The Buddhist temple of Borobudur is recognized not only as a UNESCO World Heritage Site, but also the largest Buddhist structure on earth. Towering stone stupas stretch into the skies, and Indonesia’s breathtaking natural backdrop of volcanoes and lush landscapes lends an even more impressive air to this remarkable sight.
Borobudur, built in the seventh and eighth centuries, consists of six square platforms decorated with more than 2,500 relief panels and some 500 Buddha statues, making it one of the most decorated temples on earth. Guided tours of the complex uncover the stories behind the imagery while giving visitors a better understanding of nirvana, karmic laws, and the life of Buddha. You can choose between intimate small-group tours, private tours, or combo tours that might include cycling through nearby villages, rafting on the Progo River, or visits to Pawon and Mendut Temples. If you have some extra time, opt for a two-day tour that includes a visit to Prambanan, a UNESCO-listed Hindu temple.
Things to Know Before You Go
- Borobudur temple is a must-see for all first-time visitors to central Java.
- Wear comfortable, loose-fitting clothing that covers your shoulders and knees, and comfortable shoes suitable for walking over uneven surfaces.
- Borobudur tours from Yogyakarta city can last anywhere from six to 10 hours, depending on the option you choose.
How to Get There
Borobudur is located in the Kedu Plain on the Indonesian island of Java. It is accessible via bus from the Jombor terminal in Yogyakarta. Buses also run regularly from Magelang and take about one hour. Door-to-door minibuses are also available.
When to Get There
Borobudur is Indonesia’s most visited attraction, so it’s a good idea to arrive early on a weekday to beat the crowds. You’ll find the best weather in the dry season, from April to October. Expect high humidity and frequent rainfall from November to March.
Sunrise at Borobudur
For many a traveler, watching a beautiful sunrise from the top of Borobudur is a bucket-list experience. A Borobudur sunrise tour gets you into the complex in the early morning, before the main gate opens, for a chance to see (and photograph) the stupas at their most photogenic.