Jomblang Cave is simply amazing. You can see the photos later on, I promise you will be super impressed. The best thing about it is that Jomblang is just a short day trip from Yogyakarta. It’s the perfect contrast to the culture and temples of Borobudur and Prambanan. I know you’ll want to visit and I’ve even written a post about how to get there. Let me share my experience with you. If you already know about Gua Jomblang and want to visit the site for yourself you can book a tour below. Alternatively keep reading the post and find out what to expect when you visit Goa Jomblang yourself.
Visiting Jomblang Cave
Neatly wrapped in a full body harness, I half relied on a single rope. One of my hands still tightly holding the iron in front of me and my legs perfectly still on the edge of the ledge. Ijul, my friend who suggested we come here, followed the instructions and stood very close to the iron that I was holding onto. After all the ropes and carabiners were locked and perfectly paired, the next instruction made Ijul’s face change slightly. “Sit down, release the iron and hold onto the rope”. She panicked slightly. Who does not panic anyway when they have to rely on a rope 60 meters above the ground?
Ijul and I were concurrently lowered into the Jomblang cave on a single rope. Together we got into the bowels of the earth as deep as 60 meters. We both could not stop chuckling. I guess Ijul’s laugh was part excited just like mine, combined with the feeling of fear. We also managed to take some photos of our feet (boots actually) when we were hanging in the air. We had a short amount of time to admire the walls of the cave when we were lowered into it. What I saw at the bottom of the cave was not something that I imagined.
Mas (Mas is Javanese language for brother; to call older males to show respect) Gatot, our guide was already waiting at the bottom of the cave. He instructed Ijul to take his hands when we had almost reached the bottom. Slowly and safely, we managed to reach the bottom of the cave and sit down just like Mas Gatot asked us to do. Quickly afterward he released us from the rope that was attached to us. As we stood up, Mas Gatot said to both of us “Welcome to the ancient forests”.
Ijul and I rushed to admire the forest, which actually looked like a regular forest (btw, just because it is an ancient, doesn’t mean that there are dinosaurs here. So no worries!). Soon, two other participants joined Ijul, Mas Gatot and I at the base of cave. Mas Gatot explained a few things about the ancient forest in Jomblang cave. He explained some of the trees here are not like the trees that are found above. For example, they are a smaller size (obviously, they have less light), the leaves are different to the usual leaves and so forth. Once we had finished exploring the ancient forest, Mas Gatot invited us to walk deeper into the cave.
All four of us were amazed to see the doors of the hall were very big. From above it was impossible to see the entrance of the hallway, it slowly appear as we descended, however we only realized how big it was when we had almost entered it. With patience Mas Gatot guided us down and answered all of the questions that we had. We asked why the block stones were neatly arranged and started from the entrance of the hallway as if prepared for something. We were busy taking pictures and looking around the mouth of the hallway. Mas Gatot explained, repeating what he explained before we started caving; we would go as far as 250 meters and that would eventually bring us to Goa Grubug.
In the hallway that connects the Jomblang cave and Grubug cave they provided simple lighting that can guide the visitors. It had a very small effect on the natural life of the cave. Mas Gatot explained it was so that we could explore the cave and did need to use a headlamp, which would scare the bats. However, in my opinion the light wasn’t bright at all, just dimly lit rather than dark.
Jomblang cave is managed by the Jomblang resort and became famous in 2011. They always limited to only 25 visitors per day. They said preservation of the cave should always be the number one priority. Rates are set at 450,000 per person, which I think is reasonable given the preparations, equipment and personnel required for all of it. Do not ever compare it with tube caving at Pindul cave, these two activities are indeed related to the cave but totally different.
After walking 250 meters and asking Mas Gatot a lot of questions, we found out that we had arrived at Grubug cave. We could hear the flow of the river sat the bottom; it was from Kali Suci River and eventually leads to Baron beach in the South.
The sound of running water became clearer and clearer. Initially the cool atmosphere inside the connecting hall of the two caves, turned into a bit humid and hot once we are in Grubug cave area. After about three minutes, Grubug cave, which originally looked bleak, turned out to be very amazing with a beam of sunlight that filtered through the lush foliage at the mouth of the cave. Ah, this is the picture that you will find on the Internet when you type in Jomblang Cave comes from!
“Wooooww !!” All four of us were simultaneously dazzled by the sunlight shining from the entrance to Grubug cave. Our guide, Mas Gatot, was probably tired of hearing from visitors how amazing the cave is. We are all busy with our cameras and Mas Gatot also volunteered to help, he even directed us to the good place to take photos and so on. He also talked a bit about the cave, revealing to us that Grubug cave is 90 meters deep for example. He also talked a little about things that are actually too bitter to be discussed (the tragedy that happened in 1965). No matter how hard my efforts to enjoy the fringe of the cave, the shadows of the massacre that occurred around this place continued to haunt me.
Our caving adventure started at 10:30 and finished around 12:30. We exited through the entrance to Jomblang cave, the same place where we started the journey. We were pulled up one by one (not two together like when we went down) from the bottom of the cave. When I was getting pulled up, I remembered that I had stopped hanging midway. That moment was so cool, I could just stare at the wall of the cave.
When I got to the top and saw the process of pulling the participants out of the cave, I understand why it was so expensive. There were about seven people who played a role in pulling a person out of the cave; one person managing at the front, one person assigned to adjust the strap and five people pulling (literally pulling!). The track length that these five people used to pull us was only 30 meters long, so they had to stop in the middle and then turn back again to pull the remaining 30 meters.
After all the participants had come out and released all equipment (full body harness, helmet, except the boots), we were presented with a simple lunch and beverages. Once we finished our lunch, we were invited to see the Grubug cave from above. I was curious to see what it looked like from above, because from the bottom of the cave, I could see that there was a lot of lush foliage. And indeed, when seen from above, the Grubug cave’s entrance is covered with thick and dense leaves, or it could be said that the Grubug cave is actually invisible! Duh, if there were thieves in the village and they ran to escape towards the cave, they will quickly become a footnote in history (free fall 90 meters. Nobody could survive that).
Visit Jomblang For Yourself
So how did you like the story? The photos are pretty amazing right? If you’d like to visit you’ll need to rent a car or a motorcycle (I can help arrange car rentals in . I’ve written a guide about Jomblang. I cover everything you need to know about getting to Jomblang. If you feel inspired to visit I can even help you make a booking.
Have you visited Jomblang? What did you think about the caves? Share your thoughts in the comments below.