One of the criticisms made of cruises are the crazy prices the cruise lines charge for their shore excursions. When researching the cost of our trip to Borobudur, for our day on Java, Indonesia, we found this trip was no exception. Borobudur is a Buddhist stupa and temple complex dating back to the 8th century, and is also a UNESCO World Heritage Site.
We therefore set about finding a cheaper alternative and after a bit of googling we came across Spoorindo Tours and Travel, based out of Yogyakarta. Their tour was a fraction of the cost of the ship’s tour and due to it being a small group, hence less hanging around, they promised to be there and back before the cruise tours, with the same amount of time at the temple. Their claim was well and truly correct.
Our ship docked in Semerang early in the morning and after making our way through the terminal we were met by our driver. The cruise ship busses get a police escort through the city, all the way to the temple complex, but we just hitched a ride in the convoy and when the cruise busses stopped for a toilet break we carried on, arriving well before the busses.
We had a fantastic tour of the temple itself. This is one of world’s truly great ancient monuments and is the single largest Buddhist structure anywhere on earth. Interestingly the entire area surrounding the temple is almost completely Muslim and therefore the temple was left unused for many years.
To fully appreciate the complex you will comfortably need a couple of hours, plus a little shopping time with the vendors who line the entrance and exits.
We were back on the ship hours before sailing and for anyone looking for an alternative to the cruise line tour we definitely recommend these guys.