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Click on the colored areas of the map to access a travelogue.  The colors indicate different regions of Java -- scroll down for explanation and introduction for each location. (Original map comes from Microsoft Expedia)

IntroductionThe island of Java is Indonesia's heartland, home to the country's Indonesiacapital, Jakarta.  Like much of Indonesia, Java is multi-cultural, multi-ethnic, and multi-religious.  Islam dominates but the Javanese culture is a mix of Islamic traditions of the Middle East combined with indigenous traditions based on Hinduism, Buddhism, and other tribal faiths.  The Javanese are friendly, hard-working, and family-oriented.

Politically, Java is divided into four provinces, named West Java, CentralCrest of West Java Java, and East Java.  (Jakarta is considered part of West Java, though like Washington DC it has its own "province".)  The majority of the ancient Hindu and Buddhist temples reside in the Central and East provinces, particularly around Yogyakarta near the southern coast.

The travelogues available currently concentrate on the environs around two of Java's major cities -- Jakarta and Yogyakarta.  Around Jakarta, the attractions are mostly modern additions -- botanical gardens in Bogor, a wildlife conservatory in Puncak, and the many resorts of the 1000 Islands.  Many of the towns Flag of the Sultinate of Yogyakarta and villages in West Java cater to Jakartans venturing out for the weekend, although plenty of expatriates from the capital get out, too.  As for Yogyakarta, the attractions are historic and scenic.  "Jogja" as it is known to Indonesians, played a central role in Indonesia's independence from colonial rule.  Its surroundings have great landmarks dedicated to each of four major world religions -- the Buddhist temples of Borobudur, the Hindu Candi Prambanan in Yogyakarta's east, the Roman Catholic "Lourdes of Indonesia" in Sedang Sono, and the Muslim sultanate in the Kraton palace complex in Yogyakarta's center.  All these are in a setting of magnificent volcanos, jungles, and beautiful rice fields.

The "list" for Java includes a return to Yogyakarta to visit even more of the many temples and attractions we have not yet visited.  New locations would include the mountain city of Bandung in west Java, and Surabaya in the east.

Travelogues.  The coloring of the locations on the map above indicate different locations in Indonesia, as shown below.  

GREEN: JAKARTA (5-Chapter Travelogue).  The city of Jakarta is a sprawling metropolis, where modern National Monument of Indonesia ("Monas")high-rise buildings tower over shanty villages, where rice paddies are grown alongside the main access road to the airport, and where the city's largest Catholic cathedral sits across the street from the country's grandest mosque, the Istiqlal.  Westerners are most likely to visit Jakarta for business, and the Ancol, on the coast of the Java Sealargest international business district is in the Golden Triangle in the center (national monument "Monas" pictured above).  The Taman Mini II is the country's showcase, a cultural museum where the architectures and cuisines are on display.  Ancol (below) is the local playground, with amusement parks and outdoor concert halls.  The final chapter covers a piece on Sights and Sounds, especially written for potential ex-pats to get a hint of what living in Indonesia is like. PURPLE:  YOGYAKARTA Province, Sendangsono, and Borobudur.  After Bali, Yogyakarta (pronounced joke-ja-KAR-ta and commonly known as "Jogja") is Indonesia's Borobudur Temple second greatest tourist attraction due to the number of temples, palaces, or landmarks representing four major world religions, all within about an hour radius within.  Buddhism's great landmark is the massive 8th century temple of Borobudur (shown above).  Roman Catholics routinely make pilgrimaKraton, Home of the Sultan of Yogyakartages to the tiny and remote village of Sendangsono, the "Lourdes of Southeast Asia".  Meanwhile, the great city of Yogyakarta (better known as "Jogja") is not only a famous university town, but it is home to the massive Hindi temple of Candi Prambanan and the Kraton (shown below), the palace of Indonesia's only sultinate.
BLUE:  West Java (Jawa Barat).  The further from Jakarta you get, the less European influence you are going to see -- Bogor's Botanical Parkwestern Java is dominated by thick jungles, rice paddies, and tall mountain ranges.  The three travelogues available here cover parts of western Java that the locals (particularly from Jakarta) like to go.  Bogor (pictured above) is a primarily residential area that a number of commuters like to live.  It's primary attraction is a beautiful Lions resting in the Taman Safari, Puncakbotanical garden near the brilliant white Bogor Castle.  Further south is Puncak, home of the Taman Safari (pictured below), a wildlife conservation center and amusement park that's a popular family destination.  In the opposite direction out to sea are western Java's 1000 Islands, a collection of small islands turned into individual resorts.  Tangkuban Perahu is a series of volcanic craters near Bandung, and a travelogue on it is coming soon. RED: Central Java Road Trip. This is a photo gallery of the great scenery inMount Merapi, active volcano in Central Java the center of Java Island, as captured on the drive between the West Java city of Cirebon, along the northern coast to Semarang, stopping at the border with Yogyakarta province.  Included are gorgeous mountains and jungle passes, and rice fields as far as the eye can see.

LinksThe below links connect you to external sites in a new window.  All links are official sites sanctioned by the national, state, or local governments unless otherwise indicated.  While some home pages are in English, others will open to the Bahasa Indonesia-language home page which will usually offer an icon or link to an English-language section (normally limited content).  The most common icon used is that of an American or UK flag.  If an English language link is not available, click on links named "Tourisme".  This is for the tourism page, which should have English content.  Links updated 25 January 2006.

Country Links:

bulletIndonesia Tourism Page
bullet US Embassy to Indonesia
bullet US Consular Information Sheet about Indonesia
bullet Indonesian Embassy to US  


Regional and City Links:

bulletWest Java Page on Indonesian Tourism Site
bullet Bandung Home Page
bulletBogor.Net (in Bahasa)
bullet Jakarta City Government Tourism Site
bulletYogyakarta ("Jogja") Home Page
bulletTaman Safari Home Page (Puncak)

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