Borobudur is a truly magnificent Buddhist monument. Located 50km north of Yogyakarta (or Jogja) in Central Java Indonesia, it’s the largest Buddhist temple complex in the world.

Borobudur by Mindy McAdams (CC BY-NC-ND 2.0)

This UNESCO World Heritage site is made even more spectacular by the active volcanoes that create a very dramatic backdrop in the heart of the Kedu Plain. If you’re keen to experience its majesty, the best time to visit is during Waisak.

What is the Waisak Festival about?

The Waisak Festival celebrates the birth, enlightenment and death of Buddha. Also known as Waisak Day, it attracts a large congregation of Buddhist pilgrims and curious travellers who’ve come to witness its sacred proceedings.

borobudur_jalan_lilin by IMAM HARTOYO (CC BY 2.0)

When it commences in the evening, monks wrapped in orange robes walk towards the temple from Mendut village, guided by nothing but the light from the candles in their hands and the full moon above their heads.

WAISAK by EA Media Syn (CC BY 2.0)

They then pray and present offerings to Buddha seated serenely at the peak of the temple. The event highlight is the simultaneous release of thousands of lanterns into the night sky.

When is the Waisak Festival?

The Waisak Festival takes place on 29 May 2018 (Date is subject to change). Thus, we highly recommend you plan your trip around the Vesak Day public holiday that falls on the same date. Just apply for an additional day of leave on 28 May 2018, and you’ll have yourself a four-day long weekend.

How to get to Yogyakarta?

Borobudur by Isriya Paireepairit (CC BY-NC 2.0)

These are the airlines offering direct flights to Yogyakarta from Singapore.

How to get to Borobudur from Yogyakarta?

By bus

You can take Trans Jogja buses 2A and 2B (costs about 3,000 IDR) from central Yogyakarta to Jombor Bus Terminal in northern Yogyakarta. From there, change to another bus to get to the Borobudur Bus Terminal. Ask any of the friendly Trans Jogja staff to direct you to the correct bus.

Bus Trans Jogja by Everyone Sinks Starco (CC BY-SA 2.0)

The journey to Borobudur takes about an hour to 90 minutes and costs around 20,000 IDR (payment to be made in bus). The bus will also make a 10-15 minute stop at Muntilan Bus Terminal before proceeding to Borobudur Bus Terminal. From there, walk five minutes to the big parking lot serving the temple complex.

By taxi

Adisucipto Airport, Jogjakarta by tian yake (CC BY-NC-ND 2.0)

Engaging a fixed-price taxi from the taxi counter at Adisucipto International Airport (Yogyakarta’s main international hub) costs about 190,000 IDR, while a taxi from Yogyakarta’s city centre to Borobudur costs about 200,000 IDR.

By car

_MG_7350 by Willem Eradus (CC BY-NC-ND 2.0)

If you plan to drive and rent a car, the journey to Borobudur takes about 60 to 90 minutes. This of course depends on the traffic conditions as the roads leading to Borobudur from Yogyakarta can be very ingested, especially in the daytime. Some car rental companies to consider include:


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Arman Shah

A former travel writer with fond memories of solo adventures in Southeast Asia, Arman is now Founder of The Everyday People. He's also the co-host of Channel Empathy, a podcast about the marginalised in Singapore.