Yogyakarta and Beautiful Borobudur

When visiting Java there are several places that always come up when chatting to fellow travellers as ‘not-to-be-missed’ destinations. Borobudur temple is one of those places, so when we visited Yogyakarta we felt that it was essential that we visit the largest Buddhist temple in Indonesia.

We stayed in Yogyakarta itself for two days before heading out to a village about 15km away in the rice paddy fields which cover much of Java. It was great to stroll to the village to the shop to buy snacks and to be greeted by the friendly villagers. Rice cultivation is the primary source of income here, and it was great to get the opportunity to watch villagers harvest and thresh the rice in the fields adjacent to our accommodation at Paddy D’Sawah.

In the rice fields with local farmers…
Akhona takes a rest…
Borobudur temple…

We decided to book a ‘tour’ to Borobudur which included a ‘special breakfast’ for RP 120 000/person (US$8). We were fetched from our bamboo accommodation at 04h30 in a minivan and drove for almost 80 mins to get the Borobudur. We ate our ‘special breakfast’ of toast with jam and sweet tea on arrival. Needless to say there was nothing special about this typical sham of a breakfast offered to travellers in Indonesia. We then headed to the temple after paying US$25/person entry fee.

After spending a week in Angkor in Cambodia we found Borobudor to be beautiful in its own right, but of course it lacked the sheer scope of Angkor as it only consists of a single pyramid-like structure, whereas Angkor consist of many temples spread out over a cast area. The carvings which adorn the walls of Borobudur are also impressive and each section tells a different story of a bygone era. The attention to detail is really amazing…

Amazing detail in the carvings of Borobudur…

The temple is adorned with many buddha’s and from a photographic point of view it is best photographed early morning or at sunset. Of course, as with most tourist attractions, many overpriced ‘sunrise’ tour packages are offered to visitors at around $35 – $45/person. We avoided this and just booked transport there and back which got us to the temple at the opening time of 06h00.  This allowed us to get some cool shots of the temple while the light was still good.

Early morning is the best time for photo’s…

Of course we also had to get some shots of ourselves surrounded by this amazing historical structure. The main challenge was to try and shoot and not have any of the constantly arriving tourists walk into our shots every time. We have found that people don’t care if they ruin your shots at these historical monuments. It can get very frustrating, but one needs to persevere…

Great photo opportunities
Great composition by photographer Akhona…

The ride to and from the temple took around 3 hours of often bone-jarring travel in our beat-up minivan. We spent around two hours at Borobudor by which time tour groups of noisy school kids had begun arriving, as well as busloads of tourists, so we decided to leave while we were ahead. I’d say it was a worthwhile visit, but quite expensive considering what is on offer…

 

 

 

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derekserra

Derek Antonio Serra is a photographer and filmmaker who has run several successful businesses in the film, tourism and advertising industries. He has recently embraced the nomadic lifestyle after selling his businesses and home. His passions are photography, travel and writing.