Java is Indonesia’s political, economic and cultural heartland. With 60% of the country’s population, the capital Jakarta, and the great bulk of Indonesia’s industrial muscle, Java is the critical piece in the Indonesian jigsaw. It was here that many of the early, pre-colonial empires and kingdoms were based – reflected in monuments like Borobudur and Prambanan, and in many smaller temples. Cities like Yogyakarta and Solo remain vibrant artistic and cultural centres, while Bogor and Bandung show more clearly the hand of the relatively short-lived Dutch presence. The latter, particularly, is renowned for its art deco architecture. Jakarta, as Indonesia’s capital, has the most restaurants, the largest museums, and the widest array of shopping, but it is not a particularly enticing city.

The hand of humans has always had to contend with the forces of nature and nowhere is this clearer than in the battle against Java’s volcanoes. From Krakatau off the west coast of Java to Gunung Bromo in East Java, a spine of active volcanoes runs through the island. While these volcanoes periodically bring destruction, they also provide the basis for a string of hill resorts and towns, and the fertile soil needed for feeding this incredibly densely populated island.

This is edited copy from Footprint Handbooks. For comprehensive details (incl address, tel no, directions, opening times and prices) please refer to book or individual chapter PDF
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