Stunningly beautiful, the air of the island of Java is a patchwork of spectacular lush green vistas of terraced green rice fields, forests and tea and coffee plantations, climbing from valleys to mountain slopes. Imposing volcanic cones exhale wisps of smoke, and picturesque villages peek among the green.
Among this lush scenery, the amazing Borobudur stupa on a hill commands serene surroundings. While mainly along the coast are busy cities : Jakarta, Surabaya, Semarang, but also located inland, Bandung, Yogyakarta and Solo cities filled with modern high rise towers, and people everywhere.
Java is the fifth largest island in the Indonesian archipelago. Java comprises five provinces. They are the provinces of Banten, the capital city Jakarta, West Java, Central Java, the Special Region of Yogyakarta and East Java.
Indonesia’s capital city, Jakarta, lies on the north-western coast of Java, and is inhabited by 9 million people. The Dutch East India Company and later the Dutch Government made Batavia (present day Jakarta) and the island of Java their stronghold in the East Indies, present day Indonesia.
Jakarta is accessible via two international airports. The main airport is the commercial Soekarno-Hatta international airport, Indonesia’s principle arrival gate although located now in a different province; and the Halim Perdanakusumah airport, which was once an air force base but is now used for the arrival of visiting heads of states and dignitaries. Numerous domestic airlines serve the entire archipelago from the Soekarno-Hatta airport supplying direct connections from international flights to regional destinations. Buses may take passengers to the city and other towns on Java, primarily to Bandung.
Jakarta has plenty of taxis that stand by at hotels and malls or can be called by phone. To avoid traffic jams, Jakartans use the Trans-Jakarta buses, popularly known as Busway, for rapid transit, because it has its own exclusive lane. Unfortunately the Busway as yet serves only a few routes. Cruise ships often call at Jakarta’s Tanjung Priok.
Travelling to destinations on the island of Java besides taking the plane, there are frequent overland train connections available from Gambir station, the city’s main railway station. Or one can travel by tourist bus or private car by wide toll roads.
A melting pot of many nations and cultures, Jakarta is a perfect way to satiate your taste buds. The native people are called Betawi, and their simple yet tasty dishes have become the favourite of many Indonesians and foreigners. Try Soto Betawi (some kind of soup), it's sold almost anywhere from the warung--cafe--to fancy restaurants. If you think Jakarta's weather too hot, try es campur--mixed ice with certain fruits, syrup and milk, refreshing!
Other traditional cuisines can be found practically anywhere, also international food.
Many people visit Bandung, the capital of West Java province, to pamper their taste buds. You'll be amazed with what Bandung has to offer. From various food sold on street vendors to haute cuisine, every visitor will be able to find something to their liking here, in Bandung.
Domestic airlines serves to Bandung every day. Buses from Central Java and Jakarta arrived in Leuwi Panjang. Several trains operate from Jakarta, Yogyakarta and Surabaya to Bandung. Alternatively you can use rental service from neighboring cities to visit Bandung.
People & Culture
The native people are called Sundanese. Sundanese are friendly folks who value tradition. However in some big cities, like Bandung, the capital of West Java, other ethnic groups begin to dominate as well.
History has left its footprints across Central Java, an area rich in culture and tradition descending from a powerful Hindu and Buddhist past, and more recent Islamic influences. Due to its colourful past, Central Java has become the place it is today - a beautiful area full of modern amenities yet still retaining its tranquility and peace.
An extensive network of good roads and railway links major cities and villages. Airport both in Semarang and Solo and the major seaport in Tanjung Emas, on the North of Semarang and a natural harbor in Cilacap provide national and international access. Door to door travel minibuses are available to and from Java and Sumatra Island.
Every city has its own culinary specialties. When traveling around be sure to visit a nearby restaurant and bring along a camera to capture the unique dishes! In Semarang for instance, try the lumpia, this spring roll is best served hot with a hot chili or sauce. Bandeng presto, made of milkfish, is also delicious and nourishing.
Yogyakarta (or Jogjakarta) has been known as The Neverending Asia. Many say that a single visit to Jogja is never enough. The list of things you can experience in Jogja may seem overwhelming, ranging from natural splendors, art and tradition and heritages to culinary adventure. This is why Jogja is the second most visited destination in Indonesia, next to Bali.
Among the 31 cultural tourism attractions and 19 natural tourism beauties, try to make sure that you visit Borobudur, Prambanan Temple and silver handicraft in Kotagede.
You can also try Selarong Cave, Pandansimo beach, Gajah Mountain, or Vredeburg Fort. To understand the history of the sultanate, try visiting the Kraton of Yogyakarta and Tamansari.
Domestic and International flights service Yogyakarta. Tugu train station close to Malioboro Street has several inexpensive express trains from and to Java overland everyday. Good express service from Jakarta and Surabaya. Buses also operate regulary to Borobudur and Prambanan Temples. Bicycles and motorcycles can be hired using a nominal fee.
Jogjakarta offers many luscious delicacies. From bakpia cookies, wingko babat, to enting-enting kacang, visitors will be delighted to find there are so many delicious choices here in this area. The food is relatively mild and sweet in flavor. Make sure you single out sambal or chili-based dishes unless you like spicy food.
East Java might be the least populated area in Java island, but its charm and unique terrain will captivate its visitors. Capital of East Java province, Surabaya, is a cosmopolitan city and you can find any comfortable surroundings and facilities there. However within a short trip you might be tempted to enjoy the natural charms such as climbing Mt. Bromo and enjoying fabulous sunrise there or probably trying to conquer Mount Semeru, the highest mountain in Java (about 3676 meters above sea level).
Some parks are available for those who prefer natural surroundings. An island on the eastern part of Java called Madura is also famous for its distinct culture and bull races of karapan sapi, usually held in August and September every year.
The province is efficiently connected to the rest of Java by good roads, regular trains, and air service between Surabaya and other major cities in the country including Denpasar on Bali, which only takes about half an hour.
East Javanese people love to eat and you can enjoy various dishes while you're around. From seafood variety to beef and chicken, each dish is cooked lovingly and with great care. Make sure to try soto Madura (chicken soup Maduran style) and sate Madura (roasted skewered chicken with tasty peanut sauce) and avoid the sambal or chili if you're not into spicy food.
Banten, once a powerful maritime capital rivaling the vast Javanese Mataram Empire, is today a fishing village with an illustrious past. The Capital City of Banten Province is Serang. Old Banten is one of the well known historical objects, only 10 km from the town of Serang. In this site, we can find a lot of remains of Islamic Banten Kingdom, founded between 16 and 18 century.
Soekarno Hatta International Airport is the main access to Banten. It also can be reached by car or motorbike through a route of Jakarta – Serang. This is the coastal area where the Dutch formerly landed to trade.
Sundanese food is perhaps suitable for most people because it tends to be bland yet tasty. Just make sure you don't take the sambal--chili sauce, that is--if you dislike spicy food. Try sate bandeng Banten, one of the specialties here. It's made of milk fish. The flesh and bones are removed, the outer skin is used as shell for the milk fish flesh, mixed with certain spices. This dish is then roasted then served. It can last for several days' time. The taste is somewhat sweet and tasty.