Travelling in Java
I recall on one of my numerous trips to Bali hearing a group of tourists at a restoran in discussion about visiting Java. One said it was too dangerous, another that Java must be bad because there are a lot of Muslims there, whilst another commented that it lacks the beauty, facilities and safety that Bali has to offer. I was astounded and in a way, mildly annoyed.
Java is culturally rich, its people extremely friendly and getting around is easy – you have a choice of plane, train, bus, boat or you can even hire a car or motorbike. Whichever mode of transport you engage in, the island of Java will entrance you both visually and spiritually.
Java is the most densely populated island in the archipelago of Indonesia and can be divided into west (Jabar), central (Jateng) and east (Jatim) and all of these have something special to offer travellers. The main cities in West Java are the capital Jakarta, Bandung and Cirebon. In Central Java they are Semarang, Yogyakarta and Surakarta, whilst in East Java they are Malang and the industrial centre of the island, Surabaya. There are of course other larger towns throughout Java that have significance.
If you intend visiting Java then I would suggest you choose one of the culturally important cities (like Yogyakarta) decide what you want to see and do and branch out from there. Java has some of the most magnificent temples (candi’s), textiles and places of historical importance to be found in Indonesia as well as excellent shopping and visually stunning scenery. Generally, if you wanted to do a good trip then I think two weeks and in that time you could visit a lot of the major sites but, you would be pushing it. There are tour operators in both Bali and the major cities of Java that cater for this kind of travel but in my opinion it’s better to explore in your own time and at your pace.
Geographically Java is as diverse and varied as any other island offering cool hilltop resorts and areas to visit, right down to the lowlands where there are good beaches (mainly in the west of the island), surfing and diving. There are several national parks available to hike around and in some camping is allowed.