Once in Jogja, we had a few temples to check out. The first was Borobudur, the largest Buddhist temple in the world, built in the ninth-century.


The monument consists of nine stacked platforms, six square and three circular, topped by one central dome. The temple was decorated with what seemed like thousands of relief panels and hundreds of buddha statues. It's the world's largest Buddhist temple and one of the greatest Buddhist monuments in the world.


There are two options to consider when planning your trip to Borobudur. Arriving early for sunrise or not to. If you want to see sunrise, which isn't guaranteed if you visit in low season, you must leave central Jogja just after 3am to arrive at the Manohara Hotel around 4-4:30am. From this entrance point, the gates are opened to the public earlier for visitors who are willing to pay a premium entrance fee. This option is best if you're looking to avoid large tour groups.

If you don't care to see the sunrise you can enter through the main entrance, along with hundreds of tourists, squashing your chances of any tranquility or any quality photo ops. The main entrance opens to the public at 6am.


Although it was a foggy morning, we arrived early at the Manohara Hotel in hopes that the clouds would clear for a chance to see the sunrise. They never did but the fog played up for us. The feeling was mystical as the clouds laid low upon the stone temple. It was astonishingly beautiful to see the changing light around us as the sheer size of the temple suddenly became more apparent. We spent a couple hours walking around different levels, discovering new reliefs around ever corner. You can see the structure's age in each of the hundreds of Buddhas scattered around, some missing noses, or arms. While being two of about 40 people at the temple that morning, we were rewarded with a calm, intimate experience.