I didn’t know what to expect of Java and it certainly surprised me. From the acres of rice terraces, to the spectacular views the Special Region of Yogyakarta has it all. A place that is more rural and less touristy than it’s neighbouring Bali – don’t get me wrong I love Bali! A place that felt more the way I’d expected Indonesia to be.
What to do
The temples are the reason most people visit but I recommend staying around longer as the countryside and the Kampungs is where Java is really special.
Borobudur was amazing, the views on every side and indicate detail took my breath away. It was stunning. Go early though as it was busy even at 9am on a weekday when I went. And if the sun is out be careful, the steps are steep so make sure you are hydrated.
Prambanan is set in a huge compound. There are lots of other smaller temples that are worth wandering around, mainly because there is no one else around. There is also a lot of space to eat a picnic, something a lot of families were taking advantage of.
Yogyakata City also know as Jogjakarta or Jogja (pronounced chocha) is full of things to do and see. The street art was amongst one of the things that surprised me. There is so much of it and it feels like a movement is happening through it. Art with messages about the young people taking back the city is plentiful. There are also lots of nice cafes and restaurants to go to, a lot of which are in one particular area.
I also visited the caretaker of Merapi Volcano’s house and complex. This was under an hour out of the city and worth the visit. A sombre place, with artefacts from the 2010 eruption. On a clear day you can also get a good view of the top.
Where to stay
I stayed in two lovely places during my time in Yogyakarta. The first a family run place in lovely surroundings, with amazing breakfasts – Janur Bungalow and the second a lovely centrally located hotel – Adhisthana Hotel both of which I’d highly recommend. Other places to stay can be found here.
So when you are planning a trip to Indonesia, consider Central Java, as it is one of the best places I’ve visited…
See my travel page here for other destinations in South East Asia.