Explore Indonesia: East Java

East Java


Long regard as an inconvenient 12 hour road trip between Borobudur in Central Java and Bali, the eastern third of Java is quickly becoming a destination its own right. Volcanic craters, deserted beaches, wildlife reserves, well-preserved temple complexes and a friendly, colorful people make East Java a prime “Soft Adventure” destination. The hotels may be a little more basic than further west and the road a little bumpier but the various attractions make any transient discomfort and inconvenience fade into memorable experience.

Historically, from the 10th to the 13th century, the great kingdowms fot htat period Kediri, Singasari, and Majapahit had bequeathed a rich heritage of temples, art, literature, music and drama. The Majapahit empire arose in 1292 AD, beside dominating the entire archipelago of Indonesia, its authority also covered Malay peninsula and part of the Philippines.

Hindu Buddhist influences lasted throughout the 14th century and speread throughout the island. After Brantas Valley was settled by Moslems in 1527 AD, many Hindus fled easwards to Blambangan, presently know as Banyuwang, and to Bali. There are numerous temple ruins found, dating from classical time of the Hindu – Buddhist period in 7th century AD as well as the historical sites dating from the early days of Islamic and Dutch colonial times. East Java is well know as the location of Mount Bromo, the desolate volcanic massif offering the most spectacular sunrise.

The caldera, measuring 10km across with two peaks rising form the sandy crater floor, makes Bromo an unforgettable experience. Now with comfortable hotels a short drive away, Bromo has become a popular tourist attraction. However many tourist gather to witness the spectacle nothing can detract from the majesty of a dry season sunrise over the crater rim. As hundred shades of crimson paint the endless sky, the world falls silent save the quiet whistle of the chill dawn breeze over vare rock and sand. Sitting squarely on the ring of fire.

East java has several other accessible volcanic peaks, such as mt. Semeru lying just 20km south of Bromo. Higher and more active than Bromo. Mt. Semeru is regarded by Javanses as the adobe of the Gods, the local equivalent of Mt. Meru in India.  To hike to the summit and back is a moderately strenuous overnight trek.

Sugarcane and coffee plantations blanketed East Java during the colonial era. Many of these old plantations are still producing with the some colonial era technology and methods. Worker plan and harvest sugarcane with only hand tools. Tiny, steam driver locomotives chug alongside back roads, pulling equally scaled down freight cars piled with cut sugar cane to century old refineries. A few plantations accept morning tours throguht the croplands and offer and enormous country breakfast.

Amassing about 48,000 square kilometers include Madura Island, East java occupies a little more than one third of Java’s total land mass. With a population almost 38,000,000 inhabitants it is the most populated area in Indonesia. To the east, across the narrow strait of Bali lies the island of Bali, to the west the Province of Central Java and Yogyakarta, to the north lies the Java Sea and to the South is the Indian Ocean. Two third of the area is hilly or mountainous with approximately 48 mounts, of which Mt. Semeru is the highest.

Two wide rivers traverse East java, the 314 km long Brantas and the 540 km long Bengawan Solo. The broad Brantas River traces a circular path through the ancient and fertile rice land of East Java.

Inside East Java need to explore:

  1. Surabaya
  2. Madura Area (Bangkalan, Sampang, Pamengkasan & Sumenep)
  3. Gresik
  4. Lamongan
  5. Tuban
  6. Ngawi
  7. Bojonegoro
  8. Magetan
  9. Madiun
  10. Ponorogo
  11. Pacitan
  12. Trenggalek
  13. Nganjuk
  14. Kediri
  15. Tulungagung
  16. Blitar
  17. Malang
  18. Bromo Tengger Semeru National Park
  19. Jombang
  20. Mojokerto
  21. Sidoarjo
  22. Probolinggo
  23. Lumajang
  24. Situbondo
  25. Bondowoso
  26. Jember
  27. Banyuwangi

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