Most travellers will only be familiar with Banyuwangi for two reasons. It’s often either the first or last stop on an overland trip through Java (depending on whether you are heading to or from Bali). It’s also a great access point for exploring the Kawah Ijen volcano. Whatever the purpose of your visit, there are plenty of reasons to linger. Here are my top things to do around Banyuwangi.
Top Things To Do Around Banyuwangi, Indonesia
Kawah Ijen Volcano
One of the highlights of the region (if not the whole of Java) is the Kawah Ijen volcano crater that’s easily reached from Banyuwangi. The main draw is the night hike to the rim and down into the crater itself. Here you can experience the incredible blue fire phenomenon as sulphuric gases emerging from the volcano ignite. It’s also an active sulphur mine and you will see locals carry back-breaking loads of sulphur up the side of the crater. If you don’t want to go down into the crater, the views from the rim are still well worth the hike. There are tours available from Banyuwangi or you can just pre-book your transport to the start of the hike. Both options will generally include entrance fees and gas masks (trust me, you’ll need one). Look out for my upcoming post on hiking Kawah Ijen!
Exploring beautiful rice terraces
Banyuwangi is a busy city but much of it is still surrounded by unspoilt countryside. Our homestay was surrounded by lush greenery and quiet country lines with only the sounds from the nearby mosque and passing trains breaking the silence. After crossing the train tracks one evening, I stumbled on postcard-worthy rice fields framed by palms and small huts with straw roofs. This was real Java, with not a tourist insight and inquisitive locals stopping to say hello.
Cooling down at Jagir Waterfall
Surrounded by lush greenery, Jagir Waterfall is a perfect place to escape the heat and humidity of Banyuwangi. The water cascades down from a natural spring above the waterfall into a small crystal clear pool which is great for a dip. It’s a popular place with locals and you can easily while away an hour or two relaxing here. You can also take a short walk through the forest to nearby Kethegan waterfall. Located around 12 km from the centre of the city it can be easily accessed by either hiring a bike or using a taxi. We used Grab – a popular ride-hailing app – for the 25 minute journey from our homestay. The road twists and turns past rice fields and small villages. There is an entrance fee of 5000 IDR (less than 50 cents). If you book a tour of Ijen, a visit to Jagir Waterfall is usually included in the price.
Baluran National Park
At the north-eastern tip of Java is the incredible Baluran National Park – with the landscape having more in common with Africa than Indonesia! The open savanna makes up almost half of the park’s area with the namesake extinct volcano at the heart of the park. There is plenty of wildlife to spot too including water buffaloes, monkeys and even leopards! It’s about 45 kilometres north of Banyuwangi.
Alas Purwo National Park
Head to the south-eastern tip of the island this time to get to another national park! A remote part of Java, Alas Purwo National Park is located about 80 km from Banyuwangi. Tropical rainforests, mangroves and savannas are some of the landscapes you can expect and the beaches are excellent too! The park is also home to a world-famous G-Land surf club so you can expect some great breaks too! Alas Purwo (literally translated as “Ancient Forest”) holds special meaning to the Javanese as legends say it was the first place on earth to have emerged from the ocean. There is a national park office in Banyuwangi that’s worth checking in with for latest info and accommodation bookings.
Unwinding at Didu’s Homestay
Didu’s would have to be up there with one of the best places I stayed in the whole of South East Asia. Spacious bungalows are dotted around a sprawling garden that’s perfect to unwind in. Rooms have big beds with mosquito nets, amazing outdoor showers and a terrace with garden views. The freshly prepared breakfast is great and delicious lunch and dinner options can be delivered straight from one of the nearby restaurants. Maya is one of the best hosts you could wish for and can help with arranging everything from Ijen tours to transfers. You could quite easily spend a couple of days here without even leaving the homestay! We even met a German guy who stayed a few years ago and loved it so much that he came back to relax for a few days!
What: Banyuwangi is a city on the eastern tip of Java. It’s best known for being the link between Java and Bali with regular ferries running between Ketapang (Java) and Gilimanuk (Bali).
Getting There: Depends where you are coming from! It’s an easy ferry hop from Bali (Gilimanuk) and acts as the gateway to Java if travelling east to west. If you are heading the other way, Banyuwangi will likely be your last stop on Java. It’s a 4.5 hour train ride from Probolinggo (access point for Mount Bromo) and just over 6 hours from Surabaya. Banyuwangi has a domestic airport.
Accommodation: We stayed at the amazing Didu’s Homestay (see above). It was one of my favourite places to stay in the whole of Asia and I highly recommend hanging out there for a day or two. Friendly staff, beautiful bungalows, delicious food and a chilled vibe all meant that we didn’t want to leave!
Pin it for later: