Things to do in Banyuwangi

Places to Visit in Banyuwangi

This article on things to do in Banyuwangi is written purely for those heading to the east most part of Jawa island and also those going to Mount Ijen. Banyuwangi is a small town on the coast of east Java where from the beach, you can see the island of Bali. 

Kawah Ijen or Mount Ijen is one of the most popular places here as many come here to trek up this beautiful mountain to see the world famous blue flame. Banyuwangi would be your closest city to the mountain and you would also be staying here at one of the resorts or hotels.

For those staying here, I have create a list of things to do in Banyuwangi, especially if you have an extra day or two here. 

Things to do in Banyuwangi

1. Trek up Mount Ijen (Kawah Ijen)
Trekking Up Mount Ijen
At the top of Mount Ijen in Banyuwangi
Hands down, this is the number one things to do in Banyuwangi as the magnificent blue flame is one of two in the world where you can see it.

The trek is a tiring one where you need to depart at midnight to reach the foot of the mountain by 2.30am and then trek up about an hour or so to catch the elusive blue flame just before sunrise. 

Don't let the word trek fool you as it is not an easy trek by the way. Well, if you are a regular trekker or hiker, this would be easy for you, and if you are like me, not 100% fit, it would be a tough trek up. The park guides will tell you that it is easy, one hour flat ground, one hour uphill.

I thought it was that easy, but it was actually one hour uphill and one more hour of 45 degrees hill. So, one needs to be prepared for this trek up to Mount Ijen. 

There are many tour companies offering the full Mount Ijen Trekking Package, so you simply need to book your tour and make the arrangements with your guide.

The 4x4 vehicles will pick you from the hotel and you will travel overland for about one hour to the foot of Mount Ijen, before your briefing and trek up. You can also read my other article on how to go to Mount Ijen

2. Visit the Baluran National Park 
Baluran National Park Banyuwangi
Animals seen at the Baluran National Park Savannah in Banyuwangi
Though this place is not well known to the western world, the Baluran National Park is actually quite a fascinating place. Why? Because they have a Savannah! Just like those in Africa, after about 30 minutes of driving deep into the national park, you will come across huge plains.

The only thing missing are the lions, giraffes and elephants. However, at the Baluran Savannah, you will see the local sambar deer, buffaloes and macaques. 

This place is a must visit for anyone who loves national parks, outdoors and nature. To get here, you need to engage a tour company that will drive you there, explore the national park and then drive you back. In total, you can spend an average of 2-4 hours or even more here. Imagine, visiting a Savannah, but not in Africa, and in Indonesia.

3. Eat at Ikan Bakar Pesona, Banyuwangi
RM Ikan Bakar Pesona
The famous Ikan Bakar Pesona Restaurant in Banyuwangi
There is no doubt that good food is hard to find in Banyuwangi, and for visitors, the Ikan Bakar Pesona is one of the recommended places to experience local East Javanese food. Here, the restaurant caters to tourist and even large groups.

A localised menu serving some amazing grilled fish complimented with an assortment of chicken, clams, vegetables and local appetisers. Most of the food is spicy therefore if you cannot take spicy, just let them know.

Ikan Bakar Pesona Banyuwangi
Address: Jl.Yos Sudarso No. 46, Klatak, Banyuwangi.
Tel: +62 852 5911 6399

4. Attend the Banyuwangi Jazz Festival 2017
Banyuwangi Jazz Festival 2017
The scene at the Ijen Summer Jazz Festival (Image from www.kompasonline.com)
There are two jazz festivals that take place in Banyuwangi, the Ijen Summer Jazz Festival and also the Banyuwangi Beach Jazz Festival. However, the Ijen Jazz Festival happens three times during the summer period in the months of July, August and September and you should check the dates out from the official Ijen Summer Jazz Website.

5. Kite and Wind Surfing Festival in Banyuwangi

For the adventure and extreme sports lovers, there is a lot of coastline along Banyuwangi and one one of the most popular places for this is at Tabuhan Island. It is here where you can experience Kiteboarding.

The island is a flat water paradise that comes with beautiful white beaches and turquoise waters. For wind, the place offers steady winds of 20+ knots from May until the end of October. There are no resorts on the island as they are all located on the mainland along the coast.

6. Banyuwangi Batik Festival 2017
Festival Batik Banyuwangi 2017
A model in Batik at the Banyuwangi Batik Festival (Image from www.banyuwangibagus.com)
If you are into traditional Indonesian fabrics, the Banyuwangi Batik Festival 2017 should be one of the interesting events to attend. The main highlight is a spectacular fashion show with the latest creations from designers all over Indonesia.

However, the batik design from Banyuwangi is very unique with leafy designs. However, the trade mark pattern is called the Gajah Oling and in total, there are over 20 patterns to the Banyuwangi Batik.

Note that each district around Indonesia has their own batik designs and the Banyuwangi Batik is one of the special ones. If you miss the batik festival here, you can also find them at some local batik boutiques around Banyuwangi city.

7. Surfing at Pulau Merah Beach
Pulau Merah Banyuwangi
Some of the massive waves at Pulau Merah in Banyuwangi (Image from www.planetsurfonline.com)
Among some of the popular surfing spots in Banyuwangi, Pulau Merah Beach or Red Island Beach which is around 67 kilometers  or three hours away from the city. Here, waves up to three or four meters are common and beautiful barrels the length of 300-400 meters long.

This attracts local and international surfers during the surf season and the beach is suitable for beginner surfers as well. If you are a surf traveler, this is one of the places to check out in Banyuwangi and is also close to Bali.

Best time to visit Pulau Merah Beach is from April to September and the comparison with Bali is that surfing at Pulau Merah Beach is much more peaceful and the waves are bigger. It is also recommended to rent a car or bike and find your way here.

Professional surfers should check out Plengkung Beach and G-Land as these two places are well known too. There are basic hotels, restaurants and a surf school here.

8. Stay at the Ketapang Indah Hotel in Banyuwangi
Hotel Ketapang Indah Banyuwangi
The landscape of the Ketapang Indah Hotel in Banyuwangi
One of the nicer places to stay is at the Ketapang Indah Hotel, which is actually a seaside resort with a beautiful view of Bali Island across the Bali Straits. This hotel offers chalet units in a beautifully landscaped garden atmosphere. Many stay here as this is one of the better accommodations before heading up to Mount Ijen.

The Ketapang Indah Hotel also offers a spa and swimming pool and is away from the main city area. In the evenings, just take a short walk to the beach and catch the beautiful sunset behind Bali or you can simply wander around the lush manicured gardens.

How To Go To Banyuwangi

Banyuwangi Food Makan
The famous Ikan Bakar from Banyuwangi
To get to Banyuwangi, you need to fly to the Belimbingsari Airport or Banyuwangi Airport where local airlines fly here from larger cities around Indonesia.

You can also get here from Bali by taking the ferry from Gilimanuk in the west coast of Bali Island to Banyuwangi.

The above list is create by me and is part of the Wonderful Indonesia tourism campaign for Indonesia Tourism, where Banyuwangi was one of the beautiful destinations that I visited in Indonesia.

The opinions are purely of my own and not of any tourism board. For more detailed information on the Banyuwangi Festival 2017 and the many events that are taking place around here, you should visit the official Banyuwangi Tourism Website.

If you have any questions about the things to do in Banyuwangi, do leave them below in the comment form and I will get back to you.

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