Dieng Highland: A Heaven in Central Java

    It is a mysterious place. “Heaven on earth”, some people said. It is located at 2000 m above sea level which positioned us close to the sky and the misty feeling caused by the surrounding fogs.

    It is a holy place. ‘Dieng’ was from an old Javanese word, which means “Abode of the Gods”.

    It is a unique place. It is also called as ‘Dieng Plateau’ because this area was actually created after a huge explosion of the volcano. YES, IT IS an active volcanic region with average temperature 15º celsius but could drop to zero during the coolest period, July to August.

    It is the second-highest highland in the world after Nepal. YES. After the Tibetan Plateau.

    Dieng highland or more well-known as Dieng Plateau is a quite popular tourist destination among locals. As for foreign tourists, it may be not yet so popular as I didn’t see any foreign faces when I was there. But I am pretty sure, Dieng Culture Festival (DCF) will help Dieng highland to get more exposure not only nationwide but also in international scale since it was held for the very first time in the year 2010.

    Journey To Dieng Highland

    I heard of Dieng highland before when I was still in school but never ever thought to find out where it was actually located at and how to get there. And I didn’t know that it would be such a cold place!

    The road heading to Dieng highland was not easy. It was about 4 hours drive from Yogyakarta (Jogjakarta), not yet the uphill road which gave us the thrill every once in a while. But I was just so fascinated on the scenery along our way to our homestay – the mountain, the nature, paddy field, the houses, whatever I saw with my own eyes have caught my mind and washed away all the tiredness. At that moment, I totally forgot the glam of the city life where I came from.

    Even though I have left Indonesia for so many years, I still feel home whenever I come back for a holiday. No matter which part of Indonesia I go to, I still feel good. Apart from being curious about my own home country, what let me feeling heart-contented and happy was when I look at my friends enjoying their holiday in Indonesia, too. All efforts didn’t go in vain.

    We were caught in the traffic jam on the way up due to the Dieng Culture Festival 2014 event. I was glad that most of us spent that “pause” moment by taking photos around. Personally, I salute to all my friends. 🙂

    Weather In Dieng Highland

    During day time, the weather was warm but at night, it was so cold until I had to wake up and wear socks to keep my feet warm. It was hard to believe would be that cold but the truth was yessss….the temperature dropped in the evening to night time. So, the key is..bring warm clothing! Jacket, socks, hand glove, hat, etc. Where else we can wear warm clothing in Indonesia besides in Dieng? 😀

    Dieng Highland Is Unique

    Why do I say so? People at Dieng count on the plantation for living. We could see every land was used well for plantation and Dieng is known as one of the biggest potato suppliers in Indonesia. Potatoes grown in Dieng is yellowish ~ yeah..yellowish in inside and not white. As far as I know, yellowish potatoes taste much better than white ones. Nom..nom…

    Another unique thing about Dieng is this fruit which looks like mini Papaya but yet not Papaya. It can’t be eaten raw like Papaya because it will cause itchiness. Orh, I have not told you the name yet. It called ‘Carica’.

    The strange happening about this Carica is, if we bring the Carica seeds and plant it somewhere out from Dieng, what will grow out from it is not Carica but…PAPAYA. And that what will also happen when we bring Papaya seeds and plant it in Dieng, what will grow out from it is TARAAA……yes, right. CARICA.

    Ok, they may be from the same family but why Carica becomes Papaya and Papaya becomes Carica? It could be the soil condition. It may be the temperature. It may be because of anything. But still, Papaya seeds should grow Papaya trees, right? ~still in the Papaya and Carica confusion issue~

    So, as it can’t be consumed right away from the tree-like Papaya, Carica fruit has to go through some process which the final product is sweetened Carica in a sealed cup like this. The tase is like…guava? not really…. peach? not really, too…ermmm…it is chewy with texture. Served best cold. Should try if you were there.

    Carica drinks can be easily found anywhere around Dieng. Many people are selling along the street and in the shops. Some people buy as a souvenir gift from Dieng. Do note on the expiry dates if you buy lots. 🙂

    What Else We Can Do in Dieng

    There are few places to explore in Dieng Highland, such as Dieng Plateau Theatre. It is a mini theatre with about 100 seat capacity where we can watch a documentary movie about Dieng Plateau. In Dieng, we can also find few Javanese Hindu temples which still remaining until now, craters with sulfurs and a lake called ‘Telaga Warna’ (Colorful Lake) that reflects the colour green, blue and purple.

    We only have time to go to the theatre as we were rushing to catch the programs for the night at Dieng Culture Festival which were releasing sky lantern and Jazz di Atas Awan (Jazz in the Cloud) music performance. Probably, I shall come back again next time to explore more. Stay tuned for my other Dieng highland-related stories! 🙂

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