Watching the sunrise at Borobudur Temple


February 3, 2022

It is the largest Buddhist temple in the world and one of the most magical places in Indonesia. One of the most typical ways to visit it is at sunrise, definitely a worthwhile experience.

How to get to Borobudur Temple from Yogyakarta?

The temple is located 40 km from the city and takes about 1 hour, 1.5 hours depending on traffic.

How to go:

Public transport: It's the cheapest way but it will probably take you longer and make you a bit crazy to get there, especially if you want to see the sunrise. You can take bus number 2A or 2B to the Jombor Terminal. Then you have to take another one to Borobudur.

Price: $USD 2.5

Private taxi: You can arrange for me to take you to see the Bodobudur at sunrise and then take you to the Prambanan. We did this and he charged us $USD 35 ($500,000 rupiah). From what we have been finding out it is possible to haggle a little more, but never accept more than $500,000 rupiah.

We found our driver on a website and contacted him by whatsapp the night before. We recommend him 100% so we leave you his whatsapp number: +6287738156831. You can contact him by whatsapp telling him which day you would like to do the tour.

Price: Between $USD 28 and $USD 35 ($400.000 - $500.000 rupees). Please note that this option is for a full van that can accommodate up to 6 people.

Tour: You can find different tours on TripAdvisor or arrange with your hotel reception.

Entrance to Borobudur

  • General Admission: $USD 26
  • Entrance with student card: $USD 15
  • Children's ticket (up to 10 years old): $USD 15

There is also the option to buy a combined ticket which includes Borobudur and Prambanan Temple and costs $USD 39. It is cheaper than buying the two separately, but is not valid for sunrise viewing.

The sunrise ticket includes a spectacular breakfast buffet which you access once you leave the temple.

Borobudur, the largest Buddhist temple in the world

The largest monument in honour of Buddha, it was erected between 750 and 850. The curious thing is that it was forgotten for centuries under the ashes of a volcanic eruption, as well as the fall of the Buddhist kingdom in Java and the conversion of the locals to Islam.

In the 19th century the British governor of Java, Thomas Stamford, was alerted to its existence and it was rediscovered some time later. UNESCO then spent almost 10 years restoring it until it was finally named a World Heritage Site in 1991.

The Borobudur temple is really a Mandala: a map of the cosmic universe and the human mind. According to Buddhist philosophy, reaching the top of the temple will lead to Nirvana.

A curious fact about the temple is that more than 2 million stone blocks were used to build it. Its structure consists of 6 square platforms and 3 circular ones, at its highest point the temple reaches 43 metres. It also has more than 500 carved Buddhas.

The temple was made to be walked from the main east gate and pilgrimage like clockwise until you reach the last terrace where Nirvana would be reached. So you start in the everyday world, and spiral upwards until you reach Nirvana and admire a fully unveiled Buddha.

Borobudur Temple

Sunrise at Borobudur

Our driver picked us up from the hotel at 3am and it took us 1 hour to get to Borobudur. Once we paid the entrance fee, we were given a torch and started walking towards the temple.

We started to climb the stairs of the temple, without seeing anything at all, just the steps we were taking, but we already had the feeling that we were climbing something big. Once at the top we were guided by the other tourists to the point where you can see the sunrise. We sat there for a while waiting for the sun to appear. In the meantime we tried to see what was around us. Until the sun started to rise, it was amazing to see how everything around us started to light up, the mountains and the volcanoes around us, until we started to discover where we were sitting.

There are no words to describe what it felt like to go from being completely in the dark in such an imposing place to gradually seeing each stupa (bell) and all the Buddhas.

Once it was daylight we started to walk around every part of the summit and every platform, without missing anything, we were fascinated! Every now and then we stopped to contemplate the peace and grandeur of the place, the surrounding nature, the volcanoes.

When we finished seeing and admiring the incredible Buddha monument we went to where we bought the ticket to eat a spectacular breakfast which was included in the ticket price.

Sunrise at Borobudur Temple