Borobodur is located in central Java and was built in the ninth century. It is also a UNESCO World Heritage Site and is regarded as a Buddhist shrine and place of pilgrimage. Visitors mostly stay in Yogyakarta and join day tours, or live in hotels nearer to the site.
The best time to see Borobudur for the first time is early in the morning at sunrise where you’ll be greeted by two million stone blocks, huge bell-shaped stupas and 504 statues of Buddha depicting the different levels to attain Nirvana.
Everyone who visits does the pilgrims’ walk which starts at the eastern gateway. Follow a clockwise direction (always do this around Buddhist monuments) and observe the elaborate carvings on the walls depicting an ancient queen, Buddha and white elephants with six tusks; then climb up to the top of the temple and take in the incredible views. It’s a good idea to get a guide for the day so you can get to know the real history of the complex.
Book tickets to the Ramayana Ballet show which is based on the ancient Hindu epic and performed against the backdrop of the temples. The impressive Prambanan temple complex is nearby and testament to the great Hindu civilisation that also existed here.
Yogyakarta itself is an interesting city with good shopping and the palace complex of Kraton; and if you want to do a really touristy activity, hire a traditional horse and cart for a ride around the area.
AirAsia flies direct twice a day from KLIA2 to Adi Sucipto International Airport in Yogyakarta, from where it’s a one-hour drive to Borobudur.