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Banyuwangi

Banyuwangi literally means Aromatic Water, which is associated with the local legend. Being the east-most city on Java, this is where the dawn first rises in the morning throwing its welcoming rays over Java, this lush green but also most densely populated island. Banyuwangi Regency extends over an area of 5,800 square km, comprising southern beaches brushed by the Indian Ocean, to impressive Mt Raung that stands at 3,282 meters and Mt Merapi at 2,800 meters above sea level.

The town of Banyuwangi is the gateway to your explorations to watch wild animals roam freely in the reserve of Alas Purwo, the oldest game reserve on Java, go trekking through the savannah of Baluran, or find secluded and untouched beaches at Pulau Merah or G-Land, and travel to Sukamade Beach where turtles come to hatch their eggs. Mountain climbers can hike up from Banyuwangi to the stunning Ijen Crater and be amazed by blue flames that spring out among the yellow sulphurous rocks, cut and gathered manually by traditional miners.

How to Get to Banyuwangi

To visit the many attractions around Banyuwangi it is best to rent a car at the airport or through your hotel or travel agent. Best make sure to have a sturdy and comfortable vehicle especially when you plan to visit mountain regions or savannah, although generally speaking, roads around here are good.

If you wish to travel overland from Bali, catch the ferry at Gilimanuk port, on the western tip of Bali which sails to the port of Ketapang at Banyuwangi. You can of course, also travel by car from Surabaya or any other large city in East Java to Banyuwangi.

Indonesia’s second largest city, Surabaya is connected directly from abroad by a number of international airlines. You can then connect on Garuda Indonesia or Lion Air flights from Surabaya to Banyuwangi’s Blimbingsari Airport. There are also daily flights from Bali to Banyuwangi.

The city of Banyuwangi is located around 239 km east of Surabaya, capital of the province of East Java. You can travel to Banyuwangi by car or by train.

What to do in Banyuwangi

Best Beaches in Banyuwangi

The bay of Grajagan on the southern coast of Banyuwangi was nicknamed G-Land since its discovery by vagabond surfers back in the ’70s, and is now one of Indonesia’s premier surf breaks. Besides its long, left hand barrels, the area is also famous for its beautiful Plengkung Beach. Pantai Pulau Merah aka Red Island Beach is another bay area west, where you can enjoy a scenic 3km-stretch of pinkish sand with a small hilly island on the near horizon. Sukamade Beach, within the Meru Betiri National Park, offers a natural adventure to the protected nesting coast of three sea turtle species, namely green sea turtles, hawksbill and Olive Ridley turtles.

Best Natural Attractions in Banyuwangi

Ijen Crater must be the main icon of Banyuwangi. Trekkers set out before daybreak to climb up this mountain and discover the world’s largest sulphur lake found in the ridges near its peak. The caldera is around 20 km wide, and is where miners source their cooled sulphur slabs to be brought down the mountain in hefty baskets. Midnight climbs have become popular where you can see blue flames, due to ignited sulphuric gas. For a refreshing stop nearby, visit Lider Waterfall, on the eastern slopes of Mount Raung, secluded by lush, green rainforests. Our top pick from Banyuwangi’s three national parks, Alas Purwo National Park, near G-Land surf spot, is home to some of Java’s endangered species, such as the Java banteng that roam its vast savannas.

Cultural attractions

Watch a Gandrung Sewu dance performance during one of Banyuwangi’s major festivals, that takes place around October. The traditional dance is performed by female dancers in bright red and orange-coloured costumes and ornamental headdresses, and is a tribute to Sri, the Hindu goddess of rice and fertility. The dance can also be seen performed during local festivals in the traditional village of Tamansari, near the slopes of Mount Ijen. Around Chinese New Year, visit the Hoo Tong Bio Chinese Temple near the east coast of Banyuwangi, which keeps rich history behind its bright red walls, intricately ornate pagodas and prayer rooms.

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