You'd think that the most populous island on the planet (151 million souls - and counting - on an island half the size of Great Britain) would be somewhere to avoid like the plague while on holiday. You'd be wrong. Sure, the capital Jakarta is probably worth a miss, but if you want to discover what makes Indonesia tick, then Java holidays are a must. It’s a place that has an enigmatic pull, luring travellers from all walks of life, despite its complex, overcrowded and often gridlocked energy. Holidays to Java still have an undisputed charm and captivating quality. Not to mention a history that’s
experienced centuries of Hindu and Buddhist imperial rule, before the arrival of Islam and the later commercial exploitation of the Dutch East Indies. It's a landscape that has been pulled into shape by its people, as it marries a distinctly urban texture with lush green rice paddies, active volcanoes, thriving rainforests and white sand beaches thrown in for good measure too. While there’s no disputing that the history alone has made Java a fantastic destination, there's still so much more to discover on a tailor-made Java holiday...
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Holly made excellent suggestions and creates the perfectly balanced trip that ticked all our boxes. The Concierge was very helpful throughout and the absolutel highlights were seeing monkeys and deer on Manjangan Island, and watching the sunset from the magnificent tower.
What can you find in Java that you won't find anywhere else?
On arrival in Jakarta, and after you have adjusted to being surrounded by the capital's sheer volume of humanity, head as soon as possible to the surprisingly sparsely populated countryside. The scenery is wonderfully picturesque, with lush and extremely fertile green terraces and rice paddies, taking advantage of all possible space. It's at this moment you'll notice what else populates Java in huge numbers - volcanoes. There are over 50 on the island, with 20 or so proving in recent years that they are far from dormant. As a backdrop to almost every view on the island, the summits can prove quite a menacing sight on the horizon, but at sunset they are stunning with a wisp of smoke rising from the craters.
At least one volcano visit while holidaying on Java is a must, and touristy thought it may be, Mount Bromo is still worth exploration. Watching the sunrise over the caldera is hugely memorable, with dawn clouds spilling over the crater edge and the light changing across the four different peaks. After watching the sunrise from the crater rim, you can then head into the crater itself and then ride across to Small Bromo, the only active summit.
Away from the sheer natural beauty of the island, there are several cultural highlights including the stunning nine-tiered Buddhist temple of Borobudur Temple, which has miraculously survived some 1,200 years of earthquakes and volcanic eruptions. Less fortunate but still worth a visit is the Hindu temple at Prambanan, which sustained a great deal of damage in a recent earthquake. The main temple is currently off limits, but the serene gardens surrounding the temple are still lovely.
Who is Java best for?
Holidays in Java are perfect for the romantics, whether it’s a couple's getaway or celebrating recent nuptials with a luxury honeymoon to remember there is something for all to fall in love with here. There’s the Begonia Garden in Maribaya, Lembang, with its tranquil atmosphere and diverse array of fauna and flora - perfect for photographing. Or take a trip to the white sand shores of Tanjung Lesung Beach, perfect for beachside lounging, relaxing and unwinding. Of course, it’s not a destination that’s exclusive to loved up pairs, as there is plenty of adventure to be had as a family. From a temple complex tour, followed by beach games on the shore and swimming in the phosphorescent waters, to the magic of the Javanese shadow puppet shows (in places like Yogyakarta). One thing is for certain, however or wherever you chose to travel on your Java holidays, you won’t be short of memory-making moments. You can explore some our suggested itineraries for some further inspiration on how best to spend your Java holiday.
Special experiences in Java
-Explore Java’s countryside by bike and take in the breath-taking scenery along the way (we’re talking lush rice paddies, volcanoes and lots of spots for swimming).
-Discover the wonders of the UNESCO World Heritage Site of Borobudur Temple, the world’s largest Buddhist temple, in all its glory.
-Wander through Java’s answer to the savanna with a trip to Baluran National Park, an epic location you can’t miss.