Most visitors of Indonesia will start their trip at Java, not in the least because most flights arrive at the Soekarno-Hatta airport. From there, plenty of planes leave for other destinations in Indonesia. But why in such a hurry Jakarta offers a nice melting-pot of big cities, small rural towns, interesting historical sights and natural beauty that you can finish off with a touch of sun and sand on a beautiful beach.

Java (also Jawa in Indonesian) is Indonesia’s most populated island and can, for convenience’s sake, be divided into three parts: West, Central and East Java. West Java is the part of the island where the capital Jakarta is located. Although some people want to get out of this slightly oppressing metropolis as quickly as possible, there are some interesting historical sights and museums. Fair chance that you will see some signs of the still ongoing explosive political situation.

A good day-trip from Jakarata is Bogor, offering an oasis of green gardens and probably is the first city to head for when you’re planning to see a bit more of the island.

Bandung, with its architectural sites, is Javas third biggest city and often the go-between between Jakarta and either the beach at Pangadaran or the city of Yogyakarta. However, it might be a good idea to check out the nearby waterfalls as well as the Tagnkuban Perahu with its craters, steamy pools and suffocating smell of sulpher.

Yogyakarta, on Central Java, is probably Javas most famous and most visited city. Besides the fact that it is an enjoyable city, this is the best operation base for a visit to the Borobodur, an impressive and enormous Buddhist temple construction, and Prambanan Temple, the biggest Hindu temple complex that youll find on the island. Take a train from Yogya and within a hour, youll arrive at Solo that is a receptacle of dance, wayang and batik.

Dont rush through the eastern part of Java because you want to get to the Bali beach as soon as possible. Besides the fact that East Java also has some good beaches, it is a pleasant area with temples, lakes, wildlife-reserves and volcanoes. Surabaya is located centrally when you want to visit Gunung Bromo, the active volcano caught in a sort of surrealistic sulpher-smelling landscape, or Madura, a charming island just off the coast where you can still imagine yourself Robinson Crusoe.

This is the beaten track in a nutshell, imagine what youll come across when you just jump on a train or bus and let Indonesia surprise you.