Java, one of the first places in the world populated by mankind, is the seat of Indonesian politics, industry and culture.

It has just 7% of Indonesia's total land area, yet is home to two-thirds of its population - 120 million people. Almost nine million of them live in cosmopolitan Jakarta, Indonesia's capital, making it one of the most densely populated places in the world. Beyond Jakarta, farms tapping the islands fertile volcanic soils show why Java was once called the "Garden of the East."

Below: Borobudur, the world's largest Buddhist stupa

More Photos and QuickTime VR from Borobudur

More Photos and QuickTime VR from Mount Bromo

Transport & Accommodation

Land: Java has a good road network; trains, tourist buses and limousines take you the length and breadth of Java.

Flights: International flights direct to Jakarta from five continents. Jakarta is the hub for flights to all cities in Indonesia. Direct flights to Surabaya from Singapore, Juala Lumpur, Taipei, Quangzhou, Hong Kong, Perth and to Solo and Bandung from Singapore.

Sea: Shipping lines from major ports on the other islands in Indonesia to Jakarta, Semarang and Surabaya. Cruise ship stop-offs at Jakarta, Cirebon, Semarang adn Suragaya. Charter boats to Ujung Kulon, Krakatau adn the Tousand Islands.

Accommodations: Luxurious hotels in main citites to guest houses and resorts; simple cabins at Ujung Kulon.

Activities: trekking, mountain biking, caving, white water rafting, surfing, sailboarding, eco tourism, hang gliding & paragliding, sky diving, cruises & sailing and scuba diving.

Scuba Diving Java - Surreal volcanic underseascapes. Tunnels of fish. Pampered diving.

The lesser-known side of Java offers the unique diving in waters west of the island. Here three main islands mark the remains of the mighty Krakatau. It is an underseascape of volcanic rock, so fissured and slabbed that some look like ancient ruins. The presence of hard coral and unexpectedly giant gorgonian draws jacks, fusiliers, Moorish idols, sharks and turtles.

Ujung Kulon National Park, a peninsula of Java, is another prime dive base. Rocks like underwater mountains rise to pierce the surface of the sea. These are patrolled by barracuda, bumphead parrotfish and turtles. For a dive with a difference, fin with schools of fish in tunnels leading to inland caves.

Pulau Seribu, literally the Thousand islands, are a popular divers' haunt, thanks to its easy access and the generous choice of dive sites among its islands. Divers are spoiled for services in resorts ranging from the plush to the basic and organized dive trips with local clubs and operators. Dives here feature excellent soft corals and fish life, and a number of wrecks.

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