travel & lifestyle blog by ruth dela cruz

Borobudur Temple Sunrise Hike + Tips for Tourists

November 1, 2016

I have seen a lot of beautiful sunsets, but only a few sunrises. One of the most beautiful I have witnessed was in the Borobudur Temple in Yogyakarta, Indonesia. 

The introduction sounds so tourist-y. But there is a reason why “seeing the sunrise in Borobudur” is on the top list of things to do in Yogyakarta.  Here I am sharing my own story. 

Borobudur Temple Sunrise Hike

The 3:00 AM Call Time Crew

Longdy (Cambodia) , Satya Winnie (Indonesia), Thanis Lim (Brunei), Kisty Mea (Philippines), Shani (Indonesia), Shasya (Indonesia), Rijal (Indonesia), Gzul (Brunei), Jia Qin (Singapore), THE REBECCA SAW (Malaysia) 😉

Day 0: Manila to Jakarta, Indonesia

Day 1: How We Spent 3 Days in Yogyakarta

Borobudur Temple Sunrise Hike

Borobudur Temple Sunrise Hike

I know people who have visited Borobudur and they all have wonderful stories. I remember my first time in Indonesia (2012) and I have two friends who traveled to Yogyakarta (from Makassar Island) to experience a different sunrise. They came back as if they took a part of the glowing sun with them (shout out to my friends Cheryl from US and Marcelo from Brazil!). Borobudur is known as the biggest Buddhist Temple in the world and one of the Seven Wonders of the World.  

The #tripofwonders organized by the Ministry of Tourism Indonesia gave us the same glowing experience. My closest friends know how much I hate waking up early and not getting (my) 8 hours of sleep. Truth be told, I hate anything that involves waking up early. This was the first time I woke up early to catch the sunrise.

Borobudur Temple Sunrise Hike

How do we “un-blur” this?! Haha. 

Caring less about photos, my mind was still sleeping

We got an early call time and I woke up at 1:30 AM.  I needed to prepare my body and mind for the Sunrise Hike. From Atira Hotel in Magelang, we traveled around 30 to 45 minutes to Borobudur Park in Manohara. 

As usual, I didn’t read much about Borobudur Park, tips, or what to expect. I want the whole experience to be a surprise. 

We had a quick briefing at the main entrance after registration. We were handed out flashlights for the short trek to the temple.

Borobudur Temple Sunrise Hike

Living on the edge?

When we got inside, the sky is already turning orange. We had to run to the temple to make sure that we got a good spot before the sun rises. I was expecting it to be a difficult climb, but it was rather manageable for someone who hasn’t had a workout for months. 

By the time we got to the top, the sky was casting shades of blue and orange. The shape of the mountain makes a beautiful background to the scene unfolding in my eyes. I was torn between capturing photos, having my photo taken and just living the moment. I heard the sound of call for prayer. It reminded me that I was missing my worship service that Sunday morning.

Few Facts About Borobudur Temple

Located in the Island of Java, the magnificent Borobudur temple is the world’s biggest Buddhist monument, an ancient site widely considered to be one of the World’s Seven Wonders. The temple sits majestically on a hilltop overlooking a lush fields and distant hills. Built in the 9th century during the reign of the Syailendra dynasty, the temple’s design in Gupta architecture reflects India’s influence on the region, yet there are enough indigenous scenes and elements incorporated to make Borobudur uniquely Indonesian. It covers an enormous area, measuring 123 x 123 meters, decorated with 2,672 relief panels and 504 Buddha statues.

Borobudur Temple Sunrise Hike

Borobudur Temple Sunrise Hike

Borobudur Temple Sunrise Hike

Borobudur Temple Sunrise Hike

The most interesting thing: Borobudur was built without using any kind of cement of mortar! The structure is like a set of massive interlocking Lego blocks held together without any glue.

The monument was rediscovered in 1815, buried under volcanic ash. In the 1970’s the Indonesian Government and UNESCO worked together to restore Borobudur to its former majesty. It was then considered as a UNESCO World Heritage Site.

If there is one sentence to some up this blog story, all I want to say is: I am so happy and blessed to have seen the beautiful sunrise in Borobudur Temple. The bonus is having nice photo to take the memory with me.

Borobudur Temple Sunrise Hike

Borobudur Temple makes a good prenup location 😉
@tricenagusara and @sephcham

Borobudur Temple Sunrise Hike

Longdy must have already seen and been to different temples in Cambodia but he was sure enjoying Vitamin D in Borobudur 😀 

Borobudur Temple Sunrise Hike

With Crazy Girls Vesta and Leya

Borobudur Temple Sunrise Hike

How to do dramatic #OOTD with Satya 🙂

I really love her love for adventure and life!

Borobudur Temple Sunrise Hike

Leya’s Hair is everything!

Borobudur Temple Sunrise Hike

with Rodel, Seph, and Trice

I really enjoyed traveling and discovering things with this couple! 

Tips and Tricks When Visiting Borobudur Temple

Now enough of my drama and insightful thoughts, here are tips and photo tricks for you if you are visiting Borobudur Temple:

1.  Borobudur Sunrise starts in the morning around 4:30 AM prior to the general visitors that arrive at 6:00 AM. You may want to arrive before that time for briefing. 

2. Eat light breakfast. You would need energy to climb up the temple and time to take lots of photos. It is so beautiful inside. 

3. Make sure that your camera, smart phone and action cameras are fully charged with enough memory. You would take endless photos and videos inside (ironically, I lived the moment). Also, make sure you know how the time lapse function works in your action camera. Someone I know had a bad day for missing the sunrise recording. 

3. Bring a jacket or scarf with you as it gets chilly in the morning.

Borobudur Temple Sunrise Hike

Black vs Whites

4. Wear white or something light colored so you would stand out in the photos. The very cool MOT team advised us that it would be nice to wear white since Borobudur is all dark and clay. I didn’t have a white dress with me so I just wore my black dress (was supposed to wear the same dress as Haley Dasovich’s!). 

5. Don’t lose the flashlight. Return it at the registration and you would be given a souvenir scarf.

6. Ticket price comes with free light snack and coffee/tea. 

Borobudur Temple Sunrise Hike

Ticket Prices


Open Hours: 6:00am to 5:00pm | International USD 20/pax | Domestic IDR 30k/pax


Open Hours: 4:30am to 7:00am | International IDR 400k/pax | Domestic IDR 270k/pax

How to Get to Borobudur Temple

Borobudur is about 25 miles (40 kilometers) from Yogyakarta, where many day-trip tours can be booked. You can stay in Borobudur village outside the park entrance or book a car service for a day trip.

Borobudur Temple Sunrise Hike

See you guys on the next destination

Day 0: Manila to Jakarta, Indonesia

Day 1: How We Spent 3 Days in Yogyakarta

Breakfast at Stupa by Plataran

Love Stories in Ullen Sentalu Museum

Shout out to @rodelflordeliz and @kamabtara for the photos

*** #RuthGoestoIndonesia Trip of Wonders is sponsored by Ministry of Tourism Republic of Indonesia.Follow along the story #TripofWonders #WonderfulIndonesia

Read more of my Travels. 

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