Wonosobo’s Stunning Mountain Panorama Cool Fresh Air And Tea Plantations

A unique combination of ancient temples, history, traditions, culture and amazing natural beauty make Wonosobo a very worthwhile place to visit. Sight-seeing here includes hot springs, a multi-colored lake, ancient temples and some impressive grand panoramic scenery from the peaks. The fresh air, beautiful greenery and serenity will help relieve your stress. So just relax and enjoy the experience of the many interesting spots around Wonosobo.

The Wonosobo regency has as capital the city of Wonosobo in the  Central Java province, and is located about 120 km south west from Semarang. The regency itself lies in the Dieng Plateau. The word “Wonosobo” is derived from the Javanese word “Wanasaba” which in turn comes from the Sanskrit “Vanasabha”,  literally meaning ‘the gathering place in the forest’.

Wonosobo regency, Central Java
Wonosobo regency, Central Java (Source : diengbackpacker.com)

Wonosobo is one of the most popular tourist destinations in Central Java. This area, which is around an hour and a half ride away from the Borobudur temple also has many beautiful spots to visit. Many public facilities are provided here, making Wonosobo a comfortable place for tourists and visitors, such as hotels, homestays, traditional restaurants, banks, money changers, shopping and sport centers. The natural scenery of Wonosobo is absolutely stunning. Here are also many kinds of unique Wonosobo handicrafts that can be bought as souvenirs to take home.

Dieng Plateau is located 26 km. north of the town of Wonosobo and approximately 2000 meters above sea level. The average daytime temperature here is cool, ranging betweem 10-15 degrees Celsius, becoming a good deal colder at night. The temperate weather has led to the unique style of dress of its people. The residents also take advantage of the cool climate to maximize their farms.

Dieng Plateau, Wonosobo in Central Java
Dieng Plateau, Wonosobo in Central Java (Source : kerenyaindonesia.blogspot.co.id)

Wonosobo is home to the largest vegetable-producing region of Central Java, centered around the Dieng Plateau,  located about 26 km north of the town of Wonosobo. Large portions of their land have been converted into fields for growing various vegetables and fruits, with main commodities being potatoes and cabbage. Carica, a type of papaya typical to Dieng, is turned into delicious meals and snacks that are favorites, typical souvenirs of Dieng. Purwaceng, a wild grass that grows here, is made into a nutritious drink to increase male masculinity. Speaking of food, a must try here is the delicious Tempe Kemul of Dieng and the legendary Mie Ongklok Wonosobo.

The Dieng Plateau in Wonosobo is the site of the oldest Hindu temples in Indonesia. Here visitors can find ancient temples built around 800 AD, and colorful lakes as well as bubbling sulfuric craters. The air is very fresh up here partly due to the high altitude, and the surrounding mountains and forests.

ACTIVITIES

There are many comfortable home-stays and hotels available here in Wonosobo, with a host of amenities and at reasonable prices. Below are several accommodation options available in within Wonosobo.

  • Gallery Kresna Wonosobo Hotel, Jl. Pasukan Ronggolawe No. 30 Wonosobo – Central Java
  • Wisma Duta Homestay, Jl. Rumah Sakit 3, Wonosobo, Central Java
  • Pondok Besan Homestay, Jl. Manggisan Indah P/16 Wonosobo
  • Sendangsari Bamboo Homestay, Dusun Kalikuning Desa Sengdangsari, Wonosobo
  • Surya Asia Hotel, Jl. Jend. A. Yani 137, Wonosobo

Wonosobo is located in the Dieng Plateau, one of the most cultural spots in Central Java with an abundance of natural and cultural sites to see and experiences to be had. Several of these sites require a small entrance fee which is collected before entry. Listed below are several popular spots to visit.

Candi Arjuna Complex

Candi Arjuna (Arjuna Temple) Complex which holds the oldest Hindu temples in Java is still standing upright through the years and the at times perilous weather, evidence of the extraordinary cultural wealth of the complex. This is a place worth visiting in Central Java, situated around 2000 m above sea level and 100 km from Borobudur.  Although some parts of the temple have begun to wear out with age, the Shiva temple of worship which was built in 809 AD still stands sturdy, giving a peaceful feeling in the midst of the natural silence of the mountains.

Standing in the middle of Dieng Plateau, the Arjuna temple is a place of prayer for Hindus in the past. The small number of reliefs and inscriptions in the temple, that provide scant information about the temple itsef, make it one Asia’s most mysterious temples.

Telaga Warna (The Colorful Lake)

Telaga Warna is one of the icons of Dieng. This is a beautiful lake surrounded by a natural forest. Hidden among rows of hills at an altitude of 2000 feet above sea level, the atmosphere here is one of peace and complete serenity. This Lake has earned its name because the waters appear colored from deep greens to yellow or purple, and at times even becomes rainbow colored. This is caused by the high sulfur content within the lake water, as it is located near to an inactive volcanic site.

Sikidang Crater – The Jumping Volcanic Crater

Despite centuries of being dormant, Dieng has several volcanic craters which are still active to this day. One of the most interesting is the Sikidang Crater, a haven for sulfur miners. Sikidang Crater is located in a virtual crater complex with craters everywhere so you must be careful to look for dry places to step on.

In some places the craters are filled with bubbling water, and the smell of sulfur is very strong. Despite its strong odor, the steam that contains sulfur is believed to smoothen the skin and eliminate acne.

Among the many small craters, the Sikidang is the primary and the largest. It is full of bubbling grey mud, and is usually engulfed in clouds of white haze. The bubbling liquid is said to have a temperature of 98 degrees Celcius.  It is the magma chamber beneath Sikidang Crater that produces the heat and energy with a very strong pressure. When this pressure reaches its peak, there will be and eruption and a new crater is formed.

The name Sikidang is taken from the word “kidang” the Javanese word meaning deer. The uniqueness of this crater is that it is mobile, as it continues to jump to new places. A large hole right in front of the complex was the former main crater before it got “bored” and jumped to move somewhere else.

Dreadlocked Children

This land, locally known as a place of the Gods, is said to have a mystical aura and many myths are still believed by the indigenous people of Dieng. One myth is the phenomenon of “anak gimbal” (or dreadlocked children). For an unknown reason the hair of many children in this region suddenly turns into dreadlocks. Although born with normal hair, just like other children, but when the kids suffered a sudden high fever they grew dreads on their heads. This usually happens around the ages of 1 or 2 years old.

Various studies to scientifically investigate the cause have not found any logical reasons. Most people believe that the children are descendants of “The Pepunden” or the ancestral founders of Dieng. These dreadlocks however, will not be forever lodged in the child’s head. Through a traditional ceremony, the hair will be cut due to a belief that if it left up until the child grows up, it would bring disaster for the child and the family. The cutting process is done with great care.

The child himself determines the time. If the hair is cut without his wish, it will continue to grow although cut off many times. Every August or Sura in the Javanese calendar, there is a mass procession ritual at the Arjuna Temple complex. Dreadlocked children will be bathed with water from seven springs, paraded and pelted with yellow rice and coins. The dreadlocked hair will be cut by traditional leaders who then throw it away into the Telaga Warna (Colorful Lake).

Mount Sikunir

Located in the Sembungan Village in the Kejajar District, Mount Sikunir is one of the mountains that surround the Dieng Plateau with an elevation of 2350 meters above sea level. If you are in good physical condition you can climb this mountain by foot, or there are rental motorcyles which will take you to Sembungan Village, and the remaining 800 meters to the peak will be done on foot. The trek up is thick with fog, and the roads muddy and rough with ravines on the left hand side and hills on the right. But you will forget the difficult trek once the road begins to flatten as you reach the peak. The view from the top is breathtaking. Dark valleys with village lights blinking, fog and clouds spread below the mountain giving one the feeling of really being on a land above the clouds. When the weather is clear, you will have a good view of Mountains of Sindoro, Sumbing, Merbabu, Merapi, and Ungaran. As the sun rises you will see the silhouette of Sindoro, followed by the silhouette of Merbabu and Sumbing, and in the distance Mount Merapi with smoke spouting slowly ouf of its peak. The natural beauty of this scenery will render you speechless.

Lake Menjer

Lake Menjer is the biggest lake in the Wonosobo Regency. This lake lies at approximately 1300 meters above sea level. It is located in the Menjer village in the Garung district within 12 miles of Wonosobo.

Telaga Menjer has triangular shape and  a depth of about 50 meters. The temperature here is usually between 22-27 degrees Celsius and is surrounded by green hills covered with pine and fir trees giving a feeling of peace and silent tranquility. Wooden boats are moored at the lake’s dock ready to take visitors on a small tour around the lake. These boats are rented out at around Rp 60,000 and can accommodate up to 12 people.

Agro Tambi Tea Plantataion

The Agro Tambi Tea Plantation lies on the slopes of Mount Sindoro, at 1,200-2,000 meters above sea level. It is 16 Km. north of Wonosobo. The temperature here is about 15 – 24 degrees Celcius. This tourist attraction  is managed by PT Tambi, which has three units of tea plantations. The Tambi tea factory was built in 1865 during the Dutch colonial era .

The primary activity to do here is the tea walk, which is strolling through the plantation. There are three routes to take depending on how much time you would like to spend. The green fields, soft breeze, and cool air will help refresh your mind and relax. You may also come across some tea pickers doing their job here. These are warm and friendly people. You may also take a package tour offered by the management. This tour gives you lessons of how to know and pick good tea leaves directly from the plants. You may also visit the factory in order to see the process of black tea production starting from pickeing the tea leaves until it is served to you as a warm beverage.

Aside from the tea plantation tours, there is also a rafting tour offered down the Serayu River. You will be accompanied by professional guides and trainers. The Agro Tambi Tea Plantation is fitted with many facilities as well. Among these are restaurants, souvenir shops, security service, outbound arean, camping grounds, tennis courts, fishing ponds, and a playground. If you opt to spend the night, there are guesthouses available for rent.

GET THERE

You can reach Wonosobo from Semarang, capital of Central Java. Semarang is served by daily flights from JakartaSurabaya and other cities around Indonesia. You can also reach Semarang by train from Jakarta or Surabaya.

The main bus station in Wonosobo is Mendolo, approximately 8 km to the east of the city center. There are regular services to and from Jakarta, Yogya, Solo and Semarang. One of the most popular is the Sinar Jaya bus network, which costs around Rp 60,000 (non A/C) – Rp 75,000 (A/C).

If you are planning to go to Wonosobo from Yogyakarta, you need to go to Giwangan Bus Terminal, and hop on to the bus to Magelang. It will cost you around Rp 15,000 (depending on the bus, A/C or without A/C). In Magelang Bus Terminal, you can find a small bus going to Wonosobo, the bus is without A/C. It will cost you around Rp 15,000.

You can get to the city center from Mendolo bus station using public minibus. Just tell the driver to go to Plasa, the city center.

If you would like to travel by rental car, there are several travel agents in Yogyakarta providing minivans for rent to go to Wonosobo. the cost is Rp 36,000 – Rp 40,000.

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