Wonosari Tea Plantation

Wonosari Tea Plantation

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About 30km north of Malang, the Wonosari Tea Plantation has sweeping views and a temperate climate; the setting is glorious. This agrotourism venture and leisure park offers everything from tea-plantation tours (40,000Rp), a minitrain and zip lines to tennis and a swimming pool. You can arrange a guide here (around 175,000Rp for the day) to hike to the top of Gunung Arjuna. You can also purchase tea grown on the estate and good accommodation is available (rooms 180,000Rp to 1,400,000Rp). From Malang, catch a bus or mikrolet to the town of Lawang (7000Rp) and then an ojek (12,000Rp).

http://www.lonelyplanet.com/indonesia/wonosari-tea-plantation

Watu Ulo & Papuma

Watu Ulo & Papuma

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Watu Ulo is popular on weekends, but like most of the beaches on Java’s south coast, it has grey sand, and crashing surf makes swimming dangerous. The real surprise lies just west around the headland from Watu Ulo at Papuma – a lovely beach with white sand, turquoise waters, several warung and relatively sheltered swimming.

To reach Watu Ulo, head to the Ajung subterminal in Jember and then take an angkot (confusingly also known as ‘taxis’ in these parts) to Ambulu (7000Rp, one hour). From Ambulu, ojek drivers go to Watu Ulo (15,000Rp, 20 minutes) or on to Papuma via a steep headland.

On Pantai Papuma, Tanjung Papuma is a kind of outdoor pursuits centre geared at Indonesian school groups. It offers lots of organised activities such as snorkelling and trekking. Its well-maintained bungalows can be rented by all and there’s a shady campsite.

Bondowoso

Bondowoso

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Bondowoso, suspended between the highlands of Tengger and Ijen, is one of the cleanest towns in Java. It is the home of some of the island’s best tape, a tasty, sweet-and-sour snack made from boiled vegetable roots. It’s merely a transit point for nearby attractions such as Ijen, but does have banks and internet facilities. Tours to Ijen can be organised here.

Tape can be found on Jl PB Sudirman, where dozens of shops sell it by the basket (15,000Rp). The ‘321’ brand is reportedly the best.

There are many (cramped) minibuses to Ijen (20,000Rp), all leaving before noon for the 2½-hour trip. Other destinations from Bondowoso include Jember (6000Rp, 45 minutes), Probolinggo (15,000Rp, two hours) and Surabaya (normal/air-con 32,000/45,0000Rp, five hours).

Kalibaru

Kalibaru

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The picturesque road from Jember to Banyuwangi winds around the foothills of Gunung Raung, through rainforest, and up to the small hill town of Kalibaru (428m).

The village itself is not much to look at, but it has a benign climate and a remarkable array of excellent midrange accommodation. It’s a good base for visiting the nearby plantations around Glenmore, to the east, or the smaller, more easily visited plots of coffee and cloves to the north of Kalibaru train station.

The area has many plantations, but Kebun Kandeng Lembu, 5km south of Glenmore, is one of the most scenic. Guides can be hired (80,000Rp) for group tours to see rubber tapping and processing, as well as cacao and coffee plantations.

Gunung Arjuna-Lalijiwo Reserve

Gunung Arjuna-Lalijiwo Reserve

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This reserve includes the dormant volcano Gunung Arjuna (3339m), the semi-active Gunung Welirang (3156m) and the Lalijiwo Plateau on the northern slopes of Arjuna. Experienced and well-equipped hikers can walk from the resort town of Tretes to Selekta in two days, but you need a guide to go all the way. Alternatively, you can climb Welirang from Tretes or Lawang.

A well-used hiking path, popular with students on weekends and holidays, and also with soul-searchers who come to meditate on the mountain, begins in Tretes near the Kakak Bodo Recreation Reserve. Get information from the PHKA post in the northern reaches of the town. Guides can be hired here for 300,000Rp per day; allow two days to climb one mountain and three days for both.

It’s a hard, five-hour, 17km walk to the very basic huts used by the Gunung Welirang sulphur collectors. Hikers usually stay overnight here in order to reach the summit before the clouds roll in around mid-morning. Bring your own camping gear, food and drinking water (or hire it all at the PHKA post for around 140,000Rp per day), and be prepared for freezing conditions. From the huts it’s a 4km climb to the summit. Allow at least six hours in total for the ascent, and 4½ hours for the descent.

The trail passes Lalijiwo Plateau, a superb alpine meadow, from where a trail leads to Gunung Arjuna, the more demanding peak. From Arjuna, a trail leads down the southern side to Junggo, near Selekta and Batu. It’s a five-hour descent from Arjuna this way; a guide is essential.

Jember

Jember

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Jember is a large city and service centre for the surrounding coffee, cacao, rubber, cotton and tobacco plantations. It’s a relatively clean city, with a futuristic mosque (it looks like a flying saucer) by its alun-alun, but there’s no reason to linger here. If you plan to go to Meru Betiri, you could drop by the Meru Betiri National Park Office, which has accommodation details and background information on the park.

Jember has an excess of transport terminals. The main one, Tawung Alun (or Terminal Jember), 6km west of town, has buses to Banyuwangi (23,000Rp, three hours) and Kalibaru (8000Rp, one hour), and economy buses to Denpasar, Solo and Yogyakarta. Angkot run from here to Terminal Arjesa, which serves Bondowoso (7000Rp, 45 minutes). There are also subterminals to the east (for Banyuwangi) and south (for Watu Ulo).

Jember is also located on the Surabaya–Banyuwangi train line; the station is in the town centre.

Purwodadi

Purwodadi

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The Kebun Raya Purwodadi are expansive dry-climate botanical gardens. The 85 hectares are beautifully landscaped and contain more than 3000 species, including 80 kinds of palm, a huge fern collection, a Mexican section, myriad orchids and many varieties of bamboo. The garden office to the south of the entrance has a map and leaflets. Air Terjun Cobanbaung is a high waterfall next to the gardens.

The gardens are easily reached; take any bus (7000Rp) from Malang to Surabaya and ask to be dropped off at the entrance, which is 3km north of the town of Lawang,

Gunung Penanggungan

Gunung Penanggungan

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The remains of no fewer than 81 temples are scattered over the slopes of Gunung Penanggungan (1650m). This sacred Hindu mountain is said to be the peak of Mt Mahameru, which according to legend broke off and landed at its present site when Mt Mahameru was transported from India to Indonesia.

Historically this was a very important pilgrimage site for Hindus and a few Javanese mystics, meditators and Hindus still visit the mountain today. Pilgrims make their way to the top of the mountain and stop to bathe in the holy springs adorned with Hindu statuary. The two main bathing places are Candi Jolotundo and Candi Belahan, the best examples of remaining Hindu art. Both are difficult to reach.

In a stunning setting on the evergreen western slopes of Penanggungan, PPLH Environmental Education Centre is a supremely relaxing and interesting place. It’s mainly set up to teach groups about the merits of organic agriculture, composting and garbage management. Expert guides can be hired for hikes (140,000Rp per day) and they’ll gladly explain about plants used for herbal medicines. There’s an organic restaurant and good, rustic accommodation is available in pretty bungalows with outdoor bathrooms, or in more basic dorms. School groups pass through from time to time, disturbing the tranquility somewhat, but most of the time it’s very peaceful. To get there, take a Trawas-bound minibus (6000Rp) from Pandaan and an ojek (10,000Rp) from Trawas.

Gunung Kelud

Gunung Kelud

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Around 30km directly north of Panataran, Gunung Kelud (1731m) is one of Java’s most active, accessible and rewarding volcanoes to visit, with a plunging crater, steaming vents and a small crater lake. Kelud is in a near-permanent state of growl – an eruption in 1919 killed 5000 people and one in 2007 sent smoke 2.5km into the air and created a 250m-high cone within the caldera.

To get to the crater itself you have to walk through a 200m tunnel, built under the Japanese occupation. A torch (flashlight) isn’t necessary but will reveal many bats. To get the best perspective of Kelud you need to hike a steep path up the side of the crater.

Entrance to Gunung Kelud is controlled at a gateway 10km before the summit because of the active nature of the beast.

There’s no public transport to Kelud. The easiest way here is to hire a car or ojek from Blitar. After bargaining, the latter will do a half-day return trip via Panataran for around 80,000Rp.

Trowulan

Trowulan

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Trowulan was once the capital of the largest Hindu empire in Indonesian history. Founded by Singosari prince Wijaya in 1294, it reached the height of its power under Hayam Wuruk (1350–89), who was guided by his powerful prime minister, Gajah Mada. During this time Majapahit received tribute from most of the regions encompassing present-day Indonesia and even parts of the Malay Peninsula.

Its wealth was based on its control of the spice trade and the fertile rice-growing plains of Java. The religion was a hybrid of Hinduism – with worship of the deities Shiva, Vishnu and Brahma – and Buddhism, but Islam was tolerated, and Koranic burial inscriptions found on the site suggest that Javanese Muslims resided within the royal court. The empire came to a catastrophic end in 1478 when the city fell to the north-coast power of Demak, forcing the Majapahit elite to flee to Bali and opening Java up to the Muslim conquest.

Sir Thomas Stamford Raffles, the great British explorer and governor general of Java, rediscovered Trowulan in 1815, and though it was choked in forest, described the ruins as ‘this pride of Java’.

The remains of the court are scattered over a large area around the village of Trowulan, 12km from Mojokerto. The Majapahit temples were mainly built from red-clay bricks that quickly crumbled. Many have been rebuilt and are relatively simple compared to the glories of structures such as Borobudur, but they do give a good idea of what was once a great city. As the temples are spread over a such a large area, it’s best to either hire a becak or come in a car.

One kilometre from the main Surabaya–Solo road, the impressive Trowulan Museum houses superb examples of Majapahit sculpture and pottery from East Java. Pride of place is held by the splendid statue of Kediri’s King Airlangga as Vishnu astride a huge Garuda, taken from Belahan. It should be your first port of call for an understanding of Trowulan and Majapahit history, and it includes descriptions of the other ancient ruins in East Java.

Some of the most interesting ruins include the gateway of Bajang Ratu, with its strikingly sculpted kala heads; the Tikus Temple (Queen’s Bath – used for ritual bathing and cleansing); and the 13.7m-high Wringinlawang Gate. The Pendopo Agung is an open-air pavilion built by the Indonesian army. Two kilometres south of the pavilion, the Troloyo cemetery is the site of some of the oldest Muslim graves found in Java, the earliest dating from AD 1376.

Trowulan is refreshingly hawker-free, though as there’s a distinct lack of information on site you may want to hire a freelance guide (there’s often one waiting at the museum). Expect to pay around 70,000Rp for a half-day guide.