Travel made in August 2017
Duration: 12 days
Welcome to Java!
Today, the trip that I propose to you in Myoxybubble Java is not going to be easy! Forget the sleepy mornings! Only the brave, early risers and people in good physical condition can make this trip. Any effort during this trip will be rewarded with the magic of Indonesia. You will travel more than 1000 Km from east to west.
You will discover on this island a lush tropical nature, breathtaking volcanoes, extraordinary temples and very wild beaches.
- Welcome to Java!
- A trip to Java!
- Day 1 : Jakarta to Bandung
- Day 2 : The hypnotic colors of Kawah Putih
- Day 3 : The lush vegetation of the green canyon
- Day 4 : Meet the inhabitants of Pangandaran
- Day 5 : Pinus Pengger’s dream
- Day 6 : The beauty of the temples of Borobudur and Pranbanam
- Day 7 : The magic of Kraton, the fun of bling-bling car
- Day 8 : Direction Probolinggo and mount Bromo volcano!
- Day 9 : The ascent of Mount Bromo and the laying of turtles in Sukamade
- Day 10 : Release of baby turtles and Meru Betiri National Park
- Day 11 : Discover Banyuwangi and its surroundings
- Day 12 : The blue flames of Kawah Ijen
- My advice
You can click on all the photos in this article in order to view them in large format
A trip to Java!
Day 1 : Jakarta to Bandung
Landing in Jakarta after 20 hours of flight and a stopover in Riyadh. 2 solutions are available to you! Either you take an overnight stay in the largest city of java or go directly to Bandung. We chose to escape the hustle and bustle of the capital and go directly to Bandung located 150 km away. Book your train on the website tiket.com (4 passengers 312000 Idr).
Possibility to book your seats several weeks before departure. From Jakarta Airport, take a taxi and go to Gambir Station. You will have 30 minutes of travel if the traffic is good. Trains are on time. You will find on site something to eat in case of small hunger and plan something to snack on during your trip (3 hours by train to Bandung).
We took an overnight stay via Airbnb in Bandung. The owners were kind enough to pick us up from the train station and drive us to their home.
Day 2 : The hypnotic colors of Kawah Putih
The next morning, go to the famous Kawah Putih located 50 km south of Bandung.
Kawah Putih is a crater lake. It is breathtaking by the color of its milky turquoise blue water. Arrived at the site, access is only by minibus. The air releases sulfur vapors that can be irritating. Possibility to buy masks on site. Water is acidic, it should not be touched. The landscape is unusual with its dead trees.
It is a must-see place if you go through Bandung. Once your visit to Kwah Putih is over, we suggest you take the opportunity to visit the surrounding tea plantations and strawberry productions in Situ Panganten. The scenery is beautiful and relaxing.
To get to Kawah Putih, we took a car with driver through our host and ended our journey in Pangandaran with multiple stops on our way. There were 4 of us in the car. The race cost us 80€ for 280km and a whole day of driver (6am-10pm).
Day 3 : The lush vegetation of the green canyon
Between the stops visits, the road and the traffic we took 12 hours to get to Pangandaran. Once at your destination, we strongly advise you to stay in Bale’ku. Bamboo housing is located in the middle of rice fields. It is a very charming and relaxing place.
The Hosts Lis and Sutar can prepare your food or have delicious dishes delivered. They take care of everything at your request and are very attentive. We stayed there for 2 nights. A real change of scenery!
What to do in Pangandaran and why go there? Green Canyon and Green Valley are a must! How to get there? Who to call? Go directly through your host. He will bring a guide who will take you directly to the site. You will start your very pleasant ride by crossing rice fields and small villages while driving your own scooter to Green Valley. The guide will make stops and share with you his knowledge about the rice fields and fruits of the country. He will also be happy to make you taste them.
The Green Canyon tour will cost you 300000 Idr per person. Arriving at the site, the guide will take you through the rainforest for about thirty minutes while walking.
On your way you will certainly have the opportunity to take a natural fish spa break! A real part of fun so much it tickles!
Finally, you will arrive at a large waterfall and swim! The adventure starts here, with Tarzan-style jumps, natural slides, swimming in caves and rock climbing in this lush forest.
To access the Green Canyon, you will take a small boat. Life jackets are provided. You will climb rocks using ropes to reach the canyon! The place is grandiose! But be careful not to slip 😉
At the end of the day, teenagers and adults will be delighted.
Sensations guaranteed (and refreshing) for the whole family! A good night’s sleep is well deserved after that!
Day 4 : Meet the inhabitants of Pangandaran
The next morning, after a gentle awakening, a good shower and good homemade pancakes, I suggest you go to meet the farmers in the rice fields and share with them their daily life. They will appreciate it! We learned how to beat rice at harvest time.
Walking along the rice fields leading to the beach, we came across Indonesians who offered us coconuts picked especially for us by climbing into the coconut tree. Indonesians are very welcoming and smiling. This coconut was welcome to rehydrate in the Javanese heat.
The beach is about twenty minutes walk from Bale’ku house. You will be alone in the world because it is deserted. It was hot, so we enjoyed our swim. We were all like children playing in the waves. A good moment of complicity and relaxation with the family once again.
I highly recommend this trip with your teenagers. Along the beach to the left, possibility to land for lunch. Continuing, you arrive at the end of the beach on the edge of which is a park with many monkeys. Possibility to visit it but we did not. This day allowed us to enjoy while resting from the previous days.
The same evening, we took a night driver at the price of 80€ to go to Yogyakarta ! At night, traffic is a little less dense than during the day. Plan something to eat in case of a small peck because there is not much open in the middle of the night. You will travel 250km but the journey is long because they are only small roads. We slept a lot!
We left at 8pm and arrived at 4am.
Initially we had to sleep one more night in our GuestHouse and take the train the next day, which ruined the day. We preferred to change the program to win a day and enjoy more of this island. We were able to get a 75% refund for the train tickets + the night of accommodation saved, we came back into our expenses!
Day 5 : Pinus Pengger’s dream
Welcome to Yogyakarta for the rest of the adventures! Locals nicknamed it “Jojga“. You can stay in a hotel or Airbnb, but we have opted for the unknown with Couchsurfing! And yes! We slept at 4 homestay for 3 nights. Simple and nice house, Turkish toilet and small outdoor zen shower area with cold water. What an experience!
We became attached to Yunanto, our host and left home with a ball in our stomach and tears in our eyes. It was the same for him. He even offered us to stay in Indonesia and live with him! You are my new family, he told us. Today, we are still in contact on a regular basis. Couchsurfing allows an extraordinary human contact. We advise you to live the experience. It’s also a good plan for budget travelers. Yogyakarta is a must-see stop on the island. Plan minimum 3 days so rich this city is rich with its street art, Kraton, Water Palace, its temples around and its lively nightlife.
We advise you to rent a scooter and go with a guide (or with a GPS) to the Pinus Pengger !
It is a park in the woods with many sculptures and exceptional photo spots. A real moment of discovery and relaxation. There were quite a few tourists when we visited.
At the end of the day, Yunanto introduced my daughter to street art. She tagged directly on a wall in his house! A real moment of complicity between them.
Yunanto advised us and took us everywhere with great respect and kindness.
Day 6 : The beauty of the temples of Borobudur and Pranbanam
Wake up at 4am! Rent a car through your host and hit the road by driving about forty kilometers to witness the sunrise over the temple of Borobudur. We promise you it’s great! The place is magical, peaceful and mystical at the same time with its morning mist. The warm orange and pink colors of the sun on the Buddhist sculptures amplify the beauty of the place. The view in the distance is magnificent on the Merapi volcano. A real moment of zenitude.
The entrance is very expensive for tourists! Count 380000 Idr per person for 1 entry to attend the sunrise).
We give you a flashlight to see clearly because it is dark at dawn. Between the wait for the sunrise and the day visit, you will need about 3 hours.
Once your tour is over, you are entitled to a breakfast included in the price of the tour, so don’t 😋 miss it.
After your visit to Borobudur, on your way to another must-see temple : Prambanam !
It is located about fifty kilometers from the temple of Borobudur. The 2 temples can be combined without problems in the same day by taking your time. The temple of Prambanam is a set of 240 Shivaite temples built in the ninth century.
Borobudur and Prambanam are classified as World Heritage Sites by UNESCO. The site of Prambanam is large, I advise you to take the small free train if you do not want to go around on foot. The entrance fee will cost you (225000 Idr per person). The temples are beautiful and very different from that of Borobudur.
Once back at our host’s house, he wanted to cook for us to thank us for our sympathy. Indonesian food is good but very spicy! We had asked Yunanto to avoid chili peppers.
In Java, you will eat for about € 1.50 per person per meal (sodas included). Life is really cheap in Indonesia and even less so in Java (compared to Bali). The food budget is really very modest, so ideal for small budgets. There are a large number of warung (small restaurants) serving delicious Javanese specialties such as Nasi Goreng or Mie Goreng. On the other hand, excursions for tourists are very expensive.
Day 7 : The magic of Kraton, the fun of bling-bling car
This morning, I offer you a sleepy morning to recover from your long day the day before. Then, go for a walk to the large traditional market of Yogyakarta Malioboro and Beringharjo. The specialty in Yogyakarta is batik (fabric dyeing technique). You will be able to observe workers working the Batik in an artisanal way.
There are also fruits, vegetables in addition to handmade clothes.
During a visit to Yogyakarta you must also visit the Water Palace (a kind of bath dedicated to the sultan’s leisure) located in the Kraton. It is a very exotic and pleasant place with ponds, courtyards and gardens that deserve some renovations.
In the enclosure, use the map provided at the entrance to guide you more easily because the streets are not very well signposted. There is an underground passage that will take you to the visit of the mosque. To get there, you will cross a small village with colorful streets and discover artisanal manufactures.
The visit is relaxing and quiet. In the late afternoon, I can advise you to discover the street art of Yogyakarta located in the Kraton district and more precisely in Prawirotaman. The locals are real artists!
In the evening go for a bling bling car tour! For this, go to the Alun-Alun square ! Old ladybugs and other cars are decorated and covered with neon lights that flash under the rhythm of the music! A real itinerant disco for the pleasure of locals, tourists young and old. A pure moment of fun before leaving Yogyakarta !
Day 8 : Direction Probolinggo and mount Bromo volcano!
After a good night’s sleep, I suggest you continue the route by taking a train from Tugu Yogyakarta to Mount Bromo. This is a day of transition.
You will need to book in advance and take a 1st train to Surabaya to connect to Probolingo (8 hours by train in total).
Arriving in Probolingo, you must now take a minibus that will take you to the village of Cemoro Lawang, starting point for the ascent of Mount Bromo (1 hour journey by minibus).
Be careful, it’s complicated to get to Cemoro Lawang! The probolingo station is a real mafia! A large number of minibuses are waiting for you promising to take you to the bus terminal that will take you to Cemoro … but in the end they stop you well before just in front of a van of friends of theirs and explain to you that there is no more bus at that time. Of course they offer you the trip at full price, minimum 10 times the price of the public bus (20 € / person for 1 hour)!
We were several tourists facing this scam.
Unfortunately you will have no choice but to pay the full price because there is no other means of transport to get there, or even a taxi. They are accomplices. We still found a mini-bus agency with a storefront.
Even if it means paying the high price, you might as well take an official company. We no longer trusted others and there was no guarantee that they would not raise the price along the way.
The total journey is 12h from Yogyakarta to Cemoro Lawang ! You will have time to sleep and recover to be in shape for the ascent of the majestic volcano Mount Bromo ! On the train, plan snacks to snack on for the day. It is also possible to buy on board a meal tray and a drink. A tip, book in advance for example on Booking.com your night at the hotel. All the hotels are modest in Cemoro but tell yourself that it is for a night (a few hours) of passage!
Day 9 : The ascent of Mount Bromo and the laying of turtles in Sukamade
You will not sleep much but it will allow you to take a nap after your arrival and especially to leave in your room your bags for the night during your ascent.
You will be lighter for this nocturnal adventure! And yes the ascent of Mount Bromo starts at night with a flashlight!
Preferably have a headlamp with new batteries to steer you. Many tourists pay for a jeep tour to climb to Mount Penanjakan to admire Mount Bromo. I find that the excursion loses its charm. Nothing beats climbing it on foot! The reward in the early morning will be even more rewarding! Head to the King Kong view on Mount Penanjakan. It is a highlight offering a breathtaking spot on the sunrise and the discovery of Mount Bromo.
To get there, at the exit of the village of Cemoro Lawang continue straight following the other flashlights in the distance.
Don’t worry you won’t be alone. You will meet other tourists and the road will be really instinctive and easy!
The proof we have done 😉. Be well covered at the top it is cool! Not too much either because you get hot quickly when climbing the mountain.
After 2 hours of ascent, at the top, a magical spectacle is offered to you with the pink, orange colors of the sunrise, but also with the mist surrounding Mount Bromo which will reveal itself under purple and then ochre colors.
A real wonder that we never tire of contemplating. You will see Mount Bromo but also Mount Semeru and Mount Batok. Mount Bromo is still active, it emits smoke from its crater. Once the sun rises around 6am, I suggest you go down from the viewpoint by motorbike and cross the sea of sand (the volcanic ash of the eruptions) to reach the volcano and climb to the edge of the crater!
Motorcycles are waiting for you, there are everywhere! The price includes the descent, then the crossing of the sandy sea to the foot of Mount Bromo and then includes your return to cemoro Lawang village.
For information, we were 3 on a motorcycle! The crossing is impressive because the drivers are forced to drive very fast so as not to slip into the sand. It’s both thrilling but also disturbing. We do not regret this experience!
We followed on motorcycles the jeeps accompanying the tourists who had decided to make the ascent by car. Your biker driver will be waiting for you during your climb to the crest of Mount Bromo. there are 700 steps to climb to the ridge. At the top, the view is extraordinary and very lunar. We can see the inside of the crater, see the smoke but also hear the rumble of the volcano. Really impressive! There is a strong smell of very irritating sulfur emanating from the crater. It is advisable to wear a scarf or mask for the most sensitive who do not support sulfur vapors.
Facing the volcano, there is a breathtaking view of the Caldera.
Pure happiness! It’s time for you to quietly descend and join your biker guide to return to your Cemoro Lawang hotel. Take a shower, collect your bags and set off on your way to new adventures!
Back to Probolinggo and to take a train again!
Direction Kali Setail, starting point to go to the camp of Sukamade.
Arriving at Kali Setail, our new host Couchsurfing Ananda came to welcome us. We had sympathized and met by Whatsapp 3 months before meeting for real. A good feeling had been established between us. So he offered to help us and accompany us to get to the beach of There is a ranger camp to attend the laying of giant green turtles. Ananda allowed us to rent a 4×4 with driver to cross the jungle and rivers. The path is quite bumpy.
From kali Setail there are 3 hours of roads and tracks to get to the Sukamade camp but it is definitely worth a visit even if the journey is long.
Arrived at the camp, take possession of a room for the night. The rooms are very basic but the bedding correct. You can take a shower on site. Remember to take flip flops for hygiene. The camp has no wifi and very little electricity. It’s just a drop-off point for 1 night.
Remember to plan the evening meal because there is not much around, especially if you arrive very late like us at the camp. Also remember to close your room with keys because there are many monkeys who open the doors to the camp. The turtle protection center is right next to the guesthouse.
I wish you the chance to witness the laying of a turtle just like us. They often come to lay eggs at sukamade but it happens that some evenings there are none, if the sea is too rough for example.
This is the law of nature. It’s a great experience to walk through the jungle in the middle of the night with a flashlight accompanied by a ranger without making any noise; to hear the waves and feel the fresh and soft sand under his feet. A pure moment of happiness to get closer little by little to the turtle. A little mysterious at first because in complete darkness. to finally see it lay eggs and return to sea. The eggs are recovered by rangers to protect them from predators until they hatch.
Day 10 : Release of baby turtles and Meru Betiri National Park
In the early morning, after a short night, I offer you an early awakening and invite you to participate in the release of baby turtles to the sea. The rangers distribute to each one a seal with baby turtles that you will release into the sea.
Only the most robust will be able to face the power of the waves and escape the raptors watching them to reach the ocean. The turtle will instinctively head towards the sea. It takes 2 months between laying and hatching eggs.
Once your mission is over, you can get back on your way and travel through Meru Betiri National Park through its jungle and rivers by jeep. Make a stop in Sarongan and then sumberagung.
The landscape is magnificent. Our host Ananda had planned our program. We spent 2 nights in Banyuwangi in Ananda’s family home and got to know her whole family. They welcomed us very well and we thank them for their kindness and hospitality I wish you to live such a human experience.
Day 11 : Discover Banyuwangi and its surroundings
Wake up under the sun. Ananda organized a tour of the surroundings of her banyuwangi town with its mangroves, the port, a dried banana factory, the Gendoh waterfalls and gunung Kemiri rafting ! A refreshing and pleasant break in the middle of lush nature!
At the end of the day, we leave our guests with their heads filled with beautiful memories in their company. We take the road for 1 hour to the famous volcano of Kawah Ijen.
Day 12 : The blue flames of Kawah Ijen
Kawah Ijen is a volcano in Indonesia containing a very large acidic lake. The ascent of the volcano and the descent into the crater are preferably done at night with the flashlight to be able to see the famous blue flames.
The sulfur comes out of the ground in the gaseous state, ignites and produces the blue flames. The miners then harvest the sulfur. On your way, you will cross the sulfur carriers with baskets filled with blocks of ore. They can carry between 70 to 100kg on their shoulders.
Minors are paid by the kilo. Do not hesitate to buy them a piece of sulfur! They will be very grateful. It is a very physical and laborious job that puts their health at risk on a daily basis by inhaling sulfur vapors, not to mention the deformities of the shoulders due to the weight carried. I strongly advise you to wear a gas mask to descend into the crater because of the very irritating and unbreathable vapors that come up from the crater. Even with the mask, the throat and eyes sting terribly. Indonesians rent them on the spot.
There is no need to take a guide for the ascent because it is impossible to go wrong! We climb and there is only one road and a lot of people! The climb is very physical and sporty but the reward at the finish is majestic. It takes a good physical condition and no breathing problems to make this trek. I recommend a departure at 1am to climb the Kawa Ijen and not miss the blue fire !
Once the blue flames are extinguished around 5am, climb back on the crest of the volcano for the sunrise and witness an exceptional panorama. You will be above the clouds! The view of the acidic turquoise lake of Kawah Ijen is magnificent.
This is already the end of this journey in Java. We continued our adventure in Bali and then in Nusa Penida, but this will be the subject of a future Myoxybubble article.
I sincerely hope that reading this article will make you want to discover Java. This trip remains one of my favorites.
Don’t be discouraged by the effort involved. The latter are widely rewarded! You won’t regret it! So grab a good pair of hiking shoes and join me in my Myoxybubble Java universe!
Feel free to leave your comments on this article and share your own experiences with Java (the form can be found a little below).
Need advice to organize your trip? Contact me!
- The train remains the cheapest means of transport to cross Java. The network is good and safe and the trains are rather on time. You can book your train on the tiket.com website. Possibility to book your seats several weeks before departure and pay by credit card on their website. You will get a voucher that you will have to change at the station against the final tickets.
- The other way to get from one city to another is to take a car with a driver. The price is relatively affordable (compared to France) and this allows you not to be dependent on train schedules. It is usually enough to book the day before through your host or hotel manager.
- Finally to visit once arrived at a place, you can rent a scooter or a car depending on the distances you have to travel.
- In addition to the traditional AirBnB, Booking.com or other hotel and bed and breakfast booking site you can also opt for Couchsurfing.
The principle is simple you are accommodated free of charge in a homestay, often on a sofa or extra bed (we were lucky to have separate rooms). The host seeks to share his way of life and to discover his city and his region. It is a good way to discover the inhabitants, their habits and customs and to share real moments.
For our part it was the 1st time we tried the experience. We had planned our trip several weeks in advance which allowed us to get to know our hosts via facetime and reassure ourselves. We were delighted (and even much more). It should also be noted that we were very lucky to be able to be welcomed at 4 because usually couchsurfing is reserved for solo or duo travelers. If you want to have the contacts of our hosts, write to me !
The currency is the Indonesian rupiah. 1 € is worth about 15943 IDR.
CB is rarely accepted. Better to withdraw money.
Beware of bank charges. It may be helpful to purchase an option from your bank that allows you a number of withdrawals and payment at no cost.
Before you go
Do not forget to check that your passport or ID is still valid. No visa required.
There is no need for mandatory vaccines. Better to be up to date with your universal vaccines. It is also advisable to make the vaccine for hepatitis A and take anti palu therapy.
Personally, we have not done so.
For electrical outlets, they are identical to those in France.
Don’t forget your hiking shoes.