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The Dieng Plateau: Sulphurous smells and temples

// Guest post by Charles Rahm from don’t worry just travel!

When I arrived in the valley of Dieng, I just knew a great day was awaiting me. The plateau is located at 2000 meters above sea level and even the ride there, on a bus from Wonosobo, on sometimes rather narrow roads is already picturesque. The plateau itself boasts magnificent views. Since Java is densely populated, every square meter of land is utilised, mainly for the cultivation of quality vegetables. Ruins of very old Hindu temples can be admired here and the landscape is shaped by volcanic activity.


I visited the following attractions:

Telaga Warna

This is an active volcanic lake, which shimmers in a variety of colours and is just beautiful to look at. Unfortunately it also presents a permanent, not so pleasant sulphur smell. You are best off walking around the lake counter clockwise, because at the back a pedestrian bridge has collapsed and you may not get to the part with the caves. Said caves apparently have collapsed during the last quake and are no longer accessible. But it’s still worthwhile to take a peek at them from the outside.


Candi Bima

This Hindu temple supposedly has particularly beautiful head sculptures. At the time of my visit, at the end of August 2013, it was completely shrouded in scaffolding and scattered all around it were stone deposits that left me wondering whether they were side temples or layers from the main temple that had been set aside.

Kawah Sikidang

The smell of sulphur is also present here. This volcanically active plate is 100 meters long and 50 meters wide. In various places, steam rises out of the ground. The main attraction is a large, permanently simmering mud pool. The rising steam only rarely allows a view of the boiling mass itself. The pool also has a little brother, which bubbles along a little more pleasantly. While you are in the area, be aware of where you step, since only the large pool is blocked off.

Check out the video!

Arjuna Temple Complex

The temples of the Arjuna Complex are the best-preserved and devoted to Shiva. They are located pretty much exactly at the centre of the valley, which makes not only the exploration of the temples is interesting, but also the view all around stunning. In particular, the terraces, which were created for the cultivation of vegetables, are an eye-catcher.
As you are leaving the temple grounds in the direction of the village, try a portion of the local fried potatoes. A giant portion can be had for two USD and it tastes fantastic!


Candi Dwarawati

This is another Hindu temple, which sits a little elevated at the edge of the village. Consequently, the ten-minute walk is not only rewarding because of the temple, but also for the view. The way there is not signposted. Just ask a local for directions at every junction.


Tuk Bima Lukar

You’ll find this ancient bath near the village entrance seen from Wonosobo. The only things that still look really ancient are some of the sculptured heads through which the water flows from one basin into the next one down.

If you like, you can also spend two days on the Dieng Plateau. On the first day you would explore the plateau itself, leaving you enough time on day two to visit all the attractions, including the volcanoes further to the back of the valley. Accommodation in Dieng is rather plain and designed for backpackers. Better quality can be found in Wonosobo and the surrounding area.

How to get there: You’ll get to Wonosobo by bus directly from Bandung in ten hours. There are two connections at 5 pm and 6 pm. Tickets are only available on the bus. You should get there half an hour before, because the buses leave early sometimes.
From Yogyakarta you first take the regional bus to Magelang, where you need to change over to the regional bus to Wonosobo. This will take a total of four hours. From Wonosobo you’ll reach Dieng on the local bus. The ride lasts an hour and costs less than one USD.

When’s the best time to go: The weather in Java is at its best from May through to October. You are best off visiting the Dieng Plateau from sunrise until 3 pm. In the afternoon it often gets foggy and cloudy.

How much does it cost: The bus ride from Bandung costs 8 USD. The local buses from Yogyakarta are altogether around four USD. In Wonosobo, you can get a nice room with an en-suite from 20 USD upwards per night. In Dieng you are supposed to pay an admission fee everywhere. Yet, with the exception of the Telaga Warna, I wasn’t asked to pay anywhere.
If you want to explore the Dieng Plateau by car with a diver and guide (it is rare that the guide also drives), it will cost you about 100 USD per day, without admissions and provisions.

About the author

My name is Charles Rahm. I grew up in Switzerland, studied and lived there. At the end of my twenties I discovered my passion for travel and did more and more of it. In June 2010 I quit my secure job as a risk manager in bank to travel through China, Taiwan and South East Asia. Obviously I also know Europe quite well.
I decided to make my passion my profession and started my own travel blog Don’t worry Just travel in November 2011. Since then I published about 170 travel articles. I’m grateful for every “like” on the facebook page of Don’t worry Just travel!

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