Borobudur Guide for 2024: How to climb up and watch the sunrise

Borobudur is the most visited attraction in all of Indonesia. It’s spectacular and is the biggest Buddhist temple in the entire world!

But rules for visiting change so often, that you can easily be confused by all the conflicting information.

Here I give you up-to-date, checked on-site, reliable information about visiting Borobudur in 2024, including climbing up the temple and the best spots for the sunrise.

Borobudur is part of my extensive 14-day Java Backpacking Itinerary.

Trust me to be your Borobudur guide and tell you all you need to go before you go!

Can you visit Borobudur in 2024?

Yes, you can visit Borobudur in 2024. Borobudur temple is open for visitors from Tuesday to Sunday from 7:00 until 17:00. Ticket booths for Borobudur open at 6:30 and close at 16:30.

This means that if you buy a ticket at 6:30, you have to wait until 7:00 to enter. If you buy a ticket at 16:30, you have until 17:00 to explore the temple and if you arrive after 16:30, the ticket booths will be closed.

Climbing Borobudur Temple is NOT possible on Mondays! However, the temple grounds are open on Monday and you can see Borobudur from close.

More info on the official website.

Stupas at Borobudur. Visit without a Borobudur guide!
You don’t necessarily need a Borobudur guide to visit it

Can you climb up Borobudur in 2024?

Yes, you can climb up Borobudur in 2024. 1200 people per day can go up to the stupas of Borobudur. The temple management has divided this number by the hour. Starting at 8:30, 150 people can climb up Borobudur Temple every hour.

The exact hours when the counter resets and another 150 people can go up are 8:30, 9:30, 10:30, 11:30, 12:30, 13:30, 14:30, and 15:30.

To climb up Borobudur, you must buy a special ticket online which costs 455.000 IDR (30.5$). For comparison, the standard ticket for foreigners costs 375.000 IDR (25$). This ticket cannot be combined with Prambanan (the so-called combo ticket), nor Ratu Boko.

You can buy the special ticket from the official website. Make sure to pick your time slot accordingly.

The special tickets are often sold out for the next several days.

A trick is to check the availability again after 16:00 when some tickets are made available again. If you’re still out of luck, try again after 18:00.

By purchasing the special ticket, you get a Borobudur guide (included in the price) who will give you some information about the temple, and a pair of upanat shoes, which you must wear to climb up Borobudur.

The guides are pretty strict about you following them and listening to every little bit of information they have to give. They will only let you explore independently (but under their watchful eye) for the last 10 minutes.

It is not possible to climb Borobudur without an assigned guide.

Can you watch the sunrise at Borobudur in 2024?

No, you cannot watch the sunrise on top of Borobudur Temple. This is because the first tickets to climb the temple are sold at 8:30, whereas sunrise is at 5:25 – 5:53 (depending on the month).

The temple grounds also open too late (7:00) for the sunrise.

This was possible in the past (before the pandemic) and many tour operators haven’t updated their information, thus misleading travelers.

However, it is possible to watch the sun rising OVER Borobudur by going to a nearby hill.

Where to watch the sunrise over Borobudur?

Borobudur Sunrise through Manohara Resort on Dagi Hill is NOT POSSIBLE until further notice! Also, it’s expensive and to be completely honest, not really worth it.

Sunrise on Bukit Rhema (Chicken Church) is also not possible anymore, as the site opens at 7:00.

There are a couple of hills around Borobudur where you can go to watch the sunrise over the temple. Unfortunately, none of the hills are free to enter.

Dagi Hill

Dagi Hill is a private property of the Manohara Resort. Their Sunrise package costs 750.000 IDR (50$) including entrance to Dagi Hill for sunrise, entrance to Borobudur plus climbing up the temple, breakfast, and a guide.

Dagi Hill is pretty close to Borobudur. That’s not the case with the other hills on the list. Watching the sunrise from them, you’ll see Borobudur as a small spikey dot in the distance. You’ve been warned.

Bukit Rhema, Chicken Church (Gereja Ayam)

Bukit Rhema used to be the quirkiest place to watch the sunrise over Borobudur due to the bizarre chicken-shaped church on top of the hill. It has a fascinating story, I urge you to read more about the Chicken Church and its story.

Unfortunately, after COVID the opening time of Bukit Rhema is 7:00, thus impossible to watch the sunrise there.

It is still an awesome place to visit with uber-cool views from the top of the chicken’s head (it’s actually a dove, read my article), so I recommend a visit after Borobudur.

Chicken Church, Gereja Ayam
Chicken Church

Bukit Barede

Barede Hill is open for a Borobudur sunrise in 2024! The viewpoint opens at 4:00 allowing you ample time to watch the colors of the sky change as the sun comes up.

The entrance fee for Bukit Barede for foreign tourists is 50.000 IDR / 3.35$.

Punthuk Setumbu

Setumbu Hill is open for a Borobudur sunrise in 2024! Reach the viewpoint on top before 5:00 to catch the colors changing before the actual sunrise. The hike to the top takes around 15 minutes.

Punthuk Setumbu is the most popular hill for organized tours that offer sunrise over Borobudur. I recommend this one from GetYourGuide.

The entrance fee for Punthuk Setumbu for foreign tourists is 50.000 IDR / 3.35$ (included in the price of the tour).

Borobudur as seen from Chicken Church
What, you don’t see it? Well, yelp, the hills are indeed far from Borobudur! This is from Bukit Rhema, where the Chicken Church is.

How to get to Borobudur from Yogyakarta

Virtually all visitors to Borobudur come from Yogyakarta. You’re probably staying there yourself at the moment too!

Check out these authentic things to do in Yogyakarta that go beyond the usual travel guides’ recommendations!

Reach Borobudur for Sunrise

If you want to get to Borobudur for sunrise, there are two possible ways: an organized tour, a motorcycle.

If you don’t want either, the only other way is to sleep somewhere around Borobudur Temple itself. ADA Homestay is an awesome option – clean, cozy, cheap, and walking distance away from the temple.

Organized tour

For an everything-planned, no-hassles experience, book an organized tour. They are not that expensive for the convenience they offer. Most combine Borobudur with Prambanan. Check out these:

Drive yourself

If you decide to drive to Borobudur from Yogyakarta, leave around 3:00 to be there at 4:30. The road is pretty good, and driving at night isn’t as hard as it sounds at first. Been there, done that.

Get to Borobudur using public transport

There are again two ways to reach Borobudur. Both arrive AFTER sunrise!

Damri Bus

An air-conditioned minibus by DAMRI (the most popular tourist transport company in Indonesia) departs from Kilometer Nol, right in front of the old Bank Indonesia. This is the precise location.

The first minibus leaves at 4:30 and reaches Borobudur at 07:00 – too late for sunrise. It only costs 20.000 IDR (1.3$) though!

The timetable of the bus that goes to Borobudur
Damri Bus to Borobudur Timetable

Local Bus

You can also get to Borobudur using local buses.

First, you need to take a TransJogja city bus to Terminal Jombor. The routes are integrated into Google Maps, so it’s best to check there.

However, the timetables are not reliable, but the buses are relatively frequent. A ticket costs 3600 IDR (0.25$), payable at the bus stop (halte) or inside the bus.

At Terminal Jombor, hourly buses go directly to Borobudur. The bus ride takes around 75 minutes and costs 20.000 IDR (1.3$).

Do you need a Borobudur Guide?

No, you don’t need a guide to go to Borobudur, nor inside the temple grounds.

If you buy the special ticket that allows you to climb up the Temple though, you will be allotted a guide who will guide you through the temple. You cannot climb Borobudur by yourself!

Historical information is readily available online. It’s been over 200 years since Borobudur was discovered by an expedition led by Sir Thomas Stamford Raffles (although not by him particularly). There aren’t any secrets that the Borobudur Guides know, but the internet is hiding.

Raffles is the same Sir closely associated with the history of Singapore.

Borobudur among the stupas
NOTE: This picture was taken in 2019 before it was necessary to wear special shoes called “upanat

History of Borobudur (that a guide would tell you)

Borobudur is one of the most impressive temples in Southeast Asia and the world at large. It is the biggest Buddhist Temple in the world! Borobudur was built in the 9th century during the Buddhist Shailendra dynasty, and discovered in 1814 during the British Invasion of Java.

During these almost 1000 years, the temple was buried in volcanic ash and overgrown with jungle vegetation. It took the Brits more than 2 months to clear away dust, trees, and debris just to reveal the temple.

The most likely explanation for the name Candi Borobudur is that it’s a temple (candi) dedicated to Buddha (budur) near the village of Boro.

Borobudur was restored between 1907 and 1911 using the same materials that it was built with, a strategy called anastylosis. If you’ve ever been to Ephesus in Turkey, you’ve seen the Library of Celsus, which is the best example in the world of this type of restoration.

Today Borobudur is the most visited tourist attraction in Indonesia with more than 3 million visitors yearly.

Borobudur Temple
One can only wonder how Borobudur might’ve looked in 1814

Architectural Design of Borobudur

What makes Borobudur spectacular is that it’s a single stupa! If seen from above, it’s completely symmetrical and looks like a Buddhist Mandala. The base of the temple is a square with a side length of 118 m.

In total, there are over 2500 reliefs and 504 Buddha statues spread over three levels.

Kamadhatu (first level)

The lowest level, called Kamadhatu, represents the world of mortals. There are 160 scenes depicting consequences from Pratītyasamutpāda, although most of these remain hidden behind restoration encasements.

It’s also called “The world of desire”.

Rapudhatu (second level)

The middle level, called Rapudhatu, is the transitional realm between the mortals and the heavens. There are 432 Buddhas and miles of reliefs and decorative panels.

It’s also called “The world of forms”.

A relief at Borobudur

Arupadhatu (third level)

The uppermost level, called Arupadhatu, is the abode of the gods. There are 72 Buddhas of course the biggest Buddha at the very top.

It’s also called “The world of formlessness”.

See, this could totally be your short Borobudur guide, now just go and marvel at all the basreliefs!

Where to next?

Yogyakarta itself is a UNESCO heritage site! It got added to the list in late 2023. I lived there for 6 months and these are the best things to do in Yogyakarta. Some of these, like authentic markets and kampungs, are not on any other guide, anywhere!

You’d probably want to visit the other famous temple – Prambanan (also a UNESCO site). I have a guide on how to visit both Borobudur and Prambanan in 1 day or you can check out this one about watching the sunset at Prambanan.

On a very related note, I recommend the Prambanan Ramayana Ballet as an after-sunset experience.

Just note that if you buy the special ticket to climb Borobudur, you cannot buy a combo ticket for both temples – only singles.


  1. Quick thing for you, Simon. I want to get to Borobudur, but the link you’ve shared shows no foreign visitor tickets available beyond May 7 (it’s April 29 now) for the remainder of the year.

    Is there a chance tickets are opened for sale only a week or two ahead of time? Really hoping to get there toward the middle/end of May.

    – James

    1. Yeah, ticket sales open only 2 weeks in advance (unless they’ve brought that down to 1 week).

  2. Heya I’m not understanding the time slots well

    Let’s assume I buy a ticket for climbing at 10:30. At what time do I need to have arrived at the tempel (I’ve read 10, but that seems long before) and what time do I enter the upper floor (I understand 11). What happens in between? Am I free to roam or is that time used to horde the tourists into their corresponding groups and change shoes, etc?

    1. Hi Kat,

      I don’t want to answer and mislead, so here’s what I know for sure:
      1) You want to be there earlier than 10:30, if that’s your slot. How early – not sure. But if I were you, I’d arrive at least 15 minutes prior.
      2) You enter the upper floor when your guide decides. Lol. You are assigned a mandatory guide who will lead you through and show you stuff. Perhaps explain a little bit too.
      He will bring you to the top and give you 10-15 minutes of “free time” to take pictures and roam around.
      You are free to spend more time at the bottom of the temple (as you would be if you buy the standard ticket) but your time at the top is limited.

      Hope that helps (please let me know how it went – things may have changed)

      Have a blast (but not literally),


  3. Hello Simon, glad I saw your blog. My husband and I are from Malaysia and we plan to visit Borobudur sometime this year. Your latest in yellow box state there are no more sunrise tour up Borobudur from Manohara Resort?
    We cannot climb up to the top anymore?

    Thanks so much,

    1. Hi Trudy,

      The Manohara Resort has NOT resumed tours that bring you to Borobudur for sunrise.
      As a matter of fact, nobody can go up the Borobudur Temple before sunrise as it opens after that. Scroll up to the “Can you watch the sunrise at Borobudur” section of the article for more info.

      This does not mean you cannot go up the temple at all. Indeed you can! Just make sure you buy the appropriate ticket that allows you to climb. It’s more expensive. For more information, scroll up to the section on “Can you climb Borobudur”.



  4. Thank you so much for all the information. But where can I buy a ticket to climb up the Borobudur? I only see the regular entrance tickets on borobudurpark.com that cost 375,000 IDR. Is it possible to buy the other ticket online or are we supposed to buy a regular one online and book a guide/climb at the premises?
    Thank you!

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