Having seen almost all parts of Bali, I had been remarkably eager to hear about the direct flight offers from Kuala Lumpur to Banyuwangi (East Java). Although wholly honest, I did not understand what to do except hiking around Ijen Crater and pursuing the blue flame flames. After having spent a few days, I can now inform you that there is more to watch and research. It’s a rather laid-back and slow-paced destination – compared to Bali, but it is a fantastic break when you would like to escape from the hustle and bustle of busy Kuta, for instance!
Anyway, you might also find some comfy stays with stunning views of Bali Strait (and Bali from the background). Therefore, if you can not think of some other destination apart from Bali to your next travels, give a visit to Banyuwangi – you might as well combine your trip and pay for two goals at the same go since there’s also a quick trip from Bali to Banyuwangi today!
- Kalibaru Rail Tour: Traversing plantations and mountains by train
Don’t want to drive or walk too to enjoy the natural scenery of Banyuwangi? Then, why don’t you take a railway tour? From Kalibaru station to Mrawan PP station, the railroad will take you through coffee plantations 400 metres high, depart Mount Gumitir using its fresh atmosphere, and temporarily stop in a dark tunnel where you are able to snap some quick pictures.
One rail train is capable of just 16 passengers, and you can either lease the whole train for Rp.1,200,000 (roughly USD 90) or at not more significant than Rp.100,000 per individual (approximately USD 7.50). This trip will take approximately 50 minutes. Besides enjoying natural scenery from the train, you’ll also find out about the background of the railroad system in Indonesia. The rail tour works on Saturday and Sunday. However, it’s still possible to book an excursion on weekdays should you like to achieve that.
- Jawatan Benculuk: Take a walk with elves and fairies at this whimsical forest
Create your “Lord of the Rings” fantasy come true and venture deep in the Forest of Fangorn of Banyuwangi! Here, tens of thousands of Trembesi trees branch out from irregular directions and ooze out mystical, exotic vibes, developing a perfect location to snap pictures with surreal backdrops. Staying until sunset time ensures that you get to enjoy magical gold rays piercing through the comforter, which means you may not want to miss this show! I envisioned how magic it would be to establish a picnic; it is like taking a jump into Alice in Wonderland with elves and fairies hiding from the bushes – a forest of dreams!
- Purwo Temple: Place of Ancestors
Situated in Alas Purwo National Park and a symbol of Javanese civilization, Purwo Temple rises from the mangrove forest and is set in the confluence between 2 rivers. Built to remind the Javanese about their ancestors and source and that the archipelago was initially found from the East, The temple is named “purwo”, which signifies oldest. It is also nestled in the oldest forest in Java.
Strategically situated at the crossroads between islands, the temple is an exceptional area where distinct communities see and give their prayers, particularly the Hindus out of Bali and the Hindus in Tegaldlimo district. Nowadays, many rituals, cultural and art performances, and local social gatherings have been kept.
- Ijen Crater: Conquer a fervent active volcano and relish on magical blue fires
It took about 20 minutes after starting up our hike Ijen Crater to realize that this was a terrible thought. Likewise, it took us about 10 minutes to know it was worth it! I am not necessarily fit, so that I could be exaggerating here! Though some claim they can do it in 1 hour or even 45 minutes, we chose a good 2 hours (almost ) to reach the crater before going down to the blue flames and battling through thick clouds of sulfur smoke!
We began our walk. It was fairly easy at the beginning until the several steep streets that had my feelings entirely mirroring a real volcano – peaceful and quiet at times and rumbling with boiling frustration at other times! What made it even harder was the chilly wind and the sight of many hikers offering up. But we made it on the top. What brings people to Ijen isn’t always its greenish lake. Its unique blue flames down the crater (nevertheless, it is prohibited and somewhat dangerous to return) by government officials.
However, having come all of the ways here, we decided to explore further and find an up-close-and-personal look of the iconic blue flames. Hear me – you will need a proper mask if you don’t need to suffocate. A proper functioning torch would be of excellent help, too as you will be moving down the crater when it is still pitch dark!
As for me, I still think about the sunrise view as the highlight of the hike – conquering Ijen Crater rewarded us with a few of the most intriguing views that we have ever observed. Finally, at about 5.30 am the skies slowly enlighten with lovely shades of blue, purple, orange, and pink. At this moment, all the pain and exhaustion were abandoned. As the sun slowly rose, the scenery outside was incredible to behold, and we found ourselves snapping numerous pictures in a bid to catch the beauty. Without a doubt, hiking Ijen Crater was one of the illest and emotionally challenging things I have ever achieved. The incline, the loose knots, and the elevation contributed to all challenges, and the way down wasn’t easier either.
Ready to start your getaway to Banyuwangi? Visit Wonderful Indonesia, and don’t miss out on the magic!