The island of Java is located between Sumatra and the always popular island of Bali in Indonesia. It is a popular stop for anyone visiting the country that is made up of more than 17,500 islands. The capital city of Jakarta is located in Western Java but the entire island is packed with incredible sties.
I chose to call Yogyakarta (often called “Jogja”) home while I was in Java and it was the perfect home base to explore the island and plan a trip to see Borobudur Temple at sunrise. Borobudur Temple is located in Central Java and dates back to the 8th and 9th centuries. This Buddhist temple is home to 72 stupas and each houses a statue of the Buddha. It is a must-see when visiting the island of Java and Indonesia. This is how I planned my visit for the Borobudur Temple sunrise.
Beat the Crowds for Borobudur Temple Sunrise
Borobudur Temple is just over an hour drive from Yogyakarta. This is a common drive to make but you also have the option of staying at Manohara Hotel which located right next to the temple. This will help you get a little more sleep but isn’t necessary to help you beat the crowds. The hotel is fine but it isn’t necessary to stay there and I would recommend staying in Yogyakarta.
The crowds are the temple are significantly higher after sunrise which is why making the early wake up for sunrise will be a more memorable experience.
Manohara Hotel is the only official way to visit Borobudur Temple. The hotel allows visitors to enter the temple site around 4:30am each morning regardless if you’re staying at the hotel or not. There is a comfortable place to gather when you arrive and await for them to allow visitors to enter for sunrise.
Borobudur Temple Entrance Fees
Foreigner Visitor : IDR 400.000 per person
Domestic Visitor : IDR 270.000 per person
In house guest (who staying at Manohara): IDR 250.000 per person
*The rates above include tea/coffee, light snack, entrance to Borobudur Temple from 4.30am (before public open time).
If you want the classic Borobudur sunrise experience you will want to book this tour. The after-sunrise hours are about $10 USD more than the sunrise tour but the it is well worth the added cost.
More info: Manohara Hotel
What to Expect at Borobudur Sunrise
Just because you are arriving early in the morning doesn’t mean you will have the place to yourself- far from it. Everyone who purchased a sunrise tour ticket will be permitted to enter the park at the same time with a flashlight and climb the steps to the top. Getting there any earlier than this wouldn’t make a difference because the sun rises at the same time for everyone.
There is plenty of space for everyone to wait for the sun to rise but keep in mind there may be people in your shot. Getting up the stairs to the top of the temple will give you the best chance to secure a space but there will be a lot of time waiting for the sun depending on the time of year you visit.
How to get the Perfect Borobudur Sunrise Photo
Everyone loves the sunrise photos looking directly into the rising sun. However, I found this space too crowded and not as picturesque as the sun shining directly behind the temple. This is where I captured one of my favorite photos from my time in Indonesia. The key is to walk around the temple and find a space that interests you most because it might not be where everyone else is pointing their cameras.
Once the sun has fully risen it is a good time to head down to the front of the temple if it interests you. Facing the temple as the sun is rising offers great lighting and this is also when you will notice a new wave of visitors who didn’t wake up for sunrise.
Overall Borobudur Temple Sunrise Experience
Overall I enjoyed the sunrise at Borobudur. Far too many times sunrises don’t meet expectations but the good news is ever if the sunrise isn’t perfect Borobudur is still an amazing temple to visit. I recommend getting there early to beat the usual daily visitors and enjoy the sunrise. Find the perfect photo but don’t forget to sit back and enjoy the moment.
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