Indonesia - Java - 800x450

With 120 million people, the long, narrow island of Java is the beating, bustling heart of Indonesia, its population made up of Javanese, Sundanese and Madurese.

Java’s artistic and cultural capital, and also its foremost tourism city, is Yogyakarta. Its arts and traditions are engaged in a battle with encroaching modernity but its cultural riches still shine. The palace of the sultans of Yogyakarta, the kraton, houses the Golden Pavilion, resplendent with a marble floor, carved teak pillars and intricately patterned red and gold ceiling.

Another stand-out attraction is the largest Buddhist monument in the southern hemisphere, the ninth-century temple of Borobodur. It is 34.5m tall and covers an area of 200 square metres. You can follow the symbolic path of enlightenment to nirvana at the top, where a 10m diameter stupa is bounded by 72 smaller ones.

Java’s volcanic treasures include Gunung Bromo, usually climbed in time to see the sunrise from the crater rim. Krakatoa’s collapsed caldera may be viewed from the coast and a boat trip can take you to see Anak Krakatao, “child of Krakatao”, which emerged in 1930 and is active – and growing.