Friday, February 5, 2010

Borobudur Visitors Must Wear Sarongs

The Borobudur Temple in Central Java is an ancient Buddhist temple that was built during the golden era of the Buddhist kingdom in the eight century, and until now it is a holy place used for religious prayers, rituals and ceremony.

Considering this fact, the government plan to ask visitors to Borobudur to wear sarong. Please find below an article from Kompas.

Indonesia Asks Borobudur Visitors to Don A Sarong
Kamis, 4 Februari 2010 | 08:10 WIB

JAKARTA, - Visitors flashing their knees at Indonesia’s number-one tourist attraction, the ancient Borobudur temple, will have to wear government-issue sarongs under a new plan to protect the site’s dignity. Officials said tourists wearing shorts and mini-skirts would be politely asked to don a sarong for the duration of their visit to the Buddhist temple, erected between 750 and 850 on a verdant plain in central Java.

“When visitors enter a sacred place, they must show their respect. They shouldn’t wear shorts or mini-skirts because it’s impolite,” temple manager Purnomo Siswo Prasetyo told AFP on Wednesday.

“It’s like in Bali — when tourists visit temples there, they also have to do the same thing,” he said, adding that the rules were put in place after locals and visitors complained about the attire of some tourists. During a month-long trial, tourists will also be required to wear rubber sandals to avoid damaging the temple’s intricately carved stonework, he said.

The optimal footwear to ensure as little damage as possible is done to the temple’s volcanic stones is made of woven dried pandanus leaves, he said. Such items were not yet available but they had been ordered from the local community and could soon be added to the list of things inappropriately attired tourists will have to wear.

No fee would be charged for use of the sarongs and sandals during the trial, but Prasetyo said he could not rule out a charge at a later date. “We hope this will open up job opportunities for surrounding communities and lead to economic growth,” he said.

Some 2.5 million tourists visited Borobudur last year. Indonesians pay 15,000 rupiah (1.60 dollars) to enter the compound while foreigners are charged 15 dollars.

As Islam spread through Java after the 12th century, the “temple mountain” of Borobudur was abandoned and lost to the jungle. It was “rediscovered” in 1814 by English colonial trader Sir Thomas Stamford Raffles and was restored with the help of UNESCO in the 1970s.


Youth said...

I have always wanted to see those temples. I have a question, though. Does wearing a sarong mean more than just showing respect? Does it symbolize as a holy act?

H. Nizam said...


First of all I would like to thank you for following and commenting on my blog. I will do the same to yours.

Re: your comment on this post:
In this case the visitors are ask to wear sarong just to showing respect.

kakironda said...

Looking at the positive point of view, visitors from all over the world will have the golden opportunity to dress the local traditional costumes. Taking pictures in front of the temple wearing sarongs... how wonderful.

H. Nizam said...


You are very right my friend, the tourists will have a wonderful & memorable experience.

marion said...

I recently came across your blog and have been reading along. I thought I would leave my first comment. I don't know what to say except that I have enjoyed reading. Nice blog. I will keep visiting this blog very often.

H. Nizam said...


Thank you very much for your visit and comment. I am very happy that you like my blog.

Rob Baiton said...


And while having a memorable tourist experience they will also be contributing to keeping the local batik business community alive (ultimately there will be an extra charge for those that hire a sarong on the day if they forget to bring their own).

H. Nizam said...


Thank you for your comment.

You are right. Although in the initial period the government will provide sarong and sandals free of charges, however there's no guarantee that they be charging for them in the future.

Yari NK said...

Is this a binding or a voluntary? Though I agree that one should respect local values but nothing comes without consequences. The worst possible scenario may be the dwindling incoming number of tourists though I hope it will not happen.... So many points are to be taken into consideration if one is about to make everybody happy....

H. Nizam said...

Hi Yari,

I heard that the govt plan to make it compulsory, just like in some places in Bali. For that reason the govt will provide Sarong and sandal free of charge.
I read text message on one local TV saying that there has been complain by tourist who felt that wearing sarong is not convenient for climbing stairs.

I agree that many considerations should be taken into account before making everybody happy.

colson said...


Don't think that beautiful monument is still used as a place of worship.

So to me the plan is something like making the Roman tunics (style year zero) the dress code for visitors the the Colosseum.

Linora 'Aronil' Low said...

Thats not so bad actually. I remember i went into a mosque once and i was required to dawn a tudung and an entire outfit to cover me. This is especially for the ladies.

At least with a sarong you won't be that hot :P.

H. Nizam said...


As a matter of fact the Borobudur is still being used a venue for Buddhist ceremonies at least once a year.
Whilst the Colosseum is just a remain of ancient Roman Empire.

H. Nizam said...


I am glad to hear that you think it's not bad wearing the Sarong.

umihoney said...

It shouldn't be a hardship to don a sarung.Well..when in Rome do as the Romans do.

H. Nizam said...


"When in Rome do what the Roman do" wearing sarong would not creat hardship actually it should be an everlasting memory for those who never wear it.

kece bonk said...

i think it's ok,, it was their costum..., and inly be valid at Borobudur. important as the visitors don't damage the existing culture of course, if want to be free, create their own state. the same respect it.

H. Nizam said...

Kece Bonk,

Beside respecting religion it is also a good for maintaining tradition