Travel
The Times' favorite summer vacation photos from readers in 2014
Travel

Mt. Merapi, Java's active volcano

Religion and Belief

More proof that Indonesia is one of the most volcanically active places on the great Pacific Ring of Fire came in October 2010, when 9,560-foot Mt. Merapi, visible from the temple of Borobudur, erupted, killing 343 people and displacing an estimated 90,000. The road leading to the mountain was closed, but visitors can still see evidence of continuing volcanism on the island of Java by making a trip the Dieng Plateau.

The area, about 75 miles northwest of the city of Yogyakarta, is the wide caldera of an extinct volcano, now covered by potato fields, villages — each with its own candy-colored mosque — and the island's oldest Hindu temples. Perched more than 6,000 feet above sea level, the plateau is much cooler than the rest of tropical Java, which is why wool hats and mittens are sold in souvenir stalls at tourist sites. These include hot springs, sulfuric lakes and Deer Crater, with its puffing fumarole.

It's a regular Yellowstone.

But the best part is getting there along ratcheting mountain roads that pass tea and tobacco plantations, landslides, deep gorges and raging rivers spanned by doubtful stone bridges. Then too there are markets where travelers can taste such regional specialties as fried tempeh and Ongklok noodles, seasoned with peanuts and garlic.

— Susan Spano

Copyright © 2014, Los Angeles Times
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