Java Off The Beaten Path

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    by kyoub

Most Recent Off The Beaten Path in Java

  • Baluran, the miniafrica of Asia

    by global_explorer Written Sep 13, 2004

    2.5 out of 5 starsHelpfulness

    Java is Indonesias densest populated area with around 130 million inhabitants, despite this, for the timebeing at least, there are countryside and even wildernessareas of witch i sadly had the time to visit only one, the most acsessible of them, Baluran nationalpark. It is called the Africa of Indonesia, a well chosen name. It looks very mutch like the east african savannas, complete with akasia, but minus giraffs. The park is guarded by a beautifull mounthain, it’s an extinct volcano.The easiest time to see wildlife are the dry season when the annimals concentrate. In the nights and evenings the darkness around the camp at Bekol are filled with the sound from big annimals like barking deer. You are ensured to see several species drinking at the manmade waterhole at the camp around sunset. When i entered the tower on the hill behind the camp the following morniong i didn’t only see the big herbivors grassing before the heat drives them into the shades, but also a pack of asiatic wilddogs running at full speed towards someting unseen in the forest. Later i met peacoks, colourfull phesants and other colourfull smaller birds on the plains. Then some monkeys foraging in the bush. I used some time on them, and eventually they allowed me to sit almost just beside them. While baluran isn’t the worlds most spectacular nationalpark, it is still possible to have exiting mornings and late afternoons here. But come prepared. Food and drinks must be brought along, the cafe/shop at the camp may not be open at all. To get there, you need transport from the entrancepost, it is just beside the mainroad from Banyuwangi.

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  • The sulphurpeople of Kawa Ljen

    by global_explorer Written Sep 13, 2004

    Kawa ljen produce 10 tonnes of liquid sulphur (pluss a variety of other materials) every day. This crop are collected by locals via some tubes almost in the bottom of the crater The liquid stuff are tapped on the ground where it get solid. Then it is harvested and ccarried in baskets down to the waiting trucks at Pos Paltuding, they take it to a factory in Banyuwangi at the coast.. The collectors recieve 300 rupees per kilo, and some carry as mutch as 110 kilo per trip. They make 2-4 trips a day. It is a backbreaking work, beside all the unhealthy gases they have to breath when they collect and carry the sulphur to the top of the crater. No wounder that even the youngest look old. Despite this, many of them has not forgotten to smile, and no wounder they take see the economical potential of tourists. They pose for a small sum of money, or they sell sulphurpieces allowed to harden in dripstoneshapes and stored easy acsessible just in case. Also the standardquestion is rokok (cigarettes). You are free to visit them at the tappingtubes at the bottom, but then you must be prepared for an acking throat afterwards. The fumes are overwhelming. It is a trip you should do anyway, i think.

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    • Eco-Tourism

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  • Kawa ljen

    by global_explorer Written Sep 13, 2004

    2.5 out of 5 starsHelpfulness

    Due to its position on the rift between the australian and the asiatic tectonic plates, Indonesia are full of active volcanoes (around 220), 22 of them lie on Java. Kawa Ljen are one of the most seeworthy, despite its relative remoteness and lack of transportation. The natural strartpoint are the friendly, and unusual clean city of Bondowoso, from there it take 2 hours by bemo through farmlamd and some beautifull naturalforest before arriving at Sempol village. From here you must ride on a motorbike through more scenic landscape, after some VERY essential pricenegotiations. Also be prepared for some neckbreaking driving. I got my worst ride EVER here. At Pos Paltuding you have to pay an entrancefee (RP 50.000 when i visited) before walking uphill for, let’s say one hour. Most of it goes through forest, only close to the volcano the barren landscape of crumbling lava lies exposed. The crater iself looks like it is drilled-circular, absolutely vertical and mostly with smoot surface. At the bottom there is a beautifull turqoise lake, complete with some small beaches with black sand. The water holds a pleasant temperature, but a lot of stuff is dissolved in it, like sulphur acid and hydrochloric acid. A good place to while away some time watching the surrounding area and the lake is the edge to the right of the trail to the craterbottom, used by the sulphurcollectors (see next tip). Be carefull here, one french tourist fell to his death here some years ago. It also must be said, you will probably see only parts of the lake, there is a constant flow of thick sulphursmoke from the crater. How mutch you see, depends on the winddirection.

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    • Safari

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  • An exposed temple

    by global_explorer Written Sep 13, 2004

    Lonely and surrealistic a temple is situated on the sandsea. The temple are hinduistic, as the locals follow their own unike version of the hinduism. The temple are set up to worship the mighty god believed to live in the Bromocrater, and during the yearly Kasadafestival a prossesion go from the temple to the top of the mountain where annimals and crop are sacrificed. At the same festival the local shamans undergo several tests. The winner becomes the clergyman, the tenggerpeoples spiritual leader the following year. According to legends, the festival dates back to the end of the Majapahitkingdom. The daughter of the king escaped from the advancing islam, and founded a kingdom here together with her husband. They ruled a prospering kingdom, but was unhappy because they had no children. They asked the volcanogod for help. He offered help on one condition, that the youngest child would be given to him. 25 children later, it was time to fullfill their part of the deal, but they hesitated. Bromo lost his patiense and threatened with a major disaster. Then the couple sacrificed the daughter Kesuma for the sake of their people.

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  • Magnificent Bromo

    by global_explorer Written Sep 13, 2004

    2.5 out of 5 starsHelpfulness

    Sometimes Bromo are off limit due to hazards, but most of the time it is open. The receipt for a visit to the mountain are this. Get up really early, and start walking along the road cut out in the craterwall no later than 4:30 in the morning. Then you will have good time to reach the top before sunrise. Sometimes there is lot of yong local couples walking as well, but they are too buisy with eachother to travel fast, so you will soon have the lead and can enjoy the walk. In my diary i wrote this: “the queue felt behind me, it became totally silent. There was no trace of wind, no sounds created by annimals or human to be heard anywhere, only the sound of my own boots on frozen sand.I could hear my own heartbeats. I was alone with the magical shades of the mountains rising towards the sky lightened by the halfmoon and the stars”. After crossing the sand, it is possible to rest at the teastalls at the base of Bromo and Batok, before climbin gto the top of Bromo, the steepest part have stairs. You will feel drops of acid in yur face, often you are covered in dirtywhite sulphursmelling gas drifting down the mountainside. You will hear the sound from the gasvent, if you have seen the titanic movie, and remember the sound when the steam vas dropped, you have the sound of Bromo. At my visit, it only came a manageable amount of gas, but here are a list of previous uprises from that PMS dominated lady. 1980-glowing bombs are spread over the sandsea. In the end of june, 480 explosions was recorded in 24 hours. Visitors was not allowed to enter until september. July 1980-449 poisonous gaseruptions. 1995- Bromo creates ashrain 20 kilometers away. December 2001-100 explosions daily with asheruptions.
    When the light arrives, this is the place to really appreciate the impressive outerwall of the Tenggercrater. It is possible to visit the place all day long, but after sunrise the magic is definately gone. Nature wants it like that, beside now it is lots of cars transporting tourists between the teastalls and the village.

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    • National/State Park
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  • Bromo Tengger, the fantasylandscape

    by global_explorer Written Sep 13, 2004

    Bromo-Tengger nationalpark in the Tenggermountains boost a unique and a litte alienlike landscape. The place to get an overwiew are the top of Gunung Penanjakan (2770 meters), the highest point on the outer wall of the huge, prehistoric Tenggercrater, witch is about 10 kilometers in diameter. The outerwall rises like a medeival castlewall from a totaly flat sandplain, the so called laut Pasir, or sandocean. In the centre of that plain, three volcanos rises towards the sky, two of them have that perfect form known from the flintstones. The third, that to the left with the top blown away are the still active Bromo. From her various amounts, and types, of stuff are thrown out, often it is only gasses. Behind the volcanoes there is a landscape of small mountains with a dangerous landscape of ravines and valleys. Exiting to explore, but one need to be carefull. In the background, outside the crater itself, the beautifull but very active and dangerous Semeru volcano, with its 3676 meters it is the highest point on Java. It can be visited, but be aware. Tourists have been killed by flying stones, volcanologists have ben chasen away by sudden eruptions. 14 mai 1981 250 people was killed by a sudden lahar (mudflow) burying their village. The wethersystem of the area follow its very own rules. From time to time volcanic activity make thunder, lightening and bad weather, even if the area just outside are beautifull, and here are often strong winds. During nighttime it can be very cold there, far below zero. In the dry season it is very dry here and bushfires are not uncommon, but in the rainy season, humidity reach 80%.

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    Go around to the back

    by kyoub Written Jul 4, 2005

    3 out of 5 starsHelpfulness

    Crowds

    If you want to avoid the throngs of people and hawkers, follow your guides and they will show you the back way. You will also avoid climbing all those steps at the front.

    Related to:
    • Eco-Tourism
    • Architecture
    • Religious Travel

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