A$40 / U$30 per person, and it grants you access to the site at 4:30am and you will need to pre-book this.
Where to Stay
Most will stay in Yogyakarta and make the hour journey out to Borobudur on a day trip. This is probably the best option for most, and there are plenty of accommodation options in Yogyakarta. And Yogyakarta has a lot of great food options to also check out.
If you want to stay somewhere with spectacular views and just a few minutes drive from Borobudur, do check out the Amanjiwo Resort. It is a beautiful 5-star sanctuary made up of 36 suites and complete luxury.
- Be prepared to do a lot of walking and climbing of stairs
- Do wear comfortable clothing and shoes
- Take water with you – once you climb the site, you can’t buy water up there and it is important to stay hydrated because it can get quite hot
- Do wear sunscreen – Borobudur is an open air structure and so protect yourself from the sun
- Give yourself time and don’t rush – Borobudur is a big site with lots to see
- Bring small change if you plan to buy a few souvenirs
Loved this post? Pin it, it’s more fun.