One of the most special experiences I had in Yogyakarta was watching the sun rise over Borobudur. I have to admit I’m a morning person, but even if I wasn’t, the site 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.
Oh, by the way, I can help organize a tour for you to visit the temple at sunrise for yourself. I’ve got more details at the end of the post. First let me share my story…
“Ok, let’s go tomorrow morning then,” I said blindly to my friends when they asked if I wanted to see Borobudur at sunrise. There are only two places that I have ever heard of where you can watch Borobudur at sunrise, they are either from Manohara hotel or Punthuk Setumbu Hills. It is no longer a secret that to be able to see Borobudur at sunrise from Manohara hotel is quite expensive. I don’t know exactly how much, but it always said above Rp. 200.000,-. The other option, which is the cheapest option is from Punthuk Setumbu Hills. However, when I agreed to go with my friends to see Borobudur at sunrise, I was totally clueless where Punthuk Setumbu Hills was.
I started driving my motorbike from my house at 4.30 am, the journey to the hill probably took between 1-1,5 hours. I swear, it was the first time I have ever driven a motorbike by myself for a long distance (almost 45 km). Apparently I managed to drive 70km/hours (normally I drive max 40km/hours) safely without being involves in an accident (well almost :/ I just slightly crashed the back of my motorbike into another motorbike that was trying to cut me up, but it wasn’t my fault).
We arrived in the entrance of Borobudur temple and saw the sign for Manohara Hotel on our left hand side. From what I read, Punthuk Setumbu hills is located 2,5 km west of Borobudur. You have to turn right on the intersection after passing Manohara Hotel. Then just follow the road, maybe around 2 km, and you will easily find the office of this tourism spot. You need to turn right and drive up a little bit to arrive at the site.
There were a lot of motorbike taxi (ojek) guys that were trying to sell their service to guide us to Punthuk Setumbu hills. We decided to use one of them as we knew it would be quicker this way to find the place. We paid around Rp. 20.000,- for the guides service to lead us to the office of Punthuk Setumbu hills (price not for per person, but for your group). Remember, you have to pay the entrance fee; Rp. 15.000,- for local tourist and Rp. 30.000,- for a foreigner. 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. From a conversation with a local from around there, the ojek people are the ones that requested this, so they can scam tourist and get additional extra money from it. Be witty and get the entrance ticket for the stated price. Yes it is not a big amount of money, but it is a crime to do such things on purpose to scam people.
Try to arrive at the Pethuk Setumbu Hills to see Borobudur at sunrise 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. 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.
Watch Sunrise over Borobudur
Visiting Borobudur was an amazing experience and one that I’m happy to have shared with a lot of my readers. 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. They will pick you up from your hotel in the morning in a comfortable car and drive you to Borobudur so you can watch the sunrise (like I did). This sunrise Borobudur package even includes breakfast (optional) to give you energy for the rest of the day.
You can find more information about this and other tours on this brochure (just click here to download). To make a booking email me at firstname.lastname@example.org and I’ll get right back to you.
Enjoy your visit to Yogyakarta and have a great holiday.
Have you watched the sun rise over Borobudur? What did you think of it? Share your thoughts in the comment below.