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Java : Main City

JAKARTA
As a cosmopolitan city, Jakarta is always dynamic day and night. From the skyscraper building to Old Dutch style architects are one of the interesting objects. The Monumen Nasional or Monas is at the heart of Jakarta, locate in the center of Merdeka Square. This monument is a majestic marble obelisk topped with a flame covered in gold.

The National Museum is one of the finest museum in South East Asia. There are wide range collection from prehistoric, ethnographic and archeological artifacts. You can see an outstanding collection of South East Asian Ceramics and Hindu Javanese Art. Drive further North from Central Jakarta and meet the Taman Fatahillah. Near this square, you can visit three most prominent museums in Jakarta : The Jakarta History Museum, The Wayang (Puppet) Museum and the Fine Art and Ceramic Museum.

If you do not have time to take a long vacation thoroughout the archipelago, you can visit Taman Mini Indonesia Indah. With the area of 160 hectare, the beauty and the diversity of Indonesia culture will great you. Besides showcasing the miniature of this country, they also have cultural performances, usually on Sunday.

Along Kemang area you will meet lots of traditional and internaitonal cafes and restaurants, with cozy atmosphere. Besides cafes and restaurants, there are galleries, gift shops and reproductions of Indonesian antique furnitures. At the Ciputat area (South Jakarta) and Surabaya road (Central Jakarta) also sell repro antique furniture, interior decorations, old textiles, record players and other interesting antique Indonesian handicraft from wood, brass, or silver.

Last but not least, do not forget to bring home Indonesian handicrafts. From batiks, ikats, rattans, silverwares, jewelries, to interior decorations will amaze you at Sarinah or Pasaraya Grande.

BANDUNG
Bandung is the provincial capital of West Java, situated on a plateau in the beautiful Parahyangan mountains. Bandung's pleasant climate and lush surroundings have offered an escape from the heat of the lowlands since the mid 19th century when it was the heart of the region's most prosperous plantation area. Host to the historic Asia Africa conference in 1955, Bandung isn ow a center for higher education, commerce and aircraft industry which, despite its modern amenities, still retains much of its colonial era charm.

Shopping, its the reason most locals go to Bandung these days. The city has a reputation for cheap clothes and shoes and is particularly famous for the dozens of Jeans shops along Jl. Cihampelas plus an ever reproducing swathe of new factory outlets. Jl. Cibaduyut attracts tourists looking for good value footwear.

YOGYAKARTA
Yogyakarta is well-known as one of Indonesia's art centres. It is impossible to separate Yogyakarta from culture where it is deeply rooted in the life and traditions of the people.

In this town you will find much that is quintessential Indonesia: Towering volcanoes, verdant rice terraces, royal palaces, anciente temples, intricately patterned batik and graceful dances. Impressive archaeological sites remains such as the temples of Borobudur which is still the world's largest Buddhist Monument, and the magnificent Hindu Temple at Prambanan. From Jogyakarta one can travel easily to the Borobudur and Prambanan temples, which are half-day trips from the city

The 300 year old city of Jogyakarta is the cultural heart of Java. Here also is Indonesia's oldest palace 'The Kraton,' still the domicile of Jogya's royalty. Even now the current Sultan of Jogyakarta retains remarkable political prestige. Jogyakarta offers an abundance of Javanese art, painting, silverwork, batik handcraft, traditional Javanese dances, gamelan music, wayang shadow puppetry, as well as contemporary art.

Most areas of interest centre around Jalan Malioboro, whose wide, canopied sidewalks offer shelter from the mid-afternoon heat and by night turn into a colourful street market where you can buy leathergoods, textiles, batiks, wayang puppets and much more. Close to the extraordinary monuments of Borobudur and Prambanan, the silversmiths' village of Kota Gede and the beaches at Parangtritis.

The gamelan bronze gong orchestra is as much a part of Java as rice fields and volcanoes. An ancient, sophisticated and complex musical form, the gamelan accompanies every ceremonial occasion, from the coronation of the Sultan to the arrival of a tourist group in a hotel lobby. And no art form captures the essence of Java better than the wayang, the shadow puppet theatre which summons forth omniscient gods, heavenly nymphs, monstrous ogres, noble kings and skillful warriors, in a magical, flickering display.

SOLO
Surakarta or Solo is the second city of the Javanese cultural heartland. Although smaller than Yogyakarta, Solo is a centre of the arts and home to two keraton or royal palaces. The larger, Keraton Kasunanan is a large and fascinating complex which easily deserves a full day visit. The junior branch of the Solo royal family occupies Pura Mangkunegaran, an attractive, more intimate complex which blends European elegance with Javanese architectural styles. In Solo you'll also find a huge textile market,a bird market and flea market, plus a choice of dance and cultural performances.

SURABAYA
Surabaya, provincial captial of East Java and Indonesia's second-largest city, served for over half a millenium as trading port for the inland empires of Java. Situated at the mouth of the Brantas River, the city was officially founded in 1293 when Raden Widjaja established Majapahit, Indonesia's most glorious empire on the site of a legendary battle between a shark (sura) and crocodile (baya).

Surabaya, known as the "City of Heroes" because of its role in the nation's independence struggle, has grown into an elegant city of large, colonnaded buildings bordering broad, tree shaded avenues. It serves as the commercial centre of a thriving industrial and agricultural hinterland. The city's historical sites include Kali Mas harbour with its tall-masted trading schooners and , nearby, the narrow alleyways and shops of the Arab quarter, redolen of the middle east. The historic Hotel Majapahit, where Indonesia's war of Independence was begun, and the elegant Grahadi State Buildings, an 18th century mansion, have been restored as monuments to an era of colonial grace.

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