4 Beautiful Travel Destinations in Dieng Worth Visiting
“Going to visit East Java? You should see Dieng!”
Every globetrotter we know had said that when I packed before flying to East Java. They were not wrong. Travel destinations in the Dieng area are beautiful, ethereal, and full of cultural significance. I’ve heard a lot about the beauty of this volcanic area, and the reviews didn’t exaggerate things.
I had thought that Dieng is the name of a single mountain. Turned out Dieng is a series of volcanoes, with a wide plateau on their caldera complex (also called Dieng). The plateau is a sacred place for locals, proven by the presence of several temples. However, Dieng is also famous for its natural attractions.
I had a chance to visit five natural highlights in the Dieng area. From beautiful hilly areas to a stunning bright-colored lake, here are four natural beauties I visited while in Dieng.
1. Sikunir Hill
One thing that I had wanted to do in Dieng was watching the sunrise. I got a recommendation to visit Sembungan Village, known as the highest village in Java. The village is the starting point to climb Sikunir Hill, a famous sunrise-spotting place in Dieng. The villagers are used to tourists coming to their village and climbing the hill in the early morning.
My homestay owner warned me to dress warmly, with a balaclava, a pair of gloves, layers of warm clothes and jacket, and hiking boots. I had to start climbing at 4.30 AM to catch the sunrise on time. I brought a big thermal bottle with hot coffee, but the cold air made me almost unable to feel my nose.
Nevertheless, the trip to the top was amazing. Locals had built rustic stairs to make the climb easier. There were around 10 people climbing with me, and we were giddy with cold air and anticipation. The sunrise in Sikunir Hill was one of the most beautiful things I saw in Java.
2. Sikidang Crater
After climbing down Sikunir Hill, I ate breakfast before continuing my exploration. Sikidang Crater was the next place I visited. Located in Dieng Kulon, not far from Sikunir Hill, Sikidang is the largest crater in Dieng Volcano Complex. My homestay owner had warned me to bring a mask, and when I arrived, I understood why.
Sikidang is an active crater, and it was easy to see volcanic activities such as steam and boiling mud splash. Unlike the other craters in Dieng Volcano Complex, the Sikidang Crater is flat. The sulfur smell was sharp, which was the reason of numerous stall owners selling masks for visitors who forgot to bring them.
One of the stall owners offered raw eggs and a tool similar to a fishing line, but with a basket. She said I should use the tool to boil the eggs in the hot mud. It was the strangest and most exciting experience I’ve ever had, and the warm eggs tasted good in the cold morning.
Sikidang Crater is open from 8 AM to 4 PM. Ticket to the main entrance costs around IDR10,000 (around USD0.71).
3. Lake Merdada
I visited Lake Merdada during hot, sunny weather, and I was a bit surprised to see it almost dry. A local told me that rain is the source of the lake, and during the dry season, the surface is dominated by a muddy field. However, the view around the lake was spectacular, especially if you see it from the hilltop.
Lake Merdada used to be a large mushroom cultivation area, but it has been closed for years. Now, locals plant potatoes in the areas around the lake. Some locals opened food stalls nearby, selling snacks and hot drinks. I visited on Friday, so the entrance was free. I was told that there is an entrance fee of IDR5,000 (0.5 USD) if you visit during the weekend or holiday.
4. Lake Warna
Lake Warna was my final destination, and it was even more impressive than Lake Merdada. The lake is famous for changing colors, with shades that range between green, yellowish, and rainbow colors. The color changes are caused by sulfur and different sunlight angles, so if you want to see the color switches, you should stay all day.
The lake is not big, but the area surrounding it is quite comfortable. I spent some time walking on the brick pathway and enjoying the view. I also ordered warm coffee and snacks in a food stall above the lake area. Sitting there while watching the lake was a nice, relaxing moment.
The entrance fee for Lake Warna was IDR7,000 (less than 1 USD), but it could double during the weekend or national holidays. You need to pay extra for parking fees (IDR5,000 or 0.5 USD for a car and IDR2,000 or 0.2 USD for a motorbike).
Dieng was a beautiful place to visit in East Java. In a hot tropical country where you can get drenched with sweat for a short walk, the cool air in the Dieng area is a nice break. Put these travel destinations in Dieng in your itinerary when you visit East Java.