Borobudur Temple

We left Bali for Yogyakarta at a horribly early hour, arriving in Yogyakarta around 8am, much too early for check-in at our hotel. Since we had this free time, we decided to visit Burobudur, a Buddhist temple from the 9th century and a UNESCO World Heritage site. Burobudur is the most visited site in Indonesia so we were prepared for large crowds. Fortunately for us, we got there before most of them and were able to explore fairly freely.


Upon entering the site and walking a bit on the very large grounds, we got our first full view of Borobudur.

Burobudur Temple

We finally make it to the temple itself and prepare ourselves to go up all the steps to the main level, walk around each of the 6 square levels of the exterior and the 3 circular levels at the top. The 3 circular top levels are designed to walk around clockwise for a total of 3 times.

Burobudur Buddhas

Around the exterior of each level there are niches for over 500 Buddha statues. The Java area was once Buddhist, but the population converted to Islam in the 15th century.

Burobudur Temple level

Each level of the temple has a seemingly maze like path around it that you are encouraged to walk around in a clockwise direction before going up to the next level. There are over 2600 relief panels lining these walls. We found it interesting that it looked like the walls were built of stone blocks and then the reliefs were carved into the blocks after they were assembled.

Burobudur Mustache

love the mustache on this dude!

Burobudur Stupas

The top 3 levels are circular and full of these stupas, each of which holds a Buddha inside. There are 72 of these surrounding the large stupa centerpiece. Mysteriously, the center stupa, is empty.

Unfinished stupa at Borobudur

Here is an unfinished stupa showing the Buddha inside. There are 2 unfinished ones on the site, although “unfinished” may not be the right word as it is thought the exposed Buddhas was intentional.

Borobudur from the top

Here’s the look back down to where we started.

It is not known why or when the temple was abandoned. Some think the conversion to Islam in the 15th century was the timing and reason. Others think it happened some time between 900-1100 when the capital of East Java was moved due to a series of volcanic eruptions.


Borobudur is situated between 2 large volcanoes. Merapi, seen here, is one of the most active volcanoes in the world still today. 2010 was the date of a large-scale disaster due to Merapi erupting. It had a very small eruption while we were there and we saw smoke coming out of it from the plane as we were leaving Yogyakarta!

Borobudur Temple is an incredible place to visit. It is awe inspiring, even its renovation efforts. The largest renovation effort happened between 1972-1984, but they were renovating when we were there and we were told it would take the next 100 years to complete. Wow.

Farewell to Bali..for now…

Oh, Bali, why you gotta be so nice? So many things are so great about this island culture. We are fairly certain we will return. We met some incredible people here doing incredible things. I mentioned John and Cynthia Hardy in posts and wow, they are inspiring. We also saw gifted artisans in ceramic, textile, glass and carving of all sorts. We visited a great heritage group called Threads for Life who are working with weavers around the region to make sure the traditional methods of weaving artistry are not lost and that the skillful artisans who create them are compensated fairly and recognized for their talent. We met a representative of a new company called F-cubed that is working to create innovative solar methods of desalinating and distilling water. Wow. Inspiring.

We also saw unbelievable beauty and tasted yummy Indonesian tastes. We saw a temple on basically every corner. We witnessed ceremonies and processions to the temples where everyone is dressed beautifully and the women carry elaborate offerings on their heads. We travelled teeny tiny roads with more cars and scooters traveling on the same road than I thought possible. We passed miles and miles of statues along the road sides, hand carved and for sale by individual incredibly skilled artisans. We saw kites! We got in the Indian Ocean. We saw monkeys and birds and geckos and a really big bat! We saw surfers.a neighborhood temple, Ubud, Bali

tight fit in Ubud, Bali

awesome temple statue, Bali

signs in Sanur Beach, Bali

a neighborhood temple, Ubud, Bali

kids wishing us well as we leave the Bali Kite Festival

small road in a sweet art district in Ubud, Bali

paver in Ubud, Bali

Antonio Blanco museum

miles of statues line the road side on the way to Ubud

On the way to a Hindu temple ceremony

the road is filled with all kinds of transport, Ubud, Bali

Aly wanna cracker? Ubud, Bali

sharing the road in Ubud, Bali

Bali Kite Festival, Padang Galak, July 2012

offering spot at a seaside restaurant, Jimbaran Beach

fishing boats at Jimbaran Beach

Jimbaran Beach

Padang Padang Beach

Surfers at Blue Point, Uluwatu, Bali

Blue Point, Uluwatu, Bali

Blue Point, Uluwatu…my new favorite place

Here it is, my new favorite place…Blue Point Bay at Uluwatu. It’s a surfer’s paradise. In another life, I will be a surfer (or maybe a dolphin) but for now, I am content to sit amongst them and watch. Blue Point is basically in the side of a cliff. It’s a series of deep switchbacks and on each level there are tiny little shops, cliffside bars and food stops. Each spot you come to has to be the best view you’ve ever seen, and then you come to the next one and it’s even better.

We had lunch here and we watched surfing…BIG WAVE surfing…and I love loved it.

Blue Point Bay, Uluwatu, Bali

Here is one of our first views after walking down one level of switchbacks

Blue Point steps down to beach

Here is the lowest level, the scary steps down onto the beach

Blue Point Steps

Here is me after deciding I could not go down those steps. The very old local lady beside me offered to help me, but I declined.

Blue Point beach

The beach Aly saw upon reaching the bottom of the steps.

Offerings on the beach

Offerings on the beach

Blue Point View

We went back up the cliff about half way to get a good viewing spot for lunch. This is the view we decided on.

Surfing at Blue Point

We watched surfers for a really long time, like a few hours. I could have stayed there for the rest of our trip.

Surfer at Blue Point

Here’s a blown up version of the above pic so you can see what the dude is doing. This is real, big wave surfing. Even though they looked tiny from our viewpoint, we could still see what was going on, and knew this guy was catching a good wave.

surf photographer at Blue Point

But to see it for realz, you need to have a camera like this dude. There were a few camera viewing spots on the cliff, and there were shops selling the photos. They knew the surfers and when they saw them that would tell them, “I got a great shot of you out there today…come and see.”

the walk to the surf

The surfers really had to WANT to surf. There was a long uncomfortable walk on a rocky corally bed to get out there. No matter how tough they looked out in the surf, everyone looked fragile on the painful walk out and in.

Blue Point, Uluwatu, Bali

Thanks to our driver, I got to mark something off of my bucket list. I have seen big wave surfing in a gorgeous and fun location. I now have a new item on my bucket list tho…”Go Back to Blue Point.”