06 February 2019
The Sunrise of Java
Located on the eastern-most edge of the island of Java, just across from Bali, there is the regency of Banyuwangi. As the eastern-most city on Java, Banyuwangi welcomes the first rays from the sun at dawn as it begins to spread its light over Java.
Historically, Banyuwangi has not been a popular tourist destination, but since 2014, that has changed. Formerly known as one of the dirtiest cities in East Java and far from being tourism-friendly, Banyuwangi has undergone a complete transformation into arguably the cleanest city in the country. With an increasingly advanced tourism sector, the cleanliness along the protocol road and city road is well-maintained. Culinary tourism is growing hand-in-hand with the art and tradition of Gandrung Sewu that also continues to develop and progress.
Banyuwangi has a diverse natural scenery of looming mountains and natural game reserves that meet with the rolling surge of waves that are the dream of surfers all over the world. Ijen Crater, in the western part of Banyuwangi, is famous for its beautiful crater lake. The National Park of Meru Betiri is famous as a nature conservation area abound with amazing natural wonders spread throughout its 580 km2 territory. There’s also a surfer’s paradise, G-Land and popular windsurfing at spot Tabuhan Island. These locations form the center of the tourism-developed area named the Diamond Triangle, which connects the most popular tourist sights.
Along with the natural attractions, Banyuwangi is enriched by various art and cultural traditions and customs. Gandrung Sewu is a popular dance in Banyuwangi to welcome distinguished guests. In addition to Gandrung, Banyuwangi also boasts Seblang, Kuntulan, Damarwulan, Angklung, Ketoprak, Barong, Kendang Kempul, Jaranan as the city’s arts. To help attract tourists, Banyuwangi presents several festivals to showcase various cultures and arts in the area each year.
How to Get There
- Banyuwangi can be reached by air in approximately 1 hour 45 minutes from Jakarta and 1 hour from Surabaya. Blimbingsari Airport in Banyuwangi is approximately 18 kilometers south of the center of Banyuwangi.
- Banyuwangi sits at the end of the rail line in Java, connecting to Surabaya. There are some cities that have a direct rail line to Banyuwangi: Jember, 2.5 hours; Kalibaru, 1.5 hours; Malang, 7.5 hours; Probolinggo, 4.5–5 hours; Surabaya, 6.5–7.5 hours; and Yogyakarta, 13 hours.
Banyuwangi can also be reached by car from Jakarta within about 24 hours.
From Ngurah Rai International Airport in Bali, Banyuwangi can be reached in 4 hours 40 minutes, including the Bali crossing to Java by ferry from Gilimanuk Port to Ketapang, Banyuwangi, which takes 30 minutes.
PLACES TO VISIT
The beauty of Ijen Crater is one of the main draws for tourists coming to Banyuwangi. The blue fire that appears at the base of the crater at night is a rare natural phenomenon that attracts tourists globally. This natural phenomenon occurs due to sulfur sublimation gas which heats up to a temperature of more than 200 degrees giving rise to blue flames which can only be witnessed in one other places in the world. In addition to the Ijen Crater, this phenomenon also occurs at the Dallol Volcano, Danakil Depression in Ethiopia. The blue fire at Ijen Crater appears every day.
Located in Baluran Park, Savana Sadengan is famous for its landscape that resembles a savanna in Africa. The Sadengan grassland is about two kilometers from the entrance to the Rawa Bendo post. To get around the 80-hectare meadow visitors can rent a jeep owned by Perhutani.
Green Bay Beach
Located in the area of Meru Betiri National Park, about 90 kilometers from the center of Banyuwangi, Green Bay Beach and the adjacent Stone Beach, are lapped by unique green sea water. The water takes on the emerald color due to the marine biota that live on the seafloor like green gangs reflecting the sunlight.
Red Island Beach
This beach is dubbed as the Kuta Beach of Banyuwangi. With a three-kilometer coastline of white sand, Pulau Merah Beach, which has waves up to five meters high, is a new favorite for tourists and novice surfers.