The Times' favorite summer vacation photos from readers in 2014

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
Related Content
Religion and Belief
  • Standoff

    A STANDOFF ESCALATES: A boat carrying a U.S. Navy crew rushes to bring humanitarian aid to the fishing trawler Ching Fong Hwa in November. The trawler had been overtaken by pirates off Somalia, and a Chinese sailor was killed.

  • Bomb detected
    Bomb detected

    BOMB DETECTED: Iron, a German shepherd trained to sniff out explosives, weapons, wires and other threats, and handler Sgt. Joshua T. Rose, right, wait as military explosives experts investigate a bomb that Iron found south of Baghdad.

  • On the job
    On the job

    ON THE JOB: Navy Petty Officer 2nd Class Blake T. Soller follows his explosives-sniffing dog, Pluto, in a home being searched for bombs southeast of Baghdad.

  • Viewer Picture by
  • 5-day-old

    Broward Sheriff firefighter/paramedic Gisela Bass brings a five-day-old newborn to a waiting ambulance Monday night.

  • 9. Kareem Abdul-Jabbar vs. Philadelphia 76ers, Game 5 NBA Finals, May 14, 1980.
    9. Kareem Abdul-Jabbar vs. Philadelphia 76ers, Game 5 NBA Finals, May 14, 1980.

    The setting: With 33 seconds left in a tie game, Abdul-Jabbar scored on a dunk and was fouled by Julius Erving. Abdul-Jabbar made the free throw and the Lakers won, 108-103, at the Forum. The significance: Abdul-Jabbar sprained an ankle late in the third quarter and limped to the locker...