Borobudur Temple Beautiful Budhist carvings ... but time your visit carefully! – Borobudur temple … the largest single budhist stupa in the world. Firstly the surrounds. 30 years ago you could tootle up to Borobudur from Jogya at 10am, wind your way down tiny roads and be the only person at the temple and not pay a single rupe to enter. You would walk between piles of 1000s of stones and pieces of carvings and struggle to find the main stairs to the top.
Then, about 10 years later, they put a chain link fence around it, filled it full of cheap hawker stalls, and had a trash strewn ugly garden surrounding it. Now, what a transformation. Yes, there are still hawker stalls, but the ticket office is swish and modern and the surrounding landscaped gardens are lovely and .. something very rare for Indonesia … completely void of trash. Entrance fee … bring your Indo photo ID if you are resident and it will cost you 30,000 Rp. Otherwise, pay the foreigners fee and dont hang around asking people how to get in free, like an Italian couple asked me when I was there ! I paid my Indonesian taxes to finance places like this, and now I dont have an income, I deserve to get in cheap !
Borobudur Temple Beautiful Budhist carvings
The Borobudur stupa is not an architectural wonder in its own right … not like the temples of Cambodie or some of the stupas in Thailand and Myanmar. It is a simple four sided stepped pyramid. The things that are great about this stupa are the views from the upper platform, and the fantastic carved frescos around the different levels. They are awesome, and testimony to the devotion and craftsmanship of the Javanese … which can still be seen in their wonderful carpentry and wood carvings nowadays.
Timing. We headed out from Jogya at 730 am, and were at the loket (ticket booth) at 845am. We chose a Monday morning, not a public holiday, and low season, and still there were tour groups and school groups with “foghorn leghorn” megaphones blasting out and crowding the stairs at that time. In such an event, go around to the side of the stupa and climb from there, and go straight to the top, before the crowds arrive. They will be busy snapping selfies on every step up, and the top wont get crowded till around 930. Then make your down from the top, level by level, which is the opposite of the way 9% of folks take in Borobudur. A general rule of thumb to avoid the crowd and hassle: get there just before 8am (loket opens at 8), avoid weekends and public holidays, and it is best if you are travelling in the low season.
One thing I do not like. If you follow the exit signs out, then you will be directed through a never ending (I reckon about 2km) of souvenir stalls selling cheap garbage, and you will be hassled all the way.