Jonathan and I love to explore on two wheels and we decided that the best way to explore Borobudur temple was on a scooter. We woke up at 5:15am in order to beat the Sunday morning rush. Actually we slept terribly, Jonathan got up at 2 am thinking that it was time to go! Didn’t take too long to get ready and we scooted over to McDonalds for breakfast.
I’m not embarrassed about it, it’s fast and fills me up till the afternoon. Nothing wrong with a little of western convenience on your trip. Bill Bryson wrote in his European travel memoir, “Neither Here nor There”
You fly off to a strange land, eagerly abandoning all the comforts of home, and then expend vast quantities of time and money in a largely futile effort to recapture the comforts that you wouldn’t have lost if you hadn’t left home in the first place
I completely agree and I’m not ashamed to look for comforts when I travel. Jonathan and I had explosive food poisoning just two weeks ago and Indonesian, Malaysian food stopped being up our alley pretty much forever. Sorry, I’m just not a fan. Side note, it’s funny that I remembered that quote as I was actually reading that book that week. Let’s continue!
We scooted for about 2 hours to the temple, using our for Google maps navigation. Google maps was made possible by $6/month 3G sim card that we got in Tarakan, East Kalimantan. Another comfort of home. Google maps doesn’t give a good job representing smaller Indonesian roads, so Jonathan had to use his head GPS but we got to the temple without any hiccups.
Entrance fee for foreigners costs 20 American dollars!!! We also got a guide for 7 dollars. We put on our skirts and listened to our guide about temple history and “stupid people” that used to worship trees before Buddha showed them the right way. The temple is wonderful, all of the carvings tell a story. Our guide explained some of them to us. My favorite carving represents people worshiping “incorrectly” in the jungle before Buddha came along and getting eaten by the wildlife.
As you may know, this temple was built during 8th and 9th century and it took about 75 years to build. It was built as a Buddhist temple, it is a shrine to Buddha and a site of Buddhist pilgrimage.There are 504 Buddha statues, many of them are missing heads as they were taken away by early explorers. Now they can be found all over the world in different museums. Indonesia has made efforts to get some of them back, I doubt we will see even half of them returned. The temple was abandoned in 14th century and lay under volcanic ash and jungle until it was rediscovered by the British colonists in 1814. There is so much to say about this temple and I wouldn’t be the best source on its history and architecture. All I can say is that is breathtaking, every level is beautiful. You can easily spend the whole morning or afternoon just walking around and taking pictures.
After a couple of hours exploring the temple grounds we used our scooter advantage and rode up the sleeping Buddha hill to get a view of the Borobudur. It was a little too far away and the view was ok but the best part was riding on small roads through rice paddies, cockfight practices and soccer fields that were used to dry crops. After we trekked down the mountain we were off to explore the outskirts of Yogyakarta further. Till next time!