One of the most special experiences I have had in Yogyakarta was watching the sunrise over Borobudur. I have to admit I’m a morning person, but even if I wasn’t, the sight of the mist rolling over the valleys something that will always stay with me. I’d like to share with you my experience visiting the temple for sunrise.

In the article I’ll also share with you how to visit the Punthuk Setumbu Hills for yourself and give you an overview of the itinerary. Let’s get started.

Sunrise overlooking Borobudur Yogya

Arranging Your Own Tour

If you’re going to watch sunrise at Borobudur you have to leave Yogyakarta very early in the morning. Most people will arrange a car rental or join a shared tour, I’ll explain a bit more about that option later. On my first visit I decided to drive a motorbike. I’m not sure if it was a good idea, but I still enjoyed the adventure.

sunrise borobudur

How to Get There

It takes between an hour to an hour and a half to drive to the Punthuk Setumbu hills from Yogyakarta. I left my house at 4.30 am, the journey to the Punthuk Setumbu hills probably took between 1-1,5 hours. If you decide to drive by yourself you should wear a coat as it does get quite cold.

Punthuk Setumbu hills are located 2,5 km west of Borobudur. It’s a bit difficult to find the viewpoint if you travel here by yourself. You have to turn right on the intersection after passing Manohara Hotel. Then just follow the road, maybe around 2 km, and you find the office of this tourism spot.

where to see borobudur at sunrise

When we arrived close to the tourist office we found lots of Ojek (motorbike taxi) drivers. We paid around Rp. 20.000 for one of the drivers to guide us to the tourist office. When we got to the tourist office we bought an entrance ticket so that we could watch the sunrise.

Remember, you have to pay the entrance fee; Rp. 15.000, for local tourist and Rp. 30.000, for foreigners. Don’t let the ojek guy tell you how much you need to pay at the counter. The bad thing about the counter is that they didn’t put the notification for the price differences between the local and non local tourists. They just stated the price Rp. 30.000, without any other details. I’ve been told that this is a scam so that the Ojek drivers can make extra money. If you are an Indonesian you should ask for the correct price. Yes it is not a big amount of money, but it is a crime to scam people like this.

punthuk setumbu hills

Best Time For Sunrise

If you’re going to come to the Pethuk Setumbu Hills to see Borobudur at sunrise make sure you arrive at around 5.20 am. You still need to do a short bit of trekking; probably around 10-20 minutes to reach the spot. It’s not a hard trek if you are reasonably fit. After waking up so early you want to make sure you actually get to see the sunrise.

things to do Yogya temple borobudur

Joining An Organised Tour

While arranging your own tour to the Pethuk Setumbu Hills to watch sunrise over Borobudur is a great option for backpackers on a budget it can be quite intimidating. In fact there are two far more convenient options that you can choose; one option is hiring a private car, while the second option is joining an arranged tour.

Catching the Bus

If you join an arranged tour then you get picked up from your hotel or from a pre-determined pickup point. The pickup time for the minivan is between 3am to 4am as the driver will need to pick up other guests. Once the driver has picked up all the guests you are taken to Sethumbu Hill where you can watch the sunrise over Borobudur. After the sunrise you are taken to Borobudur temple. After exploring Borobudur you will be taken in the minivan back to Yogyakarta where you will be dropped off at your hotel.

Arranging a Car Rental

While a minivan is a great option, the more convenient option (and if you are a family or a large group the cheaper option) is arranging a car rental. The driver will pick you up from your hotel and take you to Sethumbu Hill. From there you go to Borobudur. On the way back to Yogyakarta you can visit Prambanan .

borobudur sunrise

Watch Sunrise over Borobudur

The view of the sunrise with Borobudur, Mount Merbabu and Mount Merapi in the distance was a great reward for waking up so early and driving so far. The view is very pretty and simply breathtaking. If you’re interested in experiencing this for yourself I can make it easy for you. I’ve teamed up with a local travel agent in Yogyakarta to offer you a special sunrise tour. It’s super convenient. 

Included in the Package:

  • Hotel pickup
  • Entrance tickets to Borobudur and Setumbu Hill (optional)
  • Breakfast
  • Drop off at your hotel

Want to watch sunrise over Borobudur from Sethumbu Hill? Press the button below to email me and make a booking.


I reply personally to every enquiry. Look forward to hearing from you and prepare yourself for a great holiday.

P.S. You can find more information about this and other tours on this brochure (just click here to download).

Have you watched sunrise over Borobudur? What did you think of it? Share your thoughts in the comment below.