Our Final Days in Indonesia: Borobudur and Prambanan

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Mount Merapi erupting at sunrise (Borobudur can also be seen at bottom right)

After an all day train ride we arrived Yogyakarta, Java. We settled in for the night and set our alarms for 3 am (since early morning adventure seems to be one of our favorite things to do in Java).  This time when the alarm went off, however, I felt a little……off.  I didn’t think much of it and we boarded a minibus to catch the sunrise over Borobudur Temple.  As the minibus drove an hour outside the city I started to feel really queasy. As we hiked up the trail to the viewpoint, it hit me…I had food poisoning.  While Dan enjoyed the lovely sunrise and the mists enveloping the Temple in the valley below, I spent time in the bathroom.  The worst part was now the realization that we were only partway into a 6 hour tour and there was no transport option for us to go back to the hotel. So we waited outside the gates of  Borobudur Temple (by the bathroom) as the other visitors continued on and after 3 hours we finally departed for the hotel.  I would then spend 2 days recovering.  In all, it took about a week for me to fully feel better.

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Borobudur Temple peaking out of the mist

As the nausea abated, Dan and I were able to revisit Borobudur Temple.  Built in the 9th century, Borobudur is the world’s largest Buddhist temple.  The temple is massive, consisting of 9 platforms that contain over 2,500 relief panels and 500 Buddha statues.  The top platform, displays 72 stupas that each contain a seated Buddha state, surrounding one large central stupa.

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One of the 504 Buddha statues at Borobudur

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Each of the 72 stupas at the top of Borobudur contain a seated Buddha inside

Relief panels at Borobudur Temple

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A peek inside of one of the stupas to see one of the seated Buddhas

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The top platforms at Borobudur with 72 stupas

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Borobudur Temple

In the afternoon, we visited Prambanan Temple, the largest Hindu temple in Indonesia.  Also built in the 9th century, the temple complex originally contained 240 temples.  Today, only the eight main temples and eight small shrines have been reconstructed.  Of the 224 smaller temples, only 2 have been reconstructed.

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The main reconstructed temples of Prambanan, surrounded by the ruins of the 224 smaller temples

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High school students descending the stairs leading into one of the eight main temples at Prambanan

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Both Borobudur and Prambanan are UNESCO World Heritage Sites and offer a view into Indonesia’s religious and cultural history (Islamic influence was brought by traders in later centuries and Indonesia’s population is now 87% Muslim).

Our month traveling through Indonesia was unforgettable.  Of the 922 permanently inhabited islands in Indonesia (there are over 17,000 total in the Indonesian archipelago), we only visited four.  We wish we could have seen many of the other islands. As our 30 day visa was set to expire, however, we had to move on.  To Singapore we go!

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