Borobudur Day 3 (13 May 12) – Early Flight Out

This day was rather uneventful. As our flight was at 7.35am, we had to leave the hotel at 5.30 am latest! We had woke up at 4am unwillingly as the bed in the hotel was too comfy for us to get our ass off the bed, however we dun have the luxury of doing that. After washing and packing up, we left the hotel at 5.30am as planned. At the reception while processing our check out, I had a quick chat with the staff who apparently had been working the night shift.

“How was your shift, must be tiring to be working the night shift.” I asked

“Yes, it was rather tiring” came the very polite reply by the staff despite the toll the shift has upon him.

“So what time do you knock off?” I enquired curiously

“8am” came the reply

“Ahh…. just 2 hours more to go, personally I felt 3am was the toughest time to past by” I replied

“Yes, it was tough at that hour” came the reply by the staff promptly

 After the check out procedure was over and done with, I enquired about the airport transfer that I had arranged with his colleague the day before. The staff at the reception told me after checking that there was no record of such an arrangement. I asked if it is possible for him to arrange. The staff gave me the look of why do you wanna spend that kind of money?

“You can catch a taxi, and we can call one for you if you want” Said the staff which confirmed my suspicion. I asked him how much would it cost if i catch a cab to the airport? As my very limited travel experience has shed some light in how some cabbies in some countries tried to quote through the roof prices to tourists, especially when it comes to airport trips.

“Our transfer costs 60,000Rps, and the taxi is ran by meters, will only cost you at most 50,000Rps” replied the ever polite staff. At this point I was very impress with the service that the staff rendered. He not only was polite and even spared a thought for the wallets of the guests who stayed in the hotel. True to his words, the cab fare was 30,000Rps, about half the price we would have paid should we insisted in getting the airport transfer. Wow! I turned to my friend when we reached the airport and told him what I thought of the staff who processed our checkout, he was impressed and agreed that the staff was very thoughtful.

Back at the small-ish airport terminal, checking in was a breeze. Once inside the terminal, there are a few some shops selling goods ranging from souvenirs such as Batiks, to paper puppets, to dried food stuffs. The airport has 2 waiting rooms, one for domestic and the other for international departures. We headed for the international departures through the customs, and the waiting room is just ahead. We waited for our flight to arrive for more then an hour (well to be fair, flight departed on time), the bird that took us from Yogyakarta to Singapore originates from Jakarta. Well I guess this is the business model for low cost carriers. The flight back home was uneventful. Guess we were too tired, after having to wake up at 4 am for 2 consecutive days, we spent the next 2 hours snoozing onboard the aircraft. 2 hours seem to fly past soon we found ourselves getting ready for landing…. with this marks the end of our trip and back to reality, back to work for the next day. Not too sure where my next destination will be, hope to do a longer trip at a further destination, till then time to sleep…….

Checking into our flight home
Empty waiting lounge in the airport
Walking towards our flight
Me with the aircraft on the tarmac
Preparing to take off
Jogja below us
Mt Merapi
Mt Merapi
Flying home
Flying home

Borobudur Day 2 (12 May 12) – It was well worth it: Sunrise at Borobudur

Our alarm clocks went off at 4.30am today, being awake, we are still discussing whether to go for the sunrise tour. Well since we are already awake, might as well just go for it. My friend and I quickly washed up and went to the reception at around 5.30am, just in time for the sunrise tour as we thought. At first we had the impression that there will be a huge group getting ready to go towards the temple, and that the places available are limited for the tour. However as we approach the reception area, it seemed to be very quiet there. We asked the receptionist if there are still spots for the sunrise tour, she replied there are plenty of slots. At this point we realised that the so called sunrise tour is merely the hotel sells you the tickets to gain entry into the temple before sunrise and we are pretty much on our own! After payment, the receptionist gave us our tickets, a couple of torch lights and sarongs. At this point I was telling my friend, I didn’t realise that we need to wear a sarong into the temple, as the day before we entered the temple without wearing sarongs and the staff checking our tickets did not bitch about it. We were instructed by the receptionist to wear our sarongs before heading towards the temple. Now wearing the piece of batik looking cloth seem weird, however since everyone is doing that, we did likewise. After we donned on our sarongs, the guide gathered whoever is there waiting to depart the temple, and off we go, we are on our way to the temple. The walk towards the temple at night was rather cooling, in contrast to the heat we experienced the day before when we were at Borobudur. Soon we found ourselves at the gate, got our tickets verified and standing before us is Borobudur temple. The temple looks solemn at this hour, as though a giant still in his slumber. There isn’t alot of visitors at the temple at this hour. Most of those whom were here are here for the sunrise, mostly photograph enthusiasts. As there was little light for us to explore around the temple, we made our way to the levels where the stupas are situated, patiently waiting for sunrise.

Our tickets to the sunrise tour
Borobudur at dawn
The temple at this hour looked erie
Climbing up the temple
Buddha Statues watching over the land at the wee hours of the morning

As we were waiting, we went around taking pictures of the surroundings, which was rather tranquil at this hour. As we were walking around, we chatted with some of the staffs there. We came to realised that the so called Mt Merapi that we were photographing yesterday isn’t Mt Merapi! It is actually Mt Sindoro, our guide generously pointed to us where Merapi is, and told us that the sun would rise in the direction of Merapi. Since there was some time before sun rise, we continued our photography session around the top levels of the temple. There isn’t much activities at the surroundings at this hour, even on the temple there are less then 20 visitors. I can imagine the peace and tranquility of the temple when it was first built or even prior to its rediscovery, before tourists came to know about its existence. I took the time to enjoy the peace and the unpolluted air that the temple and its surroundings offer. At this hour, visitors were either waiting patiently for the sun to shine across the lands, or busy taking photographs of the surroundings and the pre dawn scenery. Soon the first ray of the sun hits Mt Merapi, the view was stunning. With the sun ray, the surroundings are now covered with a blanket of fog, as though we were floating in the heavens! This is the time I begin to realise and appreciate the value of visiting this monument for sunrise. It totally debunked my preconception that this was a waste of time. I turned to my friend and told him luckily for his perseverance, if not we would not have been able to enjoy such a sight. All eyes are now gazing in the direction of Mt Merapi, where the sun slowly rising as though someone whom just had a late night and reluctantly waking up. All visitors spared no time wasted and quickly snapped their cameras away.  

Stupas on the top of the temple
Stupas stood solemnly watching the town awaking to another day
View of Mt Merapi at dawn
Shadows of the Stupas
Stupas at dawn
Stupas at dawn
Stupas at dawn
Buddha in the Stupa watching as the town awakens to another day
Buddha statue sitting in the stupa for centuries since the temple was first built
Borobudur solemnly welcoming another day to arrive
Borobudur and the surrounding mountains
The pinkish sky from beyond Mt Merapi
Borobudur at dawn
Panoramic view of the temple and the surroundings
Waiting for the sun to rise
Me at Borobudur at dawn
Awaiting for the sun to creep from beyond the clouds
A blanket of mist covering the ground as day breaks
Blanket of mist covering the ground
The sun is slowly rising from beyond Mt Merapi
The sun is slowly rising from beyond Mt Merapi
As the day breaks, the fog slowly disappears from the ground
The sun is slowly rising from beyond Mt Merapi
Borobudur at sunrise
The fog gives the area a sense of mysteriousness
Fog is still visible from the ground
Sunrise at Borobudur is simply stunning
Buddha statue in the stupa welcoming the arrival of another day
Borobudur at sunrise
Borobudur at sunrise
Borobudur at sunrise
Rays of the morning sun penetrating the temple
Borobudur at sunrise
Sunrise from Borobudur
Sun has cast light on the statue
Borobudur at sunrise
Me at Borobudur at sunrise
Borobudur at sunrise
Borobudur at sunrise
Borobudur at sunrise
Borobudur at sunrise
Borobudur at sunrise
Buddha inside the stupa
Borobudur at sunrise
Borobudur at sunrise
Borobudur at sunrise
Close up of the Buddha Statue inside one of the stupas
Close up of the Buddha Statue inside one of the stupas

It was soon around 8am, as the gates opened for the rest of the visitors. As the first batch of visitors arrived at the temple, the peace and tranquility that we experienced just mere minutes ago was broken with hordes and hordes of visitors, ranging from tour groups to student groups. The eager visitors rushed straight to the top of the temple to marvel the surroundings, just as what we did for the past 2 days. As the top floor became rather rowdy, I ask my friend if he was done with photo taking. He too find it too noisy to stay around, and we decided to explore the bits that we have missed out. As we were moving down to the floors with carvings, all we did was to trace out the carvings from the video that we saw last night at the hotel auditorium and see if we can find something resembling the story of Buddha. We managed to spot some, but the rest were just not apparent to us. As we were scouring through the temple, we spotted some blocks which does not seemed to fit into the building structure. I turned around and told my friend that these seemed like some misfit jigsaw puzzles, where the staff just chucked them there in a fit of frustration as they can’t seemed to find the place that they belonged to. We continued taking pictures, making sure every corner and every turn was not missed. The amount of visitors grew like wild mushrooms after a season rain, it was too crowded for us to bear. I suggested that we descent to the base of the temple and perhaps walked around the base. My friend agreed and we spare no time getting to the base. Now it is rather challenging getting down as opposed to going up the temple, we found ourselves walking against the crowd, whom kept pouring into the temple. At times we even had to “fight” our way down. It was certainly a challenging 5 minutes down the temple.

The grandure of the temple never fails to astound me
Borobudur Temple

At the base, we walked around the temple and found that the back of the temple (the side that does not face the garden that visitors has to pass by to get to the temple) was rather quiet. Except of a group boys, whom appear to be students from a school excursion trip riding on the guarding statue. As my friend was interested in taking picture of the statue, he asked the boys if they could be excused from the statue. Without hesitation, the boys cooperated and even told their friends to not block my friend’s picture taking opportunity. After walking around the grounds for several more minutes, the past 2 early morning waking ups has taken a toll to me. I suggested to my friend to get back to the hotel for breakfast, rest awhile and then head off to Yogjakarta, where our next stop is. He agreed and we soon found ourselves having breakfast at the hotel grounds. The breakfast was worth mention here, not as in the food is fantastic, but the location of our table. It is as thought we were having breakfast in the gardens with Borobudur gracing her appearance, having breakfast together with us. This is indeed a memorable experience. After breakfast we retired back to our rooms and started to pack up. It did not take long for us to pack up and my friend soon find it restless. He asked if I am interested in joining him to visit the smallish hill we saw at the top of the temple. As I was rather tired, I told him I prefer to stay in the room and rest. My friend went on his own, and upon his return, he told me that I had missed much as there was a museum nearby the temple, showcasing the history and the restoration process…. Damn I should have joined him.

Borobudur Temple
The quieter side of the temple
Temple ground at ground zero
Borobudur Temple
Borobudur Temple
The gardens around the temple
Borobudur from the hotel grounds
On our way back to Yogjakarta

 We checked out of the hotel at around 12 noon and our transport towards Yogjakarta was already waiting for us. On our way back, the knowledgeable driver shared most of the sights along the way, despite his lack of knowledge in the English language, that did not deter him in sharing his local knowledge with us. We are really grateful for his generosity in sharing the information. It took us a couple of hours to reach our hotel in Yogjakarta. The rustic looking hotel looked like a museum from the outside and throughout the hotel! There are pieces of the local history scattered around the hotel. Every turn and every corner we would be able to find a piece of historic artifact. The hotel was tastefully decorated with a well balance of history and contemporary theme. Our room was equally fantastic. After settling our luggage in the room, we headed out to grab lunch. On our way towards the main entrance of the hotel, my friend pointed to something which caught my attention:

“Look at that” he exclaims

“Wow, the world’s most expensive coffee” I replied

“Shall we try it later?” He asked “It would cost at least SGD65 back home”

After I have done the maths (which comes to about SGD20), I replied “Why not? We should try this since it is 3 times cheaper here”

“On, let’s try this at night after we came back from town” came the reply from my friend

“Okie” I said

On our way back to Yogjakarta
On our way back to Yogjakarta
Ornamental trishaw of the hotel

And we were on our way out to find food. After grabbing food to fill our stomachs, we headed for the so called shopping street of Yogjakarta. I mean from our touching down to our way to Borobudur to coming back from Borobudur, I did not see any shopping malls around. When we asked the receptionist in the hotel, we were told that the shopping street is just a stone’s throw away from where we put up. We were given a map of the city by the very helpful receptionist, we followed the map heading towards the shopping street. After about 15 mins walking, we still do not see any shopping mall. At this point, my friend was wandering if we had been tricked or missed the turn towards the shopping mall. Upon closer study of the map, we realised that the map isn’t drawn to scale. As we walked further down, we spotted the train station that we are supposed to come across. This confirmed our theory that the map isn’t drawn to scale. After crossing the railway crossings, we came upon the start of the shopping district. Here is where we saw hundreds of stores lining up the road side, selling mostly souvenirs to local tourists and foreigners alike. Along the side of the road lined up horse carriages. I suppose this is for the tourists more then a mode of transportation for the locals. Along the way and back we kept getting locals asking if we wanted cab. I was a bit perturbed by this, but soon learnt to ignore them. After passing the train station, we came upon a shopping mall some 10 mins later. Though modern, we find the shopping mall does not have sell stuffs to our liking and decided to get out of it after spending some 10 mins inside.

Streets of Yogjakarta
Streets of Yogjakarta
KFC for lunch
Around Yogjakarta
One of the monuments in the middle of the road
Streets of Yogjakarta
Train Museum
Streets of Yogjakarta
Hotel at night

As we got out of the shopping mall, we thought the rest of the walking street looks more or less the same. We decided to head back to the hotel for dinner and then rest up as we were pretty worn out after 2 days of waking early, moreover we had to wake up pretty early for our morning flight back home the next day. We decided to head dine at the hotel instead, as the rest of the town seemed to be closed to us. After dinner, we headed towards the cafe for the most expensive coffee in the world. To be frank, the coffee don’t really taste that bitter unlike the other coffees. We saw this gift pack that came with the mug, which I quite like the design, bought one each. As we were buying, we chatted with the restaurant manager. We came to learnt that the hotel don’t sell the coffee a lot, as demand mostly come from tourists due to the relatively cheap pricing in Yogjakarta. The sales of the gift packs are even lower. After chatting for around 1 hour with the manager, we decided to head back to our room and rest for the night, after all we have to wake up early tomorrow morning for our flight back home.

The hotel we stayed in also doubles up as a museum
Time for dinner
Dinner time
One can find phoenixes around the hotel
Most expensive coffee in the world – Kopi Luwak
One of the displays in the hotel

 

 

Borobudur Day 1 (11 May 12) – Arrival at Borobudur

My friend and I has been talking about planning a trip to Borobudur since last October. We had the research done up and was about to go back then, however due to work, our trip did not materialise. Sometime earlier this year we begin talking about our trip to Borobudur, it finally materialised for us this time round. After months of waiting, today marks the day we finally embarked on this overdued postponed trip. We got to the airport rather early, did some shopping and soon found ourselves heading towards Yogjakarta, one of the two gateways to Borobudur. As we did not check in our luggage, we cleared immigration and met up with the driver assigned by the hotel to pick us up at the airport very quickly. The moment we cleared custom, the driver was already there waiting for us to pick us up to the hotel. Along the way he pointed out several interesting sights. One of those that caught my eyes were the ashes from Mt Merapi, which erupted 2 years ago. When this volcano displayed it’s rage, its ashes covered the whole of Borobudur, as a result the top few floors of the monument was closed to the public due to restoration works. We were informed by our driver that the top few floors were opened after the Indonesian government has done some restoration works to it.

Arrival at Yogkakarta Airport
Around Yogjakarta Airport
On our way to Borobudur
On our way to Borobudur
One of the small towns we pass by while making our way to Borobudur
On our way to Borobudur
On our way to Borobudur with Mt Merapi in the background
More padi fields

We booked a room at Manohara Hotel, which gave us the advantage of being closer to Borobudur. When I said close I mean literally close. As the hotel is situated in the compounds of Borobudur, the monument is just a stone throw away from the hotel. We headed for the restaurant in the hotel to combat our hunger pains after almost 4 hours of traveling. The restaurant overlooks Borobudur itself, it is a nice feeling munching our long overdued lunch while watching the temple absorbing numerous visitors coming to admire its grandure. We took our time having our lunch as we felt we have all the time in the world to visit the temple. Staying in this hotel gave us this advantage. After lunch we took a slow stroll around on the gardens in the hotel ground just infront of the temple, the call of the temple is just too great for us to resist (partially there was really nothing much around the hotel, they don’t even have a swimming pool!!) we decided it is time to pay a visit to the monument we have came to visit. True to what has been advertised on the hotel website and the comments left by patrons of the hotel, Borobudur is a mere 5 minutes stroll from the hotel compounds. Prior to hitting the entrance of Borobudur, which is just a guard house beyond the gates that protects the monument from visitors during its slumber at night, we walked through a garden leading to the temple. Walking through this stretch towards the temple reminds me alot of the Persian gardens that we have visited slightly more then a year ago.

Statue of Ganesha in the hotel grounds
Replica of a stupa in the hotel grounds
Statue around the hotel grounds
Face of Garuda
Model of Borobudur in the hotel grounds
The actual Borobudur afar
Selfie with Borobudur
The path that leads to Borobudur
Orientation of the temple
Borobudur

After we had our tickets checked, we breezed towards the base of the temple. Standing at the base, looking up at the temple is indeed a sight of awe. The magnificence of the temple, its grander, can only be felt when one is standing at the base. We thought there was plenty of time for us to explore the temple at our pace, we did not scale it once we were there. We took our time trying to get a good shot of the temple at the entrance side of the temple. I even have time to take pictures of the lions guarding the temple in the ancient times. After a few shoots, we decided to scale the temple. We reminded ourselves (consciously or sub-consciously) we will have alot of time to explore the temple as this is the only thing on our itinerary for this trip. After taking some photos at the base of the temple, we decided to explore the temple’s 9 storeys level by level. As we were moving towards one of the stairways leading up to the pinacle of the temple, we came across what seemed to be some form of guardian statues that seem to ward off evils. I thought this 2 statues are rather interesting and started to take some pictures on it. After that we attempted to climb to the first level of the temple. Well climbing seem not as easy as it looks, not due to the structure of the temple, neither is it due to the difficulty of the climb, it is due to the hordes of visitors coming to visit the temple. What would otherwise seem like a 1 – 2 minute climb eneded up to e around 6 mins due to the crowd. Climbing the relatively steep stairways, while battling a step on the stairways with visitors either going up the same direction with us or coming down from the temple proved to be challenging. Nonetheless, we made it, to the first level after 6 mins. We decided to walk clockwise (As the temple is square-shaped at the lower 6 levels and circular at the top 3 levels) around this level. Divorcing from the stairways, we turned to our right. At this moment, the intricacy of the carvings on the walls on the temple just overwhelms me. We are talking about 2 full panels of carvings on each side of the wall. As one walks through the corridor of each level, one would be surrounded  by these painstalking carvings on the wall. At one glance, the carvings seemed to be telling some stories, but to my uninformed eyes, they just seem to be telling the story of buddha. Most of the carvings do not seemed to make any sense to me, and seemed rather random. Given that, the carvings are very interesting and seemed very detail. Forces of nature do not seemed to take too much of a toll on the carvings, although errosion can be seen more on some carvings then the others. I would say most of the carvings are rather intact.

Borobudur Temple on ground zero
Me with Borobudur closed up
Happy to be here
Guardian Statue at the base of the temple
Guardian Statue at the base of the temple
Another shot of me at Borobudur
Borobudur and the surrounding mountains
Borobudur from ground zero
The temple is just magnificent
We started to scale the temple
Buddhist carvings on the temple walls
Buddhist carvings on the temple walls
Carving of a guardian on the temple
Buddhist carvings on the temple walls
The carvings are detailed
Buddhist carvings on the temple walls
Me on Borobudur
Buddhist carvings on the temple walls
Buddhist carvings on the temple walls
Buddha statue on Borobudur
Me in Borobudur
Buddhist carvings on the temple walls
At this point the carvings make no sense to me
Me with the carvings on Borobudur
Buddhist carvings on the temple walls
Buddhist carvings on the temple wall
Inside Borobudur
Buddhist carvings on the temple walls
Glad to be able to come to this temple
Buddhist carvings on the temple walls
Buddhist carvings on the temple walls
Buddhist carvings on the temple walls
Buddhist carvings on the temple walls
Buddhist carvings on the temple walls
Buddhist carvings on the temple walls
The young prince attaining Buddhahood
There must be hundreds if not thousands of carvings on the temple walls
Selfie in Borobudur
Buddhist carvings on the temple walls
Buddhist carvings on the temple walls
A Buddha Statue in Borobudur
Borobudur Temple
Inside Borobudur
Borobudur
Borobudur
The architecture is just amazing

As we were walking around, like tourists, we are looking for some picture perfect spots. Well once in awhile we get tourists standing here and there taking pictures, but other then that we thought the lower level was still relatively “free from tourists”. Perhaps people come here to visit the pinacle of the temple, the view as I read it, is quite stunning. Well more of that later. My friend and I constantly reminded ourselves how much time we have to explore the temple and given that luxury, we “budgeted” our time at each level well. We spent about 45 min on the first level of the temple, back to the same crowded stairways that we ascended the monument with, we proceeded to the second level of the temple. The same aweness just fills me with the amount of detailed carvings on the wall along the corridor of the structure. Each carving seem to tell a different story, some more visible then the others, at this point it became more apparent that the story told was about buddha and buddism. As we were strolling along the corridors, with occasional “Hi’s” and “How are you’s” from foreigners, we came across this lady with what seemed to be a Russian ascent. She requested for us to help her take some pictures, well I must say she certainly has some interesting poses up her sleeves. It seemed this Russian lady is traveling alone. At this point I was thinking, she must be really brave to have traveled alone to this rather remote site (not that I have not done that before). After snapping some pictures for her, we bidded her farewell and continued with our admiration of the temple and photo-snapping affairs. Well level 2 took us another 45 mins or so. Up we go to level 3. Halfway through level 3, our patience started to run low, as without any explanations, the carvings started to look the same to us. Half way through the level 3, we started to feel the carvings are rather repetitive. My friend and I decided to move up the next level halfway through. At this point we realised the stairways at the other side seemed to be less crowded. Boy this is one of the best decisions we have made during this trip. We did likewise for the next few levels, walking around it halfway and then proceeded up to the next level, along the way, I felt as if I was patronising the photo taking, snapping a few pictures here and there. The carvings made not much sense to me anyways, they don’t seemed to be telling a story (well maybe I hadn’t been able to appreciate the carvings at this point).

View of the surroundings
Almost reaching the top
This is the stairs that brought us to the top of the temple
Breathtaking views of the surrounding mountains
The head of the Buddha Statue is believed to be stolen
A complete Buddha Statue watching over the temple
Buddha Statue in the temple grounds
An interesting mix of Balinese and Hindi architecture
Buddhist carvings on the temple walls
Around the temple
The amount of carvings and statues are just countless
Close up of the headless Buddha
Another complete Buddha
Top part of the temple from afar
Buddhist carvings on the temple walls
Buddhist carvings on the temple walls
View of the surroundings from the temple
Buddhist carvings on the temple walls
Buddha statue
Lion standing guard in the temple grounds
Borobudur Temple
Buddhist carvings on the temple walls
Buddhist carvings on the temple walls
Buddhist carvings on the temple walls
The walls depict the life of Buddha
In the temple
Buddhist carvings on the temple walls
Borobudur Temple
Borobudur Temple
Buddhist carvings on the temple walls
Buddhist carvings on the temple walls
View of the temple with the surrounding mountains
A couple of the many Buddha Statues in the temple
The surrounding mountains makes the temple look grander
Top of the temple
Buddhist carvings on the temple walls
Buddha sitting Solemnly on the temple watching over the land
Borobudur and the surroundings

Soon we found ourselves at the circular levels of the temple. Reaching this level sure takes the repetitive carvings after carvings mood away from me. At this level, we can see the picturesque greeneries surrounding the temple. At one side we see a mountain range, with its low clouds, certainly is a welcoming and refreshing sight for city dwellers like us. As we turned around, we saw this volcano, which seemed to be a stone’s throw away from the temple. We read about how Mt Merapi has errupted a few years ago, and as a result, the temple was covered with volcanic ashes. Immediately, we deduced that the very volcano we saw is Merapi. Sparing no lost time we send our cameras snapping the volcano away. As I was walking around the top few levels (which are relatively open), I managed to take some rather nice shoots. At this point, my patience as totally ran out of juice, I skipped a few levels and headed for the top most level. Afterall the top few levels looked the same to me with stupas springing up around like wild mushrooms after a heavy rain pour, except that the stupas are more organised. As I was walking around the top level, I found myself facing the west, looking at the sunsetting between mountains and beyond the farm fields. Wow, this sight may be common to the residents in the area, to a city dweller this sight is indeed rare and therapautic to a certain extend. As I watch the sun slowly fades away from the sky, as though it is retiring for the day, my fingers are busy working with my camera to capture the picture perfect moment.

Stupas at the top of the temple
Stupas at the top of the temple
View of the surroundings from the top of the temple
Stupas at the top of the temple
Me with the Stupas
Stupas at the top of the temple
Buddha watching over the land
View of the top of the temple
Borobudur Temple
Panoramic shot of the temple and the surroundings
Sunsetting from the land
Stupas at the top of the temple
View from the top of the temple
A Buddha inside the Stupa
Stupas at the top of the temple
Stupas at the top of the temple
Me with my friend in the background
View from the Stupa level of the temple
On the top of Borobudur
There are some carvings on the base of the Stupas
Stupas at the top of the temple
Me at the top floor of the temple
The centrepiece of the temple and it is the highest point of the temple
Shot of a Buddha inside one of the Stupas
Close up of the Buddha inside one of the Stupas
Sunsetting with the Stupas in view
Sunsetting
Awaiting Sunset from the Stupa level of the temple
Me with the sunsetting
Stupa and the sunset
On the top of the temple
Sunsetting over the mountains
Panoramic shot of the surroundings
Me watching sunset
Detailed carvings on the walls of Borobudur
Sunsetting
Sunset
Grandure of Borobudur Temple

We soon found ourselves being “Chased” out of the temple. Looking at our watches, geezzz…. it is about time for them to close. Reluctantly, we had to peel ourselves away from the temple and started to descend the temple. Well we still have the next morning to take more pictures of the temple. As we were walking out, the relantless vendors selling souvenirs at the compounds of the temple sprang to work. Seeing tourists coming down from the temple, the were quick to paddle their wares in the hope to clinch some last minute sales. I was rather interested in a minuature model of the temple. A vendor approached me and I checked out the price with him:

“100,000 rupiah” said the vendor.

I was like… what??!!

“50,000 for 2” I counter offered.

“Too low” came the reply.

“Nevermind then” I said to the vendor, and was about to walk away.

“okay 50,000 rupiah for 2 then”

I quickly choose 2 of the models and walked off after paying the vendor. Happy I was to have managed to strike a bargain. We walked around what seemed to be a bazzar in the day. Well too bad most of the shops are closing or have closed. My friend and I decided to head back to the hotel. Once returning to our room, our stomach strikes, as though demanding food. As there don’t seem to be any restaurants or eateries around the hotel, we settled our dinner in the hotel restaurant. There was a staff member playing the traditional Indonesian muscial instrument, and singing along to the music. The dinner was decent and did what it supposed to do –  to fill our stomachs. As the night is still young we decided to walk around and explore the hotel abit. We stumbled into an auditorium of some sort, the staff was kind enough to allow us to pop in and take a look what was showing inside. Once inside, the empty auditortium was show a video clip about Borobudur! The informative video explains the carvings in the temple, the stories behind the carvings and the proper way to visit the temple. At this moment, my friend and I were like “geezzz we should have seen this before hitting the temple”. It became apparent to us what the carvings meant, and our suspicion of the story of buddha was confirmed. I was thinking to myself, well at least when we visit the temple again tomorrow, we can appreciate the carvings more.

Nightfall
Around the hotel grounds at night
Dinner time
Traditional Indonesian Music Performance at dinner time
Buddhist artwork around the temple

The short clip lasted about 30 mins, soon we found ourselves roaming around the hotel. As there was nothing much (not even a swimming pool) in the hotel, we decided to retire back to our room. While in the room, we were still trying to decide if we should wake up early (we are talking about 4am!) to see sunrise at Borobudur. My contention is that there is no guide who bring us round the temple and explain to us. We paid additional money just for the chance to go into the temple before every else does to see sunrise.  My friend pointed out that since we are already here, and this was one of the things we said we wanted to do when we were planning for the trip last October. I agreed that it is a waste to have came all the way to Borobudur and not going for the sunrise tour. We set our alarm clocks and went on the retire, hoping that we can wake up in time for the sunrise tour.