Wrapped by the fresh chills of dawn more than a hundred feet above ground level, overlooking volcanoes and fields covered in mist, surrounded by only a handful of eager spectators but also by over 500 Buddha statues, Borobodur Temple is probably one of the perfect spots from where to watch a sunrise.
Built all the way back in the 9th Century and now a UNESCO World Heritage Site, Indonesia’s most famous tourist attraction is considered to be the largest Buddhist temple on the face of the planet. It’s accessibility isn’t a frowner as it is only about an hour’s drive from the closest international airport in Yogyakarta.
Before heading there, my friend, Michael and I did a bit of research and found out that to be able to experience a sunrise from the top of the temple, we had to join a special tour arranged by Manohara Hotel as the site is only opened to public entrance from 6 AM. What’s also great about it is that you get to serenely appreciate the site and the view with only about 30 others before it gets way too crowded. The tickets are priced at 380,000 IDR for foreigners (230,000 IDR for hotel guests) and it includes saris/sarongs which visitors have to wear, the use of a flashlight, and a complimentary traditional snack. Not too shabby!
Unlike the occasional comets and seasonal Northern Lights, sunrises come much too often that they are easily taken for granted. But when you get the chance to be in the right place and at the right time, armed with only an MP3 player and perhaps a camera as that orange blob slowly, but at the same time instantly rises in the horizon, you’ll believe that everything is all right with the world, even if for a while.
After the gates open at 6 AM, hundreds, if not thousands, of visitors climb the temple and the noise somehow signals the end of a magical experience, reminding you to come back down to earth. Among the throng are a lot of students on school trips from all over Indonesia who are apparently pretty keen to have photos taken with foreign tourists which made Michael and I unsuspecting targets. Although it can get tiring after all the group and solo shots, the warmth and politeness of Indonesians cannot go unnoticed that I myself also had photos taken with them.
For more on the temple: www.borobudurpark.com/temple/borobudurTemple