Most people come to Borobudur to see the 8th century Buddhist monument, therefore budgeting only several hours for this majestic place. What many don’t know is that the park around the monument is preserved by the government to keep the authentic Javanese culture and atmosphere.
To me it definitely deserves some time, especially if you are dreaming of a remote place where to find peace.
The trip from Yogyakarta’s Airport took me approximately one hour, but as soon as I arrived to my hotel I forgot about the flight and the drive in an instant.
Hotel Manohara Borobudur, where I stayed, is one of the few located in the Borobudur village and is surprisingly well-priced, given the proximity to the monument. It’s literally only 5-minute walk away and you can see the monument from the premises.
But this time it’s not the monument that took my mind away, but the atmosphere that was created – narrow pathways, small traditional wooden houses, light Javanese music, flowers and coconut trees around and very friendly people.
The hotel itself deserves some kind of relaxation reward. This is day and night, compared to what is happening at the foothills of the monument where you are constantly approached by people to either sell you something or ask all kinds of personal questions and take a photo with you.
Finally, after taking the time to relax and enjoy what appeared to me the calmest place in Southeast Asia, I went for a walk around the village. Of course Borobudur is the main attraction here, but one should definitely walk around the village to see the leisurely lifestyle of people in Java and beautiful views of volcanic mountains around (read about the unforgettable sunrise and sunset in this post).
For me this was mostly about the nature and I’ve got it to the fullest. If you have more time you can rent a car to visit Buddhist temples and waterfalls around the area as well.
History lovers and curious people will find a museum of Borobudur monument where the purpose and the structure are explained. You can also see how the monument was built, then nearly destroyed and then rebuilt again. The restoration process is still ongoing and after blocks are finished crafting here they are send to the monument for replacing deteriorated ones.
Apart from the nature and history, you can also enjoy the active lifestyle (to a reasonable extent, given the heat), by renting bicycles, horse coaches, or elephants (I wrote about it in this post).
Finally the sun has started to set down and I’ve returned back to the hotel for some traditional dinner and promised performance.
Speaking of performance, it was done by 4 actors, representing mostly living and fighting scenes. What distinguishes this from all theaters that I’ve been to is that there is no talking, only dancing in a slow and graceful fashion.
Similarly to the whole culture the performance was very calm and relaxing and have put a very nice ending to such an awesome day.