Top 10 Things to Do in Java

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Looking for things to do in Java? Look no further; we have the best of what to do and must-see in Java for you listed here.

Java, the main island of Indonesia, offers a wealth of attractions for travelers. From the bustling capital city of Jakarta in the west to the stunning temples, lush fields, hills, volcanic mountains, waterfalls, castles, and rainforests in the east, Java is a treasure trove of experiences. Immerse yourself in the vibrant arts, savor the delectable cuisine, and delve into Java’s rich cultural tapestry.

If you’re planning an overland trip across Java, here are our top things to do in Java:

Things to do in java, indonesia
Top Things to Do in Java, Indonesia. Photo by Spenser Sembrat on Unsplash

Enjoy bustling Jakarta city

Jakarta is Indonesia’s main and largest city, with a mixture of traffic congestion and soulless tourist attractions to hidden treasures, shopping havens, and bustling nightlife. Come here to experience the ultimate Indonesian city; you haven’t been to Indonesia if you have not been stuck in the traffic for hours, surrounded by countless people, and flooded with shopping sales and bargains. Therefore it is one of the things to do in Java that you can’t miss.

Besides, Jakarta is the main international airport hub for the entire Indonesia, so take a little time to learn about this place before leaving. One of the best luxurious hotels in Jakarta is The Hermitage by Marriott *, located at the center of the city.

Shop and Feast in Bandung

When mentioned shopping in Indonesia, Bandung will come to mind. Moreover, it is just a short trip from Jakarta, making it a popular weekend destination. To top it off, the food is cheap and delicious, so fuel up in between all the shopping frenzy. Now you see why it is one of the top things to do in Java.

Shopping here means ranging from factory outlets to local shops and stores; you may surely find something you fancy. Bandung is famous mainly for clothing, factory outlets for many designer products, denim jeans, and also electronics.

Additionally, in Bandung, you can find a range of activities to enjoy, and here’s to name a few. Rest and relax at Dusun Bambu, where you can immerse yourself in nature. Experience the enchanting musical performance at Saung Angklung Udjo and witness the beauty of traditional angklung instruments. Capture a breathtaking sunset at The Valley, a perfect spot for scenic views. Swing on a hammock amidst the stunning landscape of Tebing Gunung Hawu. Explore the mystical beauty of Kawah Putih, a mesmerizing crater lake. Don’t miss the opportunity to visit the impressive volcano of Tangkuban Perahu.

Swim in Amazon-like waterfalls in Baturadden, Purwokerto

When I first got to Purwokerto, I did not expect to be greeted by an Amazon-like waterfall in Baturadden, which took us a bit of an effort to get to but was worth it. You will stand in awe of the tall, powerful waterfall dropping into the contrastingly serene lake shrouded by rainforest canopies. One of my favorite waterfalls here is Curug Belot.

A bit off the travel map, but I recommend it as one of the things to do in Java. Purworkerto locals also recommend a few other must-do activities here. Indulge in the local delicacies of Soto and Mendoan. If you’re visiting during the right season, catch the captivating Grebeg Suran shadow puppet show, typically held around the Hari Raya festival. Embark on a hike through the picturesque forest to Pancuran Tujuh and reward yourself with a relaxing soak in the natural hot springs. Explore Banyumas for its museum and admire the Dutch colonial architecture.

Waterfalls in baturadden, purwokerto, java indonesia

Waterfalls in Baturadden, Purwokerto, Java. Photo by Rachel Ooi

Trek the lush rolling hills of Dieng Plateau

Dieng Plateau is a place up in the highlands, far from the rest of Java but also different. It is a self-contained place where you can explore by trekking through rolling hills of plantations and greens with mountains flanking from all sides of the horizon. It is a trek that will keep you fascinated throughout the journey, and you wouldn’t even realize the distance. In bonus, you will be trekking in a cooling climate as this highland has pleasant temperatures all year round. Do put this on your list of things to do in Java!

Besides, in Dieng Plateau, there are many must-see attractions, such as the ancient Arjuna Temple Complex with its intricate carvings, the bubbling Sikidang Crater, the vibrant Telaga Warna and Telaga Pengilon lakes, the picturesque Telaga Menjer, the unique Batu Ratapan Angin rock formations, the cultural Dieng Theater, the serene Arjuna’s Garden, and the traditional village of Pekasiran. Don’t forget to bring warm clothing due to the cool temperatures at this high-elevation destination.

Stay at the new and modern Tani Jiwo Hostel * or in the cozy Green Savannah Homestay *.

Rolling hills of plantations, dieng plateau, java, indonesia

Rolling hills of plantations, Dieng Plateau, Java, Indonesia. Photo by Rachel Ooi

Admire the ancient Borobudur Temple

Stay at Manohara Resort *s at Borobudur so that you can either catch the sunrise (which you would need to book a tour for) or be the first few people who enter, as the temple opens to visitors at 8 am. This is how to enjoy it best, when it is quiet, with just a trickle of travelers like you who appreciate the silence and marvel at the beauty with respect.

This 9th-century temple is an Indonesia UNESCO Heritage site and one of the largest Buddhist temples in the world. Visiting is should definitely be on your list of things to do in Java. Thousands of Buddhists make their pilgrimage here in Borobudur during Waisak Day.

Borobudur temple, java indonesia

Borobudur Temple, Java. Photo by Rachel Ooi

Experience everything Indonesian at Yogyakarta

To me, Yogyakarta is truly the heart of Java and Indonesia, as it offers everything from culinary delights to interesting attractions to arts and culture to shopping. Visiting here is one of the top things to do in Java for sure.

Remember to eat the famous Gudeg, meat stew that is delicious. Also, you can shop at Jalan Malioboro or Pasar Beringjaho. For the adventurous, you can hike up the ruins of Mount Merapi. In sightseeing, attractions not to be missed are the Water Castle and Kraton Palace. Besides, join a local myth or chill out at the cafe at the end of the day. Read more about things to do in Yogyakarta here.

Be awed by the majestic Prambanan

Yet another temple but not one temple to be taken likely, Candi Prambanan is a well-known ancient Hindu Temple that stood majestically nearby Yogyakarta. You will surely find yourself mesmerized and in awe as you are greeted by the looming Prambanan temple that looks somewhat foreboding yet draws you in. It is one of the Indonesia UNESCO World Heritage Sites, one of Southeast Asia’s largest Hindu temple architecture.

Dive/snorkel off the only pristine waters of Java in Karimunjawa

Java’s answer to pristine waters and beautiful white sand beaches, Karimunjawa, is proudly proclaimed so by the locals. A hidden paradise, Karimunjawa is an archipelago of 27 islands north of Semarang and off the coast of Central Java. Savvy travelers know that enjoying the beach here is one of the things to do in Java. It is a chance to get some beautiful beaches and sea without leaving for other parts of Indonesia, such as Bali or Lombok.

Discover secluded white beaches, where tranquility reigns, and you can relax in peace. Satiate your desire for adventure with snorkeling or diving, as the well-protected coral reefs promise an unforgettable underwater experience. Unwind and immerse yourself in the untouched beauty of this coastal paradise.

Although relatively unknown, there are several places to stay in Karimunjawa * to select from. Stay in specialty lodgings like the huts in Ayu Hotel Karimujawa * or more private cottages like Casa Velion *.

Chill in the laid-back Malang

Malang is the epitome of what a city would have been in Indonesia back in the days before everywhere was swarmed by developments and traffics. This laid-back city, wedged between Mount Semeru and Mount Bromo, has beautiful landscapes in nearby villages and many temple attractions. If you want to catch a glimpse of a true Indonesian city, do not miss this thing to do in Java.

You can wander from within the city in becak or take the angkot to the many hidden temples, where you even have to trek through paddy fields. There are a few ancient temples for you to explore and waterfalls to catch at the nearby Batu. Also, don’t forget to indulge in the good Indonesian food here!

The most popular and unique luxurious hotel in Malang – Tugu Malang Hotel *, and I have stayed in Hotel Santika in Malang * with a good experience.

Singosari temple in malang, east java, indonesia

Singosari Temple in Malang, East Java, Indonesia

Catch the breathtaking sunrise at Mount Bromo

Mount Bromo is one of the numerous volcanic mountains in Java and Indonesia. It is undoubtedly one of the best things to do in Java for its breathtaking view. It beckons majestically despite the entire top being blown off and with a crater inside that spews off-white sulfurous smoke.

Many travelers come here to trek up to the nearby mountain to catch the sunrise over Mount Bromo and the caldera, coined the ‘sea of sand’. In the morning, a bunch of clouds huddled around it, making it as if you feel you are on top of the sky looking down. This experience is surely a notable attraction in Java and something you must do here.

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