Banyuwangi is at the easternmost tip of Java, and is best known for its ferry connection at Ketapang to Gilimanuk in Bali. This area has a lot more to offer though and it is becoming better known as a visitor destination in its own right. Banyuwangi is also the gateway to some stunning volcanic scenery on the Ijen Plateau as well as the main access point for the Baluran National Park, world renowned surfing at G-Land (Grajagan), and the remote Alas Purwo National Park.
- Banyuwangi Government Culture and Tourism Service, Jl. A. Yani 78, ☎ , e-mail: email@example.com.
- Tourist Information Centre, Ketapang Harbour (ASDP), Jl Gatot Subroto, Ketapang.
- Alas Purwo National Park Head Office, Jl A Yani 108. ☎ +62 333 428675.
Banyuwangi is served by Blimbingsari Airport. Wings Air has one daily flight to Surabaya. Starting 1 May 2014, Garuda Indonesia started flying between Denpasar, Bali to Banyuwangi, and from Banyuwangi to Surabaya.
Banyuwangi Train station, ☎ +62 333 510396, is close to Ketapang ferry port, about 300 m to the northwest.
The main bus terminal is Sri Tanjung, ☎ +62 333 510635, 2 km south of Ketapang port. Surabaya is 285 km away by road, and buses take about 6 hours.
Ferries run from Gilimanuk in Bali to Ketapang every 30 min, operated 24 hours a day. The journey takes about 45 minutes, although loading and unloading can take much longer. Price Rp 7,000 for foot passengers. The ferry operator is ASDP, ☎ +62 333 413730.
The main bus station in Banyuwangi is at Ketapang ferry terminal. From there, regular yellow coloured bemos and shuttle buses run into the city (Sri Tanjung bus terminal/Brawijaya bus terminal), and elsewhere in the vicinity. Becaks (horse-cart/pedicabs) are widely available in town.
Most surfers heading for G-Land are doing so from Bali, and transportation to the camps is part of their surf package. You can however reach G-Land independently with a bus from Sri Tanjung terminal to Benculuk (about 1 hour), where you change and catch another bus to Grajagan (about 30 minutes).
You can hire private jeeps with a driver in Banyuwangi. Vital for independent trips up to the Ijen Crater or for exploring the remote parts of the south eastern coastal National parks.
Alas Purwo National Park
This is one of the more remote and least populated parks areas of Java, and one which is relatively under-visited due to both the difficulties of getting there and the lack of developed accommodation options. It is also an area of great mystical significance to the Javanese - local legend has it that this was the first area of the whole world to emerge from the ocean.
The park is largely flat with highest peak only 320 m and covers some 43,000 hectares. There are some beautiful, deserted beaches here as well as large swatches of lowland tropical forest. The world famous G-land surf camp is on the park borders.
The key access point to the park is the village of Triangulasi which is about 80 km south east of Banyuwangi. Before visiting you should make contact with the national park office in Banyuwangi at Alas Purwo National Park Head Office, Jl A Yani 108, ☎ +62 333 428675. There is some very basic self-catering hut accommodation at Triangulasi, as well as a camping ground and the park office will be able to advise you on this.
Mammals to be seen inside the park include banteng (the buffalo of Java), asiatic wild dog, leopard cat, muntjac deer and ebony leaf monkey. The park's western beaches are noted turtle hatching areas with olive ridley, hawksbill, green and leatherback turtles all occurring.
The Ijen Plateau
Near Banyuwangi and Bondowoso, this is a spectacular area of volcanic activity. The Ijen Plateau is the centrepoint of the large mountain range west of Banyuwangi, and which abuts the Baluran National Park to the north.
The Ijen Crater (Kawah Ijen) can be approached from Bondowoso in the west or Banyuwangi in the east. The Bondowoso route is recommended as the road is relatively better (although that is not saying much) and the 90 minute foot climb much easier. From Bondowoso you are best off finding a guide with a car (preferably a 4x4) who will drive you through the village of Wonosari and eastwards up a very basic potholled road which winds its way up the mountain. You will pass through native casuarina forest and extensive coffee plantations before the road ends at the village of Jampit where there is some shelter available (Pos Paltuding). If you are travelling late in the day, you could actually bed down with a sleeping bag or camp here as you could in the disused vulcanology station huts slightly further up the mountain. The crater lake is a 90 minute hike further on from here. When you arrive the colour of the water in the lake is scarcely believable being an extraordinary vivid aqua blue. Evidence of volcanic activity is everywhere with steaming water and brilliant yellow crystaline sulphur deposits. Collecting the latter is an industry here and one with extremely harsh working conditions. You will see many workers trudging up and down the mountain carrying sacks of sulphur.
To the crater there are two roads: one from Banyuwangi and the other from Bondowoso. Both come together at the parking, from where you can go up to the crater. Neither road is good, but the Bondowoso route is easier.
Many other post-caldera cones and craters are located within the caldera or along its rim. The largest concentration of post-caldera cones forms an E-W-trending zone across the southern side of the caldera. Coffee plantations cover much of the Ijen caldera floor, and tourists are drawn to its waterfalls, hot springs, and dramatic volcanic scenery. The Ijen Crater is certainly one of the great natural wonders of Indonesia.
- Gandrung Dance. This is a highly regarded art-form in Banyuwangi and one of the nicknames for the city is actually Gandrung. In Javanese Gandrung means hopelessly in love. The love in this case is directed to Dewi Sri, the goddess of rice. The performance is a homage to Dewi Sri in gratitude for the rice harvest. The performance is a very special cultural event with unique orchestration. Check at the Tourist Information Centre for scheduled performances.
- Surf at G-Land (Grajagan Beach) about 60 km south of Banyuwangi. One of the world's most consistent left-hand reefbreaks, Grajagan was first surfed in 1972. A few years later he Australian Boyum bothers built a rickety bamboo treehouse on the beach bordering the remote Alas Purwo National Park on Java's south-east tip and the G-Land surf camp concept was born. These days there are several basic surfcamps between the wild jungle and kilometre-long coral reef. Permission to stay at G-Land must be obtained from the park rangers in advance, which is handled by the surf camp management. The camps offer all inclusive surf packages from 3 days and upwards, details on the following websites:
- G-Land Bobby's Surf Camp, . Run by a Balinese surfer who took over the original surf camp operation from the Boyum brothers.
- Joyo's G-Land Surf Camp, . Also have an office in Bali at Gang Benesari 77, Poppies II, Kuta, Bali.
- See a magician. From all over the archipelago Indonesians flock to consult Banyuwangi's famous and infamous practitioners of white magic and the darker arts, the dutak.
- Gallery & Museum Mozes Misdy, Jl Gatot Subroto 119, Ketapang, ☎ . Mozes Midzy is a renowned Javanese modern artist and he was born in Banyuwangi in 1941. This gallery showcases his work and pieces are available for purchase.
Street stall and simple warung food is the go in Banyuwangi and you will find lots of it. Easy to find in the middle of town.
- Grafika, ☎ . Jl Raya Situbondo km 13, Banyuwangi,
- Melati, ☎ . Jl Raya Situbondo km 12 Banyuwangi,
- Cawang Indah, ☎ . Jl Raya Situbondo, Banyuwangi no.10,
- Pondok Wina, ☎ . Jl Basuki Rahmat, Banyuwangi, in front of Brawijaya bus terminal,
- Wina Emak Joe, ☎ . Jl Basuki Rahmat, Banyuwangi,
- Tanjung Lestari seafood, Jl.Yos sudarso no.171 (Banyuwangi city town), ☎ .
- Bik Atik, Jl.Ahmad yani no. 83 (Banyuwangi city town), ☎ .
There is a lot of fairly identical budget accommodation in Banyuwangi and there are often several well-meaning and well-mannered touts at the Ketapang ferry terminal eager to take you to their option. Not such a bad thing to play along - it will cost you little if any, extra.
Near the ferry
- Hotel Baru, Jl Raya Ketapang (1.5 km from Ketapang terminal), ☎ .
- Manyar Hotel, Jl Gatot Subroto 74 (right at Ketapang ferry terminal), ☎ . A rather soulless hotel but it is convenient for a one night stopover before or after taking the ferry.
- Mirah Hotel, Jl Yos Sudarso, Klatak, Giri., ☎ , e-mail: firstname.lastname@example.org. Conveniently located just minutes south of Ketapang ferry terminal. from Rp 170,000.
- Berlin Barat Hotel, Jl Letjen Haryono MT 96, Banjarsari, Glagah, ☎ . Very much aimed at the budget traveller. Good clean rooms arranged around an open courtyard. Western-style toilets but no hot water.
- Wisma Blambangan, Jl Dr Wahidin Sudirohusodo 4, Karangrejo, ☎ . Budget accommodation in the town.
- Giri Indah Hotel, Jl.Hayam wuruk no. 301 (west of city center on ring road), ☎ . Low budget hotel with air-con. Rp 125,000.
- Hotel Warata, Jl.Widuri no.2 (on the way to Desa wisata osing recreation center), ☎ . , Basic backpack accommodation 1.5 km from city centre. Rp 70,000-100,000.
- Ihtiar Surya, Jl Gajah Mada no.9 Banyuwangi, ☎ . , Low budget accommodation.
- Ritansa Roebuck, Jl. Sayu Wiwit 50, ☎ . Includes restaurant with good food. Hot showers, free wifi. Offers nighttime transportation to Ijen crater for Rp. 600,000 roundtrip per car. Rp. 150,000 - 300,000.
- Ketapang Indah Hotel, Jl Gatot Subroto Km 6, ☎ , fax: +62 333 423597, e-mail: email@example.com. Waterfront cottages and rooms about 7 minutes from Ketapang ferry terminal (left hand side, heading south towards Banywangi). Good sized swimming pool and restaurant. Staff are efficient. Conveniently located for access to the ferry terminal. Can arrange tours. Price: around Rp 450,000 for a quite pleasant room with air-con and hot water. Includes breakfast..
- Ijen Resto Cottages, 100 Jl Licin 20km in desa (village) Licin, Ijen (west of Banyuwangi on the way to Ijen), ☎ , e-mail: , firstname.lastname@example.org. Rural budget accommodation near Desa (village) Licin, to the west of Banyuwangi, on the way up towards the Ijen Crater. The road is quite bumpy for the last kilometre or so after turning off the main (sealed) road.
- Ijen Hotel, Near Desa (village) Licin, ☎ , e-mail: email@example.com. About 25 mins out of Banyuwangi to the west, climbing up towards the Ijen plateau (turn west at Licin village). This is nice hotel with bungalows and private villas. Offers a range of activities at Ijen including climbing up to the crater, trekking in the foothills and visits to local villages. In May 2014 the 3 km entrance road (leading off the main sealed road) was in a poor state making travel into the hotel quite difficult. Price: over $US 150 per person per night.
- Villa Keluarga RH (Rhiko Hangduwe), Jl. Raya Situbondo No.256 B Ketapang. Banyuwangi (Located 7 minutes northwest of Ketapang ferry terminal), ☎ , e-mail: info@VillaRH.com. Villa RH is a beautiful private villa with an absolute 8 bedrooms which can comfortably sleep up to 14.
- Baluran National Park — is a grassland, forest and coastal park with lovely, deserted beaches.
- Sukamade — turtle conservation beach.