Things to do in and around Borobudur, Central Java
One of Indonesia’s most iconic landmarks, Borobudur is a 9th-century Buddhist temple compound and UNESCO World Heritage site in Magelang, Central Java. While many travellers will love exploring every single nook and cranny of the historical temples and catching scenic sunrises, there’re also other exciting activities to do in and around the compound.
Here’s a list of fun things to do in and around Borobudur you can choose from:
1. Snap shots of the Borobudur temples at sunrise and sunset
Image credit: @lyannanda
One of the best things about taking a trip to a cultural site such as Borobudur are the stunning sunrise and sunset views over the tranquil temples and forests. Sunrise and sunset tours start from Rp. 500,000 (~USD35.30), and if you’re a morning person, you’ll get to have your preferred spot in a Borobudur temple to yourself as the tour starts before the complex’s official opening hours.
Getting there is a 30-minute drive from Magelang, or a one-hour drive from Yogyakarta – so you’ll likely be up by 3AM to set off from your hotel. The first half of the sunrise tours typically start at 4.30AM and end at 7AM. Needless to say, you’ll get to take tons of photos.
Address: Taman Wisata Candi Borobudur, Borobudur, Magelang 56553
Opening hours (regular hours): 6AM-5PM, Daily
Entry fee (regular hours): USD25 (adults), USD15 (children)
Entry fee (sunrise only): Rp. 500,000 (adults), Rp. 400,000 (students with student ID), Rp. 250,000 (children under age 10 with passports)
2. Admire Borobudur from the Punthuk Setumbu peak
Image credit: @iqbalprima
Adventurous folk and serious photography enthusiasts should put Punthuk Setumbu on their lists – the 400-meter-high hill is a great vantage point for you to see Borobudur in all its grandeur. You’ll also get an amazing view of the famed Mount Merapi and Mount Merbabu volcanoes.
Punthuk Setumbu is located 4 km west of the Borobudur temple compound – go there at the crack of dawn to enjoy the breathtaking view and fresh morning air. No admission charges apply.
Address: Kurahan, Karangrejo, Borobudur, Magelang, Central Java 56553
3. Have a triple temple tour – Borobudur, Mendut, and Prambanan
The main Borobudur temple complex
Image adapted from: @blynr90
If you’re especially fond of temples, you can go on a one-day private tour of the three major temple complexes in the area. Start the day at the UNESCO World Heritage site, Borobudur temple complex, by climbing the terrace-like 10-level structure and adoring the view of the sunrise. You won’t miss the bas relief figures telling stories of the journey to Nirvana and the story of the Buddha’s accomplishments from Mahayana Buddhism.
Image credit: @annapacana
After looking around the compound, your next stop can be Mendut Temple, a nearby 26.4 m tall Buddhist temple that’s even older than Borobudur. With well-preserved reliefs and Buddhist figurines, it’s a pilgrimage spot for monks and Buddhist devotees during annual Vesak Day celebrations.
Prambanan Temple Complex
Image credit: @potret_acak
Post-lunch and souvenir shopping, the last stop is Prambanan temple complex. Also a UNESCO World Heritage Site, Prambanan is a Hindu temple complex with hundreds of spiky-roofed structures arranged around eight temples and eight shrines in the center. Some areas are cordoned off from visitors due to past earthquake damage.
A tour like this starts around USD42, including private transport and a guide. Providers also offer transport to and from your hotel and lunch break stops, so you’ll have everything arranged for you.
4. Visit villages up close from a VW Cabrio
Image credit: @borobudurvwwisata
Most visitors come to Jogja for the Borobudur temple complex, but the surrounding areas with villages and farms are worth visiting to get up close with the local culture. The VW Cabrio village tour is perfect for fans of classic cars touring the area, as you’ll get to ride in retro Volkswagen open-top cabriolets of models dating from 1969-1983.
Image credit: @semesta_area
The cars come in an assortment of vibrant colors that look amazing against the green backdrop of the serene villages around the temple compound. Prices range from Rp. 350,000 (~USD25) per car to Rp. 600,000 (USD42.36) per car depending on the duration of the tour, the shortest being 2.5 hours.
Book a VW Cabrio tour on Indoneo.com.
5. Go on a bike tour around Borobudur
Image credit: @bananapeace_
For an eco-friendly alternative, you can also go on a bike tour that allows you to fully immerse yourself in the laid-back atmosphere of Borobudur Village, close-up. This tour enables you to go at your own pace and you’ll also have more freedom to stop and take pictures of pretty scenes.
A bike tour package that includes lunch starts at Rp. 400,000 (~USD28.19) per person, but you can also rent a bike from around Rp. 30,000 (~USD2.11) a day from local hotels or guesthouses to tour the vicinity of where you’re staying.
6. Visit Borobudur Museum and dig into history
Image credit: Gunawan Kartapranata/Wikimedia Commons
If you’re more interested in the cultural and educational aspects of traveling, you can visit the Borobudur Museum, which is formally called the Karmawibangga Museum. Go to this museum if you happen to be near the temple and want to learn more about its history and restoration process over the years – it’s right beside the temple compound, making it an easy addition to your itinerary.
Image credit: Günter Ohnhold
You won’t need to pay extra as entry is included in the Borobudur ticket, which is Rp. 50,000 (~USD3) for local tourists and USD25 for international tourists.
Address: Taman Wisata Candi Borobudur, Jalan Badrawati, Borobudur, Magelang, Central Java 56553
Opening hours: 8AM-4PM, Daily
Entrance fee: Included with your Borobudur temple complex ticket
7. Look at unique exhibits at GUSBI Museum
Image credit: goborobudur.com
Galeri Unik dan Seni Borobudur Indonesia, commonly referred to as the GUSBI Museum, houses a unique collection of historical and religious items, including record-breaking artefacts. Notable exhibits include a Buddha statue, an intricate miniature of the Borobudur Temple, and the largest piece of clothing ever made in Indonesia.
While it’s not part of the Borobudur compound, it’s located near the Borobudur Museum and the entry ticket is affordable, making it an easy addition to your itinerary for culture buffs.
Address: Bukit Dagi Taman Wisata Candi Borobudur, Kw. Candi Borobudur, Borobudur, Kec. Borobudur, Magelang, Jawa Tengah 5655
Opening hours: 4AM-8PM, Daily
Telephone: 293 5527940
Entrance fee: Rp. 5,000 (~USD0.35)
8. Get an adrenaline rush rafting at Elo River
Image credit: @adetiya_saputra_
For something completely different, try rafting at Elo River – a Class III river, meaning that it’s suitable for beginners eager for an adrenaline rush but with little rafting experience.
Located 8 km, or a 12-minute drive from the Borobudur compound, this 12.5 km-long river is a favorite among visitors. Prepare for an invigorating workout, because it’ll take a raft around 2.5 hours to get from one end of the river to the other.
Open from 8AM to 4PM, rafting at Elo is possible all year long in both dry and wet seasons. An all-inclusive package starts at Rp. 600,000 (~USD42.44) per person and you’ll have a certified guide and safety gear with you at all times.
Things to do in Borobudur
With all these options at hand, you can start preparing your trip to Borobudur – including not just historical and cultural sights, but also nature and sports for a memorable few days with family or friends.
Also check out:
- Stunning waterfalls in Indonesia
- Balinese villages you can visit
- Pine forests in Indonesia
- Things to do in Mandalika
- What to do at Lake Toba