Fodor's Expert Review Borobudur

Semarang Religious Building/Site/Shrine Fodor's Choice

One of the world's most-photographed Buddhist shrines and a UNESCO World Heritage site, the massive temple of Borobudur is the ultimate symbol for the journey to enlightenment. Shrouded by shady forests and trimmed with lush gardens, the mountainous, gray stone structure sprawls through some of Java's most scenic countryside in an undulating vista of soaring towers, thick walls, and collapsed steps. It took nearly a century to build, from around 780 to 850 AD, and it was nearly a millennium before it was discovered by foreign eyes. In 1814, Thomas Stamford Raffles stumbled on the site while on expedition as Lieutenant Governor of Java—but even after two restorations and millions of annual visitors, Borobudur still retains an ethereal ambience, a sense that you're being transported back to an ancient, mysterious world. Borobudur's layout resembles a mandala, rising in cakelike layers of six concentric square terraces and three circular platforms. Tours begin at the eastern stairway,... READ MORE

One of the world's most-photographed Buddhist shrines and a UNESCO World Heritage site, the massive temple of Borobudur is the ultimate symbol for the journey to enlightenment. Shrouded by shady forests and trimmed with lush gardens, the mountainous, gray stone structure sprawls through some of Java's most scenic countryside in an undulating vista of soaring towers, thick walls, and collapsed steps. It took nearly a century to build, from around 780 to 850 AD, and it was nearly a millennium before it was discovered by foreign eyes. In 1814, Thomas Stamford Raffles stumbled on the site while on expedition as Lieutenant Governor of Java—but even after two restorations and millions of annual visitors, Borobudur still retains an ethereal ambience, a sense that you're being transported back to an ancient, mysterious world. Borobudur's layout resembles a mandala, rising in cakelike layers of six concentric square terraces and three circular platforms. Tours begin at the eastern stairway, and continue through 5-km (3-miles) of walkways if done to full length. Stroll clockwise around the lowest square, taking time to observe the slight variances in 432 Buddahs and more than 1,500 images of Siddhartha's life. The three circular levels are dotted with 72 Buddha statues, each tucked into an enormous latticework stupa (dome-shaped temple). At the top, amid a scenic backdrop of emerald forests and smoky volcanoes, is a final stupa emblematic of the highest level of enlightenment. Also on the grounds is a small museum following the history of Borobudur's construction, rediscovery, and renovations. Guides are readily available for hire. Souvenir and food vendors around the monument can be persistent. Just smile and say "No, thank you" if you're not interested. The trip by road from Semarang takes less than two hours.

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Religious Building/Site/Shrine Fodor's Choice

Quick Facts

Yogyakarta, Daerah Istimewa Yogyakarta  56553, Indonesia

www.borobudurpark.com

Sight Details:
Rate Includes: 240,000 IDR; 360,000 IDR combined ticket with Prambanan

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