Mount Bromo, Indonesia

Java, Indonesia: My Top Five Places to Visit

Indonesia was one of my favourite countries to visit when I was travelling in Southeast Asia. That’s mainly because there was so much to do and with so much variety. From dreamy beaches to postcard-perfect scenery to thrilling activities, Indonesia seems to have it all. Fortunately for us, we spent a good chunk of time exploring the culture-rich country.

Java, Indonesia, home to the Country’s capital Jakarta, is a real treat to explore. We spent almost two weeks discovering as much of the land as possible.

For anyone heading to Java, Indonesia, here are my favourite spots on the lovely island, in no particular order.

1. Bandung, Java, Indonesia

Bandung is a place I had skimmed over in my Lonely Planet guide when planning our trip to Indonesia. Mentions of an ice-blue crater lake caught my eye.

Kawah Putih Sulfur Lake is a short day trip from Bandung City. The lake was a real highlight of our visit to Bandung, and its striking hue (not to mention the smell) is 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.

Malabar Tea Plantations, Bandung
Malabar Tea Plantations

2. Pangandaran, Java, Indonesia

Pangandaran is a lovely small town located on the south coast of Java, Indonesia. Pangandaran is pretty far from the most touristy spots like Jakarta and Yogyakarta, but it’s worth a visit if you have the time.

We only spent one full day in Pangandaran, but we made sure it was a busy one.

To see the local scenery, we took a guided bike tour of the area. On our trip, we soaked up plenty of the local culture. We learned how sugar in the local town was concocted and was given a detailed explanation and demonstration on Java’s unique shadow puppets, ‘Wayangs.’

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

In the afternoon, we took a relaxing boat trip to the magnificent Green Canyon, which was my highlight of the day. I’ll let the photo do the talking.

The Green Canyon, Pangandaran
The Green Canyon

3. Yogyakarta, Java, Indonesia

Yogyakarta is dubbed as Java, Indonesia’s ‘cultural capital’, and a with good reason. I was awe-struck by some of the stunning temples there, and that was after visiting the famous 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 surrounding scenery and the sunrises were divine. Yogyakarta is a must-visit spot for Java, Indonesia.

Yogyakarta volcano
There were volcanos all over Java

4. Mount Bromo, Java, Indonesia

After almost eight months on the road, I had started to feel quite jaded. The sad truth, for me at least, is that after spending so much time moving around and continuously visiting beautiful places and incredible sights, I became tired of it all.

That’s why it makes it even more special for me that when I set my eyes upon the sun peeking up from the top of Mount Bromo, I was blown away. Mount Bromo was my favourite spot in Indonesia and one of the most spectacular sights I’d ever seen.

Mount Bromo
What a view…

After observing the active volcano from afar, we took an exhausting descent to take a sneaky peek into the crater. It was worth the struggle.

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

5. Ijen Crater, Java, Indonesia

As part of a package tour, we also paid to see the Ijen crater which isn’t too far away from Mount Bromo.

When we were 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. That’s no matter how early the start of the trip was.

It turns out the start of the trip was very early indeed. We set off hiking at two am, and I remember grumbling to myself, wondering whether anything could be worth getting up so early for.

It turns out that hiking Ijen crater is one of the rare activities that is worth getting up early for. Observing the blue flames dance in the darkness was surreal, as was watching the sunrise peep above the crater. Unfortunately, I couldn’t get any decent shots of the blue flames. But these photos taking during sunrise aren’t too bad.

Ijen crater

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

Have you been to Java, Indonesia? Have I missed anywhere amazing off this list?

Feel free to discover more of my adventures in Southeast Asia.

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