Jakarta, located in West Java, was my first point of contact in the Indonesian islands. This capital city is a chaotic metropolis, known for its colonial relics, vibrant markets, and beautiful mosques. The city is bustling, and also has plenty of flavor and color. Founded in the 4th century and colonized by the Dutch East Indies, Jakarta has long been served as a critical Indonesian island port. This city of over 10 million people has a multifaceted culture with Javanese, Dutch, Chinese, and Arabic influences. A train ride from Jakarta brought me to Yogyakarta, also called “Yogya”. It’s an artistic city that is strategically located and serves as a base for quick trips to other enchanting places, like Borobudur, Prambanan, and Dieng Plateau. Located 40 km from Yogya, Borobudur is one of the largest Buddhist temple complexes in the world. The temple has survived the wear of time, earthquakes, and even terrorist attacks. Once a year, Indonesian island Buddhists celebrate Vesak in this world heritage site. Just an hour away, Prambanan is a 9th-century Hindu temple and a UNESCO World Heritage Site with more than 200 temples which preserve the vestiges of Hindu culture in Java. Surrounded by temples and breathtaking nature is Dieng Plateau, which was formerly a crater. Today, it’s a volcanic lake that frequently changes color due to the sulfur concentrated in its waters. Crossing the wild East Java, with expansive coffee plantations, rolling hills, colonial-era boulevards, and a laid-back lifestyle, it seemed that I landed onto a different island entirely.