Java, Indonesia’s fifth largest and most populous island, is the cultural and economic heartland of the country. Situated in between Sumatra to the east and Bali to the west, Java is a geographically remarkable island, with 121 currently active volcanoes and a large number of varied and unique national parks. This, combined with a rich cultural heritage, provides any visitor with a truly fascinating and unique holiday.
One of the undoubted highlights on the island is Yogyakarta and the breathtaking temples of Borobudur and Prambanan. Although predominantly used as a base from which to explore the ancient temples, the city of Yogyakarta is an interesting cultural centre in its own right. As the capital city of the semi-autonomous province of the "Special Area of Yogyakarta", the city is home to the sultanate of Hamengkubuwono, who has ruled the area since 1749. The city itself is relaxed, with good shopping and an excellent variety of restaurants. There are hotels to cover every desire and budget, including the Phoenix Hotel, Joglo Plawang and Amanjiwo.
In East Java you will find the city of Malang and Bromo-Tengger-Semeru National Park, two greatly contrasting but fascinating attractions. With a beautiful volcanic backdrop and a cooler climate, Malang dates back to the 8th century AD, when it was the seat of government of the ancient Kanjuruhan and Singhasari kingdoms. Home to many Hindu relics, it is a city of great historical significance. Tugu Malang and its array of local antiques is a wonderful base from which to explore this historical setting.
A two hour drive from Malang is Bromo-Tengger-Semeru National Park. Named after its two active volcanoes (Bromo and Semeru) and the local indigenous population (Tengger), this is an area of truly spectacular and at times unworldly scenery. At lower elevations the park is lush and green but once you start to climb the landscape is a true example of desolate beauty. An early morning trek up Mount Bromo, arriving at the peak in time for sunrise, is a truly magical experience. For those wanting to stay in the park itself the best hotel is Java Banana Bromo.