Tuesday, June 12, 2012

Borobudur - Candi Mendut and Candi Pawon

There is no doubt that the most famous Buddhist temples in Indonesia has to be the Borobudur complex. However, besides the grand monument, there are other smaller and interesting candi within close proximity to the UNESCO heritage site. Two of the nearest temples to Borobudur are Candi Mendut and Candi Pawon.

Welcome to Candi Pawon

Back in the old days, Buddhist pilgrims would begin their pilgrimages at Candi Mendut and walk to the halfway point of Candi Pawon before reaching the final stage of Borobudur where they would then ascend the complex to seek enlightenment. Who says devotion to God is an easy matter? More story and pictures after the jump...

The weather was sending us mixed signals throughout the whole afternoon. Rain that began as nothing but a drizzle would suddenly turn heavy for a few solid minutes only to stop as abruptly as it came. Throughout this bizarrely rhythmic weather display, the sun was constantly at its brightest. Locals said such showcase was pretty common at this time of the year. I guess we had no choice but to live with it.

We decided to skip Borobudur complex, leaving the exploration of the majestic structure tomorrow after the sunrise tour. We rented bicycles and cycled our ways to these two temples. Of course, not before filling our dear stomachs with local delights. Combination of mie ayam, soto ayam and bakso with teh celup and a bottle of Sprite, ended with a sweet confection of gula kacang, all for the price of Rp 26,000 (about RM 8.20). Where can I possibly find such a bargain anywhere?

The warong where we had the delicious...

...mie ayam and...


Candi Pawon was our first stop, a good estimated 1km away from the crowds and by away from the crowds, I mean, seriously deserted. This small temple stood by itself in an off-the-track side of the main route to Borobudur and deserved a fraction of attentions usually reserved for Borobudur, and to a certain extend, Candi Mendut. Granted, nothing about its size and its relief screamed attention - in fact, its relatively small size makes spending a good 10 minute would serve you well - but for a comprehensive experience, this is not to be missed. After all, Candi Pawon served as an entrance gate of sort for the main complex whom functions are still unclear.

Candi Pawon

The relief engraved on the temple

Next stop would be Candi Mendut. Some 3km away from Candi Pawon, you will not miss this monument once you passed the bridge on the way to Yogyagakta (prompting me to consider cycling to the city by bicycle on the spot). Comparatively bigger than Candi Pawon, this temple is at its own realm. Many would opt it out when planning a Borobudur itinerary due to its location and that would be their losses.

Candi Mendut

Foundation in ruins

This majestic tree served as a marker for the temple

Candi Mendut has more interesting relief surrounding the monument. Engravings depicting goddesses in action can be found on all four walls and there are statues of Buddhas in the chamber of the temple. You can pay your respects, lighting the joss sticks made available inside the chamber.

Engravings on the wall

One of the three statues inside the chamber

View on top of the candi...

The best part of this has to be the cycling moment. It was such a breezy affair and one that I will constantly on a lookout for.

Sate kambing (mutton sate) as treats 


Sharing is caring. A word of advice and a piece of information.

The entrance fee for both temples is Rp 3,300 per person (about RM 1.10). There are many stalls selling souvenirs and miniature statues at both sites and be prepared to be ambushed by these ladies. For us, the scariest ambush has to be Candi Pawon. Due to its lack of tourists, these ladies approached you the moment you laid eyes on the structure. While the scenes are quite sad for me - after all, they rely on us tourists for survival - you have to be cruel, regardless you want to buy anything or not, if you want to survive the attacks. Haggle down the price at least 50% off the starting price if you even consider buying anything. Skillful negotiation is a must and eventually, both the seller and the buyer will come to an agreement.

Where the merchandise ladies waiting for their preys...


  1. ur mie ayam n bakso topeng liao la

  2. Oh yes, heard about the ambush by the ladies at Candi Pawon. I hate to be ambushed like that!

  3. torres: yea hor, paiseh...

    foong: well, i do pity them...tourism is their main source of income and with so little people coming to Candi Pawon, it's no wonder la...

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  5. Try Waroeng Mendut located 100 mtrs from Mendut Temple, next to a river. The foods and beverages just great made by a chef from Borobudur. Price?really unbelieveable for the western and Indonesian cuisines, just a local price!