Indonesia's fifth largest island and the world's most populated island, Java is a unique region with exotic sceneries, fascinating cultures and rich wildlife. Java is divided into four provinces: Banten, West Java, Central Java and East Java. Jakarta, the bustling capital, and Yogyakarta hold provincial status.
Javanese is the main ethic group in every province except for East Java where the Sudanese dominate the area. The population of Jakarta, however, is a combination of several ethic groups, contributing to its diverse cultures. Betawi is the native group in Jakarta.
Jakarta is the capital and the main cultural and economic hub of the country. The largest city in Indonesia, it is situated in northwest Java. Central Jakarta is home to the National Monument and West and South Jakarta are dotted with a number of shopping malls, sports complexes and exciting nightlife venues. North Jakarta, with its many beautiful islands, is an oasis for beach lovers and divers.
Once in Java, an ideal starting point for exploring is West Java, which is easily accessible from Jakarta by car, train or plane. Bandung, the capital city, is a vibrant university town with great shopping and lively atmosphere. Those seeking natural settings can also find impressive mountains and healing hot springs.
Other notable hotspots in West Java include Banten, a lovely coastal town with the magnificent Pulau Dua Bird Sanctuary, and Carita, a peaceful resort town with long, sandy beaches. The Sunda Straits is where you can hire a boat to visit the renowned Krakatau volcano. Animal lovers will enjoy adventuring in the rich wilderness of Ujung Kulon National Park, looking for exotic species.
East Java is home to some of the highest volcanic peaks in the country such as Mt Semeru, Java's highest and most famous peak, and the sand sea of Mt Bromo. An absolute delight for climbers and hikers worldwide, these peaks also make ideal viewing spots. For a different type of adventure in East Java, Surabaya, the second largest city in Indonesia, has a variety of eerie but delicious dishes to please versatile diners.
The bustling port city of Semarang, with a lively Chinatown and a famous morning market, is one of the highlights of Central Java. In addition to the capital city, the province also boasts a number of interesting towns such as Kudus, a pilgrimage town, and Jepara, famous for its woodcarvers. After a hard day of play, visitors can indulge in the ultimate spa treatments at the magnificent Lokasari, where several private villas are available for rent.
Java's infrastructure is excellent, with countless accommodations and modern facilities to accommodate tourists. A number of international and domestic airlines serve Jakarta, Bandung, Semarang, Yogyakarta and Surabaya and ferry services reach Java from many parts of Indonesia.