Want to get away from the hustle and bustle of the city? I would suggest you visit the surrounding area of Ijen mountain, East Java, Indonesia. Ijen and its surrounding area is a must see tourist destination in the tip of East Java province. It does not provide the most scenic view of sulfur caldera but interestesting natural view as well. Coffee plantation, waterfall, the vast area of savanna, wildflower during dry seasons and a mountainous range in the background are all in one in the Bondowoso regency.
Ijen mountain a great new adventure
To visit this place, travellers can start at Bondowoso or Banyuwangi town. Both places have its own advantages. Banyuwangi offers handy flight schedules from Bali and Jakarta twice a day, while Bondowoso provide an interesting view along the journey to Ijen.
Early September 2017 me and twenty of my friends, departed from Bondowoso (200 km east of Surabaya) in six MPV vehicles. The road to Ijen can be very smooth. After a one-hour drive, we already can see a vast combination of natural forest, pines and coffee plantations. Bondowoso is well known for its finest Arabica coffee plantation and had become the main destination for worldwide coffee buyers and lovers.
Some foreigners choose Bondowoso as a starting point to Mount Ijen. They start their journey during the day to see the beautiful scenery along the way. The visual view from Bondowoso ranges from sugar cane plantations, pines, coffee plantations and mountain range of Raung. It’s hilly road is quite smooth and the air is very fresh.
After a one-hour journey from Bondowoso, we arrived at Malabar. It’s a rest area where visitors break a moment to enjoy a black and delicious Arabica coffee in a roadside cafe belonging to PTP XII (state owned plantation enterprises). It is a nice spot to enjoy your coffee, tea or hot chocolate while taking a picture with the mountain view in the background. The coffee price is very affordable, just Rp 5000 (US$ 60 cent) per cup.
Enjoying a satisfying cup of coffee, relaxing and taking pictures. After that, we were heading to the east of Belawan just 3 km from Malabar. It is a coffee processing plant run by PTP XII. Belawan is famous for its waterfall, and its hot spring. There are two swimming pools, one for cold water and the other for hot/warm water. Whatever we choose it is kind of a different sensation to take. Clean and freshwater flows from the mountainside behind the coffee processing plant. If you would like to overnight there also is a nice homestay equipped with agrotourism activity. Visitors can pick strawberries, and explore the natural surrounding of the homestay.
Another interesting place to see is, Kawah Wurung, 5 km south of Belawan. Kawah Wurung is just a massive dried caldera. Looking at the caldera from the edge of the cliff, it seems there is a huge football stadium below, while two or three green hills (like Teletubbies hill) stand in the background. It is a popular site for youngsters to take a nice picture. The journey to Kawah Wurung is nice as wildflowers bloom everywhere as far as the eyes can see. While a vast range of Savannah at the right side reminds us of the movie set from ‘ Little House on the Prairie’’
Approximately 5 km southern of Kawah Wurung, there is a nice rented guest house. We rented it for Rp 2 million a night with 20 people. Four bedrooms and a huge living room that is equipped with a fireplace make this guest house a recommended place to rent. It is a nice place to relax before preparing yourself to hike to Ijen Mountain.
Founded in 1927, the Jampit guest house used to be a resident of Dutch people who run the coffee plantation. It is surrounded with a beautiful garden and colorful flower blooms during the dry season. At night the temperatures can drop to around 10 degrees Celcius, that is why the management provides a fireplace in the living room.
At 12 o’clock sharp is time for a wake-up call for all visitor. Mount Ijen will take us to yet another adventure. Are you ready to take a new adventure???
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/// Written by Suharto, Indonesia