From about the 8th century Java was at the heart of a series of powerful Hindu-Buddhist empires that built magnificent temples and only fell into decline with Indonesia’s eventual conversion to Islam in the 15th and 16th centuries. The Islamic sultanates in turn faced suppression by the Dutch in their quest for control of the lucrative spice trade, but today all these influences combine to create modern-day Java, an island that has embraced all of these cultures and their rich architectural legacy.
The royal city of Yogyakarta is one of Asia’s treasures; a city which reveals Java’s cultural and intellectual personality. Lively streets and markets surround the majestic Sultan’s Palace, where attendants stand in customary dress and regular performances showcase traditional orchestras and shadow puppeteers.
The temples are some of the most spectacular you will see - Borobudur features the largest and most complete collection of Buddhist relief sculptures in the world. This shrine to Buddha took 75 years to complete and offers a guide for those wishing to follow the noble path of enlightenment. To the northeast of Yogyakarta is the huge Hindu temple complex of Prambanan. Built in the middle of the 9th century, about 50 years after Borobudur, it is thought to have been constructed to celebrate the return of a Hindu dynasty to Java.
Finally, Java is surrounded by volcanoes - Mount Butak to the west, Mount Arjuna to the north, and Kepolo and Bromo to the east – Malang is one of the most beautifully situated cities in Java.
Places to visit in Java
Featuring heavily on our experiences of visiting Java, these selected places are destinations that also prove consistently popular with our travellers. Our specialists can help you choose how to include them in your wider trip, based on your preferences.
Suggested itineraries featuring Java
Our itineraries will give you suggestions for what is possible when you travel in Java, and they showcase routes we know work particularly well. Treat them as inspiration, because your trip will be created uniquely by one of our specialists.