Borobudur Temple located in Magelang, Indonesia is a UNESCO World Heritage Site and one of Indonesia's most visited tourist locations. Borobudur Temple, built in the 9th century, remains an important temple for many Buddhists from around the world, especially during Vesak, a national holiday celebrating the birth, enlightenment, and death of Buddha.
As one of Indonesia's most popular tourist spots, Borobudur continues to struggle with tourists who want to scale its walls and/or steal "souvenirs" from the temple. If you notice missing Buddha heads, many were stolen for Western Museums or even for personal possession from what I've been told. I have no idea how anyone could steal a Buddha head and escape!
Also, if you climb the walls, expect to be reminded on a loud speaker phone by an official at the temple that such climbing is forbidden. I actually heard the reminder while visiting ... People will do all sorts of things for a great photo.
For those of you planning to visit, there are two rates to enter the temple. If you are Indonesian, you only pay around RP 20,000 which is approximately $2.00 USD. If you are a foreigner, however, expect to pay RP 150,000 which is around $15.00 USD.
My Indonesian friend purchased our tickets, but I was stopped at security. "Dari mana?" the official asked. I spoke softly, so he couldn't hear my accent and said "Salatiga." Luckily, I could receive the Indonesian rate with proof of my library card though. It helped me get through!
While walking towards the temple, I was amazed by its beauty. It's not common to see temples such as Borobudur in the West. It's hard to believe it was built by humankind. There's a sense of mystery behind Borobudur too.
While at Borobudur, I wanted to laugh after watching a group of school girls snap photos of these two young foreigners. The poor boys looked uncomfortable, as the girls giggled and started taking their photo. It was really funny!
If you are a foreigner, expect someone to ask you for your photo. It's very common to be asked for a photo, especially if you have blonde hair and blue eyes.
I am oftentimes mistaken for being Indonesian, but I was surprised to have someone ask for my photo. While I was walking, this young girl tapped my shoulder and held her cell phone up, so that she could take a picture with me. Indonesian people seem to really love photos!
The temple has interesting stairs too. You definitely have to take a large steps to climb the stairs though. It's also extremely busy at Borobudur, but if you are lucky, there won't be too many people! It can get extremely hot during the day. In fact, smothering hot. I would suggest you go to Borobudur in the early morning if possible!
If you have a chance to go to Borobudur, take a lot of photos. Just don't climb the walls!