Enjoying Sunset in Borobudur

21 August 2009

Another early weekend for me, the past four days has been really quick. I finished work at around 2 in the morning. My clothes were already ready beforehand so I jut did some last minute research about our weekend destination, Yogyakarta (pronounced as Jogjakarta by Indonesians), before I decided to call it a night and catch some sleep. No time pressure on being really early in the airport as Air Asia offered online check-in to passengers.

I managed to wake up at 7:30; I realized that it has been a while since I woke up this early. The last time I managed to catch the early morning sun in Singapore was when we accompanied Nina of Just Wandering, to explore the tiny island of Pulau Ubin.

I took my time to have breakfast and did some last minute preparation before heading out of the apartment at around quarter past nine. 

The train ride to Terminal 1 of Changi airport (including inter-airport transfers) took roughly 45 minutes. There was only less than an hour before the departure time, we immediately headed towards the boarding gate. Boarding commenced on time however it took another 20 minutes after the scheduled departure time before QZ 7139 was airborne. 

The plane ride was serviced by Air Asia Indonesia and the first thing that I noticed was the piped-in in-house FM station which I thought was a brilliant idea as it made the 130 minutes flying time to Jogja a lot less boring. The flight attendant though who made the announcements was very bad in her English; it was barely understandable. 

We were served hot meals as we pre-ordered food when we bought our tickets. I ordered Asian fried rice, which came with 2 sticks of beef satay. I did not like my lunch as I found it too dry. I would have been better off had I settled for a cup noodle.

Airline Food, will you like this?!

Airline Food, will you like this?!

All in all, it was not so bad. It was totally worth the 80 SGD I paid for the roundtrip ticket, which included the crappy meal and the advance seat request fee. I will still fly Air Asia again.

The plane landed in Adi Sucipto International Airport at around quarter to one, it was slightly delayed. The airport is very small with only one runway and it reminded me of the domestic airport back home in Cagayan de Oro.

QZ 7139 at the Jogja tarmac

QZ 7139 at the Jogja tarmac

It was a mess getting past immigration as they only have 2 counters. I would say that it took us more than half an hour before we were cleared. First thing we did was to get some Indonesian Rupiah (IDR). There was this sole money changer inside the airport, which gave us a very crappy rate. In their chalkboard, 1 SGD is equal to 6,400 IDR (in XE Universal Currency Converter it was 1 SGD to 6,900 IDR) – so I decided to just change 10 SGD, just enough to pay for our taxi fare going to the city. They gave me just 60,000 IDR stating that it was small bill – in my mind I was screaming that I was being screwed but unfortunately I didn’t have any choice.

long lines enroute to the Jogja immigration counter

long line to the Jogja immigration counter

We bought a taxi coupon for 50,000 IDR. This took us to Jalan Sosrowijayan, the backpacker area in Jogja. It was a 20 minute before we arrived in our destination. Jogja is a small city but you can also feel the vibrant environment as a result of the boom coming in mostly from the tourism industry. 

Upon getting out from the taxi, we were immediately greeted by this man who asked us if we have accommodations already. I told him that we have made reservations already to drive him away. I manage to find a money changer in the street, which offered a much more decent rate. I immediately had our pocket money changed and instantly I became a millionaire!

We found our way into Gang (alleyway) II to inquire for a room tomorrow and Sunday from this guesthouse that is highly recommended by Lonely Planet. It must be really popular as we were told that they are currently full but we could check again by tomorrow.

As we will be staying in a hotel somewhere very close to Borobudur for the night, we availed of their shared taxi service going for 35,000 IDR. It was a good deal, as a private taxi would easily cost more than 4 times that said amount.

The ride going to our hotel was more an hour so I took that opportunity to get a quick sleep. When I woke up we were already inside the Manohara Hotel compound. Check-in was a breeze and I just provided my personal details as the payment was settled a week before. A complimentary welcome drink was given in their spacious open-air lobby before we were lead into our room.

enjoying coffee at the Manohara Lobby

enjoying coffee at the Manohara Lobby

We just dropped our bags and we immediately made our way towards the Borobudur temple as it was already nearing sunset then. The concierge told us to just follow the pathway if we want to go to the temple; I was surprised it was just 5 minutes away. 

Borobudur glowing at sunrise

Borobudur glowing at sunset

The Borobudur Temple, a UNESCO World Heritage Site, is a stunning reminder of the Buddhist days in Java. Almost all over the temple complex you can see a statue of a Buddha, most of them headless. We explored our way the four square terrace going up in a clockwise direction. There are bas-reliefs all over the place, which depicted mostly on scenes from the life of Buddha. I noticed that the bas-reliefs were somehow crudely made as compared to the ones in Angkor Wat but nonetheless it is still a sight to behold.

one of the hundreds of Buddha statue all over the temple

one of the hundreds of Buddha statue all over the temple

a portion of one of the four square terrace

a portion of one of the four square terrace

bas-relief in one of the terraces

bas-relief in one of the terraces

The structure opens up into another four circular terrace in which many latticed stupas can be found as well. Inside these latticed stupas are half hidden Buddha statues (many of them are headless as well). At the center of the topmost terrace is the huge central stupa

one of the many headless Buddha

one of the many headless Buddha

Mr Whattaworld and the central stupa

Mr Whattaworld and the central stupa

As the breeze was very wonderful, we sat for a while facing west and enjoyed watching the sun slowly setting. We managed to take some wonderful snaps before they announced that the temple would be closing. A few minutes after, the guards were already going around and politely asked us to leave.

view of the eastern gate from the top

view of the eastern gate from the top

one last snap of us before leaving the temple

one last snap of us before leaving the temple

We started walking back into the hotel in a slow pace enjoying the cool afternoon air. Upon reaching our room, I tried watching TV. I immediately gave up since most channels are in Bahasa Indonesia in which I cannot understand. I then began writing this entry; shortly after I finish this we will probably have an early dinner. I hope to sleep early as we want to witness sunrise tomorrow from the top of Borobudur.

sunset from Borobudur

sunset from Borobudur

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11 Responses to “Enjoying Sunset in Borobudur”

  1. TravelBugMe Says:

    Oh Borobudur looks totally amazing! It’s been on my to-visit list for quite sometime now but it seems to have taken a back seat of late 😦

    So many places to visit, so little time!


    • So many places to visit, so little time! > exactly, my thoughts as well! just have to take things, one place at a time… 😀

      Just got back from my trip, I have work in an hour… Updating my site in 24 hours! Ehehehe…

  2. nina Says:

    You’re blogging on the road na rin! XD Looking forward to more stories about Yogyakarta.. This is one place I wasn’t able to go to the first (and last) time I went to Indonesia 😦


    • You have another chance next time… When you get the chance to visit Singapore again, be on the lookout for seat sale. Jetstar and Air Asia flies to Yogyakarta. I got mine really cheap at 80 SGD roundtrip!! 😀 One of those spur of the moment decisions because I was able to surf online and found a bargain, ahaha!!

      Blog on the road? I tried but there was not much internet access from our hostels… 🙂

  3. flipntravels Says:

    the place is enchanting! we can’t wait to see it! 😀


    • It is a great place… Somehow like Angkor Wat in a lesser scale minus the tourist and the inflated prices of goods.

      You be on the lookout for Air Asia sale… Fly to KL then from KL do a connection to Yogyakarta.

  4. yaya Says:

    Hello,
    We are Master students of National Taiwan University of Science and Technology.
    We are doing a research about Heritage in Yogyakarta, center of Java. We choose Borobudur and Prambanan to survey how heritage impacted or merged in tourism sites in Indonesia.
    And we really need you opinions about those two heritages so we could try our best to improve the tourism in heritage sites.
    Thank you for your help!!  Thank you very much!!!

    The Questionnaire address:
    http://www.smart-survey.co.uk/v.asp?i=14289fwmcp

    Best regard.

    All of Students of Graduate Institute of Architecture and Historic Preservation.


  5. […] cab to take us to our hotel in Kuta Beach. Similar to the airport taxi system in Penang, Phuket and Yogyakarta, we needed to purchase a prepaid coupon for our taxi ride. The price of which is dependent on the […]


  6. Hey! My friends and I are planning a trip to Indonesia next year. We’ll be landing in Bali and I’m wondering how we can go to Yogyakarta from Bali and how long it would take? Cause I really wanna see Borobudur! 🙂


    • Hi Daene,

      I think the most convenient away would be to fly from Denpasar; there are numerous flights daily courtesy of local carrier Garuda. You can also check on the available of Air Asia Indosia for DPS-JOG flights. Hope there is so that you can avail of it while they are having a promotion. Hope this helps!!


  7. Jogja emang selalu indah dilihat oleh siapapun


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