Written by Junanto Xu
Edited by Beverley Lennon
Indonesia is no stranger to magnificent cultural and natural wonders. From UNESCO-inscribed sites like Komodo National Park and Borobudur to surreal paradise-on-earth destinations like Raja Ampat and Lake Toba, the country never ceases to amaze adventurous travellers who seek to witness Mother Nature’s greatest works.
If you happen to be one of those wonder seekers, you’ll be thrilled to know about Ijen Crater, one of the only two sites in the world where you can witness electric blue flames streaming down a volcano!
And just a few hours’ drive from Ijen, you’ll find a small yet gorgeous town known as Banyuwangi. Here’s where you can also find numerous hidden gems so you can embark on a thrilling adventure. A trip to Banyuwangi and Ijen will surprise even the most seasoned traveller and fulfil your great wanderlust.
And the best part? You only have to hop on a short 3-hour direct flight from Kuala Lumpur to tick it off your bucket list!
As at December 2018, Citilink has opened a new route that allows you to fly directly from Kuala Lumpur to Banyuwangi (and vice versa)! Now you don’t need to worry about the hassle of transiting to embark on an exciting trip to somewhere new!
Ready for some adventure?
This itinerary will take you to uncover not only Ijen Crater but also the lesser-known natural wonders in and around Banyuwangi. From a mysterious forest and scenic savannah to a majestic waterfall and pristine island, you will venture to some of the most impressive natural wonders in the region. We’ve also included in the best spots to dine and stay at so you can be sure to enjoy a comfortable trip.
Getting to Banyuwangi
Explore a mysterious forest and indulge in unusual fruit dishes!
If you’re coming on the direct flight from Kuala Lumpur, you will reach Banyuwangi at 3.10 pm so it won’t be long until the sun goes down.
Let’s begin and make best use of the remaining time of the day by visiting a scenic mysterious forest, to later fill your empty stomach with unique dishes derived from the famed dragon fruit (and it isn’t about smoothie bowls). At the end of the day, check into your lavish resort and indulge in glorious views before recharging for your ultimate volcano hike!
Step into a forest of fantasy – Jawatan Benculuk (1 – 1.5 hours)
Make your “Lord of the Rings” fantasy come true and venture deep into the Forest of Fangorn of Banyuwangi!
Here, hundreds of Trembesi trees branch out in irregular directions and ooze out mystical exotic vibes, creating a perfect location to snap pictures with surreal backdrops. Staying until sunset time means you get to relish magical golden rays piercing through the canopies, so you might not want to miss this show!
You sure have heard about the famous dragon fruit and you’ve probably had it for breakfast, blended in a beautiful smoothie bowl, but did you ever find them in a main dish? Find shelter at this laid-back dragon fruit fortress (which is named ‘Benteng Buah Naga’ in Bahasa Indonesia) and surprise your tastebuds with a plate of dragon fruit fried rice or dragon fruit meatballs!
Photo Via Beliapranita30-2, Fotosintesis-image-cinema
Every art and nature lovers’ haven – Jiwa Jawa Ijen (3 – 4 hours)
With numerous intriguing artworks spreading across the establishment, you’ll wonder whether you just checked into a resort or an art gallery. But nothing compares to Mother Nature’s real chef-d’oeuvre as from here you can bask in panoramic views of endless lush greenery with majestic mountains guarding from afar!
Note: Remember to set your alarm as you will need to reach the starting point for your hike at 1am!
Photo Via Rizmazizahh, Chairustakmal, Rinda_tiamahardika
Conquer Ijen’s rare blue flames!
In order to witness the fiery blue fire volcano, it is recommended to reach Paltuding Post (Ijen’s starting point) at 1am. From there, the hike will take around four to five hours, and although the terrain isn’t considered extreme nor challenging, do beware of the sulfur gas coming from the crater. We highly recommend you to bring along a mask for safety reasons.
Once done with the hike, why not relax at a scenic savannah – Kawah Wurung, and explore Blawan Waterfall before heading back to Banyuwangi?
TripCanvas Tip: Do remember to pack your breakfast beforehand!
What is more spectacular than watching a volcano emit a river of eccentric blue flames that sparkle at night? This out-of-the world phenomenon can only be found in two places in the world so make sure you treasure every second of it!
A scene out of ‘The Lion King’! Bask in this idyllic savannah that stretches as far as your eyes to rejuvenate your body and mind after a marvellous hike. The best way to appreciate such picturesque lush panorama is by sitting back and doing absolutely nothing. Throw in an elephant or two, a zebra and a giraffe and you would be transported to Africa without having to leave Indonesia!
Photo Via Galihwimba
Why stick to one waterfall when you can relish on a collection of cascading waters at Blawan Waterfall? The gush of water at this waterfall is seen to cascade out into a series of rocky outcrops, creating a multi-waterfall effect.
Photo Via Karinadila8921
Dig in local flavours! – Kemarang Waroeng (1 – 1.5 hours)
Immerse yourself into the local way of life as you dine in a traditional house that comes with unobstructed views of lush paddy fields. The wooden pavilions, the live traditional music performances, and the authentic menu here help to fully immerse in the local way of life of Banyuwangi.
Photo Via Silas.saputra, Ivyayu_
Stop by this traditional village and learn how indigenous Osing tribes preserve their ancestors’ traditions that date back to the Majapahit Kingdom era! Get to know how locals cultivate their coffee, master the culinary secrets of Banyuwangi, practise their traditional dances and instruments, or why not join the farmers in the rice fields?
The village offers an array of packages for travellers who want to experience authentic Osing culture.
Photo Via Faslah_rinaldo-Agus-Susanto2-Adventure-Wisata
The 50-square-metre fishing pond at Resto Manizku lets you catch your own fish before turning it into a delicious grilled goodness! The restaurant also serves menu-based dishes with their Ikan Bakar Rica-rica (fish grilled in local spices) and Kepiting Soka Telur Asin (salted egg soft-shelled crab) as ultimate must-tries.
Photo Via Dhika_tri_saputra, Aisyah_adsyah
Located smack bang in the middle of the city, Hotel Blambangan serves as a strategic haven for travellers to rest after a long adventure in and around Banyuwangi. Though small in size, this minimalistic hotel provides all necessary amenities and comforts enjoyed by travellers while on vacation (yes, that includes the AC too!).
TripCanvas Tip: Recommended for Days 2-4 (2 nights)!
Photo Via Widyaningsihira
Sail to a hidden paradise and go for some souvenir hunting!
Still feeling a little worn out from yesterday’s adventurous hike? Save this day to relax! Come and escape to a tropical paradise and relish clear waters. From day to night, make your last moments count. Celebrate your last night here with a scrumptious seafood feast and a few hours of shopping!
They don’t call it the “smacking rice” for nothing! Nasi Tempong literally means ‘smacking’ and a plate of this exquisite dish will give your tastebuds a good smack indeed! A portion of Nasi Tempong usually consists of boiled vegetables, tempeh, bakwan (corn fritter), chicken, egg, and other ingredients of your choice, slathered with freshly made sambal sauce.
Photo Via Ocky-W, Ellen-K, Rahmad.jk, Esubijono
Escape to a forgotten tropical paradise – Tabuhan Island (3 – 4 hours)
A short 15-minute boat ride from Banyuwangi sits a tranquil little paradise with crystal clear waters and a pristine beach stretch. Tabuhan Island hides a breathtaking underwater world that is waiting to be explored, or you could also simply laze on the golden sunburnt sand all day while relishing spectacular volcano views.
Photo Via Harivalzayuka, Jackson.groves
Conclude your tropical escape with a scrumptious seafood feast. Head to Three B and indulge in freshly caught seafood at affordable prices! A feast for both stomach and eyes as you get to enjoy stunning views of the ocean dotted with sailboats as you dig into perfectly marinated crustaceans.
Photo Via Cindydwiaprilli_, Dickyrevanfauzi
Shop for local crafts and snacks – Osing Deles Cafe (1.5 – 2 hours)
Don’t go back home empty-handed. Take a trip to Osing Deles to find unique local handicrafts, snacks, and batik sourced directly from local artisans. You get to support local talents, as well as bring back unique creations for friends and family. As its name suggests, the place is also a cafe so you might as well stay for a last bite!
Head to the airport and start planning for your next trip!
Since the only direct flight back to Kuala Lumpur departs at 8.20am, you may not have much time to explore Banyuwangi on the last day.
But fret not, more adventures await in Indonesia. This magnificent country has an array of magical sites that are waiting to be discovered! You can check out more stories and itineraries here.
Best time to travel
Opt for the dry season (June – October) when visiting Ijen and Banyuwangi. However, since the weather nowadays is almost unpredictable (massive rainfall may occur during dry season and vice versa), we recommend you to check the weather forecast when planning your travel dates.
Hikers can also opt to travel during December, as fog intensity will be significantly lower. However, December is considered as the rainy season so the terrain may be slippery.
Transportation in Banyuwangi might not always be simple and convenient so we recommend you to rent a car with driver to travel around due to poor road conditions.