Our first foray into Indonesia took a bit of thinking about. A continent-sized nation with over 13,000 islands: where to start?! Bali, Lombok, Kalimantan, Sulawesi or fabulous Sumatra and Lake Toba?
Spoilt for choice really, however, the more we looked into it there was one island that stood out and seemed to tick all the boxes in one swoop – Java. Possessing spectacular, lush scenery of emerald paddies, forest, national parks and towering volcanoes but equally, (and frankly unusually for Indonesia) with Yogyakarta, Solo and Malang, also some picturesque and charming towns. There’s plenty of well-preserved colonial-period architecture, fascinating more recent cityscapes to explore, great markets and a wide choice of accommodation and eateries. The 2 awe-inspiring UNESCO World Heritage Temples of Borobudur and Prambanan being the icing on the cake so, an all-round perfect destination for our inaugural Indonesia tour.
As for a starting point; huge and chaotic Jakarta being perhaps not the ideal place to recover from a halfway around the world flight, absolutely charming, laid back, centrally located and easily accessible Yogyakarta was a no-brainer. As the tour works its way to the eastern rim of the island then a short boat ride and transfer across the island to Bali’s well-connected Denpasar Airport was a logical finishing point with the advantage of offering various beach or island extensions afterwards.
A wide variety of sites, fabulous food and super friendly people; we hope you’ll enjoy this tour as much as we enjoyed researching it!
Our "Top 5" unique things to see, do and experience in Java...
We reckon one of the friendliest, laid back and attractive cities in the entire country
An awe-inspiring UNESCO site which fully lived up to all its high expectations
Exploring the alleyways and stairs of the Rainbow Village is an unforgettable experience
A jeep ride through an active caldera and ascent of a volcano before breakfast?!
Tranquil, low-key with a great eco-resort and just the ideal spot to finish the tour
Culture and Customs
Knowing what to expect from local culture and customs will help you get more out of your visit...
Lying south of the equator Java is situated between Sumatra to the west and Bali to the east with the island of Borneo north across the Java Sea.
Long and thin the island of Java has a volcanic backbone with lush, fertile plains lying to the south and north. Some 2 kilometres of the Bali Straight separates it from its neighbour.
Java has an equatorial climate so with less pronounced seasons than mainland Southeast Asia but more rains fall between November and February.
Javanese people and their language form a subgroup of the Austronesian family. The island is largely monoethnic with some older groups remaining in remote areas and Chinese minorities in urban areas.
The majority of Javanese are of the Sunni Muslim faith with a Christian minority and Hindu beliefs persisting in more far-flung regions. Animist influences are still common in certain areas.
Obviously rice and noodle based but the rich local cusine includes a huge range of classic and regional dishes. It's usually only mildy spiced and vegetarians will be spoilt for choice.
Genuine local knowledge is what turns a good travel experience into an unfforgettable one. Here's our shout-out to the locals that help maket that happen.'
Javan born, Yogyakarta resident Ari will lead our new Java Overland tours with his winning mix of good humour, enthusiasm, patience, flexibility and in depth local knowledge!
Things To Know
Useful information and practical tips you should know before you travel to [country title]...
Helpful Country Info
The Republic of Indonesia
Indonesia c 260+ & Java 140+ million
GMT + 7
Approx 14-15,000 Indonesian Rupiah for $1 or 18-19,000 for a UKP
Money changers widely available but ATMs usually issue only small amounts at a time
230V, 50Hz (with 2-pin round plugs)
WiFi in most places
3G/4G SIM cards available
Bahasa Indonesian with Java dialect widely spoken and some English in urban areas
Majority Sunni Muslim with Christian and Hindu minorities
Frequently Asked Questions
When's the best time to visit Java?
With an equatorial climate rainfall and temperatures are more even throughout the year than in mainland Southeast Asia although the driest months are generally between May and September which corresponds to the high season. Rain, when it does occur, tends to be short and sharp so easily avoided. We would avoid Ramadan when much is closed (dates variable from year to year) as well as Bali’s Nyepi festival but we’d say pretty much any other time of year is fine.
Which innoculations do I need?
The generally recommend vaccinations for Indonesia for the standard tourist include cover against hepatitis A, typhoid, tetanus and polio. Java is considered by the WHO as a low-risk malaria area.
Do you recommend your tours for people travelling on their own?
Our small group tours make ideal holidays for solo travellers. Small, fully escorted groups, eating together, family style and no compulsory single supplements all go towards making you feel like you are travelling with a group of friends. If you don’t want to share then ask about single room supplements.
How do I pay for the holiday, and is there a surcharge for credit cards?
We ask you to pay a 10% deposit upon booking your holiday with the balance being due 60 days prior to departure. There is no surcharge for paying with a credit card. We accept most major credit cards including American Express.
Packing light is a virtue, it'll make getting around easier and gives you room for souvenirs and the special things you find along the way. Packing "as little as possible" doesn't mean you have to forego comfort and any items you may forget are usually available locally for a fraction of the price.