The Wonders of Indonesia 🇮🇩.
During our travels we've been to some magnificent temples in places such as Cambodia, Indonesia, Myanmar and Thailand. The purpose of the visit to Indonesia was to visit Borobudur and Prambanan temples and I have only one word for it- "WOW!". Especially Borobudur, even after visiting so many temples, it still took our breath away.
Yogyakarta is the closest airport to fly into if you want to visit Borobudur and Prambanan however both temples are actually not located in Yogyakarta but in Central Java itself. For those travelling from Scotland, you will find prices of hotels very affordable. A five star hotel in Yogyakarta will set you back roughly about £60 a night. We decided to go for a three star hotel as we would be out most of the time which cost us £14 a night. As for food- as long as you go to local restaurant serving Indonesian food, dishes will cost between 15000-22000RP which equates to around 75p-£1.10. The main expenditure during our trip was actually transportation and enterance fees.
To get to both Borobudur and Prambanan temples you could either go by tour, rent a motorcycle/car or a car with driver. One needs to know that traffic can be terrible when dawn arrives. We chose the latter as we were unfamiliar with the roads, plus we wanted to head to Borobudur for the sunrise which meant that we needed to get there at 4.30am. After searching through screeds of reviews on the internet we found our driver Anton. The cost was 600,000RP (£30) for a full day of transportation. It was agreed that he would pick us up from our hotel in Yogyakarta at 3.30am as the journey to Borobudur was to take an hour. It was an early rise but it was worth it. The entrance fee to Borobudor at sunrise is 450,000RP per person which you can either purchase online or on arrival. A torchlight will be provided for you to make your way up Borobudor in darkness. I recommend that you head up right to the top of Borobudor first in order to pick a spot to enjoy the sunrise before it gets crowded as you can always explore the rest of the temple after the sun rises.
Borobudor was built in the 9th Century and is one of the greatest Buddhist monuments in the world, however there are no written records of who commissioned it and what its significance was at that time. Borobudor has nine levels and is decorator with beautiful stone carvings as well as many Buddha statues. A the top of Borobudor you will find a central Dome that is surrounded by 72 Buddha statues seated inside a stupa.
Although Borobudor was built in the 9th Century, it was thought that it was abandoned sometime in the 14th Century, however the facts of the abandonment remains a mystery. Borobudor was hidden for centuries under layers of volcanic ash and dense jungle growth but its was remembered through Javanese folklore. The rediscovery of Borobudor happened in 1814 while Java was under British administration. The appointed governor at that time was Sir Stamford Raffles who had great interest in the history of Java. He was informed by locals about a big monument in the thick jungle. Sir Stamford Raffles did not rediscover Borobudor himself but he sent his men to investigate. It took 200 men around 2 months to cut through the dense jungle and dig away earth to reveal Borobudor. Since the rediscovery of Borobudor until the present day there continues to be restoration and renovation work taking place at Borobudor in order to preserve the site. Borobudor was also listed as a World Heritage Site by UNESCO in 1991. Borobudor is used as a place of worship and pilgrimage once a year on Vesak day which is usually in May or June. I would highly recommend the experience of witnessing the stunning sunrise and exploring the intricate carvings that take one's breath away. From arrival if took us roughly 3 hours to enjoy the sunrise and explore the whole temple. On the day that we were there, crowds begun to swell around half 8 in the morning. It also began to heat up considerably once the sun was fully risen so we concluded our trip and headed back to the reception area. A morning snack and tea/coffee is provided at reception area 'till 9am for those who purchased the sunrise tickets.
After breakfast we made our way to Prambanan temple, the journey from Borobudor to Prambanan took roughly an hour and a half. Prambanan temple is the largest Hindu site in Indonesia and one of the largest in Southeast Asia. It too was built in the 9th Century. Prambanan was dedicated to Brahma, Vishnu and Shiva and the site included many towers and the main tower stands at 47 metre high. The towers of Prambanan were badly damaged and some collapsed during a major earthquake in the 16th Century and was abandoned. However, the locals were aware of Prambanan and created stories and legends about it. Prambanan was rediscovered in 1811 but the proper reconstruction and restoration only started in the 1930s and is still ongoing. The fee to enter Prambanan is 325,000RP per person but the grounds of the temples are huge and you will get to go up and explore the towers of Prambanan as well as smaller temples around the grounds. Most of the other temples are under major restoration and can only be viewed from afar. Within the main tower of Prambanan, you will find statues of Brahma, Vishnu and Shiva. From the site and the ruins surrounding you can see how big Prambanan temple used to be and in it's former glory it would have been a very grand temple. Prambanan temple has been reclaimed as an important religious site for Hindus and Hindu communities around Yogyakarta and Central Java have revived the site by performing sacred ceremonies such as Galungan, Tatar Kesanga and Nyepi.
Borobudor and Prambanan are truly two wonders of Indonesia however Indonesia is largest archipelago of islands in the world and there are still many natural and man made wonders to explore and we hope to do so sometime in the future.