Tip: if your accommodation includes daily breakfast, you may request the hotel to pack away breakfast for your early morning excursion.
Read more on the Borobudur structure here. There are 4 square terraces before the top circular center point and we admired the beautiful stone reliefs depicting the Sanskrit manuscripts of Gandhawyuha, Lalitawistara, Jataka and Awadana. At the top, there are 3 circular terraces with stupas and the final central stupa overlooks all beyond Borobudur. These bell-shaped stupas contain sculptures for Buddha while the central stupa has a hollow chamber, suggesting it may previously store relics but no one knows for sure.
Tip: wear good walking shoes, as there is at least 2.5 km of walking excluding the steps and the circular terraces. Plus there's a long stretch of peddlers to pass before exiting the temple complex.
I felt humbled and in awe of the intricate detail in each stone panel. I could feel the reverence the people of the past held for their religion and it brought tears to my eyes knowing that their love is lasting in these stone reliefs. The view from the circular top was amazing and there was so much peace in seeing the acres of green stretching ahead.
Our next stop after Borobudur is Dieng Plateau. It is a volcanic plain located some 2000 m above sealevel. There are several attractions: Telaga Warna (Colorful Lake), Sikidang Crater and Arjuna temples. The drive up was long and windy; 3 hrs (one way) through highlands agriculture and the main town Wonosobo was enough to knock me out at the end of the day. However the scenic view is nice and worth the drive, as is the cool weather.
Telaga Warna is a multicolored lake that reflects the beautiful green and blue of the area. We went to the look-out point for a better view of the lake and cheaper than visiting the lake up-close (look-out point vs lake entrance fee: 10,000 vs 100,000 IDR). The short hike gifted us with a great view of the dual lakes mirroring the sky. The weather was good and clear so we got amazing shots.
Next was Sikidang Crater; we opted not to get the face mask because the smell wasn't that bad and we are cheap that way XD The crater spews sulfur gas and bubbling water, creating a sparse, almost alien environment. The afternoon sun was hot, adding some effects! The crater had a crude wooden fence and I couldn't go up close as the wind blew the fumes all over and boy did it stank!
One of the many stone reliefs
Corridors of history and love
Up, up, up we go.
Seeking inner peace
The view on the drive up
The lookout point signage
Amazing view of Telaga Warna
A barren landscape
Boiled eggs, anyone?
This is as close as I could get
We then walked over to the Arjuna temple complex. Built in the 7th century, these temples are the oldest surviving Hindu temple structures on Java island. The history and inception of these temples are unknown due to lack of record and they are named by the locals based on characters from the Mahabharata epic.
Old is gold
Dieng Plateau's main source of economy is agriculture. Two things to try: carica (a small, papaya-like fruit) and potatoes. We bought a box of freshly fried wedges - plump, starchy and yummy! A lot of satisfaction for 1000 IDR XD
We had lunch at Restoran Asia, purportedly the oldest restaurant in Wonosoboro. We ordered bakmi soup, fried rice and carica drink. I regret not finding the fresh fruit to try, but I supposed one could get it at the local market. The food was good to sate our appetite.
Bakmi soup loaded with vegetables
Carica in syrup
It was a long 3 hr ride back to the hotel; we reached before 5pm and got some shuteye before redeeming a complimentary 10-min massage at the hotel spa. The massage was good and we proceeded to get a full body reflexology massage; I dozed off and awoke feeling incredibly loose and rested. We had dinner at the hotel Bali Lounge serenaded by live jazz music. I ordered Thai sour spicy soup and my friend ordered pad thai; it was decent fare. We both ordered the Jambuluwuk Sling but be forewarned: it is mixed with ginger and assorted herbs so it may not be to everyone's liking.
Time to relax!
Live jazz music
Thai sour & spicy soup
It was nice way to wind down for the evening and we decided to skip Mt Merapi "Lava Tour" the next day to get some rest :)