a VirtualTourist member
Is it ok to visit Borobudur during Vesak? Will it be really crowded or better to wait for another time?
I hope I can share an experience with you. I just had a visit of Borobudor this February 2013. I don't have any idea about Vesak, but I tell you that weekends really are crowded in the temple. I advice you to be at the gate before it opens and a 2-hour climb up, down and around the temple is enough to get you sweating, exhausted and amazed. Don't forget to pay visit to other temples as well, like the Plaosan and Prambanan to fully use the taxi rate. But all these sites can be squeezed in a day.
As crisgastardo says, Borobudur is pretty crowded on ordinary days.
You can avoid the crowds by going for the sunrise tour or starting your visit at daybreak.
On Vesak day the people start gathering around 8am and walk from Mendut to Borobudur temples in a long procession starting at 8:30. That is an attraction by itself, seeing how they dress up and even some muslims joining the procession. But your opportunity to study the reliefs at your leasure will be less. See: [original VT link]
Borobudur is extremely crowded with locals and the security guys patrol the place constantly reminding people not to climb on the stupas. The Indonesians are very friendly and you will get requests for having their fotos taken with you. Get there very early to avoid the crowds
Hi! As Theo have said, the Vesak celebration/procession is an attraction in itself. And there will be really a big crowd of around 15,000 people participating in the Vesak day celebrations.
I have been to Borobudur Temple during different times of the day, including sunrise (I took the sunrise tour as part of stay at Amanjiwo Hotel but I think you could buy the ticket from Manohara Hotel, Rp380,000 for foreigners and Rp250,000 for Indonesian citizens & KITAS holders which include coffee&local snacks) and also at sunsets. But on this trip I will be there with a group of 20+ friends particularly to witness the Vesak celebrations.
This is our schedule: On May 24, we will go to Borobudur in the afternoon in time for the sunset. Then in the morning of the 25th we will go to Candi Mendut to watch the procession. In the afternoon before 4PM we will stand by at Borobudur and will join the procession which will be held at the grounds in front of Borobudur temple (they do not allow visitors to climb up the temple during the procession). In the early evening, the Buddhist monks will be performing the Pradaksina ritual (walking a circuit around Borobudur Temple three times while meditating and chanting mantras) then followed by the lighting of the 1,000 lanterns which will be released into the sky. We expect the festivities to be finished just before midnight around 11:30PM. You can find the schedule of Vesak Day here:
So I think if you intend to visit the temple during Vesak to explore it you may not be able to do so but if you will be in Jogjakarta/Magelang area during Vesak day then I think it will be a worthwhile experience to witness/participate in the Vesak celebrations.