8 Best Epic Things You Can Do And See In Central Java, Indonesia This 2022 – Indian Ocean

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Port of Cilacap, Central Java, Indonesia

Located on the southern coast of Central Java province, Indonesia along the Indian Ocean, Port of Cilacap is a large-sized port where oil tankers, chemical tankers, bulk carriers, LPG tankers and asphalt tankers call regularly. This is an important hub for the fishing, transport and trading industries of the Southeast Pacific area.

Known also as Tanjung Inten Port, it has a SBM (Single Bouy Mooring), oil terminal and four separate berths for general and bulk cargoes. It handles 20 million tons of cargo yearly like LPG, crude oil, including cement and fertilizer vessels where they can lie in safety during monsoons.

An Overview on Central Java:

Situated exactly at the heart of Java Island, Central Java has been inhabited by humans long before the dawn of history, in fact it’s in this area where the remains of the “homo erectus” or “Java man” was discovered in the 1890s by Dutch geologist Eugene Dubois. But recorded history in the province began during the 7th century when Buddhism and Hinduism were brought to the island by the Indians. However in the 16th century, Islam was developed and Islamic kingdoms grew until the Dutch arrived in the 17th century.

And so the Dutch established their presence at the area through their Dutch East India Company. But as the Napoleonic wars in Europe raged on, Central Java was ceded to Great Britain, however as has been specified in the Congress of Vienna, the Dutch returned after the departure of the British where they brought modernization to the place and in the 1900s, contemporary Central Java was created. On March 1, 1942, Japanese troops arrived at the island of Java and the Dutch colonial government surrendered, yet even after Indonesia had proclaimed its independence, The Netherlands still tried to control the region but failed and Central Java became a province at last on July 4, 1950.

Map showing the location of Central Java

Home of the greatest monument of all time, the Borobudur, Central Java is also the genesis of ancient history in Indonesia. This is the 3rd most populated province and it has a lot of historical landmarks that are well preserved up to these days. Aboard the oil tanker M/T Adafera on September 2013 via the Port of Cilacap, I saw first hand the interesting sites and attractions of the province where tourists flock and here are 8 best epic things you can do and see that I can recommend if you’re planning a trip to Central Java this 2022.

1. ENJOY: a sunrise view at Borobudur, the largest Buddhist temple in the world

Listed on the Guinness Book of World Records as the largest archeological site of Buddhist temples in the world, Borobudur is a best epic thing you can do and see in Central Java. A must-do for every tourist visiting Indonesia, nothing beats the experience of seeing a spectacular sight of the sun as it unveils the silhouettes of this UNESCO listed temple. Located at an elevated area between two volcanoes in Central Java, Borobudur temple was built between the 8th-9th centuries by the rulers of Shailendra dynasty from 2 million blocks of stones.

2. CATCH: the sunset at Ratu Boko in Yogyakarta

If you are a person who is in awe every time you see the sunset then Ratu Boko is the exact spot to admire this view. One of the best epic things you can do and see, this archeological site is located on a plateau in Yogyakarta in Central Java. Also called Kroton Ratu Boko (or Ratu Boko Palace), this distinct spot is actually a remnant of a palace built in the 8th century golden age of Javanese kingdoms. What differentiates Ratu Boko from the other archeological sites in Central Java is that it is not a temple where you will see more details of its palace features when you explore the area especially at dusk, making it the most beautiful sunset in the world.

3. EXPLORE: Prambanan Temple, one of world’s finest example of Hindu architecture

The largest and arguably the most magnificent Hindu temple complex in all of Indonesia is Prambanan Temple, another best epic thing you can do and see in Central Java. This is a cluster of large temples (known as “candi”) constructed during the reign of the Mataram kings who were once rulers of the province. It is put together in the form of a “mandala” with soaring spires that represent “menu” or the holy mountain where Hindu gods live. Selected as a UNESCO World Heritage Site in 1991, Prambanan Temple attracts thousands of visitors around the world due to its striking towers especially when it is illuminated at night.

4. ADMIRE: grand, old buildings at Kota Lama, the ‘Little Amsterdam” of Semarang

It used to be a fortified settlement consisting of Dutch colonial structures in the 17th century, these days Kota Lama Semarang, a best epic thing you can do and see in Central Java is a preserved metropolis of sprawling buildings in different architectural styles from medieval to baroque and modern period. Dubbed as “Little Amsterdam”, Central Java‘s opulent neighborhood was once the political and military hub of the Dutch East India Company during the 1700s thus explains the European “feel” of that era. A perfect place to learn more of the province’s history during the colonial times, other striking highlights to explore are: Lawang Sewu or building of thousand doors (former headquarters of the Dutch East India Company), Geraja Blenduk or Blenduk Church (Protestant Church) and Sam Poo Kong Temple (where the great Admiral Cheng Ho of the Ming Dynasty had stayed when he visited Semarang in the 15th century).

5. LEARN: how to make batik at Laweyan Batik Village of Solo

Back in the days of the Majapahit empire and the spread of Islam in Java, batik art in clothing was also developed. Thus when you travel to this area, it’s not only about adventure and sightseeing but you can also experience their rich culture through a trip to batik villages. A best epic thing you can do and see in Central Java, Laweyan Batik Village is a destination where you can admire the colors and patterns of batik and participate as well in the workshop, see how craftsmen make the famous Indonesian fabric while listening to the history of batik.

6. DISCOVER: legendary Javanese street foods such as gudeg and satay

chicken satay

The area does not only takes pride of having hidden treasures but crammed with delectable street foods as well, the heart and soul of Indonesian cuisine. Unique and worth discovering, gudeg and satay are examples of Javanese street foods, best epic things you can do and see in Central Java. Well, who doesn’t love skewered meats like the satay (satay ayam or chicken satay and satay kambing or goat satay) grilled to perfection and served with peanut sauce and chopped shallots? Gudeg is a distinct dish made with unripe jackfruit cooked in coconut milk then served with rice, chicken, hard-boiled eggs and tempeh or tofu.

7. VISIT: Benteng Pendem (Buried Port), an abandoned Dutch fortress in Cilacap

Constructed between the years 1861-1879, Benteng Pendem used to be a Dutch fort built underground to make it out of sight from enemies. A best epic thing you can do and see in Central Java, this pentagon-shaped tourist site consists of barracks, a clinic and a prison used during Dutch colonial times to defend the Port of Cilacap. Also known as “Van Den Bosch Fort”, the name “pendem” was given as this fort was buried for centuries and later excavated then opened by the local government for its historical and cultural attraction.

8. WATCH: Ramayana Ballet at Prambanan, Indonesia’s most spectacular live performance.

The Ramayana Ballet in a dance performance with Prambanan Temple at the background.

And of course Prambanan is not only famous for its temple but also for the mesmerizing performance of Ramayana Ballet, a best epic thing you can do and see in Central Java. This is a visualization of Kakawin Ramayana, the Javanese version of Ramayana saga, one of the important legends of Hinduism and staged near the Prambanan Temple. It is a 2-hour act and dance telling the story of Rama and Sita at an open-air theater with traditional Indonesian instruments played in the background like the “gamelan”, an ensemble of percussion instruments. A truly fantastic show to watch when you’re in Central Java especially with the amazing view of the temple at night in the background.

Jakarta may be the capital of Indonesia but Central Java is the framework of this nation’s ancient history. It is in this region where you can feed your nosy side and engage yourself in the antiquity, archeology, art, music, performance and textile of the province. An amazing place, it truly is an up and coming destination in Indonesia that you should definitely visit this 2022.

Reference: Wikipedia