yogyakarta

INDONESIA PART 2: BOROBUDOR

INDONESIA PART 2: BOROBUDOR

Leaving behind Yogyakarta we headed towards nearby Borobudur, the largest Buddhist monument on the world.  It's the kind of place like Angkor Wat or Bagan, when you first see photos of it, it seems like it's the set for some movie about a lost world. It's a vast stone mandala-like structure built around the hill in a jungle over a thousand years ago. 

By now though it's firmly established on the tourist trail and thousands of Indonesians travel from all over the country to visit it. I wanted to photograph it at sunrise, which I knew would mean a very early morning and difficulties in getting a clean shot as I expected the place to be very busy for first light in the way that Shwedagon Pagoda in Bagan was. Indeed both of these things were firmly on my mind as we arrived at Borobudur as I knew that it marked the beginning of four mornings where we would get up at 4am or earlier in both Borobudur and then Mount Bromo, and that both places would be incredibly busy with tourists making photography with a tripod sometimes a little challenging.  When we'd planned the trip I'd tried to ensure that we visited Bromo away from the weekend hoping that would mean slightly smaller crowds, but also because we also wanted our time in Ubud, Bali, to coincide with a full moon festival.  However, we hadn't realised that this would mean this part of the trip taking place in a week that began with a bank holiday to celebrate Indonesia's independence. The traffic as we left Yogyakarta to get to the temple was incredible and I started to realize how busy Borobudur was actually going to be.

INDONESIA PART 1: JAKARTA & YOGYAKARTA

INDONESIA PART 1: JAKARTA & YOGYAKARTA

Java, Bali, Indonesia, Jakarta are all magical names that conjure images of far away exotic lands to me.   After loving our trip to Burma we really wanted to return to Asia and spent a while looking at different possibilities.  Indonesia was the place we kept coming back to and about a year ago we decided that that's where we'd go.

Planning the trip proved a nightmare as it's a vast country spread out over thousands of islands with so much to see. At first we had quite an adventurous plan to see about 4 islands, but with this trip we thought it would be nice to have a smaller focus and spend more time in different places. For me, the huge Buddhist temple of Borobudur and the amazing volcano at Bromo, both on Java, were the big draws.  For Teresa it was the cultural city of Yogyakarta, also on Java, as well as Bali that she really wanted to see.  So after poring through guide books, GoogleEarth and various sites on the web, we decided to focus on Java and Bali and limit the locations we stayed in so weren't constantly on the move.