Home to 140 million people Java is the most populated island on earth. However, don't let this put you off, as it also boasts a dazzling array of landscapes, from rice paddies and huge smoking volcanoes to rainforest and white sand beaches. It's also home to some of the most spectacular ancient monuments and temples you will see.
The sprawling royal city of Yogyakarta nestles in the heart of Java and is steeped in rich culture and tradition. A major centre for the classical Javanese arts, handicraft industries and delicious culinary delights, Yogyakarta is also the perfect base from which to explore the temple complexes of Borobudur and Prambanan. Magnificent Borobudur is the world's biggest Buddhist monument and a UNESCO World Heritage Site. Dating from the 8th century, this colossal temple covers an enormous area and has ten levels decorated with more than 500 Buddha statues and almost 3,000 bas-relief sculptures. Not far from Borobudur is the magnificent Prambanan complex, the largest Hindu temples in South East Asia and another UNESCO World Heritage Site. Although largely in ruins, many of the temples have been restored to some extent.
In East Java the city of Surabaya is the gateway to Mount Bromo, an active volcano that ranks as one of the region's premier natural wonders. We highly recommend taking an early morning excursion to Penanjakan viewpoint to watch the sunrise – a staggeringly beautiful sight (weather permitting).
Within easy reach of Java and Bali is the island of Rinca, which is part of Indonesia's Komodo National Park and one of very few places to spot Komodo dragons in the wild.
- Historic temples
- Majestic natural scenery
- Catch the sunrise at Mt Bromo
- Komodo Dragons