7 Locales That Will Coerce You Into Visiting Java, Indonesia
Not to Be Overlooked
When visiting Indonesia, travelers usually flock to Bali or explore the island of Komodo — the breathtaking island of Java is often overlooked.
Java, home of Indonesia’s capital, Jakarta, offers just as much — if not more — than Bali or Komodo. Between the diverse cultures of the 150 million inhabitants, to the stunning geography, there’s plenty to see, learn and do.
These seven places to visit in Java will be sure to entice you to visit this beautiful island:
1. Mount Bromo
Ever wanted to climb a volcano? Here’s your chance. Volcanos make up nearly the entirety of Java’s geography, with 45 still active today.
Though it isn’t the largest volcano on the island, Mount Bromo is an incredible sight. Hiking around the park and seeing steam arising from its peak is an experience to remember.
Bromo and a nearby mountain frame the sunrise perfectly, creating spectacular views. The terrain below is bizarre and beautiful at the same time. When you finally climb up the stairs to see inside it, you’ll be in awe.
You may choose to see Bromo by tour, but it’s possible to hike Bromo for free with little crowds.
Photo Credit: iStockPhoto.com / superjoseph
2. Kawah Ijen
This might be my favorite place in Indonesia and I’ve been to the country three times! It’s so surreal, I felt as if I stepped off the planet and into alien territory.
Warning: this hike is not for the faint of heart. It can get dangerous.
The hike to the crater isn’t too hard, but you must make your way down into the crater, which is a hairier situation. After passing the sign that tells you the crater is dangerous and you probably shouldn’t go in, you’ll encounter precarious rock steps that can crumble and smoke, prohibiting your vision. Let’s not forget to mention you do this at night, and this is a sulfur crater, so you will be getting slightly choked out by a terrible rotten egg smell.
Tip: cover your face with a damp scarf. Let me emphasize damp — it makes a world of difference compared to a dry scarf.
Why are you putting yourself through this? Well, if you’re adventurous and curious enough, you will be rewarded with blue flames pouring up from the earth — the main reason you do it at night (you can’t see it during the day) — as well as an insight to the sulfur miners workday.
Down here are men working hard, mining yellow sulfur chunks for barely a few dollars a day. They hike in and out of this crater daily. After your crazy hike in this bizarre territory, take a load off and enjoy the sunrise while sitting at the top of the crater.
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This city is the cultural hub of Java. Yogyakarta is pretty cool for temple exploring, shopping, and getting to know more about the religion in the area. The main temples are Prambanan and Borobudur.
Borobudur is a sight to behold, with the world’s largest Buddhist archaeological complex. It’s simply gorgeous, the details are mind blowing, and the structure’s history is very interesting. I would recommend getting a guide to help you understand the importance of this building; otherwise you’re just going to see this beautiful place as just another temple.
Prambanan is equally incredible, and is one of the largest Hindu complexes in Southeast Asia. Roam around the quarters to see the individual gods enshrined in their own small temples. This is another spot to get a guide so you can understand what you’re seeing.
Photo Credit: iStockPhoto.com / hanafichi
I didn’t explore Jakarta too much, but I have been twice for the same reason. This city doesn’t offer up much besides a lot of chaos, but the reason I came over was for the musical festival.
Each December, DJakarta Warehouse Party throws an epic electronic music festival and they do a fabulous job putting on a show. Some huge names came into town to spin their tunes and it’s well worth coming here to catch this festival.
Photo Credit: iStockPhoto.com / Taufin
Haven’t heard of this spot? People at tourist agencies can’t help you get here? Yeah, I know. Trust me!
I wanted to go here, but nobody could really help me. I thought it must be pretty off the grid, and that motivated me even more to get to it. This beach is a haven for surfers and people just wanting to chill out! Shhh — I didn’t tell you about it.
I didn’t make it to the next two spots, but I did enough research to include them here as possibilities for you. Hopefully you have some extra days during your visit to see these two other amazing spots.
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There are 27 gorgeous islands to bask on here. This is where you can get some great beach life without having to make the journey over to crowded Bali. Snorkeling, diving and just chilling on the pristine beaches are the main activities to do here.
Photo Credit: iStockPhoto.com / asiafoto
7. Dieng Plateau
This volcanic plateau features the majestic Telaga Warna lake. Besides the breathtaking views at the lake, you can venture off around the lake for trails that lead to caves and terraced hillsides for more unprecedented views of the area. Due to the geothermal activity here, there are bubbling hot mud holes scattered about.
Visiting all of these spots will be well worth your time and you could do it with less than a month’s time while not being too rushed. Hopefully this sparks your interest in Java!