Densely settled, yet enticingly beautiful
127 million people living on a single island whose size is comparable to England - this does not sound like a favorite place for tourists. However, Java is one of the most important tourist destinations in Indonesia, and full of contradictions. When you leave the capital, Jakarta, by bus, the slums surrounding the modern and only mildly interesting city center seem neverending. At the same time, you also find completely lonely towns on Java - assuming you are willing to deviate from the regular tourist trails. The Ujung Kulon National Park in the southwest of the island just such an isolated place. The tropical mainland has some of Java's last rhinoceroses, and the offshore islands feature alluring coral reefs. Unfortunately, Java was not spared from the destructive floods of the tsunami in late 2004 - the town Pangandaran was damaged severely. However, the old capital of Java, a fixture on any Java trip, was not affected. Yogyakarta exudes a pleasant flair and lies very close to two of the most famous temple complexes of the island: Borobudur (Buddhist) and Prambanan (Hindu; severely damaged in a 2006 earthquake) lie picturesquely embedded the hills and the omnipresent rice fields. Also in close proximity to Yogyakarta is the active volcano of Mt. Merapi. That most of Java is of volcanic origins is demonstrated impressively by the volcano landscape around Mt. Bromo in the east. From there it is not far to the famous neighboring island Bali.