09 August 2016

The wonders of East Java

Designated by the Indonesian government as an up-and-coming tourism destination, the many attractions of Banyuwangi being after a 30-minute ferry ride from Bali’s western port of Gilimanuk and landing at Ketapang, the port of Banyuwangi. The remarkably clean and well-organized city and the surrounding regency now annually attract 1.5 million domestic tourists and 30,000 foreign tourists. So if you stay in Bali for a couple of weeks, make sure you spend some time in East Java.

Kawah Ijen
The Ijen active caldera stands 2,368 meters above sea level, measure 20-kilomters across and is surrounded by a caldera wall measuring 300-500 meters in height. Located in the regencies of Bondowoso and Banyuwangi, the Kawah Ijen is internationally famous for its “Api Biru” or “Blue Fire” – a blue fire located within the crater that presents a spectacular light show after dark. No less interesting is the large sulfur mining operation that is underway every day at Kawah Ijen. One of only two traditional sulfur mining operations in Indonesia, Kawah Ijen together with Welirang at Mojokerto, also in East Java, where valuable sulfur is mined by hand and men walk deep into an active crater to carry loads weighing between 80-100 kilograms out of the crater to mobile transport centers. Depending on which route you take from Banyuwangi to Kawah Ijen it can take between 2 – 4 hours.

Plengkung Beach – G-Land
Plengkung Beach is an East Java surfing destination, more popularly known by both local and international surfers as “G-Land.” Many who have surfed this area label G-Land, cite this area as home to one of the “Seven Giant Wave Wonders” – a name earned by the “7” shape of incoming waves that can reach 6 meters in height. Other surfers compare the waves on this beach to be on a par with those found in Hawaii. The best surfing at G-Land occurs during the months of July-September, but anytime is the right time for a relaxing beach holiday.

Rajegwesi Beach
Located at the village of Sarongan in the sub-district of Pesanggaran, offers visitors natural vistas together with sites of historical interest. Located on this beach are the remnants of old Japanese war bunkers used in WW II. The sand along Rajagwesi Beach is chocolate in color and soft in texture, the result of indigenous sand mixing with mud washing down from a river during seasonal flooding. Also of interest are the daily activities of local fishermen who use Rajegwesi Beach as their homeport and a nearby beach preserved as a turtle nesting area.

Watu Dodol Beach
Easily found when traveling from Jember to the Port of Ketapang is Watu Dodol Beach. To locate the Beach, look for a large boulder and the statue of a Banyuwangi dancer. The beach is only some 2-kilomters from the Port of Ketapang. A nearby hill can be climbed to enjoy a panoramic view of the busy port’s operation. On the beach, sample the local and affordable cuisine served by local food vendors.

Teluk Hijau – Green Bay
Green Bay offers sparkling clear water encircled by pristine white sand beaches against the backdrop of a tropical jungle. Located within the confines of the Meru Betiri National Park, Green Bay is a favorite for those seeking to swim, snorkel, build sand castles and fish. Nearby to Green Bay is the Bidadari Waterfall – an 8-meter high waterfall.

Pantai Pulau Merah – Red Island Beach.
Another beach named for a color, Red Island Beach is named after a nearby mountain known for the red color of its soil. Located in the sub-district of Pesanggarn, Red Island Beach is the home of Pura Tawang Alun – a Hindu Temple used for religious ceremonies on specific dates. Simple accommodation providers abound in this area for those wishing to spend more than a single day to swim, windsurf or conduct a photo safari.

Air Terjun Kalibendo – Kalibendo Waterfall
Located 20-kilometers from the center of Banyuwangi, the Kalibendo Waterfall boasts clean, cool water at a 10-meter high waterfall located in a higher, more refreshing altitude. The road to Kaliendo passes through scenic tea, coffee and clove plantations.

Air Terjun Lider – Lider Waterfall
This waterfall is located in the village of Sumber Arum in the sub-district of Songgong. Situated 1,300-meters above sea level, the area offers some challenges in terms of access and demands a degree of fitness for the hike to the waterfall. The hike, however, has its own rewards with views of agricultural plantations and a number of Jungle Rivers. Monkey encounters and bird watching opportunities are other bonuses to trekkers walking to the Lider Waterfall.

Agrowisata Kali Klatak – Kali Klatak Agro-tourism Site
Kali Klatak was once a plantation owned by the Dutch under Moorman & Company before being transferred to Indonesian ownership under R. Soehoed Prawiroatmodjo. Located on a mountain slope, Kali Klatak sits 450-meters above sea level and is home to rich soil that grows rubber, coffee, chocolate, coconuts, fruit and a range of spices.

Cagar Alam Baluran – Baluran Nature Reserve
Home to a large savannah, Baluran Nature Reserve provides a range for a large number of wild animals. Trekking through the Reserve or sitting in one of its observation towers can provide glimpses of wild banteng, oxen, deer, kijang, boar, wild cats and 196 species of birdlife.

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