Dieng Plateau, Java: The Full Guide for 2024!

I spent over 3 months on Java before I first heard of Dieng Plateau. Isn’t that surprising? Probably because captivating waterfalls like Madakaripura and Tumpak Sewu as well as awe-inspiring volcanoes like Bromo and Kawah Ijen steal all the backpackers’ attention.

Dieng Plateau in Java manages to stay a bit in the shadows, receiving many domestic tourists, but few international travelers.

There must a something to this place to make Indonesians travel 11 hours from Jakarta, 6 hours from Surabaya, or 4 hours from Yogyakarta to reach it.

So I went there. Dieng Plateau is worth it! It ticks all the boxes – breathtaking views, scenic nature, rich heritage, volcanoes, tea plantations, unique food, and a cool climate. I’ve even included it in my 2-week Java Itinerary!

But information remains scarce. How to get there? What to see? What is worth the entrance fee and what isn’t? What to eat? Where to stay? Well, buckle up, as this is the only guide you’ll need for your trip to Dieng Plateau!

Dieng Plateau is part of my 14-day Java Backpacking Itinerary.

What is Dieng Plateau?

Take a volcano. Then add a few more next to it, now you have a Volcanic Complex. All these volcanoes have calderas. A caldera is a flat depression around a volcano. Combine all the volcanoes’ calderas and you get a plateau.

Dieng Plateau is about 6 km long and 14 km wide. It is the highest plateau on Java with an average elevation of 2100 m. and a maximum of 2565 m.

The city of Dieng is at the north end of the plateau, and at an elevation of 2100 m.a.s.l. is the coldest city in Indonesia outside of Papua.

The name Dieng means “the place where the gods reside” when translated from Javanese. The locals more commonly call the area “the land above the clouds“.

Mount Sindoro from Sikunir Peak, Dieng Plateau
Notice how the clouds are below. That’s Mount Sindoro in the background by the way.

Where is Dieng Plateau

Administratively, Dieng Plateau is mostly part of the Wonosobo Regency in Central Java (Jawa Tenggah). The distances from big Javanese cities to Dieng are:

  • Jakarta to Dieng: 415 km;
  • Bandung to Dieng: 345 km;
  • Semarang to Dieng: 95 km;
  • Yogyakarta to Dieng: 110 km;
  • Surabaya to Dieng: 400 km;
  • Malang to Dieng: 420 km.

How to get to Dieng Plateau

Here’s where things get tricky. Bar the train network, public transport is a bit iffy on Java. Since Dieng Plateau is far from the main transportation hubs, getting there by public transport could be challenging.

This is why I advise renting a scooter and going there independently. Read below for this option.

Most backpackers go to Dieng Plateau from Yogyakarta, so I will focus on how to get from Yogyakarta to Dieng.

If you’re coming from Jakarta, Bandung, or Surabaya, I advise you to make a stop in Jogja first to explore this unique city, as well as the ancient temples of Borobudur and Prambanan.

Prambanan Temple near Yogyakarta
Prambanan Temple Complex

Yogyakarta to Dieng by public transport

Expect to spend 6 hours traveling between Jogja and Dieng and take 2 or 3 buses.

First, make your way to Terminal Jombor in the northwest of Kota Yogyakarta. Many of the Trans Jogja public buses go there at 3600 IDR / 0.24$ per ticket. You can buy one directly at any bus stop (halte) and the attendant will tell you which bus to take.

At Terminal Jombor ask for a bus to Wonosobo. Unfortunately, chances are there isn’t one – it’s just not a popular route.

If there’s no bus to Wonosobo, take a bus to Magelang. There’s usually one every hour and costs 30.000 IDR / 2$.

The biggest Buddhist temple in the world – Borobudur – is in Magelang, so it’s worth combining the two. See how to watch the sunrise on Borobudur!

In Magelang, frequent buses go to Wonosobo for 30.000 IDR / 2$ again.

Your last leg of the journey is to take a minibus from Wonosobo to Dieng. It is relatively frequent (as always in Indonesia, forget about timetables and schedules for public buses) and you can stop it at any point on the main street between Wonosobo and Dieng (Jalan Dieng).

It takes 1.5 hours and costs 20.000 IDR / 1.35$.

Direct bus Yogyakarta to Dieng

There’s a direct bus by some tour operators going between Yogyakarta and Dieng. I haven’t used this service, but I noticed signs around the Tugu Monument.

If you’re in Jogja and looking for an easier way to get to Dieng, go to any of the tour operators around Tugu and ask.

Your hostel should also be able to provide information.

Direct buses to Wonosobo from other cities

Direct service between Wonosobo and other cities exists. I guess Yogyakarta being a different province disconnects it a little from Central Java. As far as I know, there are no set times and schedules for these buses, so you better inquire in person.

  • Surakarta (Solo) to Wonosobo: 4 hours, 60.000 IDR / 4$;
  • Semarang to Wonosobo: 4 hours, 30.000 IDR / 2$;
  • Surabaya to Wonosobo: 8 hours, 150.000 IDR / 10$;
  • Bandung to Wonosobo: 10 hours, 100.000 IDR / 6.7$;

Go to Dieng by scooter from Yogyakarta (RECOMMENDED)

After carefully weighing all my options I decided to rent a scooter to go to Dieng Plateau. I genuinely feel it’s the best way to visit and gives you the freedom and mobility you need to see all the sights.

The best place to rent a scooter in Yogyakarta is in front of Lempuyangan Station. There are many rental offices with pretty much the same bikes and prices. Expect to pay between 70.000 to 150.000 IDR per day (4.7 to 10$).

Message (+62 823 3022 8307) on WhatsApp for the best motorcycle rental that I always use in Yogyakarta. Say you found the number from Simon to get a special offer.

Do not tell the rentals that you’re going outside of Yogyakarta or they will ask for more money. It’s perfectly legal to cross provinces’ borders on a bike!

The driving time to Dieng/Wonosobo is around 3.5 hours. You will need around 3 liters of fuel (a full tank). One liter of Pertalite (the cheapest fuel) is 10.000 IDR / 0.7$.

Driving conditions between Yogyakarta and Dieng are pretty standard, roads are good and traffic is medium.

Dieng Plateau Organized Tours

There are organized tours from Yogyakarta that take you to Dieng in the middle of the night, take you to watch the sunrise at Sikunir Peak, and then tour you around the area before bringing you back to your accommodation in Jogja.

Here are my top picks:

What to see and do in Dieng Plateau

You need 4-5 hours to leisurely explore the Dieng Plateau if you have a scooter to move between the sights. Even if you come to Dieng (or Wonosobo) by public transport, you can (and I advise you to) rent a scooter for the day. It costs between 100.000 and 150.000 IDR (6.7 to 10$).

Dieng Plateau offers a mixture of natural sights, culturally significant temples, and authentic markets.

Watch the sunrise at Sikunir Peak

This is hands-down the most popular place in the Dieng Plateau. So much so, that on the weekend there are so many people on the peak to watch that it’s almost impossible to walk around freely.

I went there on a Sunday and I felt like the real attraction wasn’t the sunrise, but the sheer number of people scrambling to find a good spot for their Instagram story. Unfortunately, this is the modern-day reality of over-tourism and social media.

Sunrise at Sikunir Peak is between 5:11 and 5:54 depending on the month.

Sunrise at Sikunir Peak
I liked the colors just before sunrise at Sikunir Peak. What is harder to see in the pic is the sheer number of people who also hiked to the top for the sunrise.

If you want a really good spot in the front, then you want to be there at least 2 hours early. Yes, you read that right, if you want clear photos of the sunrise, go to the peak at 3:00.

Otherwise, aim to be at Sikunir Parking Grounds by 4:45. From there, you’ll pass through the market selling carica (more about that peculiar fruit later), fried or boiled potatoes, coconut cakes, and gorengan (fritters) to get to the trail. The hike to the top of Mount Sikunir is around 20 minutes.

The entrance fee for the village of Sikunir is 15.000 IDR / 1$. Parking is 3.000 IDR / 0.2$.

Appreciate the colors of Telaga Warna and Telaga Pengilon

Telaga Warna translates to “Colorful Lake” and there’s a reason for that. The lake can appear in many different colors – blue and green, but also red, white, and purple. The colors change throughout the day because of the varying sulfuric content.

Telaga Pengilon isn’t as colorful, but the fact that it’s connected to Telaga Warna, yet their waters don’t mix, makes the place unique.

PRO TIP: Don’t enter through the main entrance to see the lakes at eye level. Not only is it not as impressive, but it has a ridiculous price for foreigners.

Locals pay 22.000 IDR there.

Foreigners pay 117.000 IDR on weekdays (7.8$) or 164.000 IDR on weekends (11$).

There are two viewpoints where you can see the lakes. The first one is Batu Pandang on the south side and the other is Sidengkeng Petak 9.

I recommend Batu Pandang.

Telaga Warna and Telaga Pengilon as seen from Batu Pandang viewpoint
Telaga Warna is the green one on the left, and Telaga Pengilon is the one behind me,

You can get to Batu Pandang by scooter or hike from the main road passing by the Dieng Volcanic Theater. Five minutes later you’ll be at the gate where the entrance fee is 15.000 IDR / 1$ for locals or 50.000 / 3.35$ for foreigners.

If you ask nicely, there’s a chance the lady will give you the fairly priced local ticket instead – at least that’s what I did.

There are a bunch of viewing platforms with incredible views of the lake. Keep in mind that to reach the actual top of Batu Pandang there’s another fee of 3.000 IDR (0.2$). Stupid and unnecessary of them to charge that, but it is what it is.

Smell some sulfur at Kawah Sikidang Crater

Even if you’ve seen other sulfuric-releasing craters like the one in Kawah Ijen, Sikidang is still worth it.

This place is about 1.5 km from Telaga Warna and there’s a parking in front (paid of course: 3.000 IDR / 0.2$).

You don’t need a gas mask, nor a surgical one. It smells sulfuric, but is safe and not that much anyway.

Kawah Sikidang
I wish I could show you the inside of the Kawah Sikidang crater, but it’s all covered by sulfur smoke

The entrance ticket to Kawah Sigidang also allows access to the Candi Arjuna complex and costs 15.000 IDR for both locals and foreigners. Yeah, finally no discrimination!

Whoever created the route map for this attraction had the genius idea to twist it around the market at the end. To exit you must go through 6 lanes of market stalls and there’s no shortcut! Don’t complain – enjoy some baked potatoes instead.

Visit Candi Arjuna Complex

Your ticket to Kawah Sikidang includes entrance to the Arjuna Temple Complex!

Candi Arjuna is the complex with the earliest temples in Java! It was built in the 8th century and is reminiscent of its bigger brother, the Prambanan temple.

Both are Hindu temples and have similar aesthetics, but Candi Arjuna and the surrounding smaller temples are tiny compared to Prambanan.

You only need 20 minutes to walk around the Arjuna Complex. It has two entrances – one towards Dieng and one towards Kawah Sikidang.

Candi Arjuna Complex of Hindu Temples in Dieng Plateau, Java
Candi Arjuna

Walk around the potato fields and the rice terraces

In recent years potato production has really picked up the pace in Dieng Plateau. So much so, that agriculture endangers the cultural heritage of the area. Potato fields literally surround Candi Arjuna and are found all around the Dieng Plateau.

There are wooden tracks connecting different patches of fields that the locals use as shortcuts. You’re more than welcome to use them too!

As you look around, you’ll notice that the area has quite a few rice fields too. Those beautiful terraces of rice fields. That’s what I mostly associate Southeast Asia with!

Scenery in Dieng Plateau

Buy traditional local food at the markets

There are a bunch of markets in Dieng Plateau selling some of the food that’s authentic for the region. The biggest market is next to Kawah Sikidang, it’s impossible to miss, as you need to go through it to leave. Other markets are next to Sikunir and Dieng itself.

Some of the traditional foods are:


Carica is similar to a baby papaya. It is sold both fresh and packaged and is a popular gift to bring back.

The original high-quality carica costs 3.500 IDR per serving or 20.000 IDR per 6 cups or 50.000 IDR per 18 cups. Don’t pay more and haggle if the vendors quote higher.

Lower quality carica (whatever that means, I wasn’t able to figure out the difference, I think it has to do with sugar and additives) is sold in the same cups and also in different colors at a rate of 15.000 IDR per 18 cups.

Carica is one of the desserts on my extensive list of Indonesian desserts that I’ve tried and rated.

Mie Ongklok

It’s the Wonosobo/Dieng interpretation of the standard mie dish across Indonesia. Mie Ongklok is sweeter, has cabbage, and is floating in a thick curry called “loh”. It’s usually served with beef sate and tempe kemul.

Tempe Kemul

If you’re in Indonesia, you couldn’t have missed the all-present tempe goreng. Its softer brother is the mendoan and its turmeric-infused sister found in Wonosobo and Dieng is the temple kemul.

Terung Belanda Jus

Even though this plant comes from the Amazon in South America, it carries the name “Dutch Eggplant” in Java, because the Dutch brought it in the 1940s.

It’s from the family of the eggplant but is smaller and sweeter and looks like a big plum. In Dieng, they make juice out of it, which is a local specialty.


Do you need a description of that? Just grab a cup of boiled baby potatoes with sweet sauce and enjoy the sunrise!

Venture out to the Tambi Tea Plantations

This site is not exactly inside the Dieng Plateau but is rather beautiful and quite close, so it’s worth the visit, especially if you’re on a motorcycle.

They carry an entrance fee of 10.000 IDR / 0.7 $ but are very Instagram-worthy and on a clear day, the views towards Gunung Sundoro are superb!

Tambi Tea Plantation
Unfortunately, it wasn’t a clear day for me…

What to wear at Dieng Plateau

Dieng is high! HIGH! Don’t underestimate the cold! Sometimes in July and August, it even snows in the early mornings!

If you’re going for the sunrise, then a winter jacket is highly recommended. A scarf, gloves, long pants, and a hat are advised too. Layer your clothes, because once the sun goes up, it gets progressively warmer and warmer, so you’ll need to remove some of the clothing.

Where to stay in Dieng Plateau

You can either stay in Wonosobo or Dieng. My advice is that you get a guesthouse closer to Dieng as that would allow you to sleep a little more and leave later for the sunrise.

In Dieng, there are so many guesthouses that you would struggle to pick. Many of them are not listed online. Turn up, ask, and rent for the night on the spot. Expect to pay between 150.000 and 250.000 (10 to 16.7$) for a double room.

My recommendation for a place to stay is Harumi Dieng. It’s a very cute guesthouse with such a friendly and hospitable owner and awesome food. It’s on the road between Wonosobo and Dieng. Even though it’s 20 km from Dieng, it makes up for it with its cozy character.

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