Exploring Java, Java

The city is also a major centre for dyed batik fabric that is displayed at the Danar Hadi museum.

The amazing Borobudur and Prambanan temples, where history and spirit meet, are the highlight of any trip to Java’s centre.

Borobudur, near the city of Yogyakarta, is one of the world’s most impressive temples and was built in about 800AD in the form of a stepped pyramid. Reaching 35 metres at its highest point, it features nearly 1500 carved story panels and 504 statues of Buddha. The vast structure was abandoned and lay hidden under foliage and volcanic ash for centuries before being rediscovered in the 1800s and is now a World Heritage Site.

Built in the 9th and 10th century, Prambanan is another significant World Heritage Site. There are hundreds of shrines in this Hindu complex with the main ones dedicated to Vishnu, Shiva and Brahma.

Attracting fewer tourists than Borobudur and Prambanan both of which can become very crowded at times, are many other temples including Pawon, Mendut, Plaosan Lor and Kalasan all of which are not far from Yogyakarta.

Travel within Java can be laborious and particularly so in the west though the rail network is quite reliable and efficient. However, it is well worth the effort to see the sights and gain an understanding of the fascinating local culture that is wonderfully expressed through art, music and dance.