Part 2: DIENG PLATEAU

There are not many places to stay in Dieng but we were lucky to get a room at the long-established Bu Djono homestay.  This backpacker style accommodation may have Spartan facilities but the food was surprisingly good – a massive point in its favor given the lack of eating places in town.


We had a room up on the first floor which was freshly painted in gaudy pastel colours and had a faux wooden floor. The furniture was simple – just a table and bed.  A rudimentary shower heater had been installed in the “en suite” bathroom but it only worked intermittently, i.e. if the gas hadn’t run out. There weren’t, however, any pegs or hangers to hang our damp towels and clothes from. So rather than just chuck them into the corner where they would likely fester and never dry, we decided to hang them – rather precariously I might add – out of the bedroom window, taking care to arrange them so they didn’t fall down into the street outside.


Noise, thankfully, wasn’t an issue for us: the motorcycle ojek drivers who had parked outside the homestay during the day disappeared at around 9pm – presumably to find warmth as the temperatures quickly plummeted.


Many places of interest are within walking distance of the homestay. We decided to visit the Telaga Warna Lake first.


Telaga Warna Lake
The practice of ripping off foreign tourists in Indonesia has become increasingly common in recent years – exorbitant fees to enter natural parks a good example.  At Dieng Platau, the entrance ticket to visit the Telaga Warna Lake is priced at an astronomical Rp150k for foreigners, or 20 times the rate paid by Indonesian visitors. This is utterly absurd. The lake is not even very interesting close up, stinks like hell (the sulphur) and there is trash everywhere. A far better option for foreigners, then, is to admire the lake from afar at the viewpoint which can be reached from a path beginning by the side of the Dieng Platau theatre. Here the ticket is a much more reasonable Rp15,000. The walk-up from the theatre to the viewpoint is short but steep and takes about 20 minutes. Views are far-reaching and impressive - a must for those who post pics on Instagram!



Telaga Warna Lake



Gunung Prau (2,565 Mdp)
Getting back from the lake, we arranged for a guide at the homestay to take us up Gunung Prau the following day to see the much acclaimed sunrise – said to be one of the most impressive in South East Asia. For this, we would have to leave at 3.00am.


At this hour it was eerily quiet and very misty outside like in any good old-fashioned horror film set. We sought our divine blessings for a safe and successful hike and then followed the path behind the homestay past a small mosque and through fields of vegetables. It’s not a long hike and most reasonably fit people will have little difficulty in reaching the summit @2,565 Mdp – a total gain in elevation of not much more than 500 meters from the starting point in Dieng.


At the summit it was crowded but not uncomfortably so.  It was also very cold. But after what seemed like an eternity the sun finally came out to reveal a magnificent vista with the twin volcanos of Sumbing and Sindoro rising majestically beyond us. What a beautiful sight!  You couldn’t ask for more than that!



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Mount Sikunir
Mount Sikunir is a vantage point at a relatively high elevation where a so-called “golden sunrise” can be seen.  To get there from our homestay in Dieng took about 20 minutes by using a rented motorcycle. Just follow the route using Google Maps and you will pass through the village with the highest elevation in Java named Sembungan. Eventually you reach a lake and at the end of the road there is a small parking lot. The walk to the top is steep, mostly up steps, and takes between 15 and 30 minutes depending upon how fit you are. Bring a torch. There is no need for a guide as the trail is well marked and very busy.  It’s best to start the walk at around 4.30am so you don’t miss the sunrise, which if you get the right weather, is pretty special. Don’t come during holidays and at weekends as the crowds are overwhelming.



Mount Sikunir



The Arjuna Temple complex
This complex is well maintained with pleasant grounds and contains the oldest Hindu temples in Java set against a backdrop of a volcanic landscape. Fascinating!



The Arjuna Temple complex



To be continued…

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