Bondowoso is a town in East Java, Indonesia.
Bondowoso is a lost ancient city, heart of East Javanese culture, and is most convenient western gateway to one of the most famous and extraordinary of the world's volcanoes – Ijen Crater. This is one of the most convenient starting point to climb both Ijen and Bromovolcanos. Don’t stop only at this point because this place has many ancient stones scattered in various districts and almost forgotten. It is the pearl of images of Java as such, lush with green rice fields, combined with coconut trees tall and proud, rivers and streams like the veins of the jungle areas, hidden villages of ancient tribes and agricultural folk each and every conversing with their own particular language, having their own specific rituals, beliefs, and food characteristics. In Bondowoso and around one can find various ancient produces, family factories, like tofu and tempeh production, such as villages which main concern is tile production. People of the Bondowoso region are friendly and smiling, always helpful, and are happy to have you in their home as most welcoming guests. As all places in this region, it is also Alun - Alun town, which is the gathering place of society, city square-like green area of the place. In the north of Alun – Alun there is an old building of Dutch heritage that now has become Bondowoso SMP 1 and also there is a building called Hall Regents.In the city to the south there is Tourist Office where one can gather all the necessary information. Very soon there will be bycicles and motorbikes to rent. One has to visit the traditional morning market, very close to the bus station of the city. Have a nice breakfast, drink refreshing teh manis (sweet hot tea) and enjoy the busy market mornings with the warm local smiles. Leave yourself at least 4 days of exploring this place and around. The impression is stronger when you plunge yourself in talks with the locals, get a bike and get lost in the rice fields chatting with the farmers with straw hats and big smiles, get amused with the live music you will be hearing along every time you jump into a public bus squeezing your place for at least half a seat. .
Main languages are Madurase – language of the region, and Bahasa Indonesia (Indonesian standard language). One can always meet people who speak basics of English as well. Conversations are easy going with locals, due to their open hearts and warmth to meet and help the tourists
From Surabaya bus terminal (Bungurasih bus Terminal)
Take one bus to Probolinggo (express bus, 2h, 30000 IDR) and then take one bus from Probolinggo to Bondowoso (economic bus, 3h, 20000 IDR).
From Probolinggo : last bus around 7.00pm.
From Surabaya airport
Take flight to Jember Airport ( one flight each day) than take Taxi to Arjasa bus Station.
From Denpasar (BALI)
Take a taxi to the bus terminal (Ubung bus terminal) because there’s no bus to the bus terminal yet (from Kuta : around 80000 IDR). Then, you can choose between economic bus or AC bus to Situbondo on Java (100000 IDR to 150000 IDR, between 5 and 8h, ferry included). Last AC bus around 9.00 pm.
In Situbondo : take a bus (20 seats bus) to Bondowoso (8000 IDR, 1h). First bus at 4.30am and last around 9.00pm.
Bondowoso can be reached by road. The nearest airport and train station is in Jember . You can take a taxi (around 100.000 IDR from Jember). Arriving from Jember, one has to change the minibus in Arjasa, one of the city's bus stations. The buses don't run on schedule, they leave when they are full. The cost of a minibus from Jember to Arjasa is 5000 IDR, and from Arjasa to Bondowoso 5000 IDR (2016). Note: never pay your bus ticket before you have a seat on the bus (pay to the bus crew when the bus is moving from the bus station/bus stop). The most comfortable transport to Bondowoso from Surabaya or Denpasar ( Bali ) by Shuttle Car, they will pick you up at your hotel and drop to your hotel in Bondowoso
A becak (bicycle rickshaw) from the station which will take you to a hotel or around for a city tour (30 minutes). Public buses are available in every direction to take you to Bondowoso surroundings. Their colour will inform you on the direction they are going to: blue with a red stripe goes south to Tamanan from the morning until 4 pm, blue with a yellow sripe goes to Pujer or Sumber Wringin . Those vans are easy to find at the bus station but you can also have them stop for you on the side of the road when they pass.
A good way to get around Bondowoso is also to ride a bicycle or a motorbike. There is one company provide rent bicycle and motorbike
From Bondowoso, most villages are reachable by bus, motorbike or bicycle. Get around green rice fields, stop in a coffee shop for a drink and chit chat with the locals. Village life is a great opportunity to meet and see the locals who have been living there for centuries, get to know their culture, taste delicious village food or get a chance to talk to a village chairman.
At evening go to alun-alun, you will find many warung with many kinds of food. Or you could try ride Dokar ( horse carriage ), 25.000 IDR they will take around alun-alun and 50.000 IDR they will take you further.
- • Start your tour from the town center alun-alun RBA Kironggo and visit the main masjid (mosque). On the southern side of alun-alun is Monumen Gerbong Maut, a sculpture commemorating the death of Indonesian prisoners in a train wagon during the Independance war against the Dutch (1945-1947). Around alun-alun can be found a local muslim school, private houses, local grocery shops and a labyrinth of tiny narrow streets around the traditional morning market.
Bondowoso is rich with Dutch heritage buildings dating from the colonial era.
- North of alun-alun an old building ( Europe school) became Junior high school (SMP 1 Bondowoso )
- North east of Alun – alun it was auxialiary office Karesidenan Besuki and now become Bank Jatim
- The Regency Hall nort of Alun – Alun used as house of Mayor and also the Building that people named Pendopo use for special ceremonial
- West of Alun – alun there is Masjid Agung Bondowoso ( Mosque ) was build when Ki Ronggo 1 was lead
- South of Alun – alun there is Bondowoso Goverment Office, it was the first house of Residen Hindia Belanda.
- East of Alun – Alun Bondowoso there is prison, it was build on 1864
- The old train station( build on 1893 ) has been turned into a historical museum where you will find light but well organised information in English on Bondowoso region, with a focus on train. The line between Jember to Panarukan Situbondo and the coast used to go through Bondowoso until it was closed in 2004. A new line is planned as a tourist attraction to get visitors through the scenic landscape of the region.
- Bondowoso Police Office ( Kantor Polisi Resort Bondowoso ) it was house of Residen Hindia Belanda J.R Couperus
- The library and Tourism Office ( Jl. A. Yani )are located in a former hotel . The complex has also new buildings.
- Close with Tourism office there is the oldest church building ( 1830 )
- Tobacco processing factory PTP Bunder used to be sortation of dry tobaccos before the export or use for Cigar in Jember.
All around Bondowoso surroundings you will meet people at work. Don't hesitate to come and greet them to discover their craft.
- Batik in Maesan, 20km south. This facility has a workshop for batik tulis, the most delicate technique of batik, created by specialized designers. The wax motive are drawn by hand instead of using the more common stamp. Next to the shop is a fancy restaurant in a garden, best enjoyed at night. The batik work starts early morning and stops at 4pm .
- In Tamanan check the traditional batik workshop called Magenda batik, 500m from alun-alun, direction south, close to the local police station. You can watch there the whole process of batik making and buy some of their original products or take some time to try your own batik handcraft project. In Tamanan as well, east from town, is an other workshop producing and selling both the stamp and the batik tulis.
- Pottery in Sumber Kemuning village. The clay is put in shape with the help of moulds. You can see and interact with the last generation pottery maker named B.Jun
- The local smiths work with silver in Wringin Sub Distrik, iron mostly in Sumber Kemuning village and brass in Cindogo Village.
- Tiles and bricks are being produced in the region with the local clay. They are dried in the sun and then burnt with rice bran for the bricks or wood for the tiles. Most famous villages for this small scale industry are at Kalianyar and Koncer
- Wood carving In Gunung Anyar Tapen, you may find a wood carver at work on a huge root of tree. Smaller souvenirs can be found in Flodista Galery at Jalan Santawi Bondowoso
- Around Kalianyar village and Tamanan town various families produce fresh tofu and fermented soy bean (tempe), their favorite food. You can enter houses to see or ask about the whole process.
Bondowoso region has a lively agriculture. Dutch plantations of the colonial era left place for nowadays family agriculture. In and around the villages you can see farmers in the fields all year long. Rice paddies can be admired mainly during the rainy season, usually starting in November and ending in April. In the dry season, farmers plant tobacco as well. Harvesting and drying can be seen late August or early September. Sugar cane is harvested around July untill November
- In Prajekan, 25km north from Bondowoso (direction Situbondo), the Gema Buana (cultural centre) hosts twice-weekly practices of traditional performance arts such as gamelan (Javanese percussion orchestra) and various dances like tari topeng kona, singo ulung, pojien and ojung. The centre is soon to run a monthly show in town.
- If you are interested in a genuine spiritual experience you could visit an authentic dukun (holy man, spiritual healer and counselor) Kalianyar village. Pak Hasan lives in a nearby village and will solve your anxieties and cure your ailments. If your condition requires it, he will make a great nasi jamu campur (rice boiled with fresh or cooked vegetables) embellished with ten or more rare herbs grown organically in his garden, picked up and cooked personally.
- Around the same area, in the sub-districts of Grujugan, Maesan, Wringin and Cerme, are scattered various prehistoric stones such as Kenong stone (look like one’s instruments of Gamelan), sarcophages, grave stones, menhirs, dolmen, ruang batu ( stone Chamber ) etc.
- Bondowoso is located between three mountains and two active Volcano, in west there is Iyang mountains with the famous unactive volcano Mt.Argopuro (3032 asl ), Kretek Mounthains in the north and at the East there are famous active volcano, Mt. Raung (3300 asl) and Ijen Crater (2400 asl) . Ijen is 70 km, take a road to Situbondo, turn right at gardu atak Wonosari, stright to Sukosari than turn left at Sumber Gading cross road ( you will see mini market at left and mosque at the right), continue to Sempol . It is one of the two places in the world where you can find a blue fire burning in the crater. Its turquoise lake is one of the world's largest acid lakes with a pH of 0.5. Mt.Raung is 40 km from Bondowoso to starting point named Pondok Montor, take same route to Ijen, at Sumber Gading cross road just go strigth. Visiting and climbing can all be arranged by your accommodation or through Tourist Office. Visitors usually start the journey in the late evening (at around 11pm) to reach the most spectacular view points for blue flame, the nice sunrise at Ijen can see only on month June,July and August and you have to walk 1,5 km to the right side of crater.
- Local companies and free-lance guides can take you rafting on river Bosamba or paragliding on the slopes of the nearby mountains. Mount Raung is really chalenge trip, at least you have to walk 8 hours to reach the Peak, a porteer is nesessary to bring your stuff. and mount Pyramid ( 1.500 m) are a few hours climb.
- Waterfall ( Tancak in Madures ), there are many around Bondowoso . The famous one is Tancak Kembar (twin waterfall) at Pakem District, can reach by motorbike. Tancak Dawuhan and Tancak Koh De’dek at Maesan District. Tancak Aren and Tancak Patirana at Grujugan District
- Sempol ( now become Ijen District ) offers more than the view on nearby Mount Ijen. Puncak Megasari, Kawah Wurung, Guest House Jampit, Strawberry plantation, hot spring, waterfall.
- Puncak Megasari :one’s of beautiful view to visit, Sunrise with Kawah Ijen as a background offering amazing view in the morning , a camping ground offering visitor night view experiance. Paragliding is the most activity they offering for, you can do solo flight or tandem.
- Kawah Wurung is one of the oldest inactive craters with Ijen. Many small hill scatered in this area, mountain bike or downhill available to do
- Natural therapy is available at Hot Springs in Belawan Sempol.
- Coffee plantations cover most of Sempol area. From July to September visitors can see the coffee beans picking.
- Sukosari district is an other destination for coffee lover. This is were several companies process the beans. There you can also taste and buy Raung and Ijen coffee of different kinds.
- Flodista souvenir shop is located just in front of Palm Hotel. Towards the east of alun-alun, around 20 minutes from there is the traditional morning market, very close to the bus station, the police station and the old train station, now a museum. The fruit market is in front of the museum and bondowoso police office.
- Tape is a local speciality made of fermented root of cassava. South from alun-alum, heading to Jember, after a roundabout (known as Nangkaan), turn on a small street on your right and soon you will find at your left hand a house with the sign Tape 31 and Tape 82, a tape workshop. You can go inside and have a look at the whole process of fermenting cassava. They market their products locally and in their shop east from alun-alun towards the morning market.
- there is another interesting souvenir shop and workshop called Bale Roso and worth visiting. This coffee shop artistically decorated, with a handmade wooden and bamboo structure, sells original Indonesian souvenirs. You can have a drink and eat there or shop handicraft.
Bondowoso is the city where Javanese and Madurese cuisines meet and mix.
Enjoy there Indonesian food, such as nasi goreng (fried rice), nasi lalapan (plain rice with boiled vegetables), mi goreng (fried yellow noodles), ikan goreng (fried fish), nasi pecal (plain rice with vegetable curries, with egg, fried tempeh, bean sprouts garnished with spiced peanut sauce), soto (various soups with meat balls). If one is brave enough, there are places to eat for as little as 4000 Rp as much as you can.
Best bakso shops can be found around the old train station.
Nasi mamong (cooked in coconut milk with spicy meat or fish in a banana leaf) can only be found in ODL Resto (close to jalan Santawi).
Sawut cake, a local specialty made from cassava steamed with brown palm sugar, is only baked for special occasions.
Bondowoso region produces a local arabica coffee. Enjoy a kopi (coffee) in its many coffee and best Barista will serve you so well:
- Siklus corner cafe at north of Alun – Alun
Tea and coffe, cold or iced, are a favorite drink at any time of the day. They are served sweetened (manis) with white sugar. If it is not to your taste, make sure to ask them without sugar ( no gula ). Among all the fruit juices, avocado shake with ice, condensed milk and chocolate . Specialty drinks can also be found in town: tapai ngambeng (sweet cassava drink made with tape, ginger and sugar) is available only at ODL Resto while you will find teh secang (herbal tea) exclusively at Bale Roso.
- Palm Hotel and Restaurant Jl. A Yani Bondowoso, phone +62-332 421201, south of alun-alun and the citysquare ( the cheapest room 210.000 IDR.)
- Anugerah Hotel Jl. Mayjen Sutoyodowoso, 12 Bon +62-332 421870 , east of Palm Hotel
- Baru Hotel, near alun-alun and the citysquare
- Ijen View Hotel & resort Jl. KIS Mangunsarkoro 888, Ph +62-332431000, around 500m south of the bus station ( Economic room 275.000 IDR)
- Homestay at Kalianyar village, 15km south of the city. The room is 75.000 IDR
- Kalianyar Village 15 Kilometers south from the town.
- Jember is 30km south. It is a gateway to Meru Betiri National Park and Watu Ulo.
- Baluran National Park.
- Balihead to Situbondo or Jember where you will catch a bus to Denpasar (around IDR.100.000 for Economic, include fery) or head to Banyuwangi and catch a ferry. Or take shuttle bus from Bondowoso IDR 200.000
- To catch a train you need to go by bus to Jember or Probolinggo. To travel further west go to either Probolinggo or Jember. Jember might be your easier option for either trains or buses any direction to east or west if you are traveling on your own organization. Beware that Jember has 3 different and distant bus stations, chech before which one you are heading at.