Thursday, September 25th, 2003 – Day 219

Thursday, September 25th, 2003 – Day 219
I tried to sleep without a blanket but I suppose when you are so used to having it on all your life while in bed, its hard to not use one. I decided to visit borobudur today. I was supposed to get up at 7.00am but stayed in bed until 10.05am.

I got the number 4 bus direct to the station and got a bus direct to borobudur which is about 45km away. I expected to be about 5,000 IR, but the tranport f^^&* were on board. I should have known. There was a Japanese guy behind me who paid 10,000 IR without asking. I knew I was trouble. I told the ticket seller, that no way was it ten. He laughted and said the Jap had paid ten and I was going to pay 10,000 IR. I refused for a while but he was getting angry. I decided to pay up. It was 1 hour 45 minutes to get there. From the station I walked to the site. It was 6,500 IR for locals or 11.500 IR if they had a camera. Get this, it was 66,000 (6.60 Euro) for foreigners. Basically it was 6 times the amount.

The best site I could find on it is at

Borobudur Temple, originally built between 775 and 850 A.D., is the largest Buddhist structure in the southern hemisphere and one of the biggest in all of Southeast Asia. Borobudur is designed in the shape of a massive tantric mandala. It depicts the Buddhist vision of the cosmos starting with the daily world on the bottom and spiraling up to the realm of nirvana.

Images of elephants, kings, warriors and dancing girls lead me up the terraces. I’ve always liked Buddhism; it allows me to walk the pilgrims path without knowing the teachings. I don’t feel as much a stranger as I do in a Hindu temple with their wrathful gods passing judgment. Here, I am welcome to meditate on my own beliefs.

The upper three circular levels are a dizzying spiral of Buddhas sitting in meditation inside their lotus-like stupas. Serenely, they greet the sun daily. Silently, they ask for nothing. Even when Mount Merapi spewed forth her ash and buried the site for almost 900 years, I can imagine the Buddhas still peacefully meditating.

It was an impressive temple which would ahve fallen down if not 25m had been spend on it. Lots of beggars and hawkers outside. One dwarf followed me for 500m shouting MONEY, MONEY at me. Fecker! Borobudur is on the UNESCO World Heritage sites for Indonesia

The World Heritage Committee has inscribed the following Indonesian properties on the World Heritage List:

1991 Borobudur Temple Compounds
1991 Ujung Kulon National Park
1991 Komodo National Park
1991 Prambanan Temple Compounds
1996 Sangiran Early Man Site
1999 Lorentz National Park

Anyway one interesting fact was its bombing in 1985. Apparently Radical Muslims aided by Hizbullah were responsible for the bombing of the Borobudur Temple in Yogyakarta, Indonesia.

Hezbollah is a Lebanese group of Shiite militants that has evolved into a major force in Lebanon’s society and politics. It opposes the West, seeks to create a Muslim fundamentalist state modeled on Iran, and is a bitter foe of Israel. The group’s name means “party of God.”

Anyway, I decided to walk to Mendut temple which was 3km from town. It was a nice walk but sign posting was bad. It was 3,000 IR to get in. No hawkers which was nice.


3 km east of Borobudur. It’s really a pleasure to walk from Borobudur to Pawon, then on to Mendut. This temple’s location is like a breath of fresh air after Borobudur’s garish trinket stalls and uncouth peddlers. Mendut stands alone in an empty courtyard, it’s quiet, there’s a little grass about. This temple is a genuine 9th Century temple of worship, not a candi to the dead. It faces Benares, where Buddah spoke his first words of deliverence. Originally it was over 27 m tall. Mendut was only a mound of rubble with cows eating grass on top until 1836 when it was cleared e”ll the dirt that hid it. It dates from about the same time as Borobudur, 850 A.D. The temple has extensive galleries, terraces, and a stupa on top of the main structure. A very sophisticated knowledge of Buddhist and Shivaite texts, Indian iconography, symbolism, and monumental architecture was crucial to build it. Its builders no doubt visited the Indian Holy Land.

I decided a experiment was in order. The temple was on the way back to Jogya and you pass the main Mageland – Yogya road after a round a bout. I decided to catch one of the buses coming off hat road. It was a different company from the one that over charged me. Many of those passe smiling wanted to me get aboard (looking forward to having a bit of extra pay). I caught a bus. It was only 5000 IR (QED). Well, at least I got one back on them. Tour groups normally charge 35,000 IR for the round trip. It cost me 17,000 IR. i wonder was the hassle worth it!!

Funny, think was that he did not leave me back at the main sation. There were only a few mini buses here. It was 6.30pm (dark) in the city and I had NO idea where I was. Was I near the main station (10km awy from the city) or I was in the city centre. I had no idea.

I have a pretty good sense of dorection. I look for detiantion signs of buses, where the main traffic is coming from (leaving the centre), where people are waking, busy strees, sloping, mountains etc. I rarely get lost. I decided to head towards the widest street where most traffic was heading and going. A guy who wanted to know where I was from told me I was about 2 km from the city centre (i was a street parnell to the main street)a nd gave me good directions.

I had walked some of it last night and I soon ran into good strret restaurants. i ahd Nasi Goreng for 5000 Ir and ice tea. I was stuffed as when I was waiting for the bus 2 hours ago I had Sat Kambing. it wa the niceest yet. He gave me a massive portion of rice (double waht I usually get), a salad, grat lam on shewers and peanut sauce and a drink. I expected a big bill but he was an honest amn. It was only 7000 IR (.72 cent).

As you can see, the amount I pay for food, drink and services is tiny. It is a VERY cheap country to travel in. Again you may notice that I give out if I get over charged. I am not a miser, quite the opposite. i simply do not like to pay more than, lets say 25 % more than locals. I have met tourists who ahve paid 10-15 times what locals pay for transport. What would hapeen if we did the same in Ireland. I know the same things happen in Vietnam etc. At least they offically post the foreigner prices and its state sanctioned. I remember 2 stories from Thaialnd and Vietnam.

A backpacker saw a local buy a T-shirt in Bangkok for X price, the tourist decided to pay the same price. THe counter girl refused and wanted twice the amount. The counter girl took back the T-shirt and told the pack packer to leave. He would rather not sell it, tan to lose face.

I Vietanm was buying food at a stall. Again, the same happened, but another local who had bought it at the local price agreed with the seller. They do the same here. The public will not side with the tourist in any circumstances even if it means lying.

Anyway, I did not get back to the hotel until 7.30pm. I stoppd alomg the way and found a stall seeling MP3 Complications. Grat value at 5,000 IR (.51 Euro) each. I bought most punk rock MP3 albums, best of Nirvana, best of Oasis etc. Excellent stuff for such a cheap price.

Did little the rest of the night.

Click on the picture to see it in its original size

Yogyakarta – Java – Indonesia – Borobudur Temple (25-09-2003)

Click on the picture to see it in its original size

Yogyakarta – Java – Indonesia – Borobudur Temple (25-09-2003)

Click on the picture to see it in its original size

Yogyakarta – Java – Indonesia – Borobudur Temple (25-09-2003)

Click on the picture to see it in its original size

Yogyakarta – Java – Indonesia – Muslim Family (25-09-2003)

Click on the picture to see it in its original size

Yogyakarta – Java – Indonesia – Mendut Temple (25-09-2003)