Borobudur Temple Compounds, Central Java

Borobudur is not a stranger to the world traveling scene, being a unique Buddhist temple of Asia, it is also the largest Buddhist structure on earth. This 8th century stupa and temple complex in Central Java, Indonesia is a UNESCO World Heritage site. Many travelers came here to experience the wonders of this structure and note its unique differences with the other Buddhist temples in terms of architecture and also down to the details of its construction and also the grandness of it. Borobudur is also set against a backdrop of volcanoes enhancing the drama of the place.

Full view of Borobudur Temple Compounds

Full view of Borobudur Temple Compounds

History and Facts

There is no exact detail written record on Borobudur in terms of who built it and why is it created. It is theorized to be made as a religious site in 8th century during the Sailendra dynasty of central Java. For some centuries, Borobudur had been lost to Indonesia until following an Anglo-Dutch Java War, the British governor at that time, Thomas Stamford Raffles took an interest in the history and mystics of Java and therefore investigated and aid in unearthing this amazing monument once again. Raffles are also responsible for the re-discovery of Prambanan, another major religious structure, this one Hindu not far from Borobudur.

Statues and relief panels at Borobudur Temple

Statues and relief panels at Borobudur Temple

Borobudur was given UNESCO World Heritage Site status at 1991 after it had been fully restored. It had become a major international tourist attraction with its 2,672 relief panels and 504 Buddha statues and also detailed wall carvings. Borobudur consists of six square platforms and the highest point is 35 m from the ground.

Borobudur consists of six square platforms topped by three circular platforms and is decorated with no less than 2,672 relief panels and 504 Buddha statues of various types. The main dome, located at the centre of the top platform, is surrounded by 72 Buddha statues seated inside perforated stupas. The square base is 118 m (387 ft) long on each side and the highest point 35 m (114 ft) above ground level. The distinctive shape and structure of Borobudur is the dome and its three circular symmetrical terraces. There are also six different postures of Buddha as you ascend the platforms. The wall reliefs are recounting the life stories of Buddha, from the law of Karma to birth of Buddha and his journey towards searching for the ultimate truth.

Relief panels / wall carvings of Borobudur Temple

Relief panels / wall carvings of Borobudur Temple

Where is it

It is located in Magelang district of Central Java, about an hour drive from Yogyakarta.

Why visit

Borobudur is the largest Buddhist structure in the world and it is entirely unique and different from the rest of the Buddhist temples around Asia.

When is the best time to go

Lanterns at night during Waisak in Borobudur

Lanterns at night during Waisak in Borobudur

If you want to experience Waisak in Borobudur, you should go around May, check for the exact dates of celebration for the year.

Else most times is good for visiting Borobudur, whether it is the dry season (April – October) or wet season (November – March) of the two seasoned Indonesia.

Dry season will have a peak of tourists and also can be really hot while the wet season will see rain later in the day so go early for your visit.


The entry fees to Borobudur is 20 USD for non-Indonesian Adult and 10 USD for children under 6 (as of 2016). It is 30,000 Rp for Indonesians or foreign holders of work permit.

Sunrise tour with the Manohara Hotel is 400,000 Rp for foreigners, 270,000 Rp for domestic tourists and 250,000 Rp for hotel guest (as of 2016). This will get you in early to catch the sunrise and explore for an hour before the rest of the tourists flock the place.

To hire a guide to explain reliefs will cost about 95,000 – 120,000 Rp per hour. Agree on the price with your guide before starting and it is best to tour in the morning when it is not too busy.

Sunrise Tour at Borobudur Temple at Borobudur Temple

Sunrise Tour at Borobudur Temple

Opening Times

Open to public from 6am to 5pm but only those with sunrise tours can get in before 8am. For walk ins you can get in at 8am.

Get in and get around

Buddha statue against the sun, Borobudur

Buddha statue against the sun, Borobudur

From Yogyakarta to Borobudur, you can take the public bus or hire a car to get there.

From Wonosobo to Borobudur – catch a public bus heading towards Yogyakarta and drop off at Borobudur.

From Jakarta to Borobudur – take a train to Purwokerto and then connect with a bus to Wonosobo and onwards to Borobudur.

From Surabaya to Borobudur – hire a car to get there or take a bus/train to Yogyakarta before connecting to Borobudur.

Nearby tourist attractions

Prambanan – well known ancient Hindu temple built in the 9th century for Trimurti as an expression that God is the Creator (Brahma), Preserver (Vishnu) and also the Destroyer (Shiva). The temple compound lies just 18km east of Yogyakarta and would take 102 hours of car to get there.
Yogyakarta – head back or onwards to Yogyakarta as there are lots of things to do in Yogyakarta.
Mount Bromo – a volcano in East Java that is popular for the sunrise view of the crater. Many travelers attest to this one, don’t miss out!

Borobudur Temple Compounds upclose

Borobudur Temple Compounds upclose

Travel Tips

Try to go in at the earliest hours that it is opened to public to truly enjoy this massive and unique Buddhist temple. You will appreciate the serenity and peace and fully immerse in its significance without the hordes of tourists spoiling it. If you do not want to pay for the sunrise tour then get in at 8am once it is open for walk in, the effort is well worth it.

Photo credits from top: Prayudi Hartono, Rachel, Rachel, Imam Hartoyo, Thrillseekr, Rachel and Rachel

Recommended tours *:
Private Borobudur and Prambanan Temples plus Kraton in One Day
Private Borobudur Sunrise Tour from Yogyakarta

Related Articles:
Yogyakarta Travel Guide
Prambanan Temple Compounds
Top 10 Things to Do in Yogyakarta

Author: Rachel

Fascinated by Indonesia, Rachel hopes to bring the best Indonesia Travel Guide to independent travelers so that they can enjoy what Indonesia has best to offer. Being an independent wanderer herself, Rachel knows what it takes to make a good, fun-filled yet responsible independent traveling. So let’s join her to discover wonderful Indonesia together. Google+

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