How to get to Borobudur by bus

Many backpackers rate Yogyakarta (Jogja) as one of the best cities in the whole of Indonesia. The culture, the people, the food, the history, and of course because of its close proximity to the UNESCO listed Candi Borobudur Buddhist temple complex. But while Jogja is indeed the closest major city to Borobudur, it is not exactly within walking distance. So how can you get from Yogyakarta to Borobudur?

Downtown Jogja
Downtown Jogja

While exploring Jogja is always a great thing to do in itself, every visitor to the city must make the foray out to Magelang Regency where Borobudur lies. You can do what I did the first time, which is get a private taxi from your hotel, let the driver wait for you in the car park, and then let him take you all the way back to your hotel. This typically costs around 300,000 Rupiah and is an easy way of doing it. However, it is not cheap – and with public buses being so regular in this part of Java, you’d be stupid to not at least think of doing it the “hard way”!

Waiting for the Trans Jogja bus
Waiting for the Trans Jogja bus
Trans Jogja is a fast and efficient bus network
Trans Jogja is a fast and efficient bus network

Although the Trans Jogja network can take you to the Hindi Prambanan temple, these small buses do not go all the way out to Borobudur. To get to Borobudur by bus, you must take the Trans Jogja 2B bus to the Jombor Bus Terminal. I paid 4,000 Rupiah for the journey and it took only 10 minutes to get there. Luckily, there were plenty of empty seats on board.

Jombor Bus Terminal
Jombor Bus Terminal

Once you’ve arrived at Jombor Terminal, you must now catch another bus to Candi Borobudur. The terminal is still over an hour away from Borobudur itself, but for a price of 25,000 Rupiah each way (some bus companies may charge slightly more) it is a very cheap way to visit when you compare the round trip of 300,000 Rupiah in a private taxi! It is advisable to have the correct money when you pay the driver, as he might not have change (or might not want to give you change).

Coaches like these will take you to the Borobudur temple complex
Coaches like these will take you to the Borobudur temple complex
Be prepared for the Indonesian experience!
Be prepared for the Indonesian experience!

I was always warned of the buses from Jombor to Borobudur. Not many tourists will use these buses (although they are perfectly safe and clean) and they are intended for Indonesians primarily. As a solo “white boy/Ang Moh” stepping on to the bus, I was immediately swarmed by some curious kids asking for my name before I could even pay the driver. Indonesians are generally very friendly, but don’t seem to tolerate other races as much as people in other countries do. Still, posing for a few photos in the bus with some kids doesn’t seem like much off an ordeal, surely? Well, during the 60 minutes that it took to reach Borobudur, I think I got sick of hearing the words “hey mister, can we have photo?”. Like how many photos do they need? I swear my ugly mug must be plastered over the Facebook pages of every 12 year old in Java!

Candi Borobudur
Candi Borobudur

The bus terminal at Borobudur is a few minutes walk from the actual entrance of the temple site itself, so just pick up your belongings from the coach and head to the ticket booth. Candi Borobudur is one of those majestic sites that are simply worth the admission fee, no questions asked. Some people choose to visit for sunrise, although I think it may be difficult to catch a coach from Jombor at such an ungodly hour, so you may need to spend the night in Magelang or at the Manohara Hotel. But whatever time you visit Borobudur, make sure you get all the photos you need – and be prepared to pose in a few yourself for the Indonesian tourists!

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18 thoughts on “How to get to Borobudur by bus

  1. Hello, I’m going to yogja this september. Great tips btw. Just wanna ask you one thing.

    What about getting back from borobudur to yogja. Do you take the same bus or rent a taxi?

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    1. Sorry for the delay in answering, but I think you need the train from Jakarta to Yogyakarta, and then a taxi from Yogya to Magelang regency where Borobudur is. Make sure you also spend some time in downtown Yogya. 😉

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  2. Hey, good article on taking the public bus/es thanks! Was wondering – if I take the public bus there and want to take the public bus system back to Jogja, do you know (i) when the last bus leaves the bus terminal at Borobudur and (ii) is it pretty much the exact opposite of how you caught the buses to get there?

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  3. Great writeup.

    I followed your advice and paid rupiah 25,000 to go from Jombor Station to Borobudor and rupiah 20,000 from Borobudor back to Jombor Station, saving at least rupiah 200,000 if I had taken a taxi. It helped a lot that I can speak some Indonesian, of course. If unsure about anything on your trip in Yogyakarta, just ask any local, they will be happy to help.

    I avoid taxis if I travel alone. Most will overquote, or try to overcharge you, thinking that you are a rich tourist

    Liked by 1 person

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