Samarang to Magelang

One of the highlights of any trip to the central part of Java is Borobodur. Yet it should never be thought of as simply the one place of interest to get to as fast as possible, for there is a great deal of history, both colonial and otherwise to take in and experience. Samarang was my gateway airport, a city that was a small village when the Dutch arrived and expanded it under the control of the VOC East India company. 

As a port city, it was an essential trading post and grew rapidly, to the point it is now the fifth largest city in Indonesia, while Greater Samarang now encompasses a population of over six million. 

Heading south from the city the built up area does soon give way to a more agricultural way of life. The traffic is still heavy given the road network, but rice fields are prevalent on the journey and as the altitude rises so coffee plantations begin to make an appearance. 

The stopping off point for tonight is MesaStila, one of those coffee plantations created in the early part of the 20th century under colonial rule. 

Since being turned into a resort the coffee growing has expanded, allied to the accommodation and the stunning views to the mountains in the distance. It’s only a small property in terms of rooms but covers a significant area, meaning the villas are spacious and comfortable. Each one has a different design, and is built with different materials. It is very much a retreat, and while many visitors will simply stay a single night, it does provide a relaxing environment, seemingly a million miles from the bustle that is so much of this country. They may wish they’d stayed longer. ​

Borobodur tomorrow as the real sightseeing gets underway.


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