Really early flight brings us to Java; land of volcanoes and (the reason we are here) Borobudur Temple.
Initial thoughts: step back in time; its a bit like the Far East I remember from years ago – including the manic driving and dramatically overloaded mopeds.
Arrival is somewhat over bureaucratic – often the case – with the need to buy a visa, then move on to the visa application desk (a yard away) and then, finally; approach immigration to see if they will let you in… lots of stamping of passports and we are almost in… One final hurdle; customs declaration (which we were not given on the plane, so have to stand in the middle of a heaving mass to fill in – attention to detail not that important, so it doesn’t take long…)
Borobudur is the largest Buddhist complex on earth, lost for about a thousand years, it was rediscovered in the 1800’s and has been well restored; it is now Indonesia’s biggest tourist attraction and the crowds can be huge. However; it does not seem to be well known in the West and so as an Occidental you too can be part of the attractions… We have been ‘snapped’ all afternoon, approached by many English teachers on behalf of their students and I must gave signed at least 30 autographs… All good natured so its quite good fun.
We are staying at the Menohara Hotel, which is on the Borobudur complex and affords a wonderfully peaceful place away from the crowds, despite only being a few hundred yards removed. Staying here also allows you entry to the temple before the general public opening times – which is worth the price of the stay alone… Check the web for prices, but it’s very reasonable at about £50/night and they can arrange to collect you from the airport as well – which saves a lot of haggling and hassle.