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In Paradise with Buddha – Borobudur Temple, Java
December 15th, 2012Asia, Destinations, Indonesia, JavaNatalia 10 Comments

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.

Our stallions waiting for us

Our stallions waiting for us

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.

Borobudur Temple

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.

The guide is telling us about monkey boys and gambling

The guide diligently explained the dangers of monkey boys and gambling

The detail in the carvings is just incredible

The detail in the carvings is just incredible

Jonathan is connecting with his inner naughty monkey nature

Jonathan is connecting with his inner naughty monkey nature

Jonathan rocking a skirt

Awesome skirts are mandatory!

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.

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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!

2012-09-16 10.10.06

Very smoggy day for a view

What a clear day!


Crops drying on a soccer field

These grains better feed soccer players!





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'10 Responses to “In Paradise with Buddha – Borobudur Temple, Java”'
  1. Karin says:

    Great post Natalia! Love the pictures and you’re so right about having Western comforts, sometimes it makes you appreciate the things you never would if you were at home!

    • Natalia says:

      Definitely, especially when everything seemed to have turned to shit, but it’s good to push through because you’ll feel better the next day. Also, it makes for awesome stories and it’s great to see the horrified expression on your friends faces when you retell the tale.

  2. memographer says:

    Nice read. I planned to go to Indonesia this summer, but ended up going to Vietnam and Laos instead. Do not regret. It is still in my plans. The temple carvings are awesome! Definitively, a guide would be helpful. Great photos.

    • Natalia says:

      Yes, go! We don’t really go back to countries we’ve been to, but we have to go back to Indonesia. There is just so much to see and every island is so different.

  3. Callie says:

    What a cool place! Gorgeous pics. (No shame in going to McDonald’s – seeing how the menu differs from home counts as a cultural experience, doesn’t it?) 🙂

  4. Jonathan says:

    At 530am it’s just way easier to get something quick when you know what’s coming. I love ordering surprise meals but not when I’m trying to get somewhere fast. I’d probably end up ordering something that takes 30 minutes to cook!

  5. great post, Natalia. Aaahh I miss yoga in Borobudur temple 😉

  6. […] I will not stop riding a scooter, hours before my kiss of death with the pavement we rode our scooters to Borobudur temple and it was so much fun. So I will seek out a full faced helmet and bring a mouth guard for my […]

  7. Borobudur is always fascinating, even for us Indonesians :). ..glad to know you enjoy your trip 🙂
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