Borobodur in Indonesia

Lonely Planet Travel Editor Tom Hall is on a mission to discover 52 of the most awe-inspiring places to visit across the world. This week he delights in the astonishing Buddhist monument in Borobodur, Indonesia.

Borobodur, Indonesia

The Buddhist stupa at Borobodur is a true wonder of the world and Indonesia’s most astonishing man-made monument. This immense Buddhist temple, dating from the 9th century, rises from paddy fields to dominate the skyline.

It’s made up of two million blocks of stone built around a hill. The building symbolises the cosmos – starting in the everyday and spiralling up to the heavens. It is incredibly rich in scultures, reliefs and Buddhist symbology and is best appreciated up close.

A visit to Borobodur is a pilgrimage for Buddhists and also an essential stop on a well-worn travellers’ path through the Indonesian island of Java. The temple is located 26 miles from Yogyakarta, Java’s spiritual centre.

How can I get to Borobodur?

You can easily catch a bus and see Borobodur in a day but its best to stay a night and stick around for sunset, dawn or both. Bear in mind though that Borobodur attracts hundreds of visitors everyday and while the site is large you may find solitude hard to come by.

Booking your trip to Borobodur

A visit fits well with any budget: site access costs around £7.50 and a local guide can be arranged at the information office for £2 more.

The local Manohara Hotel can arrange preferential pre-dawn access to the temple if you stay in their resort. Anytime from May to October is the driest and best time to visit but it can rain at any time.

Further information

See Borobodur Park for details on visiting the temple. The official source of tourist information throughout the country is My Indonesia.

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