Mount Bromo, Indonesia

Java, Indonesia: The top picks

Indonesia was one of my favourite countries travelling SE Asia, and that was mainly because there was so much to do and with so much variety. From delicious beaches to jaw-droppingly beautiful scenery, to action-packed activities, Indonesia seemed to have it all. And fortunately for us, we had a good chunk of time to spend exploring the culture-rich country. Java, home to the Country’s capital Jakarta, was a real treat to explore and we spent almost 2 weeks discovering every nook and crevice (well, not really, but it sure felt like it!).

So for anyone heading to Indonesia, and Java particularly, here are my favourite spots on the lovely island, in no particular order:

Bandung

Bandung was just a place I had skimmed over in my lonely planet guide, and mentions of an ice-blue crater lake had caught my eye. Kawah Putih sulfur lake, a short day trip from the city was a real highlight of our visit to Bandung and the striking colour (and the smell!) was really fascinating to experience.

Kawah Putih lake in Bandung

Kawah Putih lake in Bandung
Kawah Putih crater lake

We stopped off at stretches and stretches of bright green tea plantations on our way back home, which were also beautiful to see.

Malabar Tea Plantations, Bandung
Malabar Tea Plantations

Pangandaran

Pangandaran is a lovely small town located on the south coast of Java. It can be a bit out of the way as it’s pretty far from the most touristy spots like Jakarta and Yogyakarta, but is definitely worth a visit if you have the time. We only spent one full day here, but we made sure it was a busy, busy one! We decided to take a guided bike tour and this was a great way to see the local scenery. In Pangandaran, it felt like we were able to soak up a lot of the local culture; our tour led us to learn how sugar in the local town was concocted and we were given a thorough explanation and demonstration on Java’s unique shadow puppets, ‘Wayang’.

Pangandaran sugar making
Sugar making!
Wayang puppets
It was fascinating to learn how the ‘Wayang’ puppets were made!

Later, our afternoon saw us take a relaxing boat trip to the unbelievably stunning Green Canyon, my personal highlight of the day. I’ll let the photo do the talking.

The Green Canyon, Pangandaran
The amazing Green Canyon

Yogyakarta

Yogyakarta is dubbed as Java’s ‘cultural capital’, and with good reason. I was absolutely awe-struck by some of the stunning temples there, and that was even after seeing the legendary Angkor Wat in Cambodia!

Yogyakarta temples

Yogyakarta temples
Some of the most beautiful temples I’d ever seen

It didn’t hurt either that the sunrises we were lucky enough to watch and the surrounding scenery was absolutely divine. A definite must visit spot for Java!

Yogyakarta volcano
There were volcanos all over Java!

Mount Bromo

After almost 8 months on the road, I had started to feel that things had started to become, well… a lot less amazing. The sad truth is that after spending so much time constantly seeing so many wonderful places and incredible sights, it’s very easy to become jaded, as much as you try to fight it. That’s why it makes it even more special for me that when I set eyes upon the sun peeking up from the top of Mount Bromo, I was absolutely blown away. Mount Bromo, was for me, my favourite spot in Indonesia and one of the most amazing sights I’d ever seen.

Mount Bromo
What a view…

After watching the active volcano from afar, we were able to climb up (exhausting in the heat) and take a sneaky peek into the crater. Definitely worth the walk!

Mount Bromo
A peek into Bromo’s crater!
Mount Bromo
Horses making their way back down from Mount Bromo’s crater

Ijen Crater

Not too far from Mount Bromo, we also paid to see the Ijen crater as part of a package tour. When asked if we fancied seeing Ijen’s flames come alive in a vivid blue hue in the early hours of the morning, I knew there was no way I could miss out, no matter how early the start was. It turns out it was very early indeed and as we set off hiking at 2 am, I remember grumbling to myself, wondering whether anything could possibly be worth getting up this early to hike for. It turns out that Ijen crater is one of the rare things that is worth it, and watching the blue flames dance in the darkness was absolutely surreal, as was watching the sunrise peep above the crater. Unfortunately, I couldn’t get any decent shots of the blue flames, but these taking during sunrise weren’t too bad!

Ijen crater

Ijen crater
A very misty morning!
Ijen crater
Yet another beautiful volcano on our hike back down from Ijen

Have you been to Java? Have I missed anywhere amazing off the list?

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