By their very nature, the world's biggest tourist attractions are busy places, teeming with sightseers seeking that perfect memory or epic photo. After all, it is to visit landmarks adorning the covers of guidebooks that many of us travel.
Rarely are these places of silence or contemplation, and finding a peaceful spot to appreciate a view or the moment is often simply impossible.
Unless, of course, you choose to visit at sunrise. That moment between night and day, when the birds are yet to wake and even the markets are still to open brings with it a palpable stillness, and calms even the loudest mind - or the largest group of tourists.
This is no more true than atop Borobudur; the world's largest and (considered by many) greatest Buddhist temple, and Indonesia's most popular attraction.
Whether you choose to tiptoe through shadows exploring quiet corners and forgotten views, or simply perch upon cold stone, hypnotised by the breaking morn, hours spent here will not soon be forgotten. It seems sunrises may happen everyday, but there are some places in the world where it appears simply magical.
I have long had a list in my head. A never ending list of places I need to visit, spectacular sights I need to see and photographs I need to take.
That day, amongst hundreds of other strangers, I got to tick Borobudur off that list, and create memories that will last a lifetime.
Planning your visit to Borobodur Temple
From Yogyakarta, you'll require a private driver or a place on a sunrise tour - these are easy to find and arrange in the city. Travel time is around one hour. For those that would prefer to book the tour in advance, this tour comes highly recommended.
If heading here independently, make sure you arrive with plenty of time to spare - absolutely no later than 4.30 am. There is a coffee and pastry stand at the check-in point and torches are supplied by the temple staff to ensure you safely make it to the top. Although Borobudur is undoubtedly at its most beautiful at sunrise, it's still a remarkable site to visit during daylight hours, so budget enough time to explore fully once the sun is up.
Cost of sunrise entrance
Rp. 400,000 per person. Includes a free gift and coffee/snack when you finish. Entrance after sunrise is cheaper at Rp. 280,000 for non-Indonesian adults.
- Technically, women are supposed to wear a sarong, although doesn't really appear to be enforced - however bring one with just in case.
- At around 7 am, all the others tourists who didn't make in time for sunrise (fools!) will start to enter and the site becomes significantly more busy.
- As ever, bring water, sunscreen and a hat (and make sure you're camera is fully charged and you've got plenty space on the SD card - you'll need it all!)
Is this article stirring up your wanderlust? Then you need to get your butt to Indonesia! Check out this article with lots of info on how you get to Yogyakarta and all the other amazing stuff you need to see whilst you're there.