Java is a huge island, so we split it up to western, eastern and central Java. Central Java is where one of the cultural hubs, Yogyakarta, located. People usually travel to central Java to visit the Borobudur temple, and head to eastern Java or Bali after.
Off the Tourist Tracks in Indonesia
Indonesia is the largest archipelago in the world. It contains more than 8,000 islands in the region. Indonesia is also known for its crystal-clear water, white sandy beaches and some of the world’s friendliest people. Here, we share some of the unusual off the tourist tracks in Indonesia, starting with Western Java.
- Western Java: Jakarta, Bandung, Palau Macan
- Central Java: Yogyakarta, Kebumen
- Eastern Java: Mt Bromo, Mt Ijen
- East Nusa Tenggara: Flores Island
- West Papua: Raja Ampat
- Sumatra: Aceh, Lake Toba Belitung Island
- Bali: Bali, Gili, Lombok
Yogyakarta offers a balance mix of touristy activities and cultural experience. It is the Javanese cultural capital. If you love traditional culture, you cannot go wrong exploring Yogyakarta!
Spend some time just walking about the city, check out local street food and the graffiti scene. You will be surprised to see old palaces, temples and cultural shows. The best is to hire a car and driver to take you around. Also, follow explorejogja for more interesting locations.
The most famous ancient temple is Borobudur. It is built in the 8th century and listed under the UNESCO world heritage site. Fun fact: it is the single largest Buddhist structure anywhere on earth! It is too huge to finish exploring in a day, and people typically stay for 2-4 hours.
You can walk to Borobudur. Manohara Resort also offers pre-sunrise access to the temple. I recommend that you check it out before the sunrise and the crowd floods in. It is worth it to pay that extra to access the temple before sunrise.
Another temple is the Mendut temple. It is built in the same timeframe as Borobudur temple, just much smaller in size. It’s worth exploring since they are all in the same region!
UNESCO Temple: Prambanan
Prambanan is another UNESCO site in Yogya. As I mentioned, Yogya is the Javanese cultural hub, so you should not be surprised. This Hindu temple is was in ruins due to earthquakes, but restoration is on-going.
If you know what the roman empire looks like, with bits and pieces everywhere, Prambanan is similar in that sense. You can find remains of 200 temples all around the compound. It has a similar vibe to Angkor Wat. You can explore without a guide or get one at the entrance. People typically spend 1-5 hours here, depending on your interest in history.
People usually do all the temples in one day. I do feel that it gets incredibly overwhelming with temples and culture. Breaking them up to 2 separate days is a lot more comfortable and easier on the eyes.
Probably slightly less off the beaten tracks since many Instagrammers are there now, but Hutan Pinus is worth exploring. The famous structure is this “palm” installation, where you can find lots of rattan structures.
Nature and Beaches
If you prefer nature, check out the beaches in the south. You can also visit Dieng Plateau, where you can hike. Dieng Plateau is a volcanic region with rolling green hills and multi-coloured lakes. It is definitely not a common place for tourists, but it’s definitely worth a visit by adventure trevellers!
Lake Merdada is a bowl-shaped lake, the largest lake in the Dieng region. As always, mornings before sunrise are the quietest and most beautiful. Watch the morning sunrise by the lake and kayak when the run is up.
Menganti Beach, Kebumen
In Central Java, Menganti Beach near Kebumen is stunning location that is not overpopulated with tourists. It is more of a walking and hiking beach than swimming and water activities. Still, if you are looking for quiet off the beaten tracks in Central Java, this is a good place to be.
Trevellers is my way to change the world. Through my stories, tips and lessons learnt, I truly hope to inspire you to get out of your comfort zone, see the world and see who you truly are. Travel is more than just taking a selfie. Travel is an adventure, where you can truly become who you are, give you the time to reflect and grow to become the person you’ve always wanted to be.