By Darren Griffiths

Temple Of Borobudur Sunrise In Java: Our DIY Guide

9th December 2023

There are multiple ways to organise a temple of Borobudur sunrise, but in this post, we’ll be sharing our DIY experience with helpful tips, for those wishing to do the same.

There are two Javanese sunrise spots that are well and truly on the map and we’ve hiked to experience both of them! The majority of travellers who make the effort to journey to this awesome part of Indonesia will beeline to Mount Bromo and the Temple of Borobudur. Of course, there are plenty of other sunrise spots to enjoy but these two are the most popular, and for good reason.

What Is Borobudur Temple?

Borobudur Temple is the world’s largest Buddhist temple. It’s an 8th-century Buddhist stupa and temple complex that’s been given UNESCO World Heritage Site status.

Upper levels of the temple of Borobudur
Upper levels of the temple of Borobudur

This truly great ancient monument consists of nine levels (six square and three round) built from two million stone blocks.

It has four stairways, one on each side, which lead up through carved gateways to the very top.

The Temple of Borobudur is up there with other great religious monuments such as Angkor Wat in Cambodia and Bagan in Myanmar.

You can’t fail to be impressed by Borobudur’s impressive scale and incredible attention to detail that went into the carvings and construction.

There’s a giant Buddha statue at the top of the Temple and smaller Buddha statues inside each of the open latticed pagodas on the upper terraces.

Borobudur Sunrise
Borobudur Sunrise

The Temple of Borobudur is also set in the beautiful Kedu Plain with a backdrop of epic active volcanoes. It’s no wonder thousands of people want to experience the Temple of Borobudur sunrise!

To read more detail about the temple of Borobudur, click here.

Stay In Borobudur

You can add a trip to Borobudur to your list of things to do in Yogyakarta but the best way to see the sunrise at Borobudur is by booking some accommodation in Borobudur village.

Borobudur village is a friendly little town with a couple of main streets and a huge atmospheric local market.

Borobudur is also surrounded by gorgeous green rice fields, smaller villages, soaring limestone cliffs, and puffing volcanoes.   

Griya Harja Homestay, Borobudur
Griya Harja Homestay, Borobudur

For a town that has one of Java’s main tourist attractions, Borobudur is surprisingly non-touristy.

We didn’t see any Western restaurants or fancy coffee shops but there are plenty of clean and cheap local places to eat.

The entrance to the Temple is right in the centre of town so very convenient for the early morning start to watch as the sun rises over the Temple.

We stayed for two nights at the awesome Griya Harja Homestay. This place is a five-minute drive from the Temple of Borobudur and is surrounded by local rural life.

The owner speaks perfect English, can assist your Borobudur sunrise, offers free bicycle hire, and even goes out to purchase your meals which can be eaten on the veranda!

How To Get To From Yogyakarta To Borobudur

There are three ways to visit Borobudur from Yogyakarta. The journey is approximately 90 minutes.

temple of borobudur sunrise java diy guide
Rice farmers in Borobudur

1 – Public Bus
Head to Jombor bus terminal in north Yogyakarta and take the next bus heading directly to Borobudur. The Borobudur bus terminal is in the centre of town.

2 – Shared Van
We booked into a shared van/car which was comfortable and offered accommodation collection and drop off. This can be booked through your accommodation or tour company.

3 – Private Car
If you’ve got money to burn or travelling as a family, private cars are available through your accommodation or tour company.

How The Borobudur Temple Sunrise Works

The only way to see the Borobudur Temple sunrise is to buy a ticket through Manohara Hotel. Manohara Hotel is the only hotel situated inside the gates of Borobudur temple.

Climbing the stairways to the top terrace when visiting Borobudur Temple
Climbing the stairways to the top terrace when visiting Borobudur Temple

We arrived at the hotel at 4:30 am to buy our ticket which gave us plenty of time to walk up the different levels and terraces for what he hoped would be an epic sunrise at Borobudur Temple.

If staying at Griya Harja Homestay they can drop you off and collect you later.

The temple of Borobudur opens to the public at 6:30 am, so those who purchase a sunrise ticket get the place to themselves for 2 hours before the coaches of day-trippers arrive.

Borobudur Sunrise Ticket Cost

Foreigner Visitor: 355,000 IDR ($25 USD)

The sunrise at Borobudur ticket also includes tea/coffee and a light snack at the hotel’s restaurant and a Borobudur scarf souvenir. For more details, contact: sales@manoharaborobudur.com

Our Temple Of Borobudur Sunrise Experience

Once we purchased our ticket from the Manohara Hotel reception, we followed the signs for Borobudur sunrise using the free torch provided.

Cloudy orange skies at our Borobudur sunrise
Cloudy orange skies at our Borobudur sunrise

We visited in March, so being low season, there were just another 100 people joining us. This meant we could all grab a decent spot for the Borobudur sunrise.

We heard in peak season it can be much busier and with lots of noisy Chinese tourists!

A sense of anticipation was in the air. Most of the tourists were being respectfully quiet, since for some, this is an enlightening and religious experience.

The only sounds were the whispers between tourists, birds starting to wake and a man next to us humming as he meditated.

Unfortunately, like our Dieng Plateau sunrise experience, the weather was not on our side. It was very cloudy with quite a lot of mist.

The mist was not our concern as it’s common, even on a clear day, for mist to shroud this area at this early hour. But the thick cloud was a bit of a worry.

Enjoying our tea and coffee at the Manohara Hotel
Enjoying our tea and coffee at the Manohara Hotel

As the clouds started to lighten, we realised the sun was rising but we couldn’t see it.

This would continue for most of our Borobudur sunrise with only a few seconds of colour in the clouds and a glimpse or two of the orange sun.

The cloud was also covering the backdrop of volcanoes that usually add to this unique Borobudur sunrise.

However, getting to experience the Borobudur Temple during the morning darkness and sunrise was still an enjoyable and unique encounter.

Is watching a Borobudur Sunrise Worth it?

Witnessing the temple come to light in the morning’s peacefulness is something we’ll remember forever. We can only imagine how amazing the Borobudur sunset must be on a clear day!

A Borobudur sunrise ticket is a little more than general entry, but it also avoids the heat humidity and crowds!

Top Tips For The Borobudur Temple Sunrise

Here are our top tips to enjoy your Borobudur sunrise experience:

View of Borobudur from the top of Dagi Hill
View of Borobudur from the top of Dagi Hill
  • Try to avoid weekends for fewer people joining the Borobudur sunrise tour.
  • The best Borobudur sunrise spot is at the very top of the temple on the same side as the entrance.
  • Be respectful and cover your knees and shoulders.
  • After you leave the Borobudur sunrise tour, make sure to walk up Dagi Hill for an alternative view of the temple. It’s just 10-15 minutes from the temple to the top of Dagi Hill. 

Other Things To Do In Borobudur

There are lots of things to do when you visit Borobudur after you’ve watched the sunrise at Borobudur Temple and explored the temple grounds. here are some ideas:

Check Out All Our Finding Beyond In Java Posts Here!

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