EAST JAVA TRAVEL GUIDE :14 Awesome Things To Do

 EAST JAVA TRAVEL GUIDE :East Java offers a truly unique experience that sets it apart from other destinations. While many regions may have one or two standout attractions, what I discovered during my road trip was that each day brought something even more incredible. The waterfalls I encountered along the way seemed to surpass one another in size and beauty, while the volcanoes I encountered became increasingly awe-inspiring. It was a 10-day adventure that left me utterly amazed by the wonders of East Java.



In this comprehensive guide, I will provide you with a curated list of the top activities and attractions to experience in East Java, Indonesia. Additionally, I will offer a suggested itinerary and valuable tips to enhance your visit to this extraordinary region.
East Java is truly a destination like no other. While many regions may have a few notable attractions, what I discovered during my own road trip was that each passing day brought even more remarkable experiences. The waterfalls I encountered seemed to surpass one another in size and grandeur, while the volcanoes I witnessed became increasingly awe-inspiring. After spending 10 days exploring East Java by car, I was left completely in awe of its wonders.


During our 10-day exploration of East Java, we made it a point to cover all the must-see attractions. However, even with our enthusiastic pace, we realized that there were still numerous places we didn't have the chance to visit. We understand that not everyone shares the same level of intensity when it comes to exploring a destination. With that in mind, I would recommend allocating 7 to 10 days for the average traveler. If you prefer a more relaxed pace, allowing for two-night stays in each location, a two-week trip would be ideal.
In my opinion, 7 days is the minimum duration for a satisfying visit. Anything less than that might limit you to only the popular and commonly visited destinations. While these trips can still be enjoyable and provide great photo opportunities, they may miss out on the true essence of adventure. By allocating a minimum of 7 to 10 days, you will have ample time to fully immerse yourself in the region and have the trip of a lifetime. Trust me on this.
If you need further assurance, I have prepared a detailed itinerary below, which showcases how every moment of your trip will be filled. Even with a 10-day itinerary, be prepared to feel a sense of exhaustion as East Java will truly captivate you with its stunning beauty. However, I assure you that every ounce of effort is well worth it.


Let's explore the incredible destinations in East Java that are perfect for nature-based and adventurous experiences. While the region also offers interesting mosques and points of interest in the cities, this blog will primarily focus on outdoor adventures.
To help you plan your trip, I will present the places in the order we visited them. I will also provide my itinerary below, along with a map. It's important to note that despite our efforts, we couldn't cover every spot, such as hiking Semeru due to volcanic activity. However, there's always the possibility of returning for more adventures in the future! For more detailed information and photos, you can click on the individual blog posts linked below. So, let's begin our journey through East Java...


Just a short distance from Malang lies an intriguing village known as Kampung Warna-Warni Jodipan. This village was once faced with numerous challenges, as it suffered from deterioration, pollution, and a struggling community. However, a group of eight university students studying event management saw an opportunity to apply their knowledge in a real-world setting.
Teaming up with a local paint company, the students initiated a social responsibility project. Through the donation of 6,000 pounds of vibrant paint, the run-down village underwent a remarkable transformation, becoming a colorful and promising community.
To support the village's development, a modest entrance fee for tourists, amounting to only 30 US cents, was introduced. The vibrant colors of the village attracted visitors and provided much-needed financial resources. Tourists often engage in local commerce, purchasing drinks, meals, and souvenirs from the villagers. As a result, the standard of living in the community has improved, inspiring residents to undertake further initiatives, including sanitation and pollution improvement projects.
Adjacent to the bridge dividing the area, lies another distinct village known as Kampung Biru Arema, which has been entirely painted in blue, following a similar approach to transformation.


Coban Talun, located in Batu City near Malang in East Java, is a magnificent waterfall worth visiting. A pleasant 20-minute walk along a sandy trail will lead you to this breathtaking waterfall, offering mesmerizing viewpoints and intriguing caves. In addition to the waterfall itself, there is a camping ground and a designated area for photography and relaxation, featuring photo perches, wings, and other unique photo opportunities.
Upon reaching the base of the falls, we discovered several huts that appeared to be utilized mainly during the peak season. Arriving at 9 am in the morning, we had the entire place to ourselves.
The area boasts various interesting rock formations that serve as perfect photo spots, but our favorite section was situated at ground level within the water pool. Although the water was chilly, it was truly incredible to witness its gentle flow. It is also possible to explore the caves located behind the waterfall.
For an even more remarkable experience, it is recommended to visit this waterfall during the rainy season. While still impressive during the dry season, witnessing the massive rush of water cascading down would make the experience ten times more awe-inspiring!


Tumpak Sewu Waterfall, also known as Coban Sewu, is arguably one of the most remarkable waterfalls in Indonesia. While it may not be the largest waterfall, even within East Java, its grandeur is simply awe-inspiring. When viewed from above, it resembles the tree of life, while from below, its power is immense. From every angle, it leaves a lasting impression.
To make the most of your Tumpak Sewu Waterfall adventure starting from Lumajang, it is recommended to wake up early and arrive at the Tumpak Sewu viewpoint for sunrise. Although the sun won't be directly shining on the waterfall, this timing creates a captivating atmosphere with the morning fog, adding a touch of mystique. In the backdrop, the Semeru Volcano provides a stunning setting, while Tumpak Sewu gradually comes into view as the light increases.
Before the sun rises above the waterfall, make your way down to the ground level of Tumpak Sewu. The trail is located right next to the viewpoint where you witnessed the sunrise. It takes approximately 10-15 minutes to descend into the canyon and another 5 minutes to walk through the canyon to reach the waterfall.
The trail down can be a bit challenging, with bamboo ladders and sections where you walk through small streams, so it is important to be prepared and wear proper footwear, avoiding flip-flops.
As you reach the canyon, you'll begin to comprehend the immense scale of the walls surrounding you. Within the gorge, you'll feel like an ant, knowing that you are about to witness something truly incredible. After turning the final corner, the moment you enter the cauldron at the base of Tumpak Sewu Waterfall is a memory that will stay with you forever. It is pure magic, with more than thirty waterfalls cascading into the cauldron, creating tiny pools below.


Goa Tetes Waterfall in Lumajang turned out to be one of the most remarkable discoveries during our ten-day exploration of East Java. While our initial intention was to visit the famous nearby Tumpak Sewu waterfall, we were advised to make a stop at Goa Tetes Waterfall on our way back. To our amazement, it proved to be a truly unique and captivating sight, unlike any other waterfall we had encountered in East Java.
Goa Tetes is a fascinating amalgamation of caves and waterfalls intricately woven throughout the cliff. Following the stream, we made our way up until we reached the caves. This is where the adventure truly began, as there were numerous caves to explore. One particular cave caught our attention, and we decided to venture inside. The cave stretched far into the darkness, while the waterfall cascaded over the top, creating a mesmerizing spectacle. It was an absolutely incredible experience, unlike anything we had encountered before.


Kabut Pelangi quickly became one of my cherished waterfalls in East Java. Its majestic cascade plunges into the picturesque amphitheater below, adorned with vibrant green foliage. The descent to Kabut Pelangi takes approximately 25 minutes, with a well-paved trail for most of the way, and only a few sections posing minor challenges.
Standing before the awe-inspiring Kabut Pelangi, towering over 100 meters, I was captivated by its sheer power. The impact it creates upon reaching the pool below is nothing short of extraordinary. It is crucial to note that swimming is not recommended at this location due to the forceful currents. Interestingly, Kabut Pelangi translates to "waterfall rainbow mist," and if you're fortunate enough to visit under the right conditions, you may witness a mesmerizing rainbow emerging from the mist at the waterfall's base.


Kapas Biru Waterfall is truly breathtaking. A massive and powerful torrent of water descends from a height that appears to be around 100 meters, creating a thunderous spectacle. The pool at the base of the waterfall is relentlessly pounded by the forceful impact of the cascading water. As the water flows downstream, the river is adorned with scattered rocks and lush vegetation, forming a picturesque pathway leading up to the magnificent waterfall.


To reach Coban Sriti Waterfall from Kapas Biru, you'll need to navigate through a 20-minute scramble across rocks and river crossings. Upon arrival, you'll be greeted by two impressive streams of water plunging down from a height of at least 100 meters, crashing onto the enormous rocks below. These rocks, resembling the size of houses, appear to have broken off from the cliff at some point.
At the base of the waterfall, the area can be extremely slippery and chilly. We spent some time here, capturing photos and admiring the surroundings. Arriving early in the morning, around sunrise, or in the late afternoon would be ideal as the lighting conditions can be harsh during midday. The interplay of shadows and highlights made it challenging to capture photos effectively under the intense sunlight.
One of the highlights of this location was the magnificent cauldron. The cliffs enclosing the area were remarkably smooth, creating a sense of being enveloped by the natural surroundings as you marveled at the waterfall.


Papuma Beach is a stunning destination, featuring white sandy shores and mesmerizing, crystal-clear blue waters. We were pleasantly surprised by its popularity, though it required us to pay an entrance fee of 45,000 rupiah (approximately $3.50 USD), which was among the higher-priced tickets we encountered during our time in East Java.
The beach itself is truly beautiful, boasting the ideal combination of pristine waters and soft white sands that many people envision for their dream vacations. Along the beach, you'll find a colorful lineup of boats, eagerly awaiting tourists for excursions around the nearby rocky islets.
These rocky islets serve as a picturesque backdrop for a delightful day of basking in the sun, with the refreshing blue water beckoning all day long. Papuma Beach is a popular destination, complete with a spacious parking lot and numerous restaurants. It's worth noting that this beach is not suitable for those seeking a secluded and private experience. However, it is an ideal choice for families who prioritize convenient facilities, a variety of dining options, and easy accessibility over seeking out more adventurous experiences.


Payangan Beach offers a distinct and unique experience with its black sand. This beach is complemented by several hill viewpoints, such as Teluk Love and Bukit Domba. We opted to ascend Bukit Domba, conveniently situated next to the black sand beach.
The entry fee was $1 USD, and the area was quite developed with numerous huts and pathways. Although it lacked a natural ambiance, reaching the viewpoint was still worthwhile as it provided a good vantage point to appreciate the surrounding landscape.
There were plenty of opportunities for stunning photos overlooking the beach, and huts were available for relaxation. It seemed to be a popular spot for local couples to unwind and engage in conversation within the huts. After climbing under the scorching sun, we returned to the black sand beach to cool off in the refreshing waters.
In my opinion, Payangan is not a destination worth going out of your way to visit. However, if you happen to be near Papuma, which is only a five-minute drive away, it's worth adding an extra hour to your day to explore Payangan. Additionally, it's worth noting that the hills will appear more vibrant and appealing during the rainy season when they are lush and green. We visited during the dry season, so the hills appeared brown and lifeless.


Pulau Merah proved to be a stunning location, and it quickly became one of my favorite spots to witness the sunset in East Java. Reminiscent of Cannon Beach in Oregon, there is a large rocky island situated in the ocean. The water is pleasantly warm, and the waves offer a satisfying surfing experience.
After a long day of driving, we thoroughly enjoyed observing the sun setting behind the layered mountains in the distance. The receding water created captivating reflections on the sand, providing an opportunity for truly remarkable photos. We decided to spend the night at Red Island/Pulau Merah, allowing us to capture both the sunset and sunrise moments.


Referred to as "Jawata Benculuk" in Bahasa Indonesia, this captivating cluster of Cypress Trees is located just outside Genteng Town. Over time, it has gained immense popularity, leading to the construction of numerous treehouses and fascinating structures in the vicinity. The tree tunnels found here are undeniably one of the most exceptional attractions to explore in East Java.
The cypress trees themselves are truly remarkable. Adorned with twisted branches, they boast an array of hanging vines. When surrounded by a mysterious fog, they evoke an eerie atmosphere reminiscent of scenes from a horror film. However, when sunlight filters through the branches, the forest transforms into a magical landscape, captivating visitors with its ethereal beauty. Regardless of the weather, a visit to this forest promises a memorable experience.


Are you tempted by the idea of waking up in the wee hours of the night and embarking on a trek up to the crater? Picture yourself venturing into the depths of a volcanic crater, equipped with a gas mask, as you immerse yourself in a cloud of sulfur gas. And that's not all—while you're there, you'll have the opportunity to witness mesmerizing blue flames. The allure of Ijen Crater, located in East Java, is undeniable. It offers an extraordinary adventure that promises to leave a lasting impression.
Sulfur mining operations have been active at Ijen Crater since 1968. During this process, the combustion of sulfuric gases produces a distinctive blue glow, famously known as the 'blue flame of Ijen Crater.' Personally, I didn't find it appealing to endure coughing from sulfur exposure for 20 minutes just to capture a long-exposure photograph of the blue flame. In my opinion, it is an experience best enjoyed by simply witnessing it with your own eyes, albeit for a brief two-minute period, before making a swift exit.
Following the blue flame expedition, the adventure continues as you ascend further and circumnavigate the rim of the crater to reach the designated 'sunrise spot.' This marks the completion of this remarkable journey.


The Banyuwangi region in East Java is renowned for its stunning beaches, offering some of the best coastal landscapes on Java. During my visit, I embarked on an island hopping tour with Bangsring Underwater tours, exploring three captivating locations: Tabuhan Island, Menjangan Island, and Rumah Apung.
Menjangan Island is conveniently accessible from West Bali National Park, and it's fascinating to note that one can actually swim from Menjangan Island to Bali. With an area spanning 3,800 hectares, the island features Savannah terrain and is inhabited by unique Javan Rusa deer, locally known as 'Menjangan,' which is how the island derived its name.
Menjangan Island boasts several white sandy beaches with clear waters, providing ample opportunities for relaxation in this tropical paradise. However, the true highlights lie beneath the water's surface. The snorkeling and diving experiences at Menjangan Island are exceptional, as the coral gardens and diverse marine life make it an ideal destination for underwater enthusiasts.
Tabuhan Island, on the other hand, stood out as the highlight of my entire trip. This island was completely deserted during our visit, granting us exclusive access to its breathtaking surroundings. The water was incredibly clear, resembling drinking water, and the sun's rays created enchanting patterns on the sandy seafloor.
Despite its small size of only 5 hectares, Tabuhan Island showcases a significant reef system beneath the surface. Within just fifteen minutes, one can circumnavigate the entire island, immersing oneself in the mesmerizing underwater realm.


Madakaripura Waterfall, also referred to as Air Terjun Madakaripura, stands out as one of the most awe-inspiring waterfalls not only in East Java or Indonesia but globally.
The initial section of Madakaripura Waterfall serves as a captivating prelude to the main cascade, offering its own breathtaking spectacle. Water gracefully descends from the verdant green walls, gracefully joining the river below. Along the path, one can traverse the river without getting wet for most of the journey, but there are certain points where passing through the falling water becomes inevitable. This enchanting location truly ranks among the most extraordinary places I have ever visited.
The primary waterfall cascades forcefully into a pool adorned with a vibrant turquoise hue. Enclosed within a narrow keyhole-shaped amphitheater, the waterfall is nestled in a relatively compact area, spanning approximately 80 meters in length and 30 meters in width. As you gaze upwards, the lush green walls gracefully curve around you, evoking a sense of wonder and awe.


After enduring a chilly two-hour moped ride, we finally arrived at King Kong Hill in hopes of catching the sunrise. However, we didn't quite make it to the exact spot; instead, we found ourselves on a neighboring hill. While King Kong Hill tends to be crowded, we discovered numerous alternative viewpoints nearby. From these vantage points, we beheld the breathtaking sight of the "Sea of Sand" stretching before us.
Within this vast expanse of sand lies a collection of five volcanoes, including the prominent Mount Bromo. The rugged ridges adorning these volcanoes are nothing short of extraordinary, creating a landscape that is truly awe-inspiring. I can guarantee that witnessing the sunrise in this setting will be one of the most remarkable experiences of your life.


Mount Bromo is undoubtedly one of the most remarkable volcanoes worldwide, surrounded by a cluster of other volcanoes within a truly awe-inspiring landscape.
Situated in the Tengger Massif region of East Java, Indonesia, Mount Bromo, or Gunung Bromo in the local language, stands as an active volcano. It forms a significant part of the renowned Bromo Tengger Semeru National Park, which attracts a multitude of visitors from East Java and beyond.
The term "Bromo" holds deep meaning, derived from the Javanese pronunciation of "Brahma," the Hindu creator god. This further adds to the cultural and spiritual significance associated with this volcanic marvel.
Exploring Mount Bromo is an unforgettable half-day adventure. After witnessing the captivating sunrise from King Kong Hill, you have the opportunity to traverse the vast expanse known as the "Sea of Sand," either on a motorbike or in a tour jeep. Eventually, you embark on a thrilling hike up Mount Bromo itself, reaching its summit where a mesmerizing crater awaits. This crater, bubbling with sulfur at its core, creates an otherworldly sight that might evoke imagery of a fiery underworld.

Which is the nearest airport to East Java?

The nearest airport to East Java is Juanda International Airport (IATA code: SUB) in Surabaya. It is the busiest airport in East Java and serves as the main gateway to the region. From Juanda International Airport, you can easily access various destinations within East Java through domestic flights, as well as international connections to some countries in the region.

How do you get around in East Java?

Getting around in East Java, Indonesia, can be done using various modes of transportation. Here are some common options:
1-Public Buses: Public buses are a popular and affordable mode of transportation in East Java. There are different types of buses available, ranging from economy to executive classes. Major cities like Surabaya, Malang, and Probolinggo have well-established bus networks connecting different areas within the region.
Trains: The Indonesian railway network covers several cities in East Java, offering a convenient and relatively fast mode of transportation. The main train stations in East Java are Surabaya Gubeng, Surabaya Pasar Turi, Malang, and Probolinggo. Trains are a good option for longer distances and provide comfortable seating options.
Taxis: Taxis are available in most cities and towns of East Java. Traditional metered taxis can be hailed on the streets, while ride-hailing services like Gojek and Grab are popular and widely used as well. These services can be accessed through mobile apps, allowing you to book a ride conveniently.
Motorcycles: Motorcycles, or "ojeks," are a common mode of transportation in East Java. Motorcycle taxis can be found easily, especially in urban areas. Using ride-hailing apps like Gojek and Grab, you can book a motorcycle taxi for shorter distances. However, be aware of traffic conditions and safety precautions when using this mode of transportation.
Car Rental: Renting a car is an option if you prefer more flexibility and independence. Several car rental agencies operate in East Java, particularly in major cities. You will need a valid driver's license and should familiarize yourself with local traffic regulations.
Minibuses and Shared Vans: Minibuses, locally known as "angkot" or "mikrolet," are small public vans that ply fixed routes within cities and towns. They can be an economical option for short-distance travel. Shared vans, called "travel" or "shuttle," are also available for intercity transportation, connecting different destinations in East Java.
Online Transportation Apps: The use of ride-hailing apps like Gojek and Grab has become increasingly popular in East Java. These apps offer not only motorcycle and car taxis but also various delivery services, making them convenient for getting around.
When traveling in East Java, it's important to consider factors such as traffic conditions, time of day, and the distance between your destinations. Some areas may have limited transportation options, especially in remote or rural areas, so it's advisable to plan your transportation in advance and check for any specific recommendations or guidelines related to your destination.

How many days do you need in Java Indonesia?

The number of days you need to explore Java, Indonesia, depends on various factors such as your interests, the specific places you want to visit, and the pace at which you prefer to travel. Java is the most populous island in Indonesia and offers a wide range of attractions, including cultural sites, natural wonders, and bustling cities. Here are some general guidelines based on popular destinations:
Jakarta: If you're planning to explore the capital city, Jakarta, you can allocate around 2-3 days to visit major attractions like the National Monument (Monas), Istiqlal Mosque, Kota Tua (Old Town), and various museums.
Yogyakarta: Yogyakarta is known for its rich cultural heritage, including the iconic Borobudur and Prambanan temples. To explore Yogyakarta's main attractions, including the temples, the Sultan's Palace (Kraton), and the vibrant Malioboro Street, plan for at least 3-4 days.
Bromo-Tengger-Semeru National Park: The stunning volcanic landscapes of Mount Bromo and Mount Semeru attract many visitors. To experience the sunrise over Mount Bromo and explore the surrounding area, including the Sea of Sand and savannah, allocate 2-3 days.
Bandung: Known for its cool climate and beautiful scenery, Bandung offers attractions such as Tangkuban Perahu volcano, tea plantations, and the picturesque Kawah Putih (White Crater). Spending 2-3 days in Bandung allows you to visit these highlights and explore the city's shopping and culinary scenes.
Surabaya: Surabaya is East Java's largest city and a gateway to Mount Bromo. If you're interested in exploring Surabaya's cultural and historical sites, including the House of Sampoerna, Heroes Monument, and the vibrant Arab Quarter, 2-3 days would be sufficient.
These are just a few examples of popular destinations in Java, and there are many more places to explore. To cover the major highlights of the island, a trip of 10-14 days is often recommended. However, if you have more time, you can delve deeper into specific regions or add more off-the-beaten-path destinations.
Remember to consider travel times between destinations, as traffic conditions and distances can vary. Additionally, it's always a good idea to allow some flexibility in your itinerary to accommodate unforeseen circumstances or to simply have leisurely moments to soak in the local culture and atmosphere.

How long does it take to drive across Java?

Driving across Java, Indonesia, from west to east or vice versa is a significant journey due to the island's size and traffic conditions. The approximate driving time can vary based on factors such as the specific route, traffic congestion, road conditions, and the number of stops along the way. Here's a rough estimate of the driving time from Jakarta (western Java) to Banyuwangi (eastern Java):
Jakarta to Surabaya: The distance between Jakarta and Surabaya is approximately 800 kilometers (500 miles). The driving time can range from 12 to 16 hours, depending on traffic conditions and the route you choose. The main route is through the Trans-Java Toll Road, which connects the two cities.
Surabaya to Banyuwangi: From Surabaya to Banyuwangi, the driving distance is approximately 210 kilometers (130 miles). The driving time can vary between 4 to 6 hours, depending on the route and traffic.
Please note that these estimated times are subject to change, and it's crucial to consider factors such as peak travel periods, road conditions, and rest stops along the way. It's also important to note that road travel in Java can be challenging due to heavy traffic, especially in major cities and during holiday seasons. Additionally, road conditions and infrastructure might vary in different areas.
If you're planning to drive across Java, it's advisable to plan your itinerary carefully, allowing for sufficient time for breaks, rest, and exploration along the way. It's also a good idea to familiarize yourself with local traffic rules and regulations and have a reliable GPS or navigation system to assist you during the journey.
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