Java is one of the most beautiful and spectacular islands of the Indonesian Archipelago, consisting of around 18,000 islands. Often called the garden of Indonesia, Java produces rice and the regular cultivated crops and vegetables, as well as sugar cane, which is grown widely in the east and central parts, and coffee in the high country.
For the traveller, Java has so much to offer: two of world’s great ancient monuments (Borobudur and Prambanan), volcanoes (all 121 of them), major national parks, rainforests, tea and rice plantations, large cities, big waves and even savannah. The scenery in most parts of Java is spectacular and, while the island has the largest population of the Indonesian islands, there are still plenty of breathtaking and unspoiled places.
Indonesia has no less than 180 active volcanoes around it’s “Ring of Fire”. Did you know that two thirds of the world’s active volcanoes are located on Java? Mt Bromo in the East and Krakatowa in the strait between Java and Sumatra, are probably the most famous. Not that you should let this put you off. Eruptions are rare, explosions even rarer, and the opportunity to scramble up onto the lip of a smoking volcano and come face to face with one of nature’s most extraordinary phenomenons is not to be missed.
Malang is one of my favourite cities – a pleasant mountain town with broad streets, well-tended parks and an abundance of colonial architecture. A carefully planned coffee market town on the banks of the Brantas River, where dozens of old Dutch villas still line well shaded streets and Dutch is still spoken by older Indonesians.
Bandung is known as the “flower city” of Indonesia, sitting in a deep mountain valley surrounded by volcanic peaks, Bandung was established by the Dutch who found the temperate climate conducive to growing cold climate crops such as green vegetables, coffee, quinine and tea. Bandung ranks second only to Miami, Florida, having the largest concentration of Art-Deco architecture in the world, most of the fine hotels, houses and government buildings built during the art-deco 1920 to 1940 period.
Traveling between Bali and Java (Banyuwangi) is easy. Large vehicular and passenger ferries do the 1 hour journey every 20 minutes, 24 hours a day for the princely adult fare of 6,000 Indonesian Rupia (60cents AUD)
Railway Adventures are running a special tour across Java from Jakarta and finishing in Bali, stopping for extended stays and sightseeing in towns like Bandung, Yogyakarta, Solo, Mediun and Malang.
In Central Java we visit the huge World Heritage Borobudur Temples and Prambanan. We climb (by 4WD) to the summit of Mt Bromo to see the sunrise as well as see the simmering volcanoes near Bandung.
We ride the heritage steam trains at Ambarawa in Central Java as well as the recently restored steam tram through the city of Solo.
Our great value Java by Rail tour departs in May 2017, and a few places are still available. Check out the tour and many other clicking here
Hope to see you on board, Bob Daniel, tour leader, Java to Bali by rail, May 2017.