27.4.16

Indonesia: Welcoming Sunrise At Borobudur Temple

Magelang, March 2016


I was actually planning the trip to Borobudur last December. Let's say, an impulsive travel plan.

One morning I woke up and thinking, Hey welcoming the first sunrise of 2016 at Borobudur temple sounds like an excellent idea, aye? Just like that, my eyes wide awake and I jumped out my bed to grab my laptop and started browsing. It was only 10 days before the new year. Unsurprisingly finding tickets and hotels wasn't an easy task. Not to mention that prices were almost 3 times higher. But I didn't care and was about to pay it anyway. Told ya, most of the time I'm very impulsive when it comes to travel and food. I ran out my room to discuss the trip with my ultimate travel partner aka my sister for about 10 minutes. Back to my laptop and clicked the purchase button.

"Voila! Yogyakarta, I'm coming!" I said it loud with a big grin on my face.

But....wait what? Your transaction can not be processed. My jaw dropped as I read it on my screen. Tried to redo the booking process and found out that someone has snatched the last tickets at the very last minutes. No more tickets available. Dang!


view of Borobudur from Manohara Hotel

So the trip was postponed until March. I joined a 3 days food tour around Semarang (will blog about it later) and thought why not extending my holiday to Magelang and Yogyakarta as well. And because March is not a peak season, I managed to book a room in Manohara hotel which is very convenient because it's less than 5 minutes walk to Borobudur temple.

walk through the dark

To join the Borobudur Sunrise tour, everyone is informed to gather in the hotel lobby at 4.30 in the morning and walk together to the temple. It's a good thing I stayed in this hotel, I only needed to wake up 30 minutes before and still have ample time to get ready, plus saved me from the hassle of getting a transportation at the wee hours.

When I reached the lobby, there was already a bunch of people who joined the tour. We walked to the back of the hotel and passed a connecting gate to the temple. It was pitch black and I'm glad the staff has given me a flashlight otherwise I would have toppled while climbing up the steep stairs. Not too many people joined the sunrise tour, perhaps less than 30 person. We all spread out to find our preferred spot and sat in silence. Last night as I went to bed, I worriedly thought that they would cancel the tour because it had been raining cats and dogs the whole evening. But thankfully the sky was clear in the morning that I even managed to catch a glimpse of mount Merapi and mount Merbabu afar.

Borobudur at 4.30 am

pre-sunrise twilight 

mesmerising sunrise in Borobudur

The sky's hue slowly lightened as the sun rising, from charcoal black to the dark blue and purple of the twilight sky then to beautiful gradation of red, pink and orange. And soon the first rays of the sun sweeping through the stupas and Buddha statue. Earlier they were just dark silhouette and now their stunning details appeared gradually. Wow! Such an overwhelmingly breathtaking experience I nearly teared up. I've been to Borobudur temple a couple times before but never during sunrise. It surely gave me a different perspective, a better way.



With a better appreciation, I can easily understand why Borobudur is stated as one of the most visited landmarks in Indonesia. It is believed that Borobudur was built in the 9th century during the reign of the Sailendra Dynasty. This largest Buddhist temple in the world consists of nine stacked platforms, six square and three circular, topped by a central dome (which is surrounded by 72 Buddha statues, each seated inside a perforated stupa). In total, the temple is decorated with 2672 relief panels and 504 Buddha statues. Gobsmacked! I can't even imagine how much time and effort they went through to build this stunning temple. My photos definitely don't do it justice.

the main stupa of Borobudur


eerie Borobudur enveloped by fog

My favourite part was when the mist or I'd rather say the fog - came down slowly. As if the entire temple was swallowed by white smoke. It's pretty thick that I could barely see through it. I found it eerie, mysterious yet very tranquil because I couldn't see other visitors around and the only voice I heard was birds chirping.


Buddha statue in Borobudur

praying

one of the reliefs

headless Buddha statue

Borobudur temple

Though the entrance ticket is quite pricey, I would love to join the sunrise tour again on my next visit to Borobudur. Oh! And if you are interested in deeper story about this magnificent Buddhist temple,
you may want to check Bama's blogpost. I'm a fan of his blog because he writes beautifully and is really good at taking gorgeous photographs :)


one last pose before back to the hotel :D


Borobudur Sunrise tickets
(Includes tea/coffee, light snacks, entrance to Borobudur temple from 4.30am before public open time and a souvenir.)

IDR 400.000 / person for foreign visitor
IDR 275.000 / person for domestic visitor
IDR 250.000 / person for Manohara hotel in house guest





30.3.16

Indonesia: Cats and Coffee Yogyakarta

Yogyakarta, March 2016


Junot, the sleeping beauty

When I visit an eatery, ordering and paying my food but then completely forget to eat it....unquestionable there must be some cute animals involved. It happened before when I visited True Love (Husky) Cafe in Bangkok last year. I ordered a portion of ice cream and leave it sit on table for hours until it turned into a bowl of warm milk because I was too busy playing with the huskies. Oh well! I went back to the hotel with an empty stomach but a very happy face. Rarely happens since I usually I become an angry ogre when I'm hungry :p


whatcha lookin' at?

Aaaand it happened again on my recent visit to Cats and Coffee. Last year when I found out that my friend opened a cat cafe in Yogyakarta, I made a promise to visit it when I'm in town. I mean, who wouldn't want to be accompanied by these cute and fluffy felines while sipping a cup of coffee? Leslie, my 16 years old Persia cat has gone to cat heaven a few months back. So I thought it would be nice to be able to cuddle a cat again. Adopting another cat is not an option at the moment because now I live with 11 dogs at home.


Cats and Coffee

prizes from some cat competitions 

Luna is enjoying massage, she's purring loud :))

As soon as I entered the door, I got a sudden feeling of euphoria for seeing a number of adorable cats inside. In total they have 16 cats in various breeds from domestic cat, Persia cat, Maine coon, Himalayan to Munchkin cat which is a relatively new breed of cat characterised by its very short legs. Most probably you won't meet them all in once though because the cats in this cafe have some kind of 'work shift'. In some period of time the staff will bring some cats inside and take another out.


I'm chillin' yo

playful


Lil' J the 1st Munchkin cat in Yogyakarta

zzzzz....stop taking pictures already! lemme sleep...zzzz

I was having so much fun examining their behaviour and personality. Some cats are very active and playful while the others couldn't care less about your presence and continuing their nap. Just remember who is the boss, cats appreciate attention but only when they want it, lol.

very chubby Luna


hellow, Upik!

one last kiss before going home :p

Tarius is so handsome he will be the next top cat model :D



Please bear in mind that there's some rules here:
1. Take off your footwear and place it in shoe cabinet before entering the cafe
2. Don't forget to sanitise your hand with the provided hand sanitiser
3. Don't touch the cats when they are eating
4. Camera flash is not allowed
5. Don't feed the cats
6. No violence towards the cats

Last but not least, don't pretend to accidentally put those adorable kitty inside your bag pack and take them home with you. Honestly, I was tempted to do so :p

Would I recommend this cafe? Absolutely! Specially if you are an avid cat lover. I'm pretty sure you would want to spend hours in this cosy cat cafe.
Meow you there! :)


Cats and Coffee 
Jalan Bougenvile no 1 (selokan Mataram)
Gejayan - Yogyakarta
Opening hours: 2 pm to 11 pm
Price range: Rp 17.000 to Rp 32.000


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