Banyuwangi Travel Guide

Situated at the easternmost end of Java, the city of Banyuwangi is a strategic point for those heading to Gilimanuk on Bali, from which it is separated by the Strait of Bali. Thanks to its location, Banyuwangi presents an appealing blend of unique arts and traditions affected by Javanese, Balinese, Madurese and other cultures.

Surrounded by mountains, forests and beaches, Banyuwangi is also a gateway to some dramatic volcanic scenery. Ijen Crater towers in the west of the city and is renowned for its stunning turquoise lake and the often barefoot miners who amazingly hand-carry baskets with sulfur weighing up to 150lb from the crater floor. Coffee plantations cover the crater’s slope, while several waterfalls and hot springs are further natural attractions in the region.

Banyuwangi is defined by Gandrung, a welcoming dance for illustrious guests, which is usually performed at night during marriage ceremonies, anniversaries and circumcisions and has become the city’s characteristic symbol. A mélange between Balinese and local cultures, janger or damarwulan is a traditional theater art that dates back to the 19th century and has been developed in Banyuwangi since. Balinese influences can be noticed in the performers’ costumes and instruments, whereas the stories (lakon) and language are more of Javanese origin.

Getting There & Away

Banyuwangi lies at the eastern end of Java’s railway network, and there are two trains from Surabaya on a daily basis, one of them overnight, which take between 6 and 8 hours for the journey. Two kilometers north of Ketapang port is Sri Tanjung, the city’s main bus terminal; Surabaya is 177 miles away by road, and buses take around 4 hours to Banyuwangi. Every 30 minutes, 24 hours, ferries run from the city’s Ketapang ferry terminal to Gilimanuk, Bali, with the trip taking about 45 minutes.