Thursday, 9 February 2017

Punthuk Setumbu and Borobudur Sunrise, Jogjakarta

Would I recommend going to Punthuk Setumbu? Definitely not. Would I recommend Borobudur? Yes, definitely. The sunrise there? Not sure.

Okay, so recently my in-laws and I went to the Jogjakarta for a family trip. It was quite fun as it was the first time we all went on holidays together but the amount of time when we were disappointed there just put a damper on things. Borobudur and its infamous sunrise is one of them. This was the view on Punthuk Setumbu when I went. A little disappointing...

Before the trip we were all already planning to go and the idea of going for the sunrise at Borobudur was just exciting especially after the rave reviews it received from all the tourists. So upon purchasing our private tour from the airport (mistake 1) because we were busy and were expecting better from their airport tour agencies, we booked the sunrise tour at Borobudur. Upon picking us up at 4am (mistake 2), the driver told us that to view the sunrise we have to pay extra to go on the hill for the view i.e. Punthuk Setumbu as opposed to what was already written in our receipt (Borobudur Sunrise Entrance Fee) and view it from Borobudur itself. Being none the wiser (none of us have been here before), we agreed to pay extra to go on the hill (mistake 3).

Mistake 1: We would have gotten a better deal online with better arrangements.

Mistake 2: Sunrise was before 5.30am and the trip took longer so sunrise was over when we reached.

Mistake 3: Nope, there's no better view at Punthuk Setumbu. I wouldn't know about the sunrise at Borobudur itself but I suspect it will look better from photos.

Anyway, at Punthuk Setumbu it was crowded when we reached. Just in case you are not up for a hill climb early in the morning, don't bother going. It's a little tiring and there are plenty of stairs going uphill to the viewing point. Once there, the wooden stages for photos but it is easier to just snap a few shots at random spots if you are not too particular.

After a rather uneventful view of hills and trees (no sunrise), we trudged down disappointedly to find our car stuck in a parking area where other cars surrounded ours. After being subjected to about 30 minutes wait where our driver attempted to ask the parking attendants to locate the other cars' drivers, we went on to Borobudur.
The Borobudur was quite pleasant in comparison. We joined the crowd and started walking towards the temple. The compound was huge and it could be tiring for the elderly.

At the base of the temple, we then had to climb another series of steps before reaching the real attraction. This....

And then...

Only then...

I can see why this is listed in the UNESCO heritage. They carving on the stones were amazing and even the brick floors look pretty!

Borobudur is actually a Buddhist temple, the largest in the world~After roaming about the ruins, exploring all the corridors and stairways, we made our way back to the car. I find this very interesting as they have a lot of narrative reliefs along the walls. Fascinating!

The view from Borobudur itself is pretty amazing too! Why go to Punthuk Setumbu?

Along the way back to the car, we visited the museum in the compound, aptly named Borobudur Museum. It was quite small and probably serve as a time-filler for tourists.

I enjoyed my time here despite the rather gloomy beginning of the day.
The market or bazaar outside the area was more interesting for me. Haha! You can find replicas of the ruins and temples for sale aside from other knick knacks. Bargaining is crucial and walking away when the price is not right will probably end up with the sellers lowering their prices or selling at your price.

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