Few things are quite as breathtaking as having a historic place virtually to yourself. I tried it at Petra, entering at 6:00am to get some solitary time at The Treasury, which really proved to be memorable. So when it came time to visit Indonesia‘s Borobudur Temple, the largest Buddhist Temple on Earth and a UNESCO World Heritage Site, I knew I wanted to do the sunrise.
While there are many “Sunrise Tours” that leave nearby Yogyakarta (pronounced Johgjakarta), there’s a problem with these…they stop outside of the actual site so you can watch the sunrise with the temple in the background.
If I was going to do the sunrise I wanted to do it right, and there’s only one way to do that…by going on a “tour” run by the on site Manohara Hotel. This package allows you to enter the temple itself starting at 4:30am, well before the gates open at 6:00am. It ain’t cheap at 380,000 IDR (about US$32), though guests at the expensive hotel get a discounted rate of 230,000 IDR or US$19 (I ended up staying at the hotel, as I split the cost of the room with a friend).
So, was it worth it? Absolutely! There were very few people there…
And the view was just incredible!
As the sun grew higher in the sky it illuminated the exposed Buddha in a spectacular fashion.
The morning light also hit some of the upper level Stupas pretty well.
As 6:00am rolled around and the temple started to become flooded with tourists making a beeline for the upper “Nirvana” levels, I made my way down, keen on catching another hour or two of sleep. Along the way, I couldn’t help but stop and take a few photos of the backs of Buddha heads staring out across the misty jungle.
Sunrises at places like this can be special, and, you know what? I don’t think I will ever forget sitting up there at 4:30am watching the sun peek over a couple of volcanoes! For Borobudur’s sunrise was just magical!