Banyuwangi is a city in eastern-tip of Java Island,next 3km from Bali Island .
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 and world renowned surfing at G-Land (Grajagan). To the south east of Banyuwangi lies in the remote and less populated area of Java which is home to the Alas Purwo National Park.
Tourist Information Centres
Banyuwangi train station is close Ketapang ferry port, about 300 metres walk to the northwest northwest.
The main bus terminal is Sri Tanjung, 2km south of Ketapang port. Surabaya is 285 km away by road, and buses take about 6 hours.
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 7,000 for foot passengers.
The main bus station in Banyuwangi is at the Ketapang ferry terminal. From there regular bemos and shuttle buses run into the city (Sri Tanjung terminal) and elsewhwere in the vicinity. Becaks (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 or without a driver in Banyuwangi. Vital for independent trips up to the Ijen Crater or for exploring the remote parts of the south eastern coastal parks.
Alas Purwo National Park
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 - 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 metres 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, Banyuwangi, tel: +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.
The Ijen Plateau
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 4 x 4) 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 : the one from Banyuwangi and the other from Bondowoso. Both come together at the parking where from you can go up to the crater. The first is worse than the other, yet nevertheless in case you are proceeding from Banyuwangi can be done.
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.
Street stall and simple warung food is the go in Banyuwangi and you will find lots of it. Easy to find in the middle of town.
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.
The telephone area code for Banyuwangi is 0333.