The moody expanse of the Dieng Plateau northwest of Yogya lies in a volcanic caldera 2093m above sea level and holds a rewarding mix of multicoloured sulphurous lakes, craters that spew pungent sulphuric gases, and some of the oldest Hindu temples in Java. The volcano is still active – in 1979, more than 150 people died after a cloud of poisonous gas bled into the atmosphere – and the landscape up on this misty, frigid plain is terraced on nearly every surface with cabbage and potato plantations that hang off the edge of impossible slopes. More than forty homestay accommodations have sprung up in Dieng village and there is an increasing number of multilingual guides in Dieng and nearby Wonosobo. Though many travellers arrive on day-trips from Yogya, it is worthy of an overnight visit (not least because of the four-hour journey from Yogya). The temples here are interesting and the plateau is a worthwhile destination for those seeking a different, more temperate side to Java.
There are numerous trekking options available on the plateau and further afield, as well as sunrise trips to Sikunir Hill and Cebong Lake. All the main attractions can be reached from the village of Dieng, just across the fields from the plateau’s main temple complex.