November 14, 2012 – Temple Tour
*take Transjogja bus – Malioboro to Jombor – 3,000
*Jombor bus to Borobudur – 20,000
*Borobudur – entrance: 200,000 (20usd)
*Borobudur to Jombor bus station – 20,000
*Jombor to Transjogja Maioboro-3,000
*transjogja malioboro to Prambanan – 20,000
*Prambanan – entrance: 165,000 (18usd)
*Prambanan Transjogja to Malioboro – (20,000)
That’s a copy of my detailed itinerary for my supposed DIY temple tour in Central Java. Total expense for transportation only for the DIY tour is around 86,000IDR. Some travel agencies offer transport tour for only 65,000 to 75,000IDR. As always, the downside of joining group tours is that you cannot own the time of your tour.
So I decided to scratch that part of my iti, because I accepted the offer of the kind family I met in the railway station (obvious bang nakalimutan ko ang name nila. Tsk. Tsk.) Free transport tour to Borobudur and Prambanan temple – means saving 86,000IDR. Saving 86,000IDR means more KFC. Haha!
The night before, I texted the travel tour owner to confirm my stay in Anda Losmen. They told they’ll pick me up at around 430 in the morning. But it was almost 530 when they arrive. (Borobudur temple opens at 6am.)
180,000 IDR/20USD (foreign visitors)
90,000 IDR/10USD (foreign students with ID)
30,000 IDR (local visitors)
I never get tired to exploring temples. I must admit I vaguely remember all the details of the history of Angkor Wat temple, but I cannot forget how beautiful and magnificent the temple was. Now another Buddhist temple in central Java left me with so much awe-wow moment.
Entrance fee in Borobudur temple can be very hefty. This is after all one of the country’s tourist hotspots, so expect a double even triple charge for foreigners. But there’s always a way for a kuripot traveller like me. I first plan to act like a local in order to avail the cheapest entry fee. But since, I accepted the free transport offer of a travel agency, I had to join other foreign visitors, and be one with them.
The next thing I did was to pretend to be a legitimate student of a university. I know, what I did was a crime, but it’s one of those days that you have to make a crazy ‘diskarte’ to save a big bucks when travelling. Haha. Besides, I didn’t come up with this idea all by myself. I got this from research. Haha. And I didn’t make such claims without any document to support it – my Recto-made ID. (sabi nga, wag tularan!)
Right after securing my student pass, one of the attendants assisted me on how to wear the sarong. It’s their way of showing respect to the holy temple especially from visitors who will be wearing shorts and short-shorts. There’s a different sarong for foreign and local visitors.
I then took advantage of the free coffee being served in the office. We were oriented for a minute then we proceeded to the tour – all by ourselves. It was a weekday, yet, there were a lot of visitors in the area most of them were local students from Surabaya and Bandung.
But these students aren't there just for the tour, but to learn and practice their English – by talking to foreigners visiting the temple.
So while being in awe at the grand temple in front of me, students started to flock the view. Mobbing most of the white-skinned tourists entering the temple. Oh well, I thought they won’t notice me, being tanned and dark skinned and all – before I knew it – I was there, talking to them, after all, I was wearing the sarong for foreign visitors. So there I was, answering all their scripted and much memorized questions – what’s your name, where you from, when did you arrive in Jakarta, what do you think of the Borobudur temple etc. They’d better do it right because their respective teachers were documenting the whole thing. Haha. They also shared bits of Indonesian culture – food, dance and few local words which I can no longer remember. And to end the discussion, you have to grade them how do you think the whole conversation exercise went.
brown sarong for locals, white for foreigners
It was fun at first, really. I was just amazed how eager they were to learn English. But after having three different batches of students – it began to sound a little annoying. They asked almost same questions over and over, except the last one, where I talked to college students. But the interview basically ate up my tour time – c’mon as much as I wanted to tell them my story, I still have a temple to explore and I was running out of time. When I saw new visitors coming up the stairs in the temple, I started to beg off interviews from the kids and started my tour. This time, I was in a hurry because I only had few minutes left from our allotted tour time. But still, it was a wonderful experience talking to them.
Borobudur temple is the largest Buddhist temple in the world. It is also one of the most complex I’ve ever seen. From afar, it may look similar to a pyramid. But when you take a closer look in it – you’ll see magnificent features and intricate designs that made this temple into the list of UNESCO’s World Heritage Site. History dictates it was once buried into volcanic ash and was abandoned for hundreds of years until it was rediscovered.
On the top floor, you will see the most photographed stupa of the temple. There are 72 stupa (bell-like designed monument) surrounding the main dome that is located at the heart of the temple. Inside these stupas are 72 Buddha statues, sitting in different meditating position, protected and covered. They say the Buddha statue inside the stupa symbolizes the holiness of the spirit of the monks.
But there are some special stupa that is open for prayers and pilgrimage, like this one.
They say it’s best to visit the temple for the sunrise, at around 4-5am, but it’ll cost you more. The price you have to pay if you want to see the beautiful transformation of the temple once the first ray of sunlight kisses it and displays the various color of volcanic stones the temple is made of from. (Regular operating hours in the temple is 6am to 5pm.)
Some facts on Borobudur temple:
The largest stupa, right at the heart of the temple has a lightning arrester to protect it from bad weather.
It has a total of 1,460 reliefs that illustrates a story and more than a thousand panels for decoration.
A total of 32 lion guards surrounded the temple.
There are 504 Buddha statues in the entire temple.
Persistent souvenir vendors will mob you at the exit of the temple.
Note: Don’t be surprised, it’s a long walk from the exit of the temple to parking area where the tour vans and your tour mates will be waiting for you.