When We Visited Borobudur Temple in Indonesia

Borobudur Temple - Joey and cousins - Two Worlds Treasures

A few summers ago, my family went to visit Borobudur temple in Indonesia together with my sister’s family and my parents. It was hot and humid, and there were lots of people by the time we got there. It’s not weekend but it’s a school holiday in Indonesia.

Last time I went there was in the early 2000 so I was shocked to see lots of street vendors near the parking. I couldn’t see the Borobudur temple from the parking like it used to be. What was worst, we were still sitting in the car, but sellers were already surrounding our car trying to sell hats and offer umbrellas for renting. And they followed us all the way to the ticket booth.

Another surprised awaiting us at the ticket booth. The entrance fee for foreigners and locals were different. At that time my husband had to pay $19 while I paid $3 only. My son already ran inside with his cousins, so they charged him like the local children. We were annoyed with this regulation. And the entrance for foreigners was also different. Seriously?

They also gave us adults sarong to wear around the waist though my parents wearing long pants at the time. It wasn’t like that before.

While waiting for the cart that would transport us to Borobudur temple, my head started to hurt. I think it’s not only from the heat, but also from the lack of rest since we arrived in Jakarta from the U.S. And it got worst that I decided not to climb the temple. So, my husband and son went up with my brother-in-law and their kids while me, my sister, and my parents stayed under the tree. Bummer!


Borobudur temple - stupas
Photo courtesy mmk58
Borobudur temple - buddha's head
Photo courtesy Joseph82


What My Husband and Son Said About Borobudur Temple

 “How was it?” I asked my husband and son when they got back.

“It was really hot!” said my husband whose t-shirt was all wet.

“Lots of the statue lost their heads,” was my then 6-year-old son answered. “I see sign of ancient civilization,” he continued.


“Did you go all the way to the top?” I asked again.

“Yes, but there were too many people and it’s too hot,” said my husband. “The sun made it harder,” he continued.



“Did you get to touch the Buddha’s head, Joey?” I asked my son. Touching the Buddha’s head inside the stupa is one thing you should do when visiting Borobudur temple and make a wish while touching it.

“Yes!” he said.

“And what was your wish?” I continued.

“I wish for elevators to go to the top,” said my son. Ha-ha…


Borobudur temple - touching Buddha's head - Two Worlds Treasures
Reaching the Buddha’s head.


Borobudur is a Buddhist temple that was built in the 8th and 9th century AD in the southern part of Central Java. It is a UNESCO World Heritage Site. Back when I was in elementary in the 70s, Borobudur temple was one of the World’s 7 Wonders.


How to Get to Borobudur Temple

Borobudur temple located a little over an hour from Yogyakarta in Central Java. There’s a direct flight from Jakarta (the capital of Indonesia) everyday at different times as well as from Bali. Once arrive in Yogyakarta you can stay in the city and book a tour to the temple. Or stay at Manohara Hotel, the only hotel at the grounds of the temple. This is where the sunrise tour leaves every morning. I heard good reviews about this hotel, such as you can walk to the temple and get to see the sunrise while the temple is still closed for other visitors. Too bad I heard about Manohara after we went back to Jakarta.


Tips to Visit Borobudur Temple

  Try to visit when Indonesian students are in school, which is normally from mid-July to before Christmas and the first week of January to mid-June.

  It’s better if you stay at Manohara Hotel and go on their sunrise tour, when they open the temple for the sunrise group tour only. (I hope to go there at least one more time and stay at this hotel).

 – If you stay in the city and visit the temple during the day, make sure you bring water, hat, and sunglasses because it is hot and humid there. Don’t forget to apply sunscreen.

 It’s worth a visit if you like learning about different culture and history, and visiting World Heritage Site.

Have you ever visited Borobudur temple? Do you have other tips to share? I would like to hear your experience when visited the temple.


Visiting Borobudur Temple



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  1. Maggie says:

    I remember when we visited the safari parks in Tanzania. They also had different entrance fees for foreigners and citizens.
    Maggie recently posted…Call the Babysitter! Make a Date at TerraneaMy Profile

    1. Umiko Buhl says:

      In Indonesia they said it’s because the government doesn’t subsidize the providences anymore. Each providence has to take care of themselves.

  2. Tara says:

    A family from Texas complaining about the heat must mean it was HOT! However, the pictures look amazing and I’m sure the temple is beautiful with a great historic vibe!

    1. Umiko Buhl says:

      Hahaha! It was really hot and humid! And yes, the temple is beautiful and the history behind it was amazing!

  3. Michelle says:

    Wow what a fascinating place! I love visiting these kinds of sites.

    1. Umiko Buhl says:

      Borobudur is fascinating! When I was in elementary, my teacher said they built the temple by using egg whites to glue the rocks pieces.

  4. Brooke says:

    Thanks for the information! It was useful for our trip planning!

    1. Umiko Buhl says:

      You are welcome!

  5. Samantha says:

    This reminded me a lot of when I went to Angkor Wat. It was hot and lots of people… and I did the sunrise tour. That was pretty magical! The weather can definitely make or break an adventure so it’s important to stay hydrated and wear appropriate clothing for sure!

    1. Umiko Buhl says:

      I can imagine that! I still have to visit Angkor Wat though. I’m sure there will be lots of similarity in terms of the style.

  6. Chris says:

    What a beautiful place and you capture it so well in your photos and writing. I will be following along for more info since me and my lady friend will be headed there in a few months!!!

    1. Umiko Buhl says:

      How cool! I have posts about Flores in my blog if you plan to go there. And more posts will come about Indonesia.

  7. This is a very honest post about your visit, very refreshing to read. Will take your tips and visit when it’s cooler
    PossesstheWorld recently posted…The Eastside Gallery Berlin-The WallMy Profile

    1. Umiko Buhl says:

      Thank you! I’m trying to give the good and the bad sides in balance.

  8. Your son’s comment “Lots of the statue lost their heads” had me chuckling. I have yet to visit Indonesia and the only city I hear about is Bali. It is great to hear another town as Borobudur. I would definitely love to visit and see the headless statutes 😉

    1. Umiko Buhl says:

      No doubt Bali is the most popular tourist destination in Indonesia. But there are more places that are still pristine and not too touristic in Indonesia. You can read about Flores in my blog there are more to come. Well, I hope you will get to see that headless statues. 🙂

  9. Lydia Smith says:

    I had thought Bali is the only thing to see in Indonesia, didnt know there are historical temples such as Borobudur. I’d also get angry at the stigmatization for fees, nevetherless, I’d pay just to explore this temple. And the sunrise tour sounds pretty much decent.

    1. Umiko Buhl says:

      Aww… Indonesia is more than Bali. If you go to my blog, you can read about Flores Island, to the east of Bali. And I will write more about Indonesia.

  10. This looks like a beautiful place that has been found by too many tourists. It’s too bad when people are trying to sell you things in the parking lot, especially when the place you are visiting is something like a temple.
    Exploring Curiously recently posted…Flam, NorwayMy Profile

    1. Umiko Buhl says:

      I don’t like the scene at the parking lot. But when I think about it again, most of the tourists that day were locals. Probably 90% and it’s because of the school holiday. It will be different when you go off season, I believe.

  11. bee says:

    Borobudur looks beautiful. the design and layout def seems like an experience to just be surrounded by. I’ll def note to avoid the summer season and good tip on the prices for foreigners!

    1. Umiko Buhl says:

      It’s beautiful and huge! If you can visit during off season, it will definitely be another experience to what we had.

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