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Banyuwangi, a Great Adventure in the Easternmost Part of Java

Banyuwangi offers a selection of adventurous and challenging vacation spots

Wild life in Baluran National Park, East Java, Indonesia (c) Shutterstock
Wild life in Baluran National Park, East Java, Indonesia (c) Shutterstock

Banyuwangi is located in the northernmost part of Java, almost touching Bali if you will. In fact, Banyuwangi is the main port that connect Java and Bali via Ketapang and Gilimanuk. For decades, this area is known simply as a stepping stone to the paradise that is Bali. But today, Banyuwangi is a great tourist destination on its own right.

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Deer in wildlife savanna of Baluran National Park (c) Shutterstock
Deer in wildlife savanna of Baluran National Park (c) Shutterstock

This are is now popular for its comprehensive adventurous vacation spots, from the top of the mountain to the underwater. From the blue flame of Ijen Crater to the challenging waves at Plengkung Beach.

Baluran National Park, the little Africa

Wild life in Baluran National Park, East Java, Indonesia (c) Shutterstock
Wild life in Baluran National Park, East Java, Indonesia (c) Shutterstock

Baluran National Park, located at the border of Banyuwangi Regency and Situbondo Regency. Unlike many other places in Java, Baluran is dominated by a fertile savannah grass and a dormant volcano. Baluran is a habitat of very rare and endangered species of flora and fauna. You can see Banteng, peacocks, deer, and wild dogs in this place. The area is well connected with roads that are passable with cars.

The Surprising Tabuhan Island, a kite boarding paradise

Tabuhan Island Banyuwangi Indonesia (c) Shutterstock
Tabuhan Island Banyuwangi Indonesia (c) Shutterstock

Tabuhan Island is a relatively newly found tourist destination di Banyuwangi. Located in Bali Strait, it sprung many surprises such as being the habitat of an endangered Maleo bird, previously thought only exist in Sulawesi.

This small island is also the best kiteboarding spot for its constant wind and almost waveless sea. White sandy beach and rich underwater life is a bonus here.

Ijen Crater with the blue flame that never dies

Panorama Landscape of Kawah ijen volcano crater with blue flame and sulfuric smoke view with sunrise dawn morning, Beautiful Landmark of nature adventure for traveler in East Java, Indonesia (c) Shutterstock
Panorama Landscape of Kawah ijen volcano crater with blue flame and sulfuric smoke view with sunrise dawn morning, Beautiful Landmark of nature adventure for traveler in East Java, Indonesia (c) Shutterstock

Ijen Plateau is a natural wonder with several points of interest. For one, Ijen Crater produce a seemingly endless supply of sulfur that is being mined manually every day. This crater also produce natural blue flame that can only be found in few places in the world. It also has an acidic lake filled with blue water, which are not safe for drinking or swimming.

Plengkung Beach, a bow of a surfing paradise

Drone View of Plengkung Beach East Java Indonesia top Surf Spot (c) Shutterstock
Drone View of Plengkung Beach East Java Indonesia top Surf Spot (c) Shutterstock

Located at the gulf on the southeast of Java, Plengkung Beach is actually a part of Alas Purwo National park. This beach is a paradise for surfers who sometimes call this place G-Land. Its crescent shaped beach is already beautiful with white sand, but the waves that is attracting people to come here. The only drawback is that getting to this beach can be challenging, especially if you go overland. By sea, you can reach Plengkung beach even from Bali.

Gandrung Banyuwangi Festival

Classical Cultural Dance of Gandrung Sewu at Boom Beach on September 17,2016. Gandrung is one of Banyuwangi’s traditional dance that has been set as "Intangible Culture Heritage" via Shutterstock.
Classical Cultural Dance of Gandrung Sewu at Boom Beach on September 17,2016. Gandrung is one of Banyuwangi’s traditional dance that has been set as “Intangible Culture Heritage” via Shutterstock.

Gandrung Banyuwangi Festival is a colossal traditional dance held in Boom Beach. This festival involves thousands of dancers that perform Gandrung, a dance of deep love, with the aim to preserve the cultural heritage of Banyuwangi.

The number of the dancers taking part on this festival keep increasing every year. Today, Gandrung Festival has become an important part of Banyuwangi Tourism. This is reflected in the way local and national stakeholders’ involvement in the festival.

Petik Laut Muncar

Muncar has a unique tradition. The name is Seal of the Sea (Petik laut). This is a kind of thanksgiving. Local people gather to thank God for the abundant fish via Shutterstock.
Muncar has a unique tradition. The name is Seal of the Sea (Petik laut). This is a kind of thanksgiving. Local people gather to thank God for the abundant fish via Shutterstock.

To express their gratitude toward the Almighty, Banyuwangi fishermen held an annual ceremony; Petik Laut. This ceremony is held in Muncar and nos has become a major tourist attraction in the area. Like larung sesaji in other places in Indonesia, there are offerings being floated on the sea. However, Petik Laut Muncar is special because fishermen here paint and decorate their boats for the occasion. There is an unspoken competition to look best during Petik Laut.

Rujak Soto

Rujak Soto. via Instagram/
Rujak Soto. via Instagram/zona.makanan

As the name implied, Rujak Soto combines two staple dish in East Java; Rujak and Soto. Rujak is a vegetable salad with peanut sauce dressing. This dish is very popular in all East Java. Soto is a soupy dish composed of broth, meat, egg, and rice vermicelli. Rujak Soto combines both dishes into a great delicacy, perfect for lunch.

Best place to enjoy Rujak Soto:

  • Rujak Soto Bu Sum – l. Letjen Di. Panjaitan, No. 24, Kampungmandar.
  • Rujak Soto Mbok Mbret – Dusun Kepatihan, Cluring.
  • Rujak Soto Losari – Jl. Losari, Kepatihan.

Pindang Koyong

Pindang Koyong. via Instagram/
Pindang Koyong. via Instagram/chaitania

Pindang Koyong is fish soup, one can even consider it as a fish soto. The freshly caught fish is boiled in a spicy and sour soup, made with salt, chili pepper, shallot, garlic, turmeric, lemongrass, ginger, bilimbi, lemon, and some other herbs. The fish meat is boiled until tender and the soup will taste savory, spicy, and a bit sour.

Best Place to enjoy Pindang Koyong:

  • Warung Pindang Koyong AOS – Jl. Widuri, Dusun Watu Ulo, Rejosari, Glagah.
  • Warung Fajar – Jl. Kepiting 100 X, Kelurahan Sobo.

Nasi Tempong

Nasi Tempong Banyuwangi. via Instagram/
Nasi Tempong Banyuwangi. via Instagram/paramitalistya

Nasi Tempong is a very ‘basic’ and yet loved dish in Banyuwangi. This dish is basically composed of steamed rice, steamed vegetables, side dish (usually fried tempeh, tofu, fish, or chicken), and raw sambal (condiment). Tempong can mean slap, and this term is used because when you eat it, it is as if you are being slapped by its spiciness.

Best Place to enjoy Nasi Tempong:

  • Nasi Tempong Mbok Wah – Jl. Gembrung No.220, Lingkungan Watu Ulo R, Bakungan, Glagah.
  • Nasi Tempong Mbok Nah – Jl. Kolonel Sugiono No.16, Kertosari.
  • Wawrung Nasi Tempong Mbak Har – Jl. Banyuwangi, Purwosari, Benculuk, Cluring.

How to get to Banyuwangi

Beautiful sunrise from Ketapang harbour, Banyuwangi. (c) Shutterstock
Beautiful sunrise from Ketapang harbour, Banyuwangi. (c) Shutterstock

Even though being located on the easternmost part of Java, Banyuwangi is pretty much accessible with all modes of transportation.

By Air. Banyuwangi Blimbingsari International Airport is being developed intensely over the last few years. It is served with flight from Surabaya, Jakarta, and Kuala Lumpur.

By Land. There are roads connecting Banyuwangi with other parts of Java. Brawijaya and Sritanjung Bus Station are the main hub that connect Banyuwnagi with Java and Bali. The Banyuwangi Baru Train Station connects Banyuwnagi with Jember, Malang, and Surabaya (which in turn connects them to other parts of Java.

By Sea. The main port of Banyuwangi is Port of Ketapang that connect Java with Bali. This port is very busy with ferries that take passengers and vehicles from and to Bali.

Getting Around in Banyuwangi

An Aerial Drone View of Kawah Ijen - Early in the Morning. The Ijen volcano complex is a group of composite volcanoes in the Banyuwangi Regency of East Java, Indonesia. (c) Shutterstock
An Aerial Drone View of Kawah Ijen – Early in the Morning. The Ijen volcano complex is a group of composite volcanoes in the Banyuwangi Regency of East Java, Indonesia. (c) Shutterstock

Banyuwangi is quite large area, taking a hefty chunk of southeastern part of Java. It is impossible to enjoy all tourist destinations in Banyuwangi in just a day, so you need to plan your visit well to enjoy the best of Banyuwangi. Public transport here is relatively good in the urban part of the regency. To explore the top of the mountain, the savannah, or the beaches, you need a private (rented) vehicle.

In the northern part of Banyuwangi, in the border with Situbondo, you can explore the exotic Baluran National Park where you can see peacock, bantengs, and wild dogs in its natural habitat. Birdwatching and canoeing is also possible here. Moving south, you need to climb Ijen Mountain to reach its crater, blue flame, and lake. Tabuhan Island is located by the east coast of the regency.

Meru Betiri National Park is located in the southwestern part of the regency, in the border with Jember. This park is the habitat of Java tiger, Javanese flying squirrel, and some rare flowers. This park is also a sanctuary for green turtles. Wonderful beaches stretching along the southcoast of Banyuwangi. Moving east from Meru Betiri, you will eventually reach Alas PurwoNational Park, where the famous Plengkung Beach is located. Next

Best Hotels in Banyuwangi

Hotel Aston Banyuwangi, Tempat Menginap Instagenic yang Mengusung Budaya Lokal
Hotel Aston Banyuwangi, Tempat Menginap Instagenic yang Mengusung Budaya Lokal
  • Hotel Santika Banyuwangi – Jalan Letjen S Parman No.15, Sobo. – From IDR606,413
  • eL Royale Hotel & Resort Banyuwangi – Jl. Raya Jember KM 7, Pakistaji, Dusun Krajan, Dadapan, Kabat. From IDR625,000.
  • Aston Banyuwangi Hotel & Conference Center – Jl. Brawijaya | Mojopanggung – From IDR448,000.
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