Launching point for Kawah Ijen

Clinging to Java’s eastern shores, Banyuwangi is the gateway to the island from Bali or vice versa and the busy port of Ketapang sees daily convoys of trucks ferried across the Bali Strait to and from Bali’s Gilimanuk.

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Many travellers do nothing more than pass by, but Banyuwangi is worth a stop, if for nothing else but to explore the incredible Kawah Ijen and perhaps have a poke around the southern coast. The town itself lays south of the port with no real discernible centre, larger than it first appears sprawling south and west for several kilometres, and further up into the foothills of Gunung Merapi, the highest peak of the enormous Ijen Plateau which encompasses not just the famous Kawah Ijen (Ijen crater) but also a significant portion of the entirety of far eastern Java.

Breathtaking scenery at Kawah Ijen. : Sally Arnold.
Breathtaking scenery at Kawah Ijen. Photo: Sally Arnold

Predominantly an agricultural area surrounded by plantations, a focus on the developing tourism sector is beginning to make some of the out-of-the-way areas in this area of Java more accessible. Banyuwangi is a city with notable civic pride, one of the cleanest we’ve set foot in in the whole of Indonesia—it has won the title of Cleanest Tourist City at least five times. Not only is it markedly rubbish free, each kampung is brightly painted and decorated with colourful murals and embellishments—it certainly would win our vote in any tidy ... Travelfish members only (Full text is around 1,300 words.)

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