Mendut Temple & Monastery

Top choice in Borobudur

This exquisite temple, around 3.5km east of Borobudur, may look insignificant compared with its mighty neighbour, but it houses the most outstanding statue in its original setting of any temple in Java. The magnificent 3m-high figure of the Buddha is flanked by Bodhisattvas: Lokesvara on the left and Vairapana on the right. The Buddha is also notable for his posture: he sits Western-style with both feet on the ground. Admission includes entry to Candi Pawon, a Buddhist temple, 2km west.

The temple is particularly evocative at night, when spotlit against the evening sky, as the soaring inner chamber feels charged with an almost supernatural energy. Guards here will allow visitors to enter Mendut after dark if accompanied by a local guide; speak to Jaker.

Next to the temple is the leafy and prim Mendut Buddhist Monastery, studded with palms and clumps of golden bamboo. Guests are welcome to join the group meditations here at 7pm daily. You can also stay for three-day, three-night meditation retreats.