The Essential Dieng Travel Guide: Why You Should Visit Dieng Plateau in Central Java, Indonesia

For those who live in Java, Dieng Plateau in Central Java is known for so many things. The region has its own nickname as “the land beyond the sky”, and for a good reason. It's also known for its produce, including papaw and potatoes. While it's one of the alternative destinations for a day trip from Yogyakarta, Dieng Plateau is also worth visiting for a few days.

Well, after I reviewed the homestay where we stayed in Dieng, in this post I'm also going to share some Dieng travel guide based on my experience of visiting Dieng in Central Java, Indonesia. There are a few places you can visit around Dieng Plateau, some are worth your time while others you can easily skip especially if you have a limited time for a day trip from some bigger cities in Java.Β 

So, what do you need to know about traveling to Dieng Plateau in Central Java? 

The Essential Dieng Travel Guide: Why You Should Add Dieng to Your Java Itinerary

Dieng Plateau is located between two regencies in Central Java, Banjarnegara and Wonosobo. I suppose the latter might be more popular for some people. It is not until I arrived in Dieng that I noticed the plateau is actually located on the border between these two regencies.

Most of the main tourist attractions are located in Wonosobo area, so it explains why most people are more familiar with Dieng being a part of Wonosobo regency.

Anyway, you probably wonder why you should list Dieng Plateau to your bucket list next time you plan a visit to Indonesia, particularly in Java. And if you need an answer to this question, then let me explain a few things why you should.

Hollywood-like sign in Dieng, Banjarnegara that you could reach from Kailasa Museum.

1. This is the place where the oldest Hindu Temples in Java were discovered.

If you love history, then this is the main reason why you probably want to visit the plateau. It is believed that the temples here are the oldest Hindu temple in Java. Located in several clusters in different places around Dieng, the main temples are in Arjuna clusters where there are 5 small temples in the compound.

The archaeologist predicted it was built around 7th to 8th century AD under Syailendra dynasty from the Medang Empire or the Ancient Mataram Kingdom. The kingdom was a Hindu-Buddhist kingdom that existed around the 8th to 11th centuries.

Two of the most famous temples in Indonesia, Borobudur and Prambanan that are located around Yogyakarta and Magelang, are also monuments built by the kingdom.

My mom at Arjuna temples compound.

2. Dieng has a distinct subtropical highland climate, which is meteorologically aligned with the Southern Hemispherical winter season.

So, don't be surprised if you come during the summer (around June and August), you'll end up freezing around the plateau. The temperatures may drop up to -2ΒΊC in the dry season, with frosts being discovered that usually brings the negative effect to the agriculture in the area.

3. Dieng Culture Festival

This is the peak season for tourists, as the festival is held annually offering a variety of art and cultural performances. Apart from Dieng Film Festival as well as jazz performances that are known as Jazz Above the Clouds (referring to Dieng's nickname as the country above the clouds), ruwatan anak gimbal tops all the festival.

Ruwatan anak gimbal is a special ritual ceremony for the local kids with dreadlocks. Spiritually, the locals believe that they require certain rituals to keep them safe. And that is through cutting their dreadlocks.

I didn't go to Dieng during this period, but you'll be surprised by how many kids there are that actually live with dreadlocks.

Hit: Things to Do in Dieng Plateau

You see, I'm not the kind of travel bloggers who would give you the ultimate tips to visit places that I've been. The thing is, I often don't follow such articles anyway. But anyway, these are the random stuff you might want to know before getting around Dieng Plateau.

1. Wear layers.

I can't stress this enough. I mean, even though I was traveling around the moderate temperature in Dieng, unless you get used to cold climate, then I'd strongly suggest you bring your jacket. If anything, get a windbreaker jacket to keep it safe.

The thing about Dieng is that even though it can be super sunny in the afternoon, the wind still breezes quite cold. I mean, I personally find it as perfect weather to live by. But when you're in your 30s and starting to feel everything wrong in your body, you know what to do. πŸ˜›

2. Rent a scooter to get around, or hire a driver.

The entry ticket to the main attraction area.

Well, I didn't rent a scooter and neither hire a driver since I was traveling with my family and taking our own car. However, I figured that it would be hard for you to get around without your own vehicle.

To visit the main tourist attraction sites, you will have to pay IDR 10,000 (around $0.7 USD) per person. This fee includes several places to visit for free, like Dieng Theatre, Gardu Pandang Setieng, and Tuk Bima Lukar.

However, if you want to visit other sites like Telaga Warna, Sikidang crater, and other places in Dieng, you will have to buy separated entry tickets.

If anything, the good thing about traveling around Dieng is that the ticket price is the same for both domestic and international tourists. This can be an advantage for those who are not fellow Indonesian countrymen as I gotta admit in some places, the price difference could be totally ridiculous.

Seriously, I once had to tell my Malaysian friend to shut up just so the staff at Kawah Putih won't charge him 10 times the price for domestic tourists. #ASEANarise

Batu Pandang Ratapan Angin.

3. Get the best view around Dieng at Batu Pandang Ratapan Angin.

I would consider this a moderate hike to get to Batu Pandang Ratapan Angin.

It wasn't that tiring, even for those who rarely do exercise like me. But with the entry ticket that costs only IDR 10,000 (around $0.7 USD), you'll get the best view of Telaga Warna and its surroundings from above.

There are also some additional attractions that will cost you extra. Even for those, the ticket isn't that expensive, as the ticket range is around IDR 5,000 (around $0.3 USD) to IDR 30,000 (around $2 USD).

It all depends on whether you want to just take a selfie in the hottest spot of the area or take a pic around the fake hot air balloon that doesn't really fly and whatnot. πŸ˜›

Also, this Batu Pandang Ratapan Angin is actually on the same spot as Dieng Theatre that I will mention after this.

4. Learn about the facts and history of Dieng at Dieng Theatre.

Before you go to the theater, please do not expect anything from the theater. I mean, it's basically an old movie theater with a movie that is probably as old as my brother (He's 23, btw!). Totally an outdated movie that some of you might cringe while watching it.

However, if you want to get in touch with the local facts and history around Dieng, this theater is still worth visiting because here you'll learn more about how Dieng position is in terms of geography. And you'll also find out about Sinila tragedy and how geographically, Dieng could be risky at times.

They will also mention briefly about the festival, including the famous ruwatan anak gimbal and why it matters to the locals.

To be fair, you might want to prioritize watching the movie at the theater before you go to other places around Dieng so that when you stop by, you'll understand more about the site.

It's a free entry as the ticket is included in the entry ticket to Dieng area.

The picturesque view at Batu Pandang.

5. Enjoy Dieng's local best commodity: potatoes and carica papaya.

For those of you who are potatoes sympathizer (I know I am!), you probably don't want to miss to try Dieng's main commodity in their agriculture business: potatoes!

You can purchase any kind of potatoes here, from the raw potatoes to even potato chips just to see why Dieng's potatoes are most-known as the best quality potatoes throughout Java.

I tell you what, my mom bought some raw potatoes enough for like a month stock with some she will plant in our backyard, and so far… I've always been the one who finishes it every time it's served. πŸ˜›

Apart from potatoes, they're also popular for their carica papaya. For those who aren't sure what carica papaya is, you're probably more familiar with the name papaw or pawpaw. I mean, remember the famous Australian Lucas Papaw?

But you won't find carica in the form of balm like Lucas Papaw here, and instead you can purchase the raw papaya or other products like syrup or jam. Yum!

Miss: Things You Probably Want to Skip in Dieng

Before you start scolding me for being so negative and all, please know that I'm only trying to share what experiences I've had on my last visit.

It's always the best for you to experience it yourself to see whether the effect is the same or the opposite of me. It's a free world. Do anything you want! πŸ™‚

Sikidang crater.

1. Visit Sikidang Crater.

Some selfie spot at Sikidang.

The entry ticket to the crater would cost you IDR 15,000 (around $1) including the ticket to Arjuna temples compound. I read throughout the internet that this crater is one of the most visited places around Dieng. And that's exactly the reason why I stopped by.

Excuse my ignorance, but apart from the fact that the volcanic around the crater is still active and all that… This place sucked.

It's literally just a bunch of active volcanic craters with some random selfie stop that is totally out of context. Honestly, I was disappointed and I didn't spend my time here for more than 30 minutes because I just felt like I had enough.

But then again, it was just me. You might probably like it. I don't know if you don't try it on your own.

2. Check out Kailasa Museum.

Kailasa Museum, Dieng.
The entry ticket to the museum.

The museum is supposed to play the same role as Dieng Theatre to let visitors know more about Dieng history. However, it was totally disappointing when I visited the museum after stopping by the Arjuna temples compound.

The location of the museum is exactly in front of the temples compound. They charge IDR 5,000 (around $0.3 USD) for the entry ticket, but then they were out of electricity when I came. Like it was totally off that I could only visit the front area with some of the exhibitions from the temple.

They actually have another area at the back, but the electricity was totally off when I went there. It's not like I didn't try to enter the area just to see whether I could get something out of it. I did, but then it was just like the night at the museum without the light or living exhibition and Ben Stiller. LOL

3. Watch the golden sunrise at Sikunir Hill.

Okay, don't trust me on this cause I didn't get a chance to Sikunir for a start.

Here's the thing, I'm not really a morning person. And certainly, I'm not exactly a person who could fall into YOLO category. Like I'm the kind of person who wouldn't mind stopping by Kuala Lumpur without visiting the Petronas Tower.

But the reason why I didn't get to Sikunir even though people name it as one of the best sunrise spots in Java is not only because I was too lazy to wake up early after almost 12 hours on the road. I tried to go there later in the afternoon to watch the sunset instead, and it was raining.

So yeah, I didn't bother to go there and instead we took the reroute to our homestay.

Did I regret the decision? To be honest, no… Not really.

4. Stroll around Telaga Warna.

Me at Telaga Warna.

You might find some kind of mixed opinions when it comes to Telaga Warna. Telaga Warna, the Indonesian words for the lake of colors, is named after nature phenomenon that let the water colorized differently due to the sulfur around it.

To get to this lake, you only need to pay for IDR 12,500 (around $0.8 USD) with insurance included. But I found the lake a bit disappointing.

I mean, it was okay… But honestly, when you come here after seeing the lake from afar at Batu Pandang, you'd expect it better from closer. But hey… A lot of things look ugly when you see it closely. Look at your boyfriend! LOL

Anyway, those are the list of things to do (and skip) around Dieng. Have you been to Dieng Plateau? How did you find the place? Did you like it?

Tell me your experience, or feel free to shoot me a question if you're planning to go there. Cheerio! πŸ™‚

Hit or Miss: Things to Do (and Skip) Around Dieng Plateau, Central Java


This post may contain affiliate links. I receive a small commission at no cost to you when you make a purchase using my link.

Like my post?

1 thought on “The Essential Dieng Travel Guide: Why You Should Visit Dieng Plateau in Central Java, Indonesia”

  1. Pingback: Bucket List Experiences in South East Asia

Comments are closed.