West Java is the most densely populated and highly revered province in Indonesia. It occupies the western portion of the island and is diverse, with large cities like Jakarta and Bandung and a delightful coastline.

West Java is about the size of Taiwan and has twice as many people. It was here that the colonial powers - Britain and Holland - arrived. Officially, Bandung is the capital of West Java, with Jakarta being a province of its own, although most visitors include Jakarta in their scope of West Java.

Much of West Java is mountainous and lush, with steep volcanic peaks in the center and lowland rainforests to the southwest. Jakarta is the chaotic, polluted, yet lively Indonesian capital in the northwest of West Java. It comes with some of the best shopping and nightlife in Southeast Asia and provides easy access to the gorgeous Thousand Islands region.

Bandung, the West Javan capital, lies southeast of Jakarta and is prettier, with its mountainous surrounds and colonial feel. It is known as the Parijs van Java or Dutch and Flower City. Bogor is just south of Jakarta and boasts gorgeous botanical gardens. It used to be the British colonial summer capital.

Banten is in the west of West Java and is known for its attractive old town and access to the Pulua Bird Sanctuary nearby. West Java also has the greatest concentration of highways, along with fairly extensive (for Indonesia) railways, making getting about relatively easy.

One often-overlooked part of West Java is the stunning Ujung Kulon National Park. It’s a UNESCO World Heritage Site that features extensive lowland rainforest and also incorporates the Krakatau island chain. Ujung Kulon National Park lies in the southwest of West Java and is also known for its preservation of the Javan rhino.

There are loads of beaches in West Java to check out, including Anher and Labuhan on the west coast, the Thousand Islands off the north coast, and the West Javan surfing capital of Pangandaran on the south coast. The best time to visit is between May and September to avoid the rains, especially if visiting Bandung and the beaches.

Jakarta is the gateway to West Java. Soekarno-Hatta International Airport in Jakarta receives flights from all over the world and daily schedules leave the domestic terminal for cities throughout West Java. Trains run east toward East Java from Jakarta, and south toward Bandung, the provincial capital.

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