“Karena nila setitik, rusak susu sebelanga.”
(With only a drop of alcohol, a pot of milk is damaged) – Indonesian Proverb
I visited Borubudor in 2010 when there was another long weekend in Singapore and we all felt we needed to have some break from work. A month before that, my friend, Reychel, have asked me to join her at Yogyakarta coz she will be travelling alone. So I asked more friends in Singapore to join us until our group grew to 10! It’s not my first time to travel with a big group but it’s still always challenging every time because each has different personalities.
We flew to Jakarta and spent a night there. We stayed at the hotel near the airport and just took a cab going to city to party. It’s another 30-40mins drive from the airport/hotel, so some of us preferred to stay back at the hotel and rest, and the grils and I wanted to try the party scene in Jakarta. Unfortunately, one of us was wearing her flipflops, so we just went to Hard Rock to watch one of the games of World Cup and call it a night then.
One good thing though for going to Jakarta at very late night is there was NO TRAFFIC at all! Lol!
We took the flight the next day to Yogyakarta. We booked our van ahead so it was already waiting for us upon our arrival.
It then took us to Prambanan Temple before we head towards Borubudor. Prambanan Temple is a Hindu temple though, it was discovered almost the same time as Borubudor by Thomas Stanford Raffles (founder of Singapore) during the short period of the British occupation in Indonesia.
We booked our hotel at Manohara Hotel, which is the best decision we ever made! Our friend, Mark, recommended this hotel as this is just at the opposite of the Borubudor Temple. It may be more expensive than the other hotels in Yogyakarta, but at least we don’t need to pay another van to take us to the temple and we’ll get a VIP pass to the temple before sunrise!
It seems that this hotel is within the grounds of the temple, it is that close that we hear all the Buddhist prayers / chants all day and night of our stay there, in speakers! As a part of a big group, (which are mostly chatty girls!) it is quite difficult to keep quiet at night but we tried our hardest and we survived the night without getting reprimanded, haha!
Well, I’m glad that most of us in the group are respectful and sensible. Oh btw, there is also no alcohol in this hotel, so it did helped us a bit, lol!
We took a Sunrise Tour to the temple as early as 4am to experience the VIP privilege of staying at our hotel, unfortunately, it was too foggy that day that we didn’t see any sunrise. But at least we have avoided all the mass of tourists as we were one of the first group to arrive.
Most of the visitors are actually students sent by their schools to speak to foreigners to practice their English. It is harmless and they are actually appreciative if you give them your attention. Again, I’m glad that none of the people I’m with were bothered about it, we were all actually flattered and just enjoying the what we call “15-minute Stardom” moments, lol!
It’s a common mistake but Borubudor Temple is NOT one of the Seven Wonders of the World (new & ancient), but it still deserve to be recognized as a wonder. It is however the world’s largest Buddhist temple and has been accredited as one of the National Heritage Sites by UNESCO.
It is the most visited tourist attraction in Indonesia, so they are now trying to regulate the number of tourist that can go in a day to prevent the park from further deterioration. It is important to respect the rules and regulation when you visit, so as to avoid closing this wonderful creation to the public.
We also visited the most active volcano in Asia, the Mount Merapi Volcano, but we have no enough time to hike so we just stayed at the base.
It is too active that a few months after our visit, Mount Kerapi erupted and actually devastated the whole Borubudor Archeological Park that it took a year to rehabilitate it with the help of the UNESCO donations.
It was a well-spent long weekend for all of us because not only we have visited Borubudor Temple, but it was also a great time for all of us to bond more despite our differences. It’s not always difficult to travel in a big group as long as every one is respectful of others and most importantly respectful of the people and culture of the place you are visiting together.
A drop of alcohol can damage a whole pot of milk. Always be mindful of the rules and of your own morals because one mistake you’ll make can tarnish the whole group’s reputation and the worst that can happen is to put a stop to travellers like us to see these wonders in the future.