May 21, 2014 00:00 By KESHIE HERNITANINGTYAS
The four coolest Indonesian destinations to visit in summer
Tourists, both local and foreign, are always on the look out for cool destinations to visit during the hot season in Indonesia. We look at four that fit the bill.
DIENG, CENTRAL JAVA
Located more than 2,000 metres above sea level, the Dieng plateau extends over Banjarnegara and Wonosobo districts in Central Java and offers cool fresh air with average temperatures ranging from 10 to 15 degrees Celsius, as well as two breathtaking sunrise views – the golden sunrise and the silver sunrise.
The golden sunrise can be seen from a viewing post at a height of 1,700m in Wonosobo from 5.30am, while the silver sunrise is best admired from Dieng Temple in Banjarnegara, the oldest Hindu temple in Java and a 15- minute drive from the viewing post.
Dieng also plays host to an annual cultural festival, which features, among other things, a ritual event of trimming the naturally occurring dreadlocks of the children who grow up near the Dieng temple complex.
Visitors can enjoy Dieng’s stunning views of mountains and hectares of green agricultural land, explore the Pendawa Lima temples built around the eighth century on the slopes of the mountain and visit the craters on the Dieng plateau, such as Sikidang, Sileri and Condrodimuka, which provide geothermal energy. Stops by the differently coloured Lake Warna and Lake Balaikambang are a must.
BATU, EAST JAVA
Located about 20km to the west of Malang and about 95km from East Java’s capital of Surabaya, Batu has been a popular tourist destination since Dutch colonial days thanks to its apple farms that stretch as far as the eye can see.
However, flanked by Mount Arjuna and Mount Welirang, at an altitude of some 1,000m, the city’s rather cool temperatures, fluctuating from 17 to 20 degrees Celsius, also make it a great place to relax and escape from the heat.
While cooling down in this city, you can also experience its many attractions. Some of the must-do activities include picking fruit straight off trees at Kusuma Agrotourism, exploring Selecta Recreational Park’s lush green gardens, walking freely among exotic animals at Batu Secret Zoo, enjoying exciting outdoor entertainment at the Batu Night Spectacular and riding the huge Ferris wheel at the city’s alun-alun (town square).
Of course, visitors can also try the city’s popular cuisine, including bakso Malang (Malang-style meatball soup) and sweet ketan (white sticky rice topped with cheese and condensed milk).
Batu is also famous for its delicious fruit chips. In fact, there are up to 10 home industries producing them in the city, so make sure you take some home as a souvenir.
LEMBANG, WEST JAVA
The cool climes of Lembang, which is located on the outskirts of Bandung in West Java, at an elevation of 1,400 meters, have made it a long-time favourite weekend destination for residents of Bandung and Jakarta.
Other than its refreshing climate, the elevated resort city has also gained popularity due to its breathtaking views of pine trees and vast green carpets of tea plantations. Especially on cold days, the mountainous areas behind the tea plantations are often covered by mist.
As a tourist destination, Lembang offers plenty of excitement as well. Activities include harvesting ripe red strawberries at Happy Farm, taking a break from city life at the Lembang floating market, making pottery at Rumah Keramik Citra (Citra Ceramic House), or visiting the Bosscha observatory, the importance of which is recognised in international networks because of its proximity to the equator.
But that’s not all, as visitors can also choose to admire the majestic crater of Tangkuban Perahu mountain, relax in Ciater Spa Resort’s natural hot springs, enjoy entertaining outdoor activities at De’Ranch and explore the natural beauty of Maribaya, which includes a waterfall and hot springs.
For the complete experience, don’t forget to stop at one of the food stalls selling fresh milk, enjoy some grilled sweet corn or grilled ketan, or taste the local delicacy of sate kelinci (rabbit satay).
There is a proverb in Papua that says: “If you haven’t been to Wamena, you haven’t been to Papua ”.
Located in the Jayawijaya mountain area, the pleasantly cool Wamena has been a focus of domestic and foreign visitors’ attention since it began holding the annual Baliem Valley Cultural Festival more than 20 years ago. Every year, visitors from various countries visit the area to watch cultural performances presented by people from Papua’s central highland regions.
Wamena is also a unique region that strongly upholds local customs. Men can still be seen walking around the city using the koteka penis sheath, as well as women wearing nothing more than the sali (woven tree bark skirt).
Aside from the annual festival, there are various other tourist attractions to visit within the city, including the mummified body of a tribal chief in Kurulu village, believed to be hundreds of years old, a saltwater lake, white sand beaches, waterfalls in Napua and Walesi villages and the Kutilola cave in Kurulu village.