Written by Kristine, Co-Director, Jakarta
A couple of months ago, I spent a few days in Jogja – proper name Yogyakarta – and I enjoyed it thoroughly. But my favorite time there was the morning of my first full day absorbing all that is Jogja.
That morning began for me at 3 am, when I got up to get ready because I was heading to Borobudur, a 9th century Buddhist temple, to watch the sun rise. I was driving away from my hotel by 3:40 am and I got to Borobudur at about 4:30 am, where I paid the tourist entrance fee (locals get in for cheaper) and was given a flashlight and a map.
Off I went, following well-placed signs and other bobbing flashlights, climbing up the stupas of Borobudur in the darkness. I climbed up to the 8th stupa (there are 9) and since I was ahead of most of the huffing and puffing tourists climbing behind me, I found a great spot facing the east. I settled down to wait. After about an hour, the sun started to make an appearance. And I unexpectedly experienced the highlight of my time in Jogja. I watched the sun rise behind Mount Merapi, an active volcano which was smoldering and smoking as I looked on.
Slowly, the day crept up on us and I saw the mist in the valley below slowly disappear. It was breathtakingly beautiful and all I could do was soak it in and be thankful for the awesome privilege of witnessing this beautiful sunrise in this beautiful place.
Once the sun was properly up, I wandered around the temple for a while, then I checked out the museum, had a cup of coffee and some refreshment (fried banana and a sweet treat) and I was off again. But I went with my Borobudur experience safely tucked away in my heart.