Dieng Plateau was perched at 2,000 meters (6,562 feet) above sea level, Dieng Plateau is one of the coolest destinations in Indonesia and not just weather-wise. Both a natural and cultural destination, there are many things to see and do in Dieng Plateau. Other than the sweeping mountain view of jungles and distant villages, this highland also has a multi-colored lake, hot spring, and ancient Hindu temples. Once a year, tourists flock to the spot for a much-anticipated festival that includes traditional rituals, performances, and jazz above the clouds.
The lofty volcanic plateau of Dieng (Abode of the Gods), a fertile landscape laced with terraced potato and tobacco fields, is home to some of the oldest Hindu architecture in Java. More than 400 temples, most dating from the 8th and 9th centuries, originally covered this 2000m-high plain, but they were abandoned and forgotten and only rediscovered in 1856 by the archaeologist Van Kinsbergen.
Dieng Plateau holds its own charm despite being veiled by the rainfall. Dieng Plateau is situated in Central Java, nearby Wonosobo. Most people in Indonesia call it Dieng. It is a highland of 2,000 m. Even though nearby near Wonosobo, it is actually located in the regency of Banjarnegara.
The temperatures in Dieng can be quite a cold being in the highlands, therefore remember to pack proper clothing. The guesthouses here are bare and minimal, therefore do not expect any kind of heating, a sleeping bag of your own would help tremendously in your sleep.
There are many craters (kawah) around here for you to explore, like Sikidang Crater (Kawah Sikidang) which is more popular, and there are others like Kawah Candradimuka and Kawah Sileri.
Arjuna Temples Complex – Candi-Candi (ancient temples) dotted around, the most famous being the Arjuna complex not because of its magnificence, what not with the likes of Borobudur and Prambanan not too far off but for its really old age. Here you can find Candi Arjuna, Candi Setiyaki, and Candi Bima. They are one of the oldest temples in Indonesia, dating back to the 8th century built by the Sanjaya dynasty. It can be a bit disheartening to see the remaining small temples around the complex but keep in mind that it had stood the test of time for a long, long time.
Telaga Warna (colored lake) – not to be mistaken for its name for it is only in hues of blue and maybe some slightly green. Try to walk up the hill beside it to catch a top view of the lake which can be quite beautiful if you caught it during the right light of day.
Definitely trek and walk around Dieng Plateau highlands. Along these treks, you will find yourself surrounded by rolling fields of greens, hardworking locals smiling at you, local houses and kids running around, and also other ancient structures dotted around.
Catch the sunrise at Sikunir Hill – rent a car or motorbike to the foothill of Sekunir, then it is about another 30-40 minutes hike up (good workout to wake you up) in time for the sunrise. Here you can see the sun slowly lit up the hills of terraced rice fields with dark mountains as the backdrop.
Or catch the sunrise at Perahu Hill – This one you have to start earlier about 3 am and rent a vehicle to the foothill and hike up for about 2 hours. The view here is, of course, more magnificent as it takes more energy and effort.
You may find a handful of homestays, hotels, or guesthouses by the roadside once you reach Dieng Plateau by bus as it will drop you at the main road.
Local specialties are Keripik Jamur, a crispy fried champignon, or Carica in syrup, a sweet drink.
Dieng can be small and big depending on where you want to explore. The usual tourist circuit is doable by foot if you want to take a loop around and stop by at those places to visit. If you want to go a little further, catch a local minibus and stop off at junctions that you need and cover the rest with trekking on hills and plantations.
How to get there
From Jakarta to Dieng
Get a train from Jakarta to Purwokerto and then take a bus to Wonosobo. At nearing Wonosobo, ask to be dropped off at a junction near Klenteng where you will catch another public minibus to Dieng.
From Yogyakarta (Jogja) to Dieng
Get a bus to Magelang and then switch to another bus to Wonosobo. Then at Wonosobo, also catch a minibus to go up to Dieng.
Where to go nearby
Purwokerto – what a real city would be like in Java before it gets over-saturated as a jaded city, with its little park (alun-alun), good food, laid-back atmosphere, surrounded by many natural wonders and most of all the fun and friendly people.
Purwokerto – this quaint and relaxing place is off the usual beaten path of travelers in Java
Wonosobo – To catch more of the village lives in the heart of Java.
Yogyakarta– for the grander temples of Central Java – Borobudur and Prambanan. It is also a place for food and shopping and other tourist attractions.
Semarang – another modern city of Central Java with the ancient port.
Yogyakarta – old city, famous ancient temples and good food.
Remember that Dieng can be chilly up there in the highlands, so pack enough warm clothing. It also helps to bring your own sleeping bag, for the nights are cold and the blanket provided by the guesthouse can be too thin for comfort.