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Java Travel guide

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Java : Michelin's recommendations

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Mother island of the Indonesian archipelago, and Isle of fire according to the expression coined by Alexandre Dumas, Java has suffused the Western imagination with exotic dreams. Although the legendary jungles that once captivated European travellers have sadly disappeared almost entirely, the place is still enveloped in the magic of its volcanic peaks and their menacing smoke.

These timeless sovereigns reign today over a population of 240 million inhabitants, making Java one of the most densely populated places on the planet. Jakarta is a veritable urban jungle that reveals its striking contrasts and thrilling nightlife once you get over the daunting shock of your first impression.

After that baptism of fire you will undoubtedly be ready to take on the exuberance of this island, where "monumental" is the watchword for the natural world. The plant life on this land fertilised by giant volcanos has also chosen to reach for the skies. Back on solid ground, the Wayang Kulit traditional puppet theatre, performed to the sounds of gamelan music, recounts the close intertwining of its people's lives and beliefs through the great Indian epic tales.

Many influences presided over the evolution of the ancient Hindu-Buddhist kingdoms of Mataram, which peacefully converted to Islam before experiencing long Portuguese and Dutch interludes. From the stupa at Borobudur, an open-air book of stone, to the bubbling young artistic scene in Yogyakarta, Java offers you an inestimable piece of the Indonesian patchwork.

Java - See all cities and regions

Java : Must-see towns and regions

  • Yogyakarta

    Yogyakarta is known as "Jogja" to its fans, which is to say everyone who visits... People irresistibly fall for the capital of Central Java, a dynamic city with a student population, where life is enj...

  • Prambanan

    This little town's reputation is built upon its immense 9C Hindu temple, a wonder of Indo-Javanese art which has been designated a UNESCO World Heritage Site. It has also, unfortunately, become better...

  • Pangandaran

    The isthmus on which Pangandaran, Java's principal seaside resort, is located runs through the Indian Ocean, its edges bordered with volcanic sand while its interior is covered with a protected forest...

  • The royal city of Solo is located just 60km or so from Yogyakarta, its eternal rival, and, as such, is often left off the tourist trail. But the city is well worth a visit: first and foremost for its ...

  • Looking at the peaceful port today it is hard to believe that Cirebon was once one of the island's most active ports for trade and cultural exchange, where Javanese, Chinese, Islamic and European infl...

  • With its 100 000 inhabitants, Sumenep, the former capital of the Cakraningrat kingdom, has remained the principal city of Madura Island. Come here to enjoy the peaceful atmosphere and sights, which in...

  • Jakarta

    In Jakarta, 21C Asia coexists with extreme poverty; shopping centres selling luxury brands juxtapose the kampung, labyrinthine working-class districts. In 50 years, Indonesia's capital has become a hu...

  • This little seaside resort around a fishing port is best seen at dawn, when the boats return from the sea, piled high with fish. But people mainly come to Pelabuhanratu for the beaches and it is parti...

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