Western Java [dead link]is the western third of the island of Java, Indonesia. It covers from west to east the province of Banten, the Jakarta Special Capital Region (DKI Jakarta), and the province of West Java (Jawa Barat).
- Jakarta — the chaotic, congested yet oddly fascinating Indonesian capital, Jakarta Special Province is encircled by Banten Province on the west and West Java Province on the east, except for the beach in the north.
- Bogor — world-class botanical gardens (60 km south of Jakarta)
- Bandung — the Parijs van Java of Dutch colonial days, now a university town with great factory outlet shopping
- Garut, cool climate, famous since before World War II, when Charlie Chaplin visited Garut twice; still worth visiting, because Bandung is not so cool anymore, and many hotels have a pool or bath with natural hot spring water
- Rangkasbitung, in Banten Province
- Serang, in Banten Province
- Bekasi, Depok, Tangerang, and South Tangerang — suburbs of Jakarta with a population of 1.5 to 3 million each, and therefore some of the largest suburbs of the world.
- Batu Karas - a small fishing village in West Java
- Carita Beach — beach resort, in Banten Province
- Puncak — a weekend getaway for Jakarta people, but with frequently heavy traffic jams on weekends
- Ujung Kulon National Park — one of the last holdouts of the Javan rhinoceros and a UNESCO World Heritage Site, in Banten Province
- Pangumbahan — sea turtle nesting beach
- Pelabuhan Ratu — a port and resort on a spectacularly beautiful bay
- Kampung Naga — a traditional village
- Pangandaran — a beautiful beach located in the southeasternmost part of West Java
- Pulau Seribu National Park — belongs to Jakarta Special Province, though access with traditional boats is easier from Banten Province
Western Java is very densely populated, especially the Greater Jakarta area (Jabodetabek). On weekends and school holidays, people from Jakarta and the rest of Western Java head for the nearby tourist sites, which regularly leads to significant traffic congestion. Bandung can be accessed from Jakarta within 2 to 3 hours (if there is no congestion) via the Cipularang toll road, making Bandung the favourite domestic tourist site for Jakartans. From Bandung, some tourists go to other destinations within a 60-kilometer radius, such as Garut and Ciwidey.
The Indonesian language, being official, is widely spoken and understood, and is the main language used in big cities and the Jakarta metropolitan area. The local language in most of Western Java is Sundanese, which is related to Indonesian but not mutually intelligible. Along the northern coast, Javanese is widely spoken. In Jakarta, the Betawi language is used, a creole of Indonesian with more use of loanwords from among others Hokkien Chinese, Arabic, Portuguese, and Dutch.
Although English is universally taught in schools, most people are not conversant and many feel uncomfortable to speak. Staff at better hotels and airline staff generally speak an acceptable level of English, and so do people working in the tourism sector in the largest cities (mainly Jakarta and Bandung) and most touristic areas (e.g. Pangandaran).
There are three airports in Western Java with flight connections beyond the region:
- Soekarno-Hatta International Airport (IATA: CGK) in Tangerang, near Jakarta. Connections from virtually all Indonesian provinces and from a wide range of destinations in Asia, Australia, and Europe.
- Halim Perdanakusuma Airport (IATA: HLP) in Jakarta. Connections from most of the larger cities in Indonesia.
- Husein Sastranegara International Airport (IATA: BDO) in Bandung. A good point of entry for the central and eastern parts of West Java, with international flights from Malaysia and Singapore, and domestic connections from most larger cities in Indonesia.
Western Java can be reached by train from the other parts of Java, with the key connections being from Surabaya (East Java) or Yogyakarta via Semarang (Central Java) to Cirebon and Jakarta, and from Yogyakarta to Bandung. Trains are operated by PT. Kereta Api Indonesia.
There are many interprovincial bus connections (named AKAP for Antar Kota Antar Provinsi, intercity/interprovince) to the key cities in Western Java, mainly Jakarta and Bandung. There are frequent bus services from the main cities of Java (e.g. Semarang, Yogyakarta, and Surabaya), but also long-distance bus servicese from Sumatra, Bali, and Lombok. Keep in mind that these bus trips may take several days, and flying is often a much more comfortable option.
There is a ferry connection between Western Java (the port of Merak) and Sumatra (Lampung province) that runs 24 hours per day. The crossing takes approximately 2 hours.
Long-distance ferry connections to cities throughout Indonesia run from the port of Tanjung Priok in Jakarta, operated by PELNI.
- Banten, the old capital of the Banten sultanate, with ruins of several old palaces, a historic mosque, and an old Dutch fort.
- Umang Island, a beautiful private owned resort island on the west of Pandeglang, Banten, near "Anak Krakatau" volcano.
- Gunung Padang Megalithic Site, a 29-hectare megalithic site just recently discovered in 2012. It is the biggest megalithic site in Southeast Asia, dating back to 4500 BC, and built at least in 4 different eras, possibly even older than the Egyptian Pyramids and bigger than Borobudur.
West Java is best known for Sundanese food, which unusually for Indonesia places a special emphasis on fresh or even raw ingredients. The quintessential Sundanese dish is nasi timbel, which consists of rice wrapped up in a banana leaf, an assortment of raw vegetables known as lalapan (a term that covers cucumbers, tomatoes, lettuce, coriander leaves, cabbage and more), a freshly pounded chili sauce known as sambal dadak, some tofu or tempeh and maybe a chicken leg, catfish (ikan lele) or some salted fish. This is commonly served with sayur asam, a sour vegetable soup flavored with tamarind. A textural specialty of Sunda (West Java) is karedok, a fresh salad made with long beans, bean sprouts, and cucumber with a spicy sauce. Other Sundanese dishes include mie kocok which is a beef and egg noodle soup, and soto Bandung, a beef and vegetable soup with daikon and lemon grass. A hawker favourite is kupat tahu (pressed rice, bean sprouts, and tofu with soy and peanut sauce). Colenak (roasted cassava with sweet coconut sauce) and ulen (roasted brick of sticky rice with peanut sauce) are dishes usually eaten warm.
- Bajigur, coconut fluid with coconut sugar and usually drink with plain taste banana cook
- Bandrek, a ginger hot drink and serve in the cool area
The main cities of the region (Jakarta, Bogor, Bandung, Cirebon) offer a wide range of accommodation options and many of the large international hotel chains. Also the touristic areas (e.g. the west coast, the mountains of the Puncak Pass, Lembang, Garut, and the south coast beach of Pangandaran) offer a wide variety of options, such as hotels and bungalows.
Indonesia Consumer Watch wrote a letter to the Governor of Banten in 2016, reporting that there have been many instances of extortion and illegal overcharging, such as pressuring consumers to make illegal payments for itineraries, very high illegal parking fees, illegal entrance fees (including in mosques) and the imposition of high unmarked prices for ordinary foods and drinks.