Introducing Dieng Plateau
The spectacular lofty volcanic plateau of Dieng (Abode of the Gods) is home to some of the oldest Hindu architecture in Java. More than 400 temples, most dating from the 8th and 9th centuries, originally covered this 2000m-high plain, but they were abandoned and forgotten and only rediscovered in 1856 by the archaeologist Van Kinsbergen.
These squat, simple temples, while of great archaeological importance, can be slightly underwhelming for non-experts. Rather, Dieng’s beautiful landscape is the main reason to make the long journey to this isolated region. Any number of walks across the volcanically active plateau, the marshy caldera of a collapsed volcano, are possible – to mineral lakes, steaming craters or even the highest village in Java, Sembungan.
You can either stay in Dieng village, or commute up from Wonosobo, which has better facilities. The route up to Dieng is stunning, switchbacking through vertiginous hillsides of terraced vegetable fields.
The temples and the main natural sights can be seen in one day on foot. Get a very early start if you can, before the afternoon mists roll in. It’s a pleasant three- or four-hour loop south from Dieng village to Telaga Warna (Coloured Lake), Candi Bima (Bima Temple), Kawah Sikidang (Sikidang Crater) and then back to Candi Gatutkaca, the Arjuna Complex and the village.