Borobudur Temple Compounds – all you need to know

Borobudur Temple Compounds, also known as Candi Borobudur, is not a stranger to the world-traveling scene; being a unique Buddhist temple in Asia, it is 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 come here to experience the wonders of this structure and note its unique differences from the other Buddhist temples in terms of architecture, 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 of Borobudur Temple Compounds

There is no exact detailed written record of Borobudur in terms of who built it and why is it created. It is theorized to be made as a religious site in the 8th century during the Sailendra dynasty of central Java. For 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.

Therefore, they investigated and aided in unearthing this amazing monument 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 Bormbudur Temple

Borobudur was given UNESCO World Heritage Site status in 1991 after its restoration. It had become a major international tourist attraction with its 2,672 relief panels and 504 Buddha statues, and detailed wall carvings. Borobudur consists of six square platforms; 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 central dome, located at the center 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 is 35 m (114 ft) above ground level.

Borobudur Temple’s distinctive shape and structure is the dome and three circular symmetrical terraces. There are also six different postures of Buddha as you ascend the platforms. The wall reliefs recount the life stories of Buddha, from the law of Karma to the birth of Buddha and his journey toward searching for the ultimate truth.

Relief panels / wall carvings of borobudur temple

Relief panels / wall carvings of Borobudur Temple

Borobudur Temple Location

Borobudur Temple Compounds is located in the Magelang district of Central Java, about an hour’s drive from Yogyakarta. The Borobudur Temple compound is found in Magelang, Central Java, Indonesia.

It is approximately an hour’s drive from Yogyakarta, another popular city on the island of Java. The temple complex is nestled amidst lush greenery and offers breathtaking views of the surrounding landscape.

Why visit Borobudur Temple

Borobudur Temple is the largest Buddhist structure in the world, and it is unique and different from the rest of the Buddhist temples around Asia. It is renowned for its intricate architecture and spiritual significance.

This UNESCO World Heritage Site offers a captivating journey through centuries of history and showcases the beauty of ancient craftsmanship. Scale its impressive levels adorned with ornate reliefs and immerse yourself in the serene atmosphere of this majestic temple.

Best time to visit Borobudur Temple

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

Most of the time is suitable for visiting Borobudur, whether it is the dry season (April – October) or wet season (November – March) of the two seasoned Indonesia.

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

Lanterns at night during waisak in borobudur

Lanterns at night during Waisak in Borobudur

Where to Stay at Borobudur Temple Compounds

The most recommended place to stay at Borobudur Temple Compounds is the Manohara Resort *. Here you can catch the temple at the dawn of light (when you pay for the sunrise tour) or at least be the first to go in when it opens at 8 am. This is the best way to enjoy the temple when it is quiet, with just a trickle of travelers like you who appreciate the silence and marvel at the beauty with respect.

-> Check out Manohara Hotel’s latest prices at * or *

Borobudur Temple Sunrise

Witnessing the sunrise at Borobudur Temple is an unforgettable experience. As the first rays of sunlight illuminate the temple’s ancient stone structures, a mesmerizing scene unfolds before your eyes. The tranquil surroundings and mystical ambiance create a serene and spiritual atmosphere. Marvel at the stunning views, capture breathtaking photographs and immerse yourself in the peaceful serenity of this iconic monument as the sun rises over the horizon.

To catch the sunrise at Borobudur Temple without hassle or waking too early in the morning, I highly recommend staying in Manohara Resort *. You have to get through this resort anyway to catch the sunrise in Borobudur, and tickets cannot be confirmed unless you stay there.

A different experience, but still beautiful, is to catch the sunrise over Borobodur at Punthuk Setumbu Hill *.

Borobudur Temple Compounds Fees

The entry fee to Borobudur Temple Compounds is 25 USD for non-Indonesian Adults and 15 USD for children under 6. It is 40,000 Rp for Indonesians or foreign holders of work permits.

Borobudur Sunrise tour with the Manohara Hotel * will get you in early to catch the sunrise and explore for an hour before the rest of the tourists flock to the place.

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; it is best to tour in the morning when it is not too busy.

Alternatively, catch the sunrise over Borobodur at Punthuk Setumbu Hill *.

Sunrise tour at borobudur temple at borobudur temple

Sunrise Tour at Borobudur Temple

Borobudur Temple Compounds Opening Times

Borobudur Temple Compounds is open to the public from 6 am to 5 pm, but only those with sunrise tours can get in before 8 am. For walk-ins, you can get in at 8 am.

How to get to Borobudur Temple Compound

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 – a 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 by 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 famous for the crater’s sunrise view. Many travelers attest to this one, don’t miss out!

Borobudur temple compounds upclose

Borobudur Temple Compounds upclose

Travel Tips to Borobudur Temple

Try to go in at the earliest hours open to the public to enjoy this massive and unique Buddhist temple truly. 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, get in at 8 am 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

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