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Revision as of 19:57, 16 June 2007

Java (Indonesian: Jawa) is an island in Indonesia.

Mount Bromo (left) and Mount Semeru (top right), East Java


Java is Indonesia's fifth-largest island. Its 120 million people make up 65% of Indonesia's entire population, and makes Java the most populated island in the world. Covering an area of 127,569 sq. km (7% of Indonesia's area) and with a population density of 940 people/sq. km, Java is the world's most crowded island, as well.

Jakarta, the capital of Indonesia, is located on northwest region of Java. Surabaya (the second largest city in Indonesia), is located on East Java. Java acts as Indonesia's center of cultural and economic activity.

The main ethnic group in Java is Javanese, except for the West Java region where most people are Sundanese. In the province of East Java, 22% of the population is of Madurese descent. Half of them lives on the island of Madura.

Jakarta is the capital of Indonesia. Population: 8 millions (within city limits). The total population of Jakarta and its suburbs: 12 millions people. The population of Jakarta is a mix of many ethnics. The native ethnic of Jakarta is Betawi.


Map of Java

Java is split into six provinces:



  • Cengkareng - suburb of Jakarta, and home of Soekarno Hatta International Airport
  • Tangerang - suburb of Jakarta
  • Cilegon - industrial and port city

West Java

  • Bandung - great nightlife, restaurants, cheap fashion
  • Bogor - the summer capital of the Dutch, known for its botanical garden and beautiful palace
  • Depok - suburb of Jakarta, and home to the University of Indonesia

Central Java

  • Semarang - port city, old buildings and inspiring museums
  • Solo (also known as Surakarta) - beautiful palace, inspiring museums and batik factories

DI Jogjakarta

  • Yogyakarta - beaches, beautiful palace and inspiring museums

East Java

  • Surabaya - old buildings and inspiring museums
  • Banyuwangi - the most eastern regency of Java and port to Bali
  • Selo - small village where to start the trek of Gunung Merapi, magnificent active volacano

Other destinations

  • Anyer - beautiful beach (Banten)
  • Borobudur - the largest ancient Buddhist temple, one of the world's seven wonders (Central Java)
  • Mount Anak Krakatoa - new active volcano, sinking island (Banten)
  • Mount Bromo - the region where one of the last pockets of Javanese Hindus is to be found (East Java)
  • Mount Tangkuban Parahu - ancient volcano, located in West Java
  • Pelabuhan Ratu - beautiful beach on south Sukabumi, West Java
  • Prambanan - great Hindu temple (Central Java)
  • Ujung Kulon - beautiful national park (Banten)


While Indonesian (Bahasa Indonesia) is the lingua franca understood by almost everyone, the majority of Java's population also speak Javanese, a related but mutually incomprehensible language. As the largest single language in Indonesia, Javanese influence on Bahasa Indonesia has been quite significant, and particularly in Central and East Java you'll even hear the local pronunciation change — the most notable change is a turning into o, so eg. Surabaya becomes Suroboyo.

Other significant local languages include Sundanese, spoken in West Java, and Madurese, spoken on and around the island of Madura.

Get in

By air

Most visitors arrive at Jakarta, Bandung, Semarang, Surabaya and Yogyakarta. There are several domestic airlines such as Garuda, Lion Air, Mandala, Sriwijaya Air. International airlines: AirAsia, SQ, Qantas, MAS, Cathay Pacific, PAL, Thai International, JAL, KAL, Eva Air, Air India, etc.

By sea

PT Angkutan Sungai Danau dan Penyeberangan/ASDP ferry services:

  • Gianyar(Bali) from/to Gilimanuk (East Java)
  • Bakauheni (Lampung/Southern Sumatera) from/to Merak (Banten)
  • Kamal (Madura) from/to Tanjung Perak (Surabaya)

PT Pelayaran Nasional Indonesia/PELNI passenger ship routes include:

  • Medan (North Sumatra) from/to Tanjung Priok (Jakarta)
  • Pontianak (West Kalimantan) from/to Tanjung Priok (Jakarta)
  • Makassar (South Sulawesi) from/to Tanjung Perak (Surabaya)

Get around

Java's infrastructure is by far the best in Indonesia, and it's possible to cross the entire island by land in a single (long) day. However, the sheer density of population means that roads, buses and trains can get overcrowded if you're moving at the same time as everyone else.

By bus

The main form of long-distance transport, vast armadas of buses cross the island and connect every city and mountain hamlet. Watch out though, as many drivers have near-suicidal driving habits that emphasize speed above all else. Many criminals often offer drinks laced with sleeping pill.

By train

Java has the best railway network in Indonesia, with trains connecting the capital city of Jakarta with most other cities and towns in the island. The eksekutif class is the best class, and consequently the most expensive.

Ticket reservations can be made starting one month in advance. No on-line ticket reservation is available, but availability can be gleaned on PT Kereta Api's ticketing site. Descriptions of various trains are available on Kereta Api website.

By road

Java's toll roads are built nearly to Western standards, with dual grade-separated lanes in both directions and elevated interchanges. Tolls are quite affordable, usually Rp 1,000-5,000 every 10 km or so. However, signage is often lacking and driving habits are atrocious, so it's very wise to pay a little extra and get a car with driver instead of attempting to drive yourself.





Stay safe

Get out


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