Borobodur, Java © Judith Duk
Java is the most populous island in Indonesia providing many contrasts of scenery, people, religions and cultures. The island boasts immense beauty, from peaceful villages and a beautiful, fertile countryside to smoking volcanoes and ancient monuments. However there is also an unattractive side visible in its dirty, overcrowded cities, particularly the capital of Jakarta, clogged with traffic and pollution, with evident differences in wealth and wretched poverty between the people. Java is a mosaic of sights and impressions. It is also Indonesia's political stage and the cultural, educational and historical centre of the archipelago.

The island is dominated by an active volcanic mountain range stretching along its length. To the north is the unappealing city of Jakarta, a mixture of the modern and luxurious, with a glamorous city centre and some fine Dutch architecture; along with the filth, crime and squalor of a big city. South of the mountainous spine in central Java, lies the most popular city in Indonesia, Yogyakarta, the centre for Javanese art and culture, and nearby the astounding Hindu complex and Buddhist monument of Prambanan and Borobudur. Mt Bromo to the east is an active volcano amid stunning scenery.

Java offers the visitor a vivid and rewarding experience of an intensely striking land and culture, a tapestry of religions and historical influences, and splendid landscapes that make it the enchanting 'Garden of the East'.


Bromo-Tengger-Semeru National Park

The national park is a spectacular volcanic landscape and one of the most impressive natural sights in Indonesia. The ancient Tengger crater in its midst stretches for six miles (10km) and within its sheer volcanic walls are three peaks, namely Batok, Kursi and the smoking Mt Bromo. Thousands of tourists make the journey up Mt Bromo for the unforgettable spectacle at sunrise (during the dry season) when the surrounding landscape takes on an otherworldly quality. The views from the top and into the smoking crater are unbelievable. To reach the foot of the volcano one must cross the vast Sea of Sand out of which Mt Bromo rises, either on horseback or by foot, and then climb a flight of stairs that leads to the crater rim where the unmistakeable smell of sulphur permeates the air. The small village of Cemora Lawang, perched at the edge of the crater, is the most popular place to stay and has the best views of the area.

Address: Park office: Jl.R.Intan No 6, Malang, East Java; Telephone: (0341) 41828 (Park office)

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