While my parents were visiting me in Bali, I wanted to take the opportunity to show them a different side of Indonesia, so booked us on a trip to Yogyakarta in Java, Indonesia. Our first stop on arrival was Borobudur Temple, or Candi Borobudur, about 40km Northwest of Yogyakarta.
Borobudur is a 9th Century Buddhist temple, believed to be built around 800CE. After a few hundred years of use, the temple was slowly forgotten and rapidly became buried under the expanding jungle and ash from the frequent eruptions of Mt Merapi after the country converted to Islam in around the 15th Century. It lay undiscovered until the early 1800s, when Governor-General Sir Thomas Stanford Raffles - who you may know as the founder of Singapore - and his team released it from its hiding place.
The location of the temple couldn't be more stunning, sitting proudly on top of a hill with views to Mt Merapi and surrounding mountain ranges. It's hard to imagine it having been hidden from the world for centuries!
Our first port of call was our hotel, Manohara Borobudur, which is conveniently located in the temple grounds and just a short stroll from the temple itself. It is slightly more expensive than other hotels in the area but the room price includes all-day access to the temple and the stunning views of the temple at sunset from the hotel more than make up for this. Our room was clean and comfortable and my Dad was excited to catch up on BBC News, as most places they stayed in Bali did not have televisions.
The day after we arrived, we headed for the temple at 6am. I had read that it is important to get there early before the hordes of school groups and tour buses arrived from 7.30am onwards. This was invaluable advice - we had the whole temple almost to ourselves for a whole hour and as we left, hundreds of school children were getting off buses!
We were also fortunate enough to have coincided with a visit by a Buddhist group from China, so our sunrise views were enhanced by Buddhist monks praying at the temple in the morning. It made the experience so much more special.
In hindsight, it would have been nice to spend 2 nights at the hotel, meaning we could have enjoyed the beautiful grounds and returned to the temple for sunset, but instead we headed into Yogyakarta for two nights of R&R in a very fancy hotel.