Candi Borobudur

One of Indonesia’s seven UNESCO World Heritage sites, Candi Borobudur is still one of the country’s most visited and recognized tourist attraction.

Candi Borobudur
Dina walking towards the temple before the touts spotted her

The Buddhist temple complex dates back to the 8th century, but has been abandoned in the 14th century due to the decline of Buddhism and the mass conversion to Islam of the Javanese.

The jungle surrounding Borobudur hid the massive complex, coupled with layers of volcanic ash from nearby Mount Merapi. It was brought to the world’s attention by Sir Thomas Stamford Raffles (the founder of Singapore), who was Java’s appointed governor during the British administration in the 1800’s. It wasn’t Raffles who found the monument, actually. It was H.C. Cornelius, a Dutch engineer, who hacked through the jungle to unearth structure, upon’s Sir Stamford Raffle’s orders.

It took 11 years for the entire complex to be unearthed in 1859, but it was in the threat of collapse due to unstable foundation and thieves running off with “souvenirs.” Though the Dutch East Indies government took measures to safeguard and restore the monument, it was UNESCO’s efforts in 1973 to 1982 that left us with the Borobudur we see today.

Candi Borobudur
Unnamed Pinky and the Borobudur. Maybe I should name her Candy.

Though 86% of Indonesia’s population are Muslim, Borobudur and the smaller Buddhist temples scattered nearby are revered by the 3.4% Buddhist populace, as well as Buddhist from all over the world.

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The temple is designed like a pyramid, rising high from the ground as it follows the natural slope of the hill it was built on. Visitors to the temple grounds are suggested to slowly make their way to the top, stopping at each landing to around the structure before going up the next staircase. By doing this, you’ll be able to see the bas reliefs that cover the façade.

The upper levels of the Borobudur consists of a circular platform of stupas, culminating with a huge dome at the top. A Buddha in the lotus position sits in each perforated stupa, varying only with the positions of their hands.

Candi Borobudur
Random tourist taking a picture of the Buddha

The temple is best visited in the early morning, when the weather is not yet too hot. Foreigners have to pay a $15 fee to enter the temple complex.

Borobudur is a 50 minute drive from Yogyakarta where most of the budget accommodations are. If you’re traveling solo, consider joining arranged tours as they can come out cheaper than if you will arrange for a separate transport.

Article by Nina Fuentes

Nina doesn't aim to travel to every country in the world -- she just wants to travel to the places that means the most to her. She started traveling in 2006, and hopes to travel for as long as she can. Her travel blog, Just Wandering won the Best Travel Blog in the 2010 Philippine Blog Awards and in the 2011 Nuffnang Asia Pacific Blog Awards.

This Article Has 7 Comments
  1. Juned says:

    I believe a nice place to go. And better to be there during sunrise or sunset.

  2. kate says:

    Ang ganda! I’ve always wanted to go here! But, sadly our trip to Indonesia this year was canceled because of work (boo!) Hopefully, we can go next year :)

  3. Eloy Barbin says:

    Hi Nina,

    Where did you stay in Yogyakarta? My friend and I are planning to go there this June, we already booked tickets but still haven’t reserved in any hotel. Any suggestion? Thanks!

  4. Dino says:

    Nina…is there a Kim Soryar here that can arrange trips for us? Planning to go this November and I want it to be a specialized tour so we can take photos :)

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