Java: Indonesia's Premier Attraction
The name ‘Java’ immediately conjures thoughts of tropical exploration. Sprawling jungle, ancient cities, the whole island dotted with a spine of rumbling volcanos – as evocative a destination as one could hope for!
Java has long been held fascination for travellers. In the years since Sir Stamford Raffles established colonial rule here in 1811, it has been ruled at various times by the British, Dutch, French, and Japanese. In times both modern and historic the Javanese themselves have contested the island on grounds of ethnicity, religion, and politics. This has all led to a contemporary Java which is multicultural and multifaceted; a visit here will go a long way to understanding not just the island but wider Indonesia itself.
A modern conception of Java is of a densely-populated and congested isle. True, the island is bookended by the clogged mega-cities of Jakarta and Surabaya, but either are fascinating in their own right and home to some of Indonesia’s best galleries, restaurants, and nightlife. In between the two is enticing Yogyakarta – rich in history and the true cultural heart of the island. Jogja – as the city is affectionately known – is also a jumping off point to explore the staggering complex of Borobodur. Just 1 hour from the city, this 9th Century Buddhist temple ranks alongside Bagan or Angkor Wat as one of Asia’s spiritual must-sees.
Although the culture and the history are superb, visits to Java are primarily about its’ staggering natural beauty. A line of volcanos runs all along the island, many of which are still highly active. Bromo sits in a lunar-like caldera of five smaller volcanoes where sunrises are like nowhere else on earth. Ijen in east Java sits in lush landscape; the two-hour hike to the crater reveals an azure blue lake, juxtaposed by the luminous yellow sulphur mined from within. More adventurous souls can also pay a visit to the wilder peaks of Merapi, Semeru, Papandayan, or of course legendary Krakatau.
Java is an easy island to get around. Problematic traffic can be avoided by using Java’s excellent rail network, or hopping on short and keenly-priced domestic flights. It also combines excellently with trips throughout the archipelago linking well with Sumatra, Bali, Lombok, Flores or beyond. With so many attractions - not to mention myriad national parks, miles of coastline, fascinating museums and fantastic shopping – the appeal of Java is hard to ignore. Contact us today to plan your visit!