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Beautiful Borobudur

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Borobudur is the world’s largest Buddhist temple and one of the most beautiful. Advertised tours can be seen throughout Indonesia, sunrise tours, sunset tours all at a premium price! Again we chose to do it ourselves and wanted to be the first at the gate when it opened at 6am. Sunrise tours however gain entry a little earlier but we hoped no one was going to pay the crazy price charged for it. A 2 minute walk from our hostel we were already at the gates with another 6 people. sunrise

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A bottle of water included in the price!

6am the gates opened – Boom 425,000 straight out the pocket. Ouch. And we zoomed up the steep flight of stairs straight to the top to take our photos before the crowds arrived. We arrived at the top at 6:05 to find what we thought at the time quite a lot of people. Around 30 dotted around the temple. Timing pictures before a tourist walked into frame was a bit of a challenge. But around half an hour later there was a lull and we had time to really appreciate the incredible beauty of the largest Buddhist temple in the world with a back drop of beautiful Indonesian farming land and palm trees. Stunning. The architecture and design that went into the temple is phenomenal. We ended up spending 3 hours walking around.

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jm backsoph back

soph crazy

back buddha

buddha front

At around 7:30 it was as if a termite nest had been disturbed. 100s upon 100s arrived in coach loads. “Photo miss, photo!” indo familyWe moved to the lower tiers where there was no one and eventually walked up Setumbu hill with a nice view across to the temple. Again there was no one so we sat and enjoyed the view peacefully.DSC07429

We were already back at the hostel at 9:30am ready for our well-earned breakfast. We decided to hire a scooter and go explore the surrounding villages. Although Borobudur temple was beautiful the village itself wasn’t that amazing. We decided to go check out the small tourist information shack that we saw from the road.

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Elephant tours available!

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Joko

When we arrived we were greeted by an incredibly friendly guy called Joko. He just couldn’t do enough for us – From drawing his own maps of places all Java, to giving us great contacts, to writing a vocabulary list of words we might find helpful and after explaining to him our plan for the next 4 weeks in Indonesia and he wrote everything down. The routes we should take, the amount it should cost, lots of other small tips and helpful information for along the way. Great guy!  More importantly at the time he told us where to visit and what to do in the area. We hired a scooter and off we went not before double backing to ask what direction we should be going in because we could actually read or understand his map. Eventually we found our way and visited the small but gorgeous Mendut temple with 3 huge Buddha statues inside. Next to it was a Buddhist monastery which would have been extremely serene if it wasn’t for a busy Indonesian road running along the side of it.  We then headed up Menorah Hill the back drop to Borobudur temple, direction the village of Suroloyo. It went up and round and up and round and up and up and up. The scenery was just breath-taking but it was so far, really hot and the road snaked non-stop that we chose to turn back.

massive buddha

Mendut Buddha

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At sunset we found ourselves riding through the stunning landscape surrounding the Borobudur Temple. Families and children were all outside playing, smiling, shouting “hello” “hello”, kids flying kites, workers finishing for the day and coming in from the fields. It really felt like a world away from Europe. We must have looked a bit weird with smiles fixeMonastery buddhad on our faces! Our final destination of the day was a return to the Buddhist Mendut Monastery for the evening. At 7pm until 8pm the Buddhist monks chant and meditate and visitors are welcome.

We arrived to a stunningly lit up monastery and followed the monks to their chanting room where we sat at the back with 2 other visitors and watched as they chanted and meditated for 1 hour. It was just beautiful. The sound and tranquillity in the room was just WOW. Sure there were only 6 monks but it was impressive!

monks

During the meditation we sat in silence for 20 minutes (before the monk’s watch alarm went off to mark the end of the session!) It was a great time to reflex on our trip so far and just take some time out away from the craziness of Indonesian city life. It was so relaxing in fact, that one of the other tourists fell asleep! It was a new and great experience to be involved in part of the monks daily routine. We felt privileged and finished the day with an even bigger smile!

outdoor monastery

Mendut Monastery

 

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