Java’s Dieng Plateau

One of the great things about Indonesia is the diversity of the landscape. One of the great things about the Dieng Plateau is that it looks and feels completely different to almost anywhere else in Indonesia.

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Sitting up in the mountains about 150 kilometres northwest of Yogyakarta, theDieng Plateau is absolutely stunning: rolling hills terraced with vegetable gardens as far as the eye can see, boiling pits of mud and coloured lakes. This place has it all and surprisingly few foreigners visit outside of the peak season. In fact, whenever we’ve been there, we haven’t seen one other independent traveller although your luck may vary dependent on the time of year you’re there. Of course there are a few foreigners around on private tours, but even they are few and far between.

So what does this mean? Unless you visit in June, July or August, you are going to feel like an modern day intrepid explorer. Come in the peak season and you’ll have a different experience which will be more convivial and shared with new friends.

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The main attractions in Dieng are the numerous temples and the geothermal area around Kawah Sikidang. These attractions form a simple loop which can be walked over the course of half a day. The first stop is usually the Arjuna complex, a group of temples built in the eighth century and reported to be some of the oldest in Java. The setting of these temples is stunning with mist-shrouded steep hills on all sides and farms surrounding the immediate area.


Taking the turn off at Candi Bima takes you 800 metres to Kawah Sikidang, which for many will be the highlight of the circuit with its bubbling mud pit and strange hot earth. There are in fact two pits at Kawah Sikidang worth seeing, but the best one is filled with steaming mud which boils vigourously. Other features in the area include hot streams, strange small holes which are very hot and sections of earth with gas seeping out of them which is sometimes also hot. It’s all crazy stuff and fascinating to explore.

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