Indonesian Tourism Minister Arief Yahya said the Borobudur's high ranking in the National Geographic Magazine is great news as well as a great honor. Surely it will help to raise (potential) tourists' curiosity about the Borobudur temple, specifically, and Indonesia, generally. Considering the Indonesian government is eager to boost foreign tourist arrivals into Indonesia (in an effort to generate more foreign exchange reserves), the Borobudur's high ranking in the iconic adventure tourism sites list is very valuable and should help to speed up tourism development in the world's largest archipelago.

Read more: Overview of Indonesia's Tourism Sector

The Borobudur is a ninth-century Mahayana Buddhist temple, located in Magelang (Central Java). It was (most likely) built by the Sailendra dynasty who were adherents of Mahayana Buddhism. Not much later, and not far away from the location of the Borobudur, the Sanjaya dynasty built the Prambanan temple complex around 850 AD (Prambanan is the other icon of Indonesia's pre-Islamic history). The Sanjaya dynasty adhered to Hinduism. Both historical sites are evidence that in the Hindu-Buddhist period (prior to the arrival and domination of Islam and Western forces), political power moved away from Sumatra (particularly Srivijaya) to Central Java.

The Borobudur is known as the world's largest Buddhist temple (built on a surface area of 2,500 square meters), decorated with 2,672 relief panels and 504 Buddha statues. The relief panels form a story (journey, or better: walking pilgrimage) that brings the visitor across three divisions that symbolize the three "realms" of Buddhist cosmology (with several stages of enlightenment), namely Kamadhatu (the world of desires), Rupadhatu (the world of forms), and lastly Arupadhatu (the formless world).

Read more: Pre-Colonial Period of Indonesia

Although last year the Heritage and Cultural Diplomacy (part of Indonesia's Ministry of Education and Culture) said it wants to limit the number of visitors that are allowed to enter the Borobudur temple (due to rising pressure on the structure of the ancient building), the central government mentioned the Borobudur temple as one of its ten priority tourist destinations, implying it wants to boost visitor numbers (significantly) to this site (see table below).

10 Priority Tourist Destinations of the Indonesian Government:

Destination Tourists
Tourist Target
Central Java
227,337     2,000,000
125,307     1,000,000
Labuan Bajo
 54,147      500,000
East Java
 33,387     1,000,000
Thousands Islands
off the coast of Jakarta
 16,384      500,000
Toba Lake
North Sumatra
 10,680     1,000,000
  3,315      500,000
Tanjung Lesu
  1,739     1,000,000
Halmahera, Maluku
   500      500,000
Tanjung Kelayang
Bangka Belitung
   451      500,000

Source: Investor Daily

National Geographic's Iconic Adventure Tourism Sites Ranking (2017):

Site Country
Machu Picchu Peru
Petra Jordan
Borobudur Indonesia
Acropolis Greece
Great Wall China
Sigiriya Sri Lanka
Plitvice Lakes National Park Croatia
Mammoth Cave National Park USA
Provence lavender route France
Avenue of Baobabs Madagascar

Source: National Geographic


Misja Alexander |

Great! I've been there many times... beautiful place. Tip for tourists: go enjoy the sunrise from Punthuk Setumbu hill. If you're lucky (I mean if weather is good) you will see a beautiful sunrise (behind the Merapi mountain)... and the view includes Borobudur! But you need to wake up very early (about 3 am), walk up the Punthuk Setumbu hill in the dark (there are some steep stairs there), and compete with dozens (or hundreds) of fellow tourists to get a good spot on the top of the hill.... but it's all worth it though :)

Agus |

Heritage and Cultural Diplomacy want to limit tourist at borobudur to 15 people at one time but gvernment want to grow it to 2 milion people by 2019 (that is 228 tourist per hour if temple is opened 24/7 whole year.... !?