Along with Angkor and Bagan, Borobudur is considered one of the most beautiful temples in Southeast Asia. This gigantic complex is located in central Java Indonesia, about 40 km from Yogyakarta. In addition to its special architecture, Borobudur is also the largest Buddhist monument in the world. The temple was built in the form of a pagoda tower with a Buddhist building and 72 towers. Besides the main building, there are also dozens of smaller towers built to make Borobudur unique and artistic. Let me introduce to you a basic travel guide to Borobudur.
1. History Borobudur
The history of Borobudur is similar to Angkor with the centuries hidden in the forest. The construction process lasted from 750 to 850. In 1006, after a volcanic eruption and the decline of Buddhism, and made Borobudur forgotten among a forest of trees and grass. It was not until 1814 that this temple was rediscovered and restored until its official opening in the last years of the last century.
2. Where is Borobudur?
Borobudur temple complex is located in central Java, Indonesia. With 135 million inhabitants, Java is the most populous island in the world, and one of the most densely populated regions worldwide. Java is home to 60 percent of Indonesian residents.
3. Why we should visit Borobudur?
The huge complex is a Buddhist relic built of lava rock. In particular, this project was built without using any kind of cement or mortar.
The main temple consists of nine floors, six square floors and three circular floors, decorated with 2672 elaborate reliefs and 504 Buddha statues, each has a different look.
The number of stones that make up the temple is 300,000 stones, built on a campus of 2,500 square meters.
Borobudur has been classified by UNESCO as a world heritage site since 1991.
Read more: Disover Prambanan Temple
4. Best time to travel to Borobudur?
Indonesia has the equator running through so the climate is quite hot. The rainy season starts from October until April next year and the dry season starts from May until September. There is heavy rain during the transition of two seasons. The climate of the islands is humid all year round. August to October is the best time with quite pleasant weather, cool, little rain.
Borobudur is most beautiful at dawn with mysterious temple hidden in the mist. Most Borobudur tourists come here early, usually around 7am. So you should come here a bit earlier to have space for photography.
5. How to get to Borobudur?
Borobudur is located about 40 km northwest of Yogyakarta city center. From the city, you can easily reach Borobudur by many vehicles.
To get to Yogyakarta, you can take a flight to Yogyakarta International Airport from other major Indonesian cities like Jakarta, Surabaya, Denpasar, Lombok, Makassar, Balikpapan, Banjarmasin, Pekanbaru, Palembang and Pontianak. It also has international flights to cities like Kuala Lumpur (AirAsia) and Singapore (Silkair).
Yogyakarta is also located on one of the two main railway lines running through Jakarta and Surabaya. Yogyakarta has two passenger railway stations, Tugu Station serves business and executive trains, and Lempuyangan Station serves economy class trains, both of which are located in the city center.
Since early 2008, the city has launched an intra-provincial bus system called Trans Jogja, also known as “TJ”. There are currently six Trans Jogja routes, with routes passing through the main streets of the city of Yogyakarta. The route extends from Jombor Bus Terminal in the north to Giwangan Bus Station in the south and to the Prambanan bus terminal in the east via Adisucipto International Airport.
You can take a public bus from Yogyakarta to Borobudur, which is specifically for locals, only a small number of tourists try this type. There is also a Trans-Jogya transport service that runs from central Yogyakarta to the Jombor transfer station in the north (Rp 3,000), where you can change to other buses to Borobudur.
Taxis are also an easy way to get to Borobudur if you’re in a group of more than 3 people.
6. Discover the temples in Borobudur
The journey begins from the lowest point, the foot of the temple, following a path spanning in three levels of Buddhism with a total of more than 1,700 reliefs, which are:
Kamadhatu – the world of sex and desires
Rupadhatu – the world of frivolity and lust
Arupadhatu – the world of the indefinable, colorless
You will contemplate from the bottom up, first the sculptures of the sex world, depicting hungry demons, humans, animals, hatreds and delusion. Next, the Lust, are reliefs depicting the saints, upwards are the celestial beings in the Formless World. The top floors will tell the story of the Buddha from many previous lives, the day the Buddha abandoned his palace to seek religion, until he attained enlightenment, and the day he became enlightened. All the bas-reliefs describe a Buddha’s teaching, getting harder and harder, and until the last piece is completed, you are on the top of enlightenment.
7. Day tour in Borobudur
Tourism companies in Yogyakarta also have package tours that take you to Borobudur with minibus for around Rp 75,000. A combo ticket for both Borobudur and Prambanan temples costs $40. There is an everyday tour to Borobudur with $35 for foreigners, they give you a flashlight and take you to climb the temple at 4:30 am everyday to admire the sun rises before the crowds of noisy tourists arrive.