Banyuwangi is at the easternmost tip of Java, and is best known for its ferry connection at Ketapang to Gilimanuk in Bali. This area has a lot more to offer though and it is becoming better known as a visitor destination in its own right. Banyuwangi is also the gateway to some stunning volcanic scenery on the Ijen Plateau as well as the main access point for the Baluran National Park, world renowned surfing at G-Land (Grajagan), and the remote Alas Purwo National Park.
Ferries run from Gilimanuk in Bali to Ketapang every 30 min, operated 24 hours a day. The journey takes about 45 minutes, although loading and unloading can take much longer. Price Rp 6,500 for foot passengers. The ferry operator is ASDP, ☎ +62 333 413730. If travelling from Bali into Java, there is no need to go into Banyuwangi if you do not plan to stay there, instead take a bemo 2 km north from the ferry terminal to the bus station from where you can catch onward public buses to Probolingo, Surabaya etc. If you arrive in the evening and wish to break your journey there are a couple of pleasant homestays available in Ketapang, just a short walk from the ferry terminal, locals can point the way if you don't spot a sign.
The main bus station in Banyuwangi is at Ketapang ferry terminal. From there, regular yellow coloured bemos and shuttle buses run into the city (Sri Tanjung bus terminal/Brawijaya bus terminal), and elsewhere in the vicinity. Becaks (horse-cart/pedicabs) are widely available in town.
Most surfers heading for G-Land are doing so from Bali, and transportation to the camps is part of their surf package. You can however reach G-Land independently with a bus from Sri Tanjung terminal to Benculuk (about 1 hour), where you change and catch another bus to Grajagan (about 30 minutes).
You can hire private jeeps with a driver in Banyuwangi. Vital for independent trips up to the Ijen Crater or for exploring the remote parts of the south eastern coastal National parks.
Bedul Beach, (From Banyuwangi - Srono - Muncar - Tegaldlimo - Sumberasri - Bedul), ☎ (0062) 081358423654, . almost two hours drive from Banyuwangi. Bedul beach is a scenic beauty. The river that outlets to the ocean is lined with mangrove forests that overshadowed the waters of Bedul.The local community fishes from the river and there is a turtle sanctuary to visit. A guide is greatly recommended for an enchanting day trip were visitors are taken on traditional Javanese boats, the Gondang-Gandung, to discover the wildlife in the park: monkeys, monitor lizards and migratory birds from Australia are amongst some of the species who depend on the 26 different types of mangrove for their sustenance. A cooperation between the village of Sumberasri and Alas Purwo National Park, Mangrove Bedul Ecotourism (MBE) comprises a space of 2,300 hectares of intact mangrove forest with an adjoining lagoon of 18 km. The original idea for the project was given by the community of the village of Sumberasri, in an attempt to restore and protect the mangrove area and all its existing flora and fauna.edit
This is one of the more remote and least populated parks areas of Java, and one which is relatively under-visited due to both the difficulties of getting there and the lack of developed accommodation options. It is also an area of great mystical significance to the Javanese - local legend has it that this was the first area of the whole world to emerge from the ocean.
The park is largely flat with highest peak only 320 m and covers some 43,000 hectares. There are some beautiful, deserted beaches here as well as large swatches of lowland tropical forest. The world famous G-land surf camp is on the park borders.
The key access point to the park is the village of Triangulasi which is about 80 km south east of Banyuwangi. Before visiting you should make contact with the national park office in Banyuwangi at Alas Purwo National Park Head Office, Jl A Yani 108, ☎ +62 333 428675. There is some very basic self-catering hut accommodation at Triangulasi, as well as a camping ground and the park office will be able to advise you on this.
Mammals to be seen inside the park include banteng (the buffalo of Java), asiatic wild dog, leopard cat, muntjac deer and ebony leaf monkey. The park's western beaches are noted turtle hatching areas with olive ridley, hawksbill, green and leatherback turtles all occurring.
Near Banyuwangi and Bondowoso, this is a spectacular area of volcanic activity. The Ijen Plateau is the centrepoint of the large mountain range west of Banyuwangi, and which abutts the Baluran National Park to the north.
The Ijen Crater (Kawah Ijen) can be approached from Bondowoso in the west or Banyuwangi in the east. The Bondowoso route is recommended as the road is relatively better (although that is not saying much) and the 90 minute foot climb much easier. From Bondowoso you are best off finding a guide with a car (preferably a 4x4) who will drive you through the village of Wonosari and eastwards up a very basic potholled road which winds its way up the mountain. You will pass through native casuarina forest and extensive coffee plantations before the road ends at the village of Jampit where there is some shelter available (Pos Paltuding). If you are travelling late in the day, you could actually bed down with a sleeping bag or camp here as you could in the disused vulcanology station huts slightly further up the mountain. The crater lake is a 90 minute hike further on from here. When you arrive the colour of the water in the lake is scarcely believable being an extraordinary vivid aqua blue. Evidence of volcanic activity is everywhere with steaming water and brilliant yellow crystaline sulphur deposits. Collecting the latter is an industry here and one with extremely harsh working conditions. You will see many workers trudging up and down the mountain carrying sacks of sulphur.
To the crater there are two roads: one from Banyuwangi and the other from Bondowoso. Both come together at the parking, from where you can go up to the crater. Both roads are currently (Oct 2013) well maintained, the Banjuwangi approach is shorter, the Bondowoso approach gives you much better views.
Many other post-caldera cones and craters are located within the caldera or along its rim. The largest concentration of post-caldera cones forms an E-W-trending zone across the southern side of the caldera. Coffee plantations cover much of the Ijen caldera floor, and tourists are drawn to its waterfalls, hot springs, and dramatic volcanic scenery. The Ijen Crater is certainly one of the great natural wonders of Indonesia.
Gandrung Dance. This is a highly regarded art-form in Banyuwangi and one of the nicknames for the city is actually Gandrung. In Javanese Gandrung means hopelessly in love. The love in this case is directed to Dewi Sri, the goddess of rice. The performance is a homage to Dewi Sri in gratitude for the rice harvest. The performance is a very special cultural event with unique orchestration. Check at the Tourist Information Centre for scheduled performances.
Surf at G-Land (Grajagan Beach) about 60 km south of Banyuwangi. One of the world's most consistent left-hand reefbreaks, Grajagan was first surfed in 1972. A few years later he Australian Boyum bothers built a rickety bamboo treehouse on the beach bordering the remote Alas Purwo National Park on Java's south-east tip and the G-Land surf camp concept was born. These days there are several basic surfcamps between the wild jungle and kilometre-long coral reef. Permission to stay at G-Land must be obtained from the park rangers in advance, which is handled by the surf camp management. The camps offer all inclusive surf packages from 3 days and upwards, details on the following websites:
G-Land Bobby's Surf Camp, . Run by a Balinese surfer who took over the original surf camp operation from the Boyum brothers.
G-Land Surf Camp, . Also have an office at Okie House, Poppies II, in Kuta, Bali.
Joyo's G-Land Surf Camp, . Also have an office in Bali at Gang Benesari 77, Poppies II, Kuta, Bali.
See a magician. From all over the archipelago Indonesians flock to consult Banyuwangi's famous and infamous practitioners of white magic and the darker arts, the dutak.
Gallery & Museum Mozes Misdy, Jl Gatot Subroto 119, Ketapang, ☎ +62 333 423573. Mozes Midzy is a renowned Javanese modern artist and he was born in Banyuwangi in 1941. This gallery showcases his work and pieces are available for purchase.edit
There is a lot of fairly identikit budget accommodation in Banyuwangi and there are often several well-meaning and well-mannered touts at Ketapang terminal eager to take you to their option. Not such a bad thing to play along - it will cost you little if any, extra.
Berlin Barat Hotel, Jl Letjen Haryono MT 96, Banjarsari, Glagah, ☎ +62 333 421323. Very much aimed at the budget traveller. Good clean rooms arranged around an open courtyard. Western toilets but no hot water.edit
Hotel Baru, Jl Raya Ketapang (8 km from Ketapang terminal), ☎ +62 333 421369, . checkout: 12:00pm. City center. Basic, clean rooms. 11 rooms with AC and western toilet, 37 fan only. the 80000 room comes with a fan, TV, free coffee/tea and an asian bathroom without shower. 80000 - 200000 rp. edit
Ijen Hotel, Desa Licin, ☎ +62 858 68611921 (email@example.com), . A nice hotel with bungalows and private villas. Opened in 2005. Offers a range of activities at Ijen including climbing up to the crater, trekking in the foothills and visits to local villages.edit
IJEN Guest House, 100 Jl Licin 20km desa licin, Ijen (west of Banyuwangi on the way to Ijen), ☎ +62 333 891 4747 or mobile: +62 811 9844 665 (firstname.lastname@example.org). A nice budget accommodation, surrounded with coffee and clove plantation. The location is very easy to reach and close to the Ijen Crater.edit
Ketapang Indah Hotel, Jl Gatot Subroto Km6, ☎ +62 333 422280 (email@example.com), . Waterfront cottages only 10 minutes from Ketapang ferry terminal. Good sized swimming pool and restaurant.edit
Manyar Hotel, Jl Gatot Subroto 74 (right at Ketapang ferry terminal), ☎ +62 333 424741. This is a rather souless hotel but it is very convenient indeed for a one night stopover before or after taking the the ferry.edit
Mirah Hotel, Jl Yos Sudarso, Klatak, Giri., ☎ +62 333 420600 (firstname.lastname@example.org). Very conveniently located just minutes south of Ketapang ferry terminal.from Rp 170,000. edit
Wisma Blambangan, Jl Dr Wahidin Sudirohusodo 4, Karangrejo, ☎ +62 333 421598. Budget accommodation in the town.edit
Giri Indah Hotel, Jl.Hayam wuruk no. 301 (west of city center on ring road), ☎ +62 3334 24684. Low budget hotel withA/C.Rp 125.000-,. edit
Hotel Warata, Jl.Widuri no.2 (on the way to Desa wisata osing recreation center), ☎ +62333424575 +6285258144475(email@example.com). Basic backpack accommodation 1.5 km from city centre.Rp 70.000-100,000-,. edit
Villa Keluarga RH (Rhiko Hangduwe), Jl. Raya Situbondo No.256 B Ketapang. Banyuwangi (Located 7 minutes northwest of Ketapang ferry terminal), ☎ +62 333 510191, . Villa RH is a beautiful private villa with an absolute 8 bedrooms which can comfortably sleep up to 14 guests.edit
Probolinggo — on the route to Mount Bromo. If travelling by train, take the 08:00 a.m. train from Banyuwangi Train Station, stopping at 08:15 a.m. at Karangasem station. Arriving at Probolinggo station at 12:46 p.m., you probably reach Cemoro Lawang around 15:00 p.m., early enough to visit Bromo before the sun goes down. Ticket price is IDR 105 000 for eksekutif, IDR 80 000 for business. Public buses leave from the Sri Tanjung terminal, 2km north of the ferry terminal. Any Surabaya-bound bus will pass through Probolingo, price for public bus 32k ($0.5) [July 2014].
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