9 Amazing Reasons Why Banyuwangi Is The Secret Gem Of East Java


Amani Nizari •  Mar 23, 2018

Banyuwangi has so many hidden gems waiting to be uncovered! It’s the connecting bridge en route from Java to Bali. Most of the beaches near this region are still clean and untouched making them the perfect place for that long-awaited island escapade.

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So what exactly can you do in Banyuwangi? Read below for a summary of the things you can do here!

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1. White beaches à la Bali

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What’s a holiday without crystal clear water and sandy white beaches? Banyuwangi has many beautiful beaches comparable to those in Bali!

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And… if you’re looking to do something different and meaningful, you can help to release baby turtles into the sea at Sukamade beach. The beach is also known for its endangered giant turtles. The sea turtles come here to lay their eggs or journey out to the sea along with their young soon after they’ve hatched. The sight of them making their way through the beach is a highlight you won’t forget.

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#HHWT Tip: You can join a guided tour participate in the release of baby turtles. A fee of Rp.50,000 (approximately USD $3) applies per group to the Management Unit for Turtle Conservation (UPKP). You can also stay from 7.30pm till midnight to witness the turtles lay eggs. Homestay options are available in Sukamade village located 4 to 5 km away from the beach if you’re considering to stay the night.

2. The magical forests of Jawatan Benculuk

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Step into the realm of the ‘Lord of the Rings’ – Java style. The story behind Jawatan Benculuk’s charm is an interesting one. The Banyuwangi Forest Ministry initially built the area in 1952 to aid in water absorption for oak tree hoarding but the rain trees with its leafy extensions accidentally added a touch of mystery to the area and have since turned it into an attraction.

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A special note for photography enthusiasts, come during the late afternoon to capture the moment when the sun’s rays filters through the canopies and forms a magical scene. ‘Lord of the Rings’ fans, doesn’t the place reminds you of the scene from the land of the Elves?

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Locals often come to chill and enjoy the fresh air here. You might even spot couples taking wedding photos!

3. Hidden waterfalls

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Banyuwangi has plenty of stunning natural attractions. One thing that it’s not lacking in is definitely waterfalls. The waterfalls serve plenty of purpose - from being a pitstop for hikers, to being the go-to place for adventure sports and also as a source of irrigation for the city’s agriculture as well agro tourism. Some are also hidden amidst the foliage!

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One such waterfall is the Lider waterfall. Located on the slopes of Mount Raung, it’s the highest waterfall in Banyuwangi. The waterfall is located at an altitude of 1,300 meters above sea level and is secretly hidden amongst the high rocky cliffs. You’ll encounter four other small waterfalls on your trip to Lider. As the area is a protected forest area, you might be lucky enough to also meet colorful butterflies and apes along the way!

4. Marvel bamboo artworks and craftsmanship

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Gintangan is known as the national centre for bamboo craftsmanship and export since the 1980s. Sticking true to its identity, the village of Gintangan showcases exquisite bamboo designs made by the local village craftsmen during an annual festival known as the “Gintangan Festival”. Better still, the festival started as an initiative by the villagers to showcase their work during the parade.

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The festival is probably one of the most unique ones in Indonesia where bamboo is used as a medium to present as art and fashion icons exquisitely sashayed by the Gintangan models with pride. Culture-rich Indonesia never disappoints the arts buff!

#HHWT Tip: Be sure to check the dates for the next Bamboo Festival if you’re keen to go for this festival!

5. Enjoy a rail tour across mountains and plantations

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While you’re here...take a day to skip all that driving and walking to enjoy a rail tour instead! The tour starts from Kalibaru station to Mrawan PP station and will take you pass coffee plantations at 400 metres high. Take this moment to immerse yourself in the fresh air at Mount Gumitir.

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Besides enjoying the natural scenery, you’ll also get to learn about the history of the railway system in Indonesia. The train will pass through a tunnel which was built between 1902 and 1920 during the Dutch administration. It’s now become a famous pit stop among the locals to snap some quick photos at this historic site.

6. Wake up to spectacular views of the mountain

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How often can you wake up to the breathtaking views of green paddy fields, jungle woods and majestic mountains? One such place where you can experience this is at Ijen Resorts and Villa. Pamper yourself to the priceless panorama not just from the balcony, but from all areas in the resort.

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And if that’s not enough – there’s even an infinity pool where you can swim facing the view of the mountain! Just imagine yourself lounging by the pool with some refreshments and the amazing scenery. With the closest residential home from the resort being 700 metres away, you can be sure your privacy’s guaranteed.

7. Hike up mountains and volcanoes

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Take on the challenge to climb the second highest mountain in East Java, Mount Raung. It’s also the second most active volcano in Indonesia after Mount Tambora. Hiking this mountain is known to be intimidating and requires prior hiking experience – perfect for the adrenaline junkie!

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Don’t stop at mountains when you can conquer volcanoes too! Ijen Crater has one of the most spectacular volcanic formations you’ll ever experience. At exactly 2,443 metres above sea level, the peak of the mountain holds a caldera lake that retains the saltiest water in the world. This turquoise acidic crater lake together with its foggy sulfur fumes is a natural wonder you wouldn’t wanna miss!

8. Be mesmerized by the electric-blue flames of Ijen Crater

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There are only two volcanoes on Earth where electric-blue flames can be seen on its crater – Iceland and Indonesia. Mt. Ijen in Banyuwangi boasts of the largest blue in the world. The best part is – it’s easily accessible to anyone in Southeast Asia.

Credits: Amiya Patanaik on Flickr

The blue fire is actually ignited sulphuric gas which surfaces from cracks at temperatures of up to 600 degrees Celsius. The best time to visit the crater is in the early morning where you can catch the sunrise at the same time. A natural wonder and a magical phenomenon – the blue flame of Ijen Crater is truly a sight to behold.

9. Wildlife and savannas

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Not only do you have volcanoes and mountains here at Banyuwangi but there’s also a savanna. Baluran National Park is the largest natural savanna in Java. A trip to the site will make you feel as though you’ve stepped into an African safari.

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Animal and nature lovers…you’re in for a treat! Here you can spot a herd of deer galloping freely, admire a peacock opening his graceful tail, catch an eagle hunting for its prey, or witness a group of monkeys swinging around. Be amazed by the local fauna in this rich habitat.

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At the same time, you can also camp in the national park. A campsite and a guesthouse with basic utilities have been set up here. Perks of staying overnight is that you get to catch a photo of the sunrise the next day. The view when the sun slowly goes up in the foggy sidelines is a spectacular one.

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The diverse natural scenery, rich art and culture of Banyuwangi makes it a unique destination worth visiting. Outstanding attractions like the Ijen Crater, the Baluran National Park and Sukumade Beach awaits you. With all the things to do here, it’s an absolute must visit. Time to get packing!