Java Island Offers Travellers Genuine Touch of Indonesia

Overview

Java offers travelers genuine touches of Indonesia. Java is an island of Indonesia. With a population of over 145 million, Java is home to 57% of the Indonesian population and is the most populous island on Earth. The Indonesian capital city, Jakarta, is located on western Java.

Much of Indonesian history took place on Java. It was the center of powerful Hindu-Buddhist empires, the Islamic sultanates, and the core of the colonial Dutch East Indies. Java was also the center of the Indonesian struggle for independence during the 1930s and 1940s. Java dominates Indonesia politically, economically and culturally.

Formed mostly as the result of volcanic eruptions, Java is the 13th largest island in the world and the fifth largest in Indonesia. A chain of volcanic mountains forms an east–west spine along the island.

Where is it?

Java lies between Sumatra to the west and Bali to the east. Borneo lies to the north and Christmas Island is to the south. It is the world’s 13th largest island. Java is surrounded by the Java Sea to the north, Sunda Strait to the west, the Indian Ocean to the south and Bali Strait and Madura Strait in the east.

Java is almost entirely of volcanic origin; it contains thirty-eight mountains forming an east–west spine that have at one time or another been active volcanoes. The highest volcano in Java is Mount Semeru (3,676 metres). The most active volcano in Java and also in Indonesia is Mount Merapi (2,930 metres).

More mountains and highlands help to split the interior into a series of relatively isolated regions suitable for wet-rice cultivation; the rice lands of Java are among the richest in the world. Java was the first place where Indonesian coffee was grown, starting in 1699. Today, Coffea arabica is grown on the Ijen Plateau by small-holders and larger plantations.

The area of Java is approximately 150,000 km2. It is about 1,000 kilometres long and up to 210 kilometres wide. The island’s longest river is the 600 km long Solo River. The river rises from its source in central Java at the Lawu volcano, then flows north and eastward to its mouth in the Java Sea near the city of Surabaya. Other major rivers are Brantas, Citarum, Cimanuk and Serayu.

Java island is the political, commercial and population center of Indonesia. It supports nearly 130 millions people on a land mass about the size of England or New York.

Language

Three main languages are spoken on the island: Javanese, Sundanese, and Madurese. Of these, Javanese is the dominant; it is the native language of about 60 million people in Indonesia, most of whom live on Java. Furthermore, most residents are bilingual, speaking Indonesian (the official language of Indonesia) as their first or second language. While the majority of the people of Java are Muslim, Java has a diverse mixture of religious beliefs, ethnicities, and cultures.

Regions

Java island divided into three provinces and one special province or region :

  • Yogyakarta (Special Province) – The artistic and the cultural heart of Java, it is also the home of the Javanese people, Borobudur and many other archeological sites are strewn throughout the area. and royal palaces play important roles in Javanese lives. Jogja is also known as a miniature Indonesia, as students, artists and fashion designers from different ethnic group from throughout the country are based here.
  • Central Java (Jawa Tengah)
  • East Java (Jawa Timur) The home of Mt. Bromo; the island’s last remaining group of Javanese Hindus; Ijen nature reserves and Surabaya, which teemed with industry and trade.
  • West Java (Jawa Barat) – West java and Banten Provinces are home to technology, industry, and international-standard botanical garden, the Sundanese people and a UNESCO World Heritage Site National park in Ujung Kulon.

Popular Cities in Java

  • Jakarta – the nation’s capital – the nation’s capital in Jakarta and Indonesia’s major industrial and business centers located here, Java is a melting pot for workers of all ethnic background from throughout the archipelago.
  • Bandung
  • Yogyakarta
  • Surabaya
  • Solo
  • Semarang
  • Malang
  • Banyuwangi

Popular See & Do

Yogyakarta

  • Sultan Palace – A palace complex in the city of Yogyakarta, Yogyakarta Special Region, Indonesia. It is the seat of the reigning Sultan of Yogyakarta and his family. The complex is a center of Javanese culture, and contains a museum displaying royal artifacts. It is guarded by the Yogyakarta Kraton Guards (Indonesian: Prajurit Keraton Ngayogyakarta Hadiningrat). The Sultan’s palace or Kraton encompasses the main palace, the sultan’s residential buildings, two alun-alun (palace squares), and a large residential area where the sultan’s servants used to live.
  • Tamansari – This is a partly-ruined complex built as a pleasure garden by the first Sultan in 1765. One of the bathing pools was dedicated to the sultan’s harem, and he had a tower overlooking the area so he could take his pick.
  • Malioboro – Malioboro is a well-known shopping promenade and very popular among Indonesian as well as international tourists. Spans from the Tugu Station to the Sultan’s square, Malioboro is 2 km in length and home to hundreds of shops and street-stalls offering various kind of handicrafts.
  • Fort Vrederburg – Vredeburg Fort was once an unpretentious square fort built by Sri Sultan Hamengku Bowono I in 1760 upon the Colonial request, Nicolas Harting.
  • Kotagede – The capital of the ancient Islamic Mataram kingdom. The tomb of its first king, Panembahan Senopati, is here in the royal graveyard
  • Alun-alun
  • Kasongan
  • Prambanan – Magnificent 9th century Hindhu temple called the Slender Maiden (locally known as Roro Jonggrang). Main temples dedicated to Shiva flanked by temples to Visnu and Brahma. Relief depicts Ramayana and Kresnayana stories.
  • Ratu Boko – Built between 8th and 9th centurie. Mixed Buddhist and Hindhus style. Partially restored palace auditorium. Ruins of tha royal garden with a bathing pool inside.
    Sewu Temples – Buddhist tempel complex, older than Roro Jonggrang. A main sanctuary surrounded by many smaller temples. Well preserved guardian statues, replicas of which stand in the central courtyard at the Jogja Keraton.
  • Ijo Temples – A complex of three-tiered temples, but several have been renovated. A main sanctuary and three secondary shrines with statues. Located on a high place. One of favorites spot to see sunrise and sunset.
    Sambisari – 10th century undergraund Hindhu temple buried by eruptions from Merapi volcano for a century. Discovered in 1976 by a farmer plowing his field.
  • Parangtritis – Black sand beach. Popular for its; golden sunset. This is a sacred beach to the local people. On certain days of the Javanese calendar, ceremonies are held with offerings to Rau Kidul, the goddess of the south Sea. The area is also famous for fun activities e.g traditional horse cart ride, ATV, sand boarding and also paragliding.
  • Pindul – Pindul Cave located in the Bejiharjo Village promises a sensational adventure. If you thought rafting in a river is awesome, try rafting in a river that is located inside a cave!!! The cave is part of seven caves with an underground river flowing within. This funny and challenging experience is open to all ages and no experience is needed. Enjoy the caves beauty, panorama and with no doubt the stalagmites and stalactites while floating on the underground Pindul river.
  • Kalisuci Oya river –
  • Jomblang – A natural vertical cave as a result of the collapse of geological processes landslides and vegetation on it into the earth that happened thousands of years ago!. Jomblang cave is located in Jetis Wetan Village, at about 50 km/31 mi downtown Yogyakarta. The cave is a vertical cave at 50 m/164 ft wide with vertical sides ranging between 40-80 m/131-262 ft and a thick ancient forest below.
  • Timang Beach – It offers southern coast panorama, white sand beach and the cliff. Years ago, Timang Beach was just an isolated spot at the end of a bumpy road. While there was the gondola used by fishermen to catch lobsters, there were no parking areas and nowhere to buy food or dine at. However, there was a flood of tourists ever since Timang Beach was featured on an episode of Running Man (Korean’s variety show) sometime in 2017.
  • Breksi cliff
  • Grubug Cave
  • Goa Langse
  • Nglanggeran
  • Sri Gethuk waterfall
  • Rancang Kencono
  • Ramayana Ballet
  • Indrayanti Breach
  • Siung Beach
    Baron Beach
  • Wedi Ombo
  • Merapi Volcano & Kaliadem – Mount Merapi is an active stratovolcano and currently the most active one in Indonesia, erupting regularly for since almost 500 years, most lately in 2010. It’s one of the 16 potentially deadliest volcanoes in the world because of its large populations living on or near the mountain slopes.
  • Elo River – There is no doubt that rafting in Elo River will send blood rushing through your veins. The river promises a challenging and exciting adventure not forgetting the amazing panorama. Situated close to Borobudur Temple and Mendut Temple.
  • Progo River – Progo River white water rafting is a difficult terrain and is ideal for an extreme adrenaline rush. In fact, it is considered to be the most difficult trip in Central Java. The river basin is created by several small watersheds and runs from north to south and from upstream to downstream in Waterford.
  • Setumbu hill near Borobudur
  • Puncak Suroloyo
  • Museum Batik / Wisma Batik – The oldest Batik in the museum was made in 1840. There are some famous collections as well, such as Soga Jawa Long Cloths (1950-1960), Isen-isen Antik Sarong (1880-1890) which was made by EV. Zeuylen from Pekalongan, and Soga Jawa Long Sarong (1920-1930) made by Mrs. Lie Djing Kiem from Yogyakarta.
  • Imogiri royal graves – Graveyard of the Sultan Agung and his descendants, the Yogyakarta and Surakarta royal families.
  • Museum Ullen Sentalu – The museum displays relics and artifact from royal houses and kratons of Java, such as Yogyakarta, Pakualam, Surakarta, and Mangkunegaran. Guided tours are available in English, Mandarin, Dutch, and Japanese with notice.
  • Kekayon Museum – A wayang (puppet) museum with a lush Javanese style garden. Divided into ten sections, where each holds a vast number of puppets from various places in Indonesia. Rp5,000.
  • Sonobudoyo Museum (Museum Sonobudoyo) – Many Javanese artefacts like wayang puppets, masks, statues, textiles, weapons, and a full set of gamelan instruments. Worth a visit if you have some extra time in Yogya, or you are interested in Javanese culture study. Wayang kulit performances are given every night 20:00-22:00, accompanied by gamelan.
  • Diponegoro Museum – Officially named Museum Sasana Wiratama, this museum is located in the grounds of the former residence of famous prince Dipoegoro, son of sultan Hamengku Buwana III of Yogyakarta, He waged a guerrilla war against the Dutch colonizers, known as the Java War (1825-1830).
  • Museum Kereta – Carriage Museum (Museum Kereta). Houses the Sultan’s horse-drawn carriages, including two beautiful carriages imported from the Netherlands and known as Golden Carriages (kereta kencana).
  • Pinus Pengger – Pinus Pengger is a pine tree forest with a distinctive aroma that draws many visitors there. It features a cooling forest climate and a peaceful atmosphere.
  • Mangunan
  • Salak Agro
  • Rumah Hobbit
  • Batik
  • Silver
  • Leather Manding
  • Cooking Class
  • Batik Class
  • Silver class

Central Java

  • Borobudur – The Borobudur is a giant Buddist temple complex, built in the 8th and 9th century. The building has nine so-called stupas. The first 5 make up the piramidacal base of the structure, on top of that are 3 circular stoepa´s and finally there is one big stupa on top of all the others. Around the 3 circular stupa´s are 72 open stupa´s with statues of Buddha inside. In the 10th of 11th century the temple was abandoned, and only rediscovered at the end of the 19th, after which the structure was cleared from the vegetation, and finally at the end of the 20th century it was restored with the help of the UNESCO. An hour’s drive from the Borobudur Temple are the Hindu Prambanan Temples, which are also on the UNESCO World Heritage list.
  • Semarang
  • Solo
  • Sukuh
  • Tawangmangu
  • Dieng Plateau
  • Ambarawa
  • Karimunjawa
  • Merbabu
  • Lawu
  • Dieng Plateau
  • Cetho
  • Gunung Prau
  • Sindoro Sumbing

East Java

  • Surabaya – The official capital of the East Java province. Surabaya is also the second largest city after Jakarta.
  • Taman Safari – Indonesia Safari Park II is located at Jatiarjo village Prigen distric, Pasuruan regency. The wildlife conservation park is a branch of Cisarua – Bogor Indonesia Safari Park. As a wildlife conservation park, Taman Safari Indonesia has various wild animal collections. There are 3 zones in over 340 hectares, wild life zone, attraction zone and baby zoo zone.
  • Monumen Kapal Selam – Submarine Monument or Monkasel, is a submarine museum located at the heart of Surabaya town. This monument was submarine Pasopati KRI 410, one of the Indonesian Navy fleet made by Soviet Union in 1952. The submarine was involved in the Battle of Aru Ocean to free West Papua from the Dutch occupation. This Submarine has 76.6 meters length and a width of 6.30 meters and equipped with 12 pieces steam torpedo gas.
  • Trowulan – Trowulan site is a historic district of archeological sites from Majapahit period. The site is located in the district of Trowulan, Mojokerto, East Java. The findings in museum Trowulan indicate that Trowulan site was quite advanced settlements. In the complex, there are several temples that adjacent to each other and always crowded by visitors such as Tikus Temple, Bajang Ratu, Menak Jingga Temple and other historical sites.
  • Malang – The city is well known for its mild climate. During the period of Dutch colonization, it was a popular destination for European residents. Until now, Malang still holds its position a popular destination for international tourists.
  • Banyuwangi – Banyuwangi is the eastern-most regency of East Java. The home of Ijen crater, inviting beaches and famous national parks.
  • Ijen Crater – Ijen Crater or Kawah Ijen is the complex of volcanic area, which there is a crater of Ijen and its plateau, which has 2,600M and 8,660 M high. Ijen crater is located in three parts of regencies, which in Situbondo, Bondowoso, and Banyuwangi, East Java. This volcanic area become the most incredible and surreal volcanic area which has a gigantic turquois crater lake in East Java.
  • Jampit Coffee Plantation – Jampit coffee plantations, is an agro-tourism attraction in Bondowoso, which is managed by PTP Nusantara Kalista Jampit VII. The plantation is located ±74 km to the east district Bondowoso. Jampit Coffee plantation covers 4000 hectares area and is located at an altitude of 900 M above sea level.
  • Bromo Tengger Semeru – Bromo have known by all of visitor of the worlds. They come to Bromo to watch the sunrise. The visitor also can look down to the crater that full of its smoke, and feel the cold of the air, is probably could only be done in Bromo. Our eyes will also completed by the sea of sand that the way to reach Bromo’s peak. The main gate to the sea of sand and mount Bromo is through Cemorolawang.Sukamade Beach – Sukamade Beach is located in the village of Sarongan, District Pesanggaran, Banyuwangi. The beach is a part of Meru Betiri National Park and is an intensive zone used for observation of turtle eggs and turtle hatchlings release. At the beach, visitors can witness the turtles nesting and race to reach the shore.
  • Baluran National Park – This national park is located in Situbondo regency, East Java. It has a relatively dry climate and mainly consists of savanna (40%), as well as lowland forests, mangrove forests and hills, with Mout Baluran as its highest peak. There have been 444 species of plant and host to 26 species of mammals recorded in the park. You can enjoy the amazing scenery of the forest and do the safari activities in the wild life and feel the magic of the forest.
  • G Land – G-Land or Plengkung beach is known as one of the best surfing beaches in the world. The word G in G-Land derives from Grajagan, the name of the bay where huge waves can be found at south Banyuwangi. G-Land offers the world’s most demanding surfing spot which recommended only for professional surfers. May to October is the best time for surfing, and it becomes the paradise world of surfer.
  • Alas Purwo – Alas Purwo National Park – Alas Purwo National Park covers the Blambangan peninsula and adjacent wetlands. It is arguably Java’s most important park from an ecological viewpoint. The name Alas Purwo can be translated as First Forest or Original Forest and expresses the belief that here the island Java started emerging form the primeval ocean. In other words, the forest of Alas Purwo is held sacred, and that is a good thing for its conservation. Except for the G-land surf camps at the southern tip of Blambangan, there are no amenities for tourists and none are planned. So this is your park for a wildlife and bird spotting expediton.

West Java

  • Ujung Kulon National Park – Ujung Kulon National Park is located at the westernmost tip of Java, within Banten province of Indonesia. It includes the volcanic island group of Krakatoa in Lampung province, and other islands including Panaitan, as well as smaller offshore islets such as Handeuleum and Peucang in the Sunda Strait. It is Indonesia’s first proposed national park and was declared a UNESCO World Heritage Site in 1991 for containing the largest remaining lowland rainforest in Java. After the 1883 eruption of Krakatoa, many settlements in the park were wiped out and never repopulated. Ujung Kulon stands as the last known refuge for the critically endangered Javan rhinoceros after poachers killed the last remaining rhino in Cát Tiên National Park of Vietnam. The park also protects 57 rare species of plant. The 35 species of mammal include Banteng, Silvery gibbon, Javan lutung, Crab-eating macaque, Javan leopard, Java mouse-deer and Rusa deer, Smooth-coated Otter. There are also 72 species of reptiles and amphibians, and 240 species of birds.
  • Krakatau National Park
  • Jakarta
  • Bandung
  • Tangkuban Perahu
  • Glamping Lake
  • Angklung
  • Maribaya Lodge
  • Bandung Shopping Spree 
  • Kawah Putih
  • Lembang Bandung
  • Ranca Walini
  • Ranca Upas
  • Sariater
  • Pangandaran
  • Green Canyon
  • Batu Karas – Batu Karas is a coastal area, located at one hour from Pangandaran town in West Java with calm waters and challenging waves. It is a well kept secret for surfers and beach lovers but has not failed to be popular to surfers both locally and internationally. Batu Karas promises a great surfing adventure with so many types of waves and it is less crowded than the beaches in Bali.

Events and Festivals

  • Ramayana Ballet, Yogyakarta – Evening performance of The Ramayana against the lit backdrop of magnificent Prambanan.
  • Sekaten ceremony in Yogyakarta
  • Labuhan ceremony in Yogyakarta
  • Waicak in Borobudur temple
  • Dieng festival in Central Java
  • Kasodo ceremony in Mount Bromo area, East Java
  • Angklung performance in Bandung, West Java

Climate & Weather

The average temperature ranges from 22 °C to 29 °C; average humidity is 75%. The northern coastal plains are normally hotter, averaging 34 °C during the day in the dry season. The south coast is generally cooler than the north, and highland areas inland are even cooler. The wet season begins in November and ends in April. During that rain falls mostly in the afternoons and intermittently during other parts of the year. The wettest months are January and February. West Java is wetter than East Java and mountainous regions receive much higher rainfall. The Parahyangan highlands of West Java receive over 4,000 mm annually, while the north coast of East Java receives 900 mm annually.

Get There

By Plane

Soekarno – Hatta International Airport (CGK) is about 20 kilometres from Jakarta. Several dozens of airlines serve the city.

  • Non-budget airlines include:
    Garuda Indonesia – Amsterdam, Ambon, Balikpapan, Banda Aceh, Bandar Lampung (Tanjung Karang), Bangkok, Banjarmasin, Batam, Beijing, Biak, Dammam, Denpasar/Bali, Guangzhou, Ho Chi Minh City, Hong Kong, Jambi, Jayapura, Jeddah, Kendari, Kuala Lumpur, Kupang, Makassar, Malang, Manado, Mataram (Lombok), Medan, Melbourne, Padang, Palangkaraya, Palembang, Palu, Pangkalpinang, Pekanbaru, Perth, Pontianak, Riyadh, Semarang, Seoul, Shanghai Pudong International Airport, Singapore, Solo, Surabaya, Sydney, Taipei, Timika, Tokyo, Yogyakarta
    Malaysia Airlines – Kuala Lumpur
    Singapore Airlines – Singapore
    Qantas – Sydney
    Lufthansa – Frankfurt, Singapore
  • Budget airlines serving Jakarta are:
    Air Asia – Kuala Lumpur
    Jetstar – ValuAir – Singapore
    Lion Air – from Kuala Lumpur , Jeddah, Riyadh, Ho Chi Minh City and Singapore.
    Some more destinations with other airlines include Dubai, Xiamen, Manila, Abu Dhabi, Doha, Nanning, Phuket, Istanbul and Sana’a.

To/from the airport

  • Bus: A shuttle bus route links the airport to Rawamangun, Blok M, Gambir Station, Bekasi, Depok, Lebak Bulus, Tanjung Priok, Kemayoran, Kampung Rambutan, Pasar Minggu, Serang, Merak, Cikarang and Bogor. Primajasa buses now also serves Bandung from the airport.
  • Car: Depending on traffic, Soekarno–Hatta is a 30 minutes drive away from Jakarta’s city centre via Soedyatmo Expressway. Rental cars are available, as well as taxis.
  •  Juanda International Airport (SUB) serves as the main gateway with almost 20 airlines flying to/from Surabaya. Destinations include Kuala Lumpur, Jakarta, Singapore, Johor Bahru, Yogyakarta, Taipei, Hong Kong, Bali, Bandung and Bandar Seri Begawan.
  • Husein Sastranegara International Airport (BDO) serves Bandung with flights to Bali, Medan, Kuala Lumpur and Singapore.
  • Adisucipto International Airport (JOG) near Yogyakarta has a few international connections, including flights with Air Asia to Kuala Lumpur and Singapore.

By Boat

There are two key highly frequent ferry routes to Java, operated by ASDP.

  • From the island of Sumatra in the west, ferries operate from Bakauheni in Lampung province to the port of Merak on Java (24 hours per day, multiple departures per hour).
  • From the island of Bali in the east, ferries operate from Gilimanuk to the port of Ketapang in East Java (24 hours per day, two departures per hour).

Java is also part of the national PELNI passenger ferry network, with routes to and from all major Indonesian islands. PELNI ships call at the ports of Surabaya, Semarang, and Tanjung Priok port in North Jakarta.

Get Around

By Plane

Flying is a good option for travelling larger distances in Java. The route from Jakarta in the west to Surabaya in the east is one of busiest flight routes in the world. In addition, there are frequent flights from Jakarta (and Bandung) to other airports in Central and East Java, and for example between Yogyakarta and Surabaya. Apart from these trunk routes, there are smaller routes to more remote airports such as Pangandaran and Cilacap on the south coast, and the outlying islands of Karimunjawa, Madura, and Bawean.

By Train

Java has the most comprehensive railway network in Indonesia, with trains connecting the capital city of Jakarta with most other cities and towns in the island. The eksekutif class is the luxury class, and consequently the most expensive. Ticket reservations can be made starting 90 days in advance. On-line ticket reservation is available through PT Kereta Api’s ticketing site and several other on-line ticket agent websites and also thousands of Alfamart and Indomart mini markets. Travelers can also buy ticket from a ticket agent’s shop or local post office which is available in most of all cities in Indonesia. Either buying from internet or ticket shop, travelers will get printable voucher with Rp6,000 additional administration fee and it must be exchanged with the real ticket at the nearest or departure train station. Please remember that your name in the ticket should be same with your identity or you can’t get into the train, if the name is different or you must pay double.

By Car

Java’s toll roads are built nearly to Western standards, with dual grade-separated lanes in both directions and elevated interchanges. Tolls are quite affordable, usually Rp 1,500-5,000 every 10 km or so. However, signage is often lacking and driving habits are atrocious, so it’s very wise to pay a little extra and get a car with driver instead of attempting to drive yourself.

By Bus

The main form of long-distance transport, vast armadas of buses cross the island and connect every city and mountain hamlet. Watch out though, as many drivers have near-suicidal driving habits that emphasize speed above all else. There are two type of buses, with aircon and without aircon; the fare of non-aircon is only about a third of using aircon. If you do take a bus, take one with aircon, because drivers of such buses are known to be safer, as a general rule. For long trips, people tend to use cheap airlines, because their fares are usually comparable to bus fare. However, in peak season, even ‘cheap airlines’ fares increase to 3 to 4 times the cost for air conditioned buses.

Sleep

Hotel range from simple homestays or guest houses to ultra-luxurious depending on destination.

Eat

Food is plentiful on Java, thanks to its rich volcanic soil, Fine dining restaurants serve international and Indonesian cuisine. The adventurous might enjoy eating in local establishments such as Warung, Kakilima food stalls, etc.

Tips & Praticalities

  • Peak Seasons : Java’s busiest times for international tourism are June through August and the Christmas and New Year holidays. Local school and public holidays are also busy times, particularly during Idul fitri, the end of the Moslem fasting month. Reservations for hotels and transportation are recommended during these periods.
  • Money Matters: In the larger cities of Java, credit card and traveler check are widely accepted, and ATM are readily available. However, in rural areas cash is preferred. The currency is Indonesian Rupiah (IDR), written as Rp.
  • Electricity: Usually 220 Volts, 50 cycle, but always check first. The plugs is two-pronged, round.
  • Customs: narcotics are strictly prohibited, and stiff penalties are strictly enforced. Upon entry, two liters of alcoholic beverages, 200 cigarettes, 50 cigars or 100 grams of tobacco are allowed.

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