Borobudur Sunrise Hangover

Borobudur Sunrise Hangover

My alarm went off at an ungodly hour of 4:15am. I dragged myself out of bed and prepped my things. It was pitch dark when I started climbing Borobudur Temple with torchlight on one hand and tripod on the other. It was an easy 20 mins climb but I was still out of breath when I reached the top most level. I sat and tried to slow down my breathing. I couldn’t see anything on the horizon, except for the looming shadows of the twin volcanoes, Mount Merapi and Mount Merbabu.

borobudur sunrise

borobudur sunrise

I looked up at the night sky and saw millions of stars adorning the jet black heavens. Then, the sky started to change colors, it went from black to palatinate to salmon. The fertile land of Kedu plain covered in morning mist started to come into view. The sun started peeking out from behind the mountain tops. Everything slowly turned golden as the first rays of the sun graced the earth. I stood there momentarily stunned while watching the world bathe in a soft golden light. What a grand announcement of a new day, breathtaking is an understatement.

Borobudur Sunrise

Borobudur Sunrise

Borobudur Sunrise

I started to go around the temple while running my fingers along the carvings that depict the life of Buddha. More and more tourists started to go up as the temple gates were opened to the public at 6:00am. The temple was getting crowded so I took one last photo and made my way back to my hotel to enjoy the breakfast buffet.

Borobudur Sunrise

I don’t normally stay at posh hotels but I made an exception for this trip because I badly wanted to see the sunrise before the temple gets really crowded. I stayed one night at Manohara hotel which I think is totally worth it. The hotel grounds are vast and beautiful plus it’s just a five minutes’ walk from the temple. The room was pretty basic but with a nice balcony. Their restaurant is strategically located where you can have the Borobudur temple view while enjoying your food. Hotel guests will also have a free unlimited pass to the temple between 6:00am-5:00pm and a discounted price for the sunrise tour offered exclusively by the hotel which starts at 4:30am before the gates are opened to the public at 6am. So, yes it’s definitely worth it. This hotel is literally at the foot of the temple so it is so quiet, I felt like I was in a sanctuary retreat of some sort. They even have a meditation room which I never had the chance to check because I only stayed there for a night.

Borobudur Sunrise

I wont pretend that I wasn’t bothered by the silence and the solitude at first. I literally had nothing to do after 5pm when the temple closed. I cant go anywhere because it is one hour away from the center in Yogyakarta. There’s TV and Wifi of course but I’m just not up for those electronic devices. So on my first day, after dinner, I took a long hot shower and decided to just sit outside in my own private balcony with jasmine tea and a journal. I drank my tea very slowly and observed my breathing for a while, then I started writing my thoughts. It was then that I started to appreciate the silence and the solitude. I decided to call it a night at 9pm to get enough sleep for the sunrise tour the following day. This experience set the bar high for the rest of my Yogyakarta trip.

Borobudur Sunrise

Borobudur Sunrise

After my stay at Manohora hotel and seeing the Borobudur temple, I transferred to a homestay at the center of Yogyakarta. I went to see the Prambanan temple and Sewu temple which is closer to the city. The temples were impressive, but I didn’t enjoy it as much because it was too crowded. The complex was seriously huge and it was a long tiring walk from Prambanan to Sewu temple. I then decided to watch the Ramayana Ballet which was okay, I guess. It’s the usual story of good vs. evil and honestly it was a bit of a drag because the play lasted for two hours and it wasn’t really that interesting or maybe I was just really tired from my previous activities.

  Borobudur Sunrise Borobudur Sunrise

Borobudur Sunrise

The following days, I just decided to go around the city to feel its vibe. I went to the water castle and the underground mosque where I met this man who was pretending to practice his english. He scammed me into paying him 20,000 rupiah for showing me around. I know it’s just a small amount but I was still annoyed because I made it clear to him that I don’t need a guide but he insisted to go with me saying that I don’t have to pay him, he just wanted to practice his english. But then after our walk he told me that I have to tip him 40,000-30,000 rupiah or better yet give him a dollar, “it’s really up to you” he said. And I was like ‘what?!’ I didn’t want to argue with him so I just laughed and told him that I don’t have a dollar and showed him that the only change I’ve got is 20,000 so he accepted it. I can’t stop laughing at myself after that incident, because it finally happened to me. I finally got scammed. It’s bound to happen anyway, its part of being a traveler. I should have known better. I visited other places and tried to walk aimlessly at Malioboro Street but nothing really caught my interest. All the time while I was touring the city, I kept wishing I spent more days in Borobudur instead. I cannot blame Yogyakarta though, it’s me who can’t get over that beautiful sunrise that I’ve just witness in Borobudur.

Borobudur Sunrise

Borobudur Sunrise

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