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Borobudur

Together with Angkor Wat in Cambodia and Bagan in Myanmar, Borobudur ranks as one of the great cultural icons of Southeast Asia. Looming above a patchwork of bottle-green paddy fields and slivers of tropical forest, this colossal Buddhist monument has survived volcanic eruptions, terrorist attack and the 2006 earthquake. The last caused considerable damage, but thankfully this most enigmatic of temples has remained undiminished in scale and beauty.

Borobudur is at the centre of an attractive assembly of traditional rice-growing kampung (villages), ringed by volcanic peaks. Called the Garden of Java by locals, the region, with its rural homestays and guesthouses, scattered temples and tradition of honey and tofu production, warrants at least an overnight stay. For those who find Borobudur's bucolic charms a delightful antidote to the urban experience of nearby Yogyakarta, there are plenty of reasons to extend a visit, including engaging with the local culture through cooperative tours.

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These are our favorite local haunts, touristy spots, and hidden gems throughout Borobudur.

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