When people think of travel destinations in Indonesia, one word comes to mind: Bali. But what about other places such as East Java?
It’s a province that’s equally rich in wonder and fascination. To give some ideas to those who absolutely love travelling, here are some hidden gems in East Java that are definitely worth the visit.
An island located approximately 150 km north of Surabaya in the Java Sea, off the coast of Java; it’s one of the most beautiful islands you’ll ever visit. It is also known as Pulau Putri or “island of women”. Bawean is surrounded by beautiful beaches such as Gili Noko and Noko Selayar. With beautiful scenery and landscapes, they will surely leave you in awe. If you’re looking for mesmerising sunsets, Makam Panjang and Tanjung Gaang beaches are the places to go. With beautiful spots for sunset shots, these beaches are amazingly Instagrammable locations.
Aside from beaches, there’s Kastoba Lake which is located in Paromaan village, Candi, Tambak district, Bawean Gresik. Despite the hundreds of steps you need to climb up, it’ll be worth it when you see the clear waters and fresh air and admire this beautiful gift from nature. There’s also a Bawean Deer Sanctuary, which is one of Bawean’s endemic species which is found only on this island. You can reach this place by using a speedboat or ferry. So, what are you waiting for? Bawean Island is the place to go!
Gua Lowo, a cave located at Watuagung, Watulimo sub-district of Trenggalek Regency, means “bat cave” in Indonesian. Just like its name suggests, you’ll find no creatures other than bats in said cave. Though the cave reaches a length of about five km, only 859 metres are accessible to visitors. Gua Lowo is also the biggest natural cave in Southeast Asia. Since the cave is surrounded by a teak forest, you can expect to feel the fresh air and mountain breeze as soon as you arrive.
When you head inside the cave, you’ll see the wide cave chamber, its walls beautifully decorated and, of course, a splendid panorama. This will definitely be a treat for you artistic ones; the cave is filled with stalactites and stalagmites. The rays of sunshine inside the cave definitely add an aesthetic feel to the atmosphere. There are also bridges and electric lamps along the cave; a real call for adventure!
Ijen is a group of volcanoes located on the border just between Banyuwangi and Bondowoso. Mount Ijen is a one-km wide, turquoise-coloured, acidic crater lake. The mountain is also known for its blue flames, a spectacular and out-of-this-world sight. This tourist attraction has drawn the attention of many people, especially ever since National Geographic mentioned the electric-blue flames of Ijen.
The phenomenon has occurred for a long time, but midnight hiking wasn’t very popular until recently. A two-hour hike is required to reach the rim of the crater, followed by a 45-minute hike down to the bank of the crater. The blue fire is ignited sulphuric gas, which emerges from cracks at astonishing temperatures of up to 600°C. The flames can be up to five metres high. Some of the gas condenses to liquid and is still ignited. It is the largest blue flame area in the world and local people refer to it as “blue fire”. Make sure to come and visit this beautiful place when you get the chance!
Tumpak Sewu, meaning “a thousand waterfalls” in Indonesian, will definitely be one of your best travel memories ever. These splendid waterfalls are 120 metres high, making them among the tallest waterfalls in Indonesia. You can view the waterfalls from both above and below. The top viewpoint is only ten minutes away from the parking area. You’ll see a curtain of magnificent falls flowing down as smooth as silk. To reach the bottom viewpoint, you’ll have to go through a few sets of bamboo stairs and narrow streams, but I promise it’ll be worth it. The view from below is amazing – you can feel the incredible force of nature and running water within you. This is definitely one of those must-visits in East Java!
Mount Semeru, also known as Mahameru, meaning “the great mountain”, is an active volcano that also earned the title of being the highest mountain in Java. The name derives from Hindu cosmology’s mountain of Meru or Sumeru; the abode of gods. Mount Semeru is one of the most popular hiking destinations in Indonesia, and for a good reason. This adrenaline-activating hike demands a set of good hiking skills and pushes you beyond your limits. Therefore, it is recommended for more experienced hikers. However, all the fatigue after the hike will soon be washed away when you reach your destination. You’ll be welcomed by cool air and, of course, a breathtaking view. Definitely one for those with an adventurous soul!