Banyuwangi was our first trip in 2022. We came for a wedding and we thought we extended our stay so we could explore the city. We’ve been to Banyuwangi last year when we took the road trip to Bali but we didn’t get the chance to see more of Banyuwangi. So now we had our chances ☺️.
Banyuwangi is the east-most city in Java, this is where the sun first rises in the morning throwing its welcoming rays over Java. This lush green island is densely populated. Banyuwangi Regency extends over an area of 5,800 square km, comprising the southern beaches brushed by the Indian Ocean, to the impressive Mt Raung that stands at 3,282 meters and Mt Merapi at 2,800 meters above sea level.
How to Get Here
Indonesia’s second-largest city, Surabaya is connected directly from abroad by a number of international airlines. You can then connect through Garuda Indonesia or Lion Air flights from Surabaya to Banyuwangi Blimbingsari Airport. There are also daily flights from Bali to Banyuwangi. Citilink have direct flight from Jakarta but only fly on Saturday and Monday.
The city of Banyuwangi is located around 239 km east of Surabaya, the capital of the province of East Java. You can travel from Surabaya to Banyuwangi by car or by train. You can also travel by car from any other large city in East Java to Banyuwangi.
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.
How to Get Around
It is best to rent a car at the airport or through your hotel/travel agent to explore the attractions around Banyuwangi. You can either drive yourself or rent a car with the driver.
Top Things to Do in Banyuwangi
Since designated as a biosphere reservation area by UNESCO in 2016, Kawah Ijen Banyuwangi becomes increasingly popular among local and foreign tourists. It had the area of 2,560 hectares and located on top of Mount Ijen in Licin district, Banyuwangi.
One of the attractions of the most dangerous in the world occupies the largest caldera in Java which is formed by the eruption of Mount Ijen with a width of 6 m. The crater has a depth of 200 meters. It is a dangerous site because the turquoise water is very acidic—close to zero, which is one of the largest in the world.
However, the natural landscape in the crater was the main attraction of the visitors. There is the phenomenon of blue flame (blue fire) that appears on the sulfur mine site only at 05.00 a.m. You can see the beautiful sunrise that light bounces on the surface of the water, creating gorgeous color. In addition, the panoramic splendor of Mount Merapi, Mount Raung, Mount Rante, and others can be seen clearly from the crater. To get there, you have to make a climb for approximately 2-3 hours from Paltuding. People start climbing around 2-3 am so you have enough time to reach the top and see sunrise. Once you reach to the top walk to another 1 km to find spots around the crater and wait patiently until the fog clears up to get the magnificent view. Hire a local guide to help you hike safely and help you pacing your breath. If you get tired there are people offering trolley service to carry you to the top. One person is usually carried by 3-4 people. Be sure to tip them generously because it was a really hard labour work.
Tips for hiking Ijen:
– Wear warm jacket in layers as you get hot when hiking but when you reach the top temperature drop to around 5 degree
– Bring water and energy snacks to eat at the top. Bring your rubbish with you
– Wear hiking boots
– Bring headlamp as you will start hiking at 3am and it was dark and there was no lamp
– Trekking poles. You can rent them at the base
– Do routine exercise to prepare yourself
The Baluran National Park is known as the African Savannah of Java. It’s a fitting description. The savannah (Zona Bekol) turns brown in the dry season and the park is surrounded on one side by the sea and ringed by hills and Ijen volcano. The park has a lot of wildlife. You can see buffalo, antelope, monkeys and peacock when you visit. For the best view of the park make sure to climb the watchtower. The best time to visit the National Park is either in the morning or close to sunset time.
You can combine a visit to Baluran National Park with the Ijen Midnight Tour.
Tabuhan Island is located 20 km from Banyuwangi. The best way to reach the island is with public boat. The island is about 5 square km and is surrounded by white sandy beaches with coral reefs offshore that are fed by the nutrient rich waters that flow in the channel between Bali and Java. There are lots of opportunities for deep diving and snorkelling on the surface. If you go snorkelling here expect to see sponges, crayfish, and lot of fish species. You can arrange dive tours from Banyuwangi to Tabuhan Island.
The Red Island is 85 km from Banyuwangi. Few tourists visit the island, instead they come here for the beautiful beach, relaxed atmosphere and great surf. There are lots of small hotels and homestays along the beach, so it is possible to stay here for a few days. In fact if you just want a beautiful beach with few tourists then the Red Island is actually a nice place to go for a short holiday.
De Djawatan Benculuk
Stop by to De Djawatan Benculuk on your way to Red island. It is a park owned and run by Perhutani (Forest Department). Take a walk through footpaths shaded by the branches of towering trees which makes a great instagramable photos. These old towering trees remind you of the Lord of the Ring Movie the two tower.
The perfect time to go there is in the afternoon around 3 – 4 pm because at that time the weather will not be so hot.
Pantai Boom (City Beach)
Used to be an important port in East Java, now Pantai Boom has been developed for tourism. Located in the East of Banyuwangi, only 2km away from the city center, Pantai Boom is a famous place to see sunrise and a hang out place for local people. Pantai Boom has many instagramable spots, one of them is the spiral bridge. There is also eco adventure park and harbour. Once a year there is a popular dance festival “Gandrung Sewu” attended by at least a thousand dancers.
Where to Stay
Our favourite and we think is the best Hotel to stay in Banyuwangi is Dialoog Hotel Banyuwangi. Get the suite which is overlooking the ocean. The restaurant is located at the beachfront next to the swimming pool with a view of Bali island.
On our first trip to Banyuwangi we stayed in the city center in Kokoon Hotel. It is a brand new hotel, very clean and offer a good variety breakfast. You can see the view of Banyuwangi city from the hotel rooftop. This is a recommended Hotel if you prefer to stay in the center.