One of the absolute best things you can do in Yogyakarta is a visit to the Borobudur Temple. More importantly, you can get up super early and enjoy the sunrise at the temple as well! Both the locals and the tourists love it, and you do not want to miss this highlight. Whether you are planning a trip to Yogyakarta in Indonesia, or daydreaming of those bucket list places, you may look no further; this comprehensive guide certainly got you well covered!
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Sunrise at Borobudur Temple
Rise and shine at 3am for one of the best sunrise experiences in Yogyakarta, Indonesia. The temple is located approx. 1 hour by car outside the city centre, and is one of the most popular things to do whilst in Yogyakarta.
Borobudur Temple is the world’s biggest Buddhist Monument, and is considered to be one of the world’s Seven Wonders. Overlooking lush, green fields and distant mountains, certainly makes this temple even more beautiful. The architecture is simply amazing, and you can easily spend hours roaming around the grounds.
The temple itself does not open before 6am, and you therefore need to have prebooked your tour in advance. We had our hotel organize it all. Make no mistake though: the sunrise at Borobudur Temple is one of the most popular tours on offer in Java, and it is c r o w d e d!
Entrance ticket: IDR 950.000 or USD 70 incl. breakfast (2 persons)
TIP! There are no drones allowed here.
We spent between 1,5 – 2 hours exploring the grounds of Borobudur Temple. It is not a large temple, and we therefore did not feel the need to book a guide. However, if you prefer having someone to show you around and let you in on all those details – there are plenty of guides waiting to be booked near the entrance. The price varies from IDR 50.000 or USD 5.
After you are done exploring, you may enjoy a buffet breakfast at the restaurant located by the entrance. It is included in your entrance ticket, and is highly recommendable as you will certainly be starving at this point 🙂
Certain places just takes your breath away, and watching the sunrise from Borobudur Temple was such a place for us.
The temples was built between AD 780 and 840 by the Sailendra Dynasty, who ruled in Java at the time. The main purpose of the temple was a pilgrimage spot to guide mankind from all desires into enlightenment and wisdom.
The Borobudur Temple is built in a style called Mandala. This style symbolizes the universe according to the Buddhist teaching. The structure is known for being square shaped with four entry points and one circular center point. Further, there are three zones, and the central point is representing Nirvana.
Kamadhatu, Zone 1
The first zone consists of 160 reliefs, illustrating human behaviors such as desire, killing, robbing, rape and torture. A small area of the covering base has been removed so that visitors may see some of the reliefs. If you would like to see the entire photography collection of the reliefs, you may visit the Borobudur Museum to do so 🙂
Rapudhatu, Zone 2
Similarly to the first zone, the second zone also contains reliefs, along with statues of Buddha. There are a total of 328 statues of Buddhas on the second level of the temple, and approx. 1.300 reliefs stretching over 2,5 km.
Arupadhatu, Zone 3
The third level leads to a dome, representing “rising above the world”. The terraces contains circular stupas and sculptures of Buddha. Most importantly, it is the main point of the temple!
How to get there
We decided to rent a private driver as we are lazy (with a big L) and prefer hassle free travel in the middle of the night. We got picket up at 3.30am, and it took us 1 hour by car to reach the temple. The sunrise is around 5 – 5.30am, and this was certainly perfect for us when doing the Sunrise at Borobudur Temple Tour. More importantly, you can sleep on your way there.
Transportation cost: IDR 650.000 or USD 45 (private driver, 5 hours)
For a more budget friendly offer you may also rent a taxi, or take the bus. However you decide to go, you will certainly have a wonderful experience.