Jacada Photo Journal: Java

Smoldering volcanoes, lush rice paddies and ethereal temples...
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Written by
Nancy Wong

Published on: June 19th, 2019

Last modified: December 28th, 2023

Considered to be the heart of Indonesia, Java is a diversely fascinating island of great antiquity. The island is now home up to 140 million people, making it the most populated island on earth. Stretching over 600 miles from east to west, Jacada travellers, Natalie and Marcin, captured the tranquillity and spirituality through the lens of their cameras. Here are some of their most inspiring moments...


After a long day of travelling, Natalie and Marcin arrive at their first hotel, MesaStila. As soon as you pass through the main entrance, an expanse of green emerges with a welcoming party of blossoming flowers. The weather is perfect, and the surroundings are that of active volcanoes and sounds of animals, truly nature at its finest.

Bike Tour

The next morning after a hearty breakfast, Natalie and Marcin embark on a cycling adventure to the Royal Baths – a thermal pool that is heated by the surrounding volcanoes. As they made their way to their cultural spa experience, they cycled past little villages, rice paddies and encountered friendly Javanese locals along the way. Their guide, Immam, explained the lay of the land, pointing out different fruits, flowers, trees and bushes that are amongst the diverse vegetation here in Java.

Coffee Plantation Tour

Later that afternoon, the couple experienced a private tour of a coffee plantation. Java is famous for its locally-grown and sourced coffee beans. Immam explained that all the coffee berries are all handpicked, dried and roasted using traditional and original equipment. Walking around the property, Natalie and Marcin also got to interact with horses, walk through a mushroom house and an organic farm, all of which is utilised by MesaStila in the hopes of reaching full sustainability in the near future.

Selogriyo Temple Hike

One of Java’s most famous landmarks is Selogriyo Temple. Early in the morning, Natalie and Marcin met their lovely guide, Eko, and embarked on their drive to the foothills of Selogriyo Temple. Here, they hiked past lush rice paddies and bountiful vegetation including coffee plants, tall bamboo stems and numerous different types of fruit trees, just to name a few.


Towards the second part of their trip, the couple were transported to stunning Amanjiwo, and what a spectacular oasis it was. Only 15 minutes away from the UNESCO Site Borobudur itself, the hotel takes much of its architectural inspiration from the crescent shapes of the Buddhist sanctuary, and the views here are truly privileged and unparalleled.


The next morning, at 4:30am bright and early, the alarm goes off and Natalie springs out of bed. The long-awaited day has arrived – sunrise over Borobudur. They watched the sun creep over the eerily stunning site. They walked around, eyes glued to their surrounds with each step, marvelling at the history, the aura, and the detail-orientated work that went into the creation of something purely magical.

The Last Supper

On their last night in Java, Natalie and Marcin were picked up by a car and transported to local Javanese, Pak Bilal’s house for dinner. Pak Bilal and his son have been welcoming guests of Amanjiwo for almost a decade now, making it one of the most authentic dining experiences for travellers passing through.

Entering a small house, the couple were warmly welcomed with aromatic spices and herbs, surrounded by candlelight only. Throughout the dinner, Pak Bilal and his son explained the dishes served as well as exchanging personal anecdotes, making it the perfect ending to a perfect trip.

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