Highlights of Banyuwangi include the colourful arts and culture of its Lare Osing people, as well as the scenic nature of the surrounding area, from highlands that include forests full of wildlife and coffee and clove plantations around the world’s largest sulfuric crater lake on Mount Ijen. Down on its coastline, there are deserted beaches full of sea turtle nests, while in other areas, such as Plengkung in the bay of Grajagan, aka G-Land, you can enjoy world-class surfing off the Alas Purwo National Park.
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What to Do in Banyuwangi
Best Beaches in Banyuwangi
The bay of Grajagan on the southern coast of Banyuwangi was nicknamed G-Land since its discovery by vagabond surfers back in the '70s, and is now one of Indonesia’s premier surf breaks. Besides its long, left hand barrels, the area is also famous for its beautiful Plengkung Beach. Pantai Pulau Merah aka Red Island Beach is another bay area west, where you can enjoy a scenic 3km-stretch of pinkish sand with a small hilly island on the near horizon. Sukamade Beach, within the Meru Betiri National Park, offers a natural adventure to the protected nesting coast of three sea turtle species, namely green sea turtles, hawksbill and Olive Ridley turtles.
Best Natural Attractions in Banyuwangi
Ijen Crater must be the main icon of Banyuwangi. Trekkers set out before daybreak to climb up this mountain and discover the world’s largest sulphur lake found in the ridges near its peak. The caldera is around 20 km wide, and is where miners source their cooled sulphur slabs to be brought down the mountain in hefty baskets. Midnight climbs have become popular where you can see blue flames, due to ignited sulphuric gas. For a refreshing stop nearby, visit Lider Waterfall, on the eastern slopes of Mount Raung, secluded by lush, green rainforests. Our top pick from Banyuwangi’s three national parks, Alas Purwo National Park, near G-Land surf spot, is home to some of Java’s endangered species, such as the Java banteng that roam its vast savannas.
Watch a Gandrung Sewu dance performance during one of Banyuwangi’s major festivals, that takes place around October. The traditional dance is performed by female dancers in bright red and orange-coloured costumes and ornamental headdresses, and is a tribute to Sri, the Hindu goddess of rice and fertility. The dance can also be seen performed during local festivals in the traditional village of Tamansari, near the slopes of Mount Ijen. Around Chinese New Year, visit the Hoo Tong Bio Chinese Temple near the east coast of Banyuwangi, which keeps rich history behind its bright red walls, intricately ornate pagodas and prayer rooms.
Banyuwangi Hotels - Where to Stay in Banyuwangi
Hotels in Banyuwangi cater mostly to budget travellers, nature lovers and adventure-seekers. These range from charming estates on the slopes of Mount Ijen with lush plantations also in view, to budget lodgings around the area that provide you with all the necessities for rest and relaxation in between your adventures.