Sunday, 8 December 2013


At a very bloody cold 4am we took off on the bike, the journey supposedly around an hour and a half to make it to Sentembu Hill to watch the sunrise over Borobudur Temple and Mt Merapi (I think) in the background. 

The ride was bitterly cold and we got lost several times even with the hand-drawn map the owner of the guesthouse had given us, though without it we possibly would never have found the place.  Sure we could have jumped on a tour bus, but where's the sense of adventure in that?!

We finally arrived and made a mad dash up the steep hillside where we joined a throng of other western tourists to enjoy the stunning and serene sunrise, it was more than worth the effort.  We stood on top of the hill with Borobudur shrouded in mist and fog in the valley below us and Mt Merapi in the distance as the sun rose right behind the peak. 

I am never underwhelmed by these sights, never blasé about any of it, i appreciate everything i get to experience on this adventure i am so fortunate to be having.  At this minute I am typing on Ipad on a ferry to Flores after a hectic couple of days on public transport from Lombok across Sumbawa to the tiny port town of Sape whereIi left from, but more on that later. 

It was the highlight of the temple visit for me and should not be missed if you are in Jogya.  Many tours will only take you to Borobudur so make sure you ask about watching the sunrise or get bold, grab a bike and make the dark, cold early morning mission under your own steam.  

It gave us free reign to go where we liked and leave when we liked, and we checked out some other sights and smaller, uncrowded temples in the area on the way home. 

The temple itself was very impressive and beautiful, though I was a little disappointed with our visit.  The temple is in the middle of town, is surrounded by hundreds of little stalls trying to sell you crap and you never get to experience the true peacefulness that these temples normally inspire, due to the massive crowds that flock there.  

Yes, i am spoilt, but i like my temples to be more natural, with no hawkers and less crowds, preferably somewhere a little more isolated, but hey, you can't have everything. It really is a massive and beautifully crafted monument, a testament to the building knowledge and spiritual beliefs of the time.  

After now having finally visited Cambodia's Angkor Wat in the last couple of weeks I am more amazed by the size and elegance of Borobudur.

I got to visit many great temples already on my travels and this one left me in 2 minds, absolutely impressed by the size and beauty of it all, though slightly disappointed in the  circus it has become.  

 It is definitely worth a look, it is by far one of the most impressive temples I have seen, but they don't need to be perfect or monumental for me to enjoy them. It is normally the setting that really makes it for me and this just felt too much like disneyland.  The sunrise is a must do for those visiting and the temple i'm sure is spectacular for all that witness it.

Sunrise from the hill, overlooking Borobudur

Borobudur temple

Yuni, the queen of self portraits!