Our third day and final day in Yogyakarta began really, obscenely early. We were up at 3:30 am for our earliest departure yet to see the sunrise at Borobudur Temple, an hour and a half outside of Yogyakarta. We picked up a breakfast box left by the staff at the homestay, and stumbled outside in the dark to a driver who ushered us inside a small van occupied by another couple who might have been French or Dutch. We swayed back and forth and slept for a while before arriving at the destination. At 4:30 am, we disembarked and ended up in an outdoor lobby with many other tourists, some looking wide awake, some very quiet and obviously just waking up. We paid our money and received tickets, a map of the complex, a sticker to wear, and a small hand flashlight, as it was still hours from dawn, and then proceeded slowly through the complex. Though the temple doesn’t officially do sunrise tours, the Manohara Hotel, which is on the grounds of the temple, allows people to visit before sunrise for a more expensive ticket price (450.000 IDR or $30 USD per person). Though easily the biggest expense we’d made so far (besides lodging and travel), it was totally worth it. We were able to make our way up the gigantic ziggurat-like structure of the Borobudur temple in near-darkness, with a trail of bobbing flashlights above and below us. After fifteen minutes of hiking up some of the biggest stairs I have ever encountered, we were at the top. Continue reading Java’s ancient temples.