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Java

Just like the hot cups of coffee to which it lends its name, Java simmers and steams against a backdrop of ancient temples and conical peaks. Take time to explore away from the chaos and pollution of Jakarta and you'll find cultural enlightenment amid rice terraces and coffee estates, as well as stunning sunrises if you're prepared for very early starts. Lunar landscapes rise from desert plateaus to provide a prehistoric vibe, whereas the Sultan's city of Yogyakarta counters with a much more gentle, classical, approach to life within the Ring of Fire.

Three things to do in Java

Obviously there's a lot more, this is just to get you started...

Bromo-Tengger Semeru National Park

Rising from a sea of sand like a simmering papier-mâché science project, Mt Bromo is one of Java's most spectacular, and accessible, volcanoes. The fertile slopes are invaluable for agriculture and, as you follow the well trodden trail to the 2,329m summit, you'll find farmers working around huge blocks of sulphur and toxic turquoise lakes. Peering into the rim of an active volcano may not be for everyone, and may not be possible if Brahma's grumbling, but the short walk to the top is fairly easy despite the hot and humid conditions. Java's largest volcano, Mt Semeru (3,676m), is also in Bromo-Tengger Semeru NP, and makes a spectacular backdrop as you watch the sunrise from the top of Mt Bromo.

Mount Bromo, Indonesia

Yogyakarta

Get your guide book out, even briefly, in Yogyakarta and you might soon find yourself in the presence of a smiling local student wishing to assist, as well as practise their English. This university city is a capital of fine arts and Javanese culture, and holds a very special place in the nation's hearts. The city’s proximity to the vast Buddhist temple complex of Borobudur, and the Hindi temples of Prambanan, make Yogakarta an unbeatable (and very popular) spot for temple tourism. Make sure you experience local street life on Jalan Solo, and the palatial seat of the Sultan, before rushing off in search of Nirvana.

Yogyakarta

Temple treks and coffee culture

Sipping a cup of Java on the slopes of Mt Merapi, you'd be forgiven for thinking you’d woken up on a different planet. The rich, volcanic soil provides the perfect conditions for growing coffee, which is why a trek up the side of Java's most active volcano isn't quite as startling as it sounds. The whole of the Losari region in central Java is incredibly beautiful, and visiting a coffee estate gives great insight into one of the island's oldest and most successful industries. Open your mind to another area of Javanese culture with a visit to the ancient Hindu temples of Gedong Songo, strewn across the slopes of Mt Ungaran; a good excuse to pause during a challenging hike to the summit.

Mount Merapi

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