A couple of miles (3.5 kilometers) from the UNESCO World Heritage–listed temple of Borobudur, the charming Mendut Temple (Candi Mendut) features an attached working Buddhist monastery. Built in the early 9th century, the temple and the village that houses it are the starting point for the annual Waisak (Buddha day) celebrations.
There is a tiny admission charge to Mendut Temple (Candi Mendut), which also covers admission to Pawon Temple (Candi Pawon), another small temple related to majestic Borobudur. It’s perfectly possible to visit all three temples independently, but many prefer the seamless transportation of a tour or private driver, perhaps with the historic insights of a private guide.
Most Mendut tours bundle this temple with others in the Yogyakarta area: particularly Borobudur and Pawon. Some combine Borobudur, Mendut, and Pawon with the Prambanan complex, which is a lot to take in over a single day. Mendut is also a popular stop on multi-day tours of Yogyakarta and its environs.
Things to Know Before You Go
Mendut Temple is a must for serious history buffs.
Candi Mendut is a small and simple temple, around 85 feet (26 meters) in height, but the stone carvings within its inner sanctum are dazzling.
As with any religious site in South East Asia, it’s worth dressing appropriately—try to cover your shoulders and kneeds.
How to Get There
The best way to reach Mendut Temple independently is by traveling from Yogyakarta to Borobudur then walking or taking a taxi. The 25-mile (40-kilometer) journey from Yogyakarta to Borobudur takes around two hours by bus from the Jombor or Giwangan terminals. Many prefer the ease of an organized tour that starts and finishes at their door and covers off temples such as Pawon and Borobudur, or the comfort of a private driver.
When to Get There
Candi Mendut comes into its own on Waisak (Buddha’s birthday), which falls around May each year on a date set by the lunar calendar—that’s also when the temple is very busy. Assuming you’re combining Mendut with Borobudur, try to avoid weekends and Indonesian public holidays, which is when the Borobudur crowds are at their most hectic.
Waisak at Borobudur and Mendut
Although the Buddhist Sailendra dynasty that built Borobudur and Mendut is long gone, Indonesia boasts a diverse selection of Buddhist traditions. Waisak, a holiday that celebrates Buddha’s birthday, is an official holiday for all of Indonesia. Prayers and processions start from Candi Mendut and progress to Borobudur, and both the temple and the monastery come alive in spectacular fashion.