Java is the beating heart of Indonesia. The world's most populous island is alive with astonishing scenery, diverse cultures, heaving cities and peaceful villages. Humans have been coming here since the beginning; the Sangiran Early Man Site revealed ancient Homo Erectus fossils key to mankind's understanding of human evolution.
Java was formed by seismic activity from the chain of volcanoes running down its spine. On the slopes of these smouldering mountains lie tea and rice plantations, which have supported the Javanese people for millennia. Tropical rainforests cover large swathes of the island, housing a unique range of fauna and flora such as the critically endangered Javan Rhino. Many species are preserved in areas such as the Ujung Kulon National Park, a UNESCO World Heritage site.
The overwhelming sounds, smells and crowds of Jakarta provide a jarring change of pace for the intrepid explorer. Home to more than 10 million people, Indonesia's capital is on track to become the world's biggest megacity. Overcrowded and chaotic, this bustling metropolis still hosts a delirious nightlife and a vibrant shopping scene for those who brave the crowds.
Jakarta may be Java's engine room, but Yogyakarta is its soul. Laidback and attractive, the city is a centre for Javanese art and culture, hosting street art, galleries, and coffee shops. It is the perfect base for trips to Borobodur Temple, the 8th century Buddhist monument, and Prambanan Temple, a remarkable Hindu temple.
Java is a mosaic of sights and impressions. It is the cultural, educational and historical centre of the Indonesian archipelago, and a challenging destination offering curious visitors a vivid and rewarding experience they will not soon forget.