Borobudur Temple Waisak 2016 Lantern Festival – We stayed around Borobudur for 3 nights for the sole intention of seeing the temple & attending the festival. We arrived at 5.45am at the main gate & were at the front of the queue. The temple is best seen early in the morning mainly because the crowds arrive at around 8am & spoils the view & atmosphere & all you see are lots of school kids wanting a selfie with you or otherwise. It is quite a large monument in extensive grounds with lots of steps so wear trainers. Even though you have all seen the typical pictures of Borobudur, it is still an amazing place to visit. Be prepared that it is equally popular with the Indonesians as with foreign tourists which probably explains the maze of shops for souvenirs that you have to navigate through in order to exit the grounds.
Borobudur Temple Waisak is a huge Buddist festival
Waisak is a huge Buddist festival & the lantern event is particularly spectacular given the surroundings & sought after. Even though the event is widely publicized, we tried to get tickets the day before but really struggled as no one seems to know anything which included the ticketing staff at temple & Manohara hotel staff where you can see the flyers at the lobby? (where you enter on the night). We decided to visit Munduk Temple from Borobudur on the morning of the festival & managed to get tickets there. 100.000Rp per person & this incl lanterns which were given out on the night. It is recommended that you wear white long sleeved top & bottom but not strictly enforced.
Lighting & releasing the huge paper lanterns was the highlight of our travels to date. I can’t overstate what a wonderful experience it was.
However, event management can certainly make several improvements, from proper instructions to lighting these massive lanterns rather than bad demos on stage & in Indonesian only, to better signage, to be given prior warning that use of tripods is NOT PERMITTED in grounds, better ticketing sales & admittance for the event. It was persistence & luck that enabled us to see the lanterns, it shouldn’t be that hard. The event was not a sell out for obvious reasons.
Despite all this, Borobudur during Waisak is utterly memorable & well worth the effort of getting there