If you are in East of Java it is almost inevitable that you will visit Banyuwangi. The town is the gateway to Bali and it is the best place to stay if you want to visit Ijen Crater and see the blue flames. Yet there is more to Banyuwangi than Ijen. The with beautiful beaches, great surf and stunning nature. To help you make the most of your time in the Banyuwangi and just what is available to tourists, here is a list of the 9 best things to do in Banyuwangi. Let’s get started with one of the best things–so far–to do in the region!
Ijen is an active volcano that looms over the town. The volcano is famous for its sulphur miners, striking yellow landscape and the blue flames that appear at night. It’s a 30-45 minute drive from Banyuwangi to Ijen. The cheapest way to visit Ijen is with a shared tour. The shared tour costs around Rp 185,000 per person (covers only the transport) with pick up in Banyuwangi area.
Wedi Ireng Beach
Wedi Ireng Beach is located 65 km to the South of Banyuwangi. The beach gets its name because of the color of the sand (Wedi means ‘sand’ in Javanese and Ireng means ‘black.’ Ironically the sand is actually white, but there is black sand underneath the surface. The beach is not very busy and the perfect escape if you want to surround yourself with nature.
Sukamade Beach is located 96 km away from Bayuwangi in Meru Betiri National Park. The beach is famous as a turtle hatchery. Almost every day of the year turtles will come to Sukamade Beach to lay their eggs. You can arrange a guided tour to Sukamade Beach from Banyuwangi (and is probably one of the best things to do in Banyuwangi when you visit the area). The Sukamade Tour is a two day one night tour. On the tour you sleep overnight in the National Park (the accommodation is basic but clean) and go trekking in the evening to see the turtles come to lay their eggs. It’s an amazing experience. Find out how to visit Sukamade Beach here.
If you love to surf then you should add Plengkung Beach, often referred to as G-Land on your ‘to do list’ for your trip to Banyuwangi. This is a surf break for experienced surfers with shallow reef breaks and long barrel waves. The Plengkung Beach is isolated. There are a number of surf camps along the beach that you can stay at when you visit G-Land. Alternatively you can always visit the beach on a day trip from Bali.
The Baluran National Park is known as the African Savannah of Java. It’s a fitting description. The savannah (Zona Bekol) turns brown in the dry season and the park is surrounded on one side by the sea and ringed by hills and Ijen volcano. The park has a lot of wildlife. You can see buffalo, antelope, monkeys and peacock when you visit. For the best view of the park make sure to climb the watchtower. The best time to visit the National Park is either in the morning or close to sunset time. You can combine a visit to Baluran National Park with the Ijen Midnight Tour.
Tabuhan Island is located 20 km from Banyuwangi. The best way to reach the island is with public boat. The island is about 5 square km and is surrounded by white sandy beaches with coral reefs offshore that are fed by the nutrient rich waters that flow in the channel between Bali and Java. There are lots of opportunities for deep diving and snorkelling on the surface. If you go snorkelling here expect to see sponges, crayfish, and lot of fish species. You can arrange dive tours from Banyuwangi to Tabuhan Island.
Blambangan Museum is located in Banyuwangi. The museum has several exhibits on local culture and examples of local batik. The museum is quite old and will need significant investment if it is going to attract tourists. If you are spending a few days visiting Banyuwangi consider visiting the museum as there are some things of interest to see. If you are only passing through town quickly then don’t add this to your ‘to do’ list.
The Red Island is 85 km from Banyuwangi. Few tourists visit the island, instead they come here for the beautiful beach, relaxed atmosphere and great surf. There are lots of small hotels and homestays along the beach, so it is possible to stay here for a few days. In fact if you just want a beautiful beach with few tourists then the Red Island is actually a nice place to go for a short holiday.
Hoo Tong Bio Temple
Hoo Tong Bio or Klenteng Banyuwangi (or some called it The Kongco Tan Hu Cin Jin Temple) is one of the few places to visit in Banyuwangi. The temple is dedicated to Chen Fu Zen and was built in estimation 1768–1784. He is a spiritual figure for many people in the Chinese Indonesian community who live in Bali, East Java and Lombok. You can find out more about Chen Fu Zhen Ren on this Wikipedia page.
When you start to really explore Banyuwangi you quickly realise just how many fun and interesting things there are to do in and around the town. Add Sukamade Beach and Meru Betiri National Park to your travel itinerary for an unforgettable off the beaten track experience. Alternatively for a cheap beach vacation, Red Island might be exactly what you are looking for.
What do you think of this list? Did I miss any activities around Banyuwangi that you would recommend? Share your thoughts in the comments below.