Heaven & Hell Side By Side

Dieng Travel Blog

 › entry 20 of 54 › view all entries

I do not know what Heaven will be like.

I know that I may one day get to see the fires of Hell.

With the Dieng Plateau, I think I found both. Coexisting in blissful tender harmony together.

From the drive into the area, we were in awe of the scenery that surrounded us from the rolling hills to the winding mountain roads gripping tightly to the mountain side as we climbed higher. Towns and villages passed us by with impossibly steep streets. Every inch of the moutains and hills was used for farming even in areas that would be hard to imagine along the steepest slopes.

I will admit to expecting to have a load of people awaiting us as the bus stopped to tout us for business, then I remembered where I was.

In Java, they dont seem to push you hard for business. I think they get more business from Indonesians than they do foreigners.

We managed to hire out two guides and two motorbikes to take us around all the sites as we would only have one day here. The price was very reasonable so there was no need to even haggle. Another great thing about Indonesia so far.

Our first stop was at one of the lakes, Telaga Warna. The lake has the most amazing colour of any lake I have ever seen. It was made up of shades of green and blue that I have only ever dreamt of. It honestly took my breath away. I remember telling Matthew straight away that this was one of the most beautiful spots I had ever seen. There was a nice walkway around the lake including a path leading up to the theatre on the hill top.

It offered a unique view of the valley but also of the lake from above where the colours seemed even more vibrant.

Rookie mistake. Here I am in one of the most beautiful spots in my life and my camera battery decided to give out. I forgot to charge it the night before. Luckily I always carry a spare camera since the time I was in Brazil stuck using disposable cameras when my digital decided to die from falling off a mountain....

As a counter balance for the sheer beauty of the lakes and mountains in Dieng, there are several active volcanic craters dotted around the hills like portals to Hell suffocated in sulphuric plumes of smoke. Our next stop would be our introduction to such sights with the Sikidang Crater.

From a distance we could see great plumes of smoke.

When we got there the smell of sulphur was overpowering at first before setting off to see what we could see and how close we could get. I have been to active volcanoes in the past but always from a safe distance or at least behind a secure fence away from the crater. This is Indonesia. Around the larger crater there was a flimsy wooden fence right around the rim. We got right up to the crater and in the thick of the smoke. At times the smoke would clear and you could see the bubbling fury below.

Walking away from the crater I turned over a piece of wood to uncover a very small and discreet warning about going beyond that point...cue a great photo opportunity. I passed up another photo opportunity just before we got back to our bikes. A local gentleman with very good English came up and asked if he could take our photo.

It turned out her was an English teacher and the giggling crowd of girls to our left were his students. next thing I knew we were surrounded while photo after photo was taken (I even managed to sneak my lightbulb in which the teacher found well funny). I wish I had have asked for them to take a photo on my camera too.

After the volcanic fury and our increasing rise to stardom, we set off to see the Bima temple. A large stone Hindu temple that means a lot to the locals. Next stop was the Sileri Crater. This offered a great view deep into a crater with well farmed slopes. In the heart of the crater was another steaming pool. There was a steep set of steps down which we duly followed as close to the crater as we could get.

Next stops were another smaller crater with a very strong green lake or pool inside and then we headed to the hot pools.

The water was just the right temperature. I stuck my head in but didnt have a change of clothes so having a dip would have to wait til next time. Afterwords we went to Arjuna Temple. A large area of temples that are mostly in ruins just outside of the main town area. Here we bumped into a Javanese family that we kept seeing around the place beginning with the first set o volcanoes. This time I plucked up the courage after they took our photo and asked if I could get one with them. Oddly they seemed just as shocked that we wanted a photo of them as I was that they wanted a photo with us.

At the end of the tour, the owner of a place we ate in, organised transport for us all the way to Yogyakarta, in a mini bus, an air conditioned mini bus that was all but empty.

derekbilldaly says:
It really is! I would highly recommend Dieng for a visit. Great addition to any visit to Indonesia.
Posted on: Jan 21, 2011
Stigen says:
Looks like a really idyllic place ! I will sure bring a spare battery for my camera everywhere !
Posted on: Jan 20, 2011
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photo by: sisiyou