When people think of travelling to Indonesia, they think of Bali. Their minds are filled with ideas of a tranquil retreat into paddy fields, or relaxing stroll by the beach. Unfortunately, Bali has become more crowded over the years the romantic idea of it being a relaxing getaway, remains well, an idea.
But worry not, East Java has everything Bali has to offer, but without the people. Being relatively less known among foreign travelers, East Java sure has its own charm you do not want to miss!
Here are some hidden gems you should add to your next travel itinerary:
Chances are you have never heard of this island. Located just up the Northern tip of the island of Java, Bawean Island can be reached from Gresik regency by ferry within 3-8 hours. The main attraction of Bawean Island is its pristine nature with numerous smaller islands surrounding the main island.
The most popular neighboring islands include Noko Isand, Noko Selayar Island, and Gili Island. All share the same characteristics of white sand beaches and vast greenery leading towards rocky cliffs.
Explore the dense jungle that will lead you to barely touched waterfalls or jump into crystal clear waters in its lakes. Not only is Bawean ideal for sightseeing, it is also ideal for snorkeling and even cliff-climbing.
Alas Purwo National Park
East Java is home to many national parks, including Alas Purwo. In the past widely popular for being a beloved location for people seeking spiritual enlightenments, Alas Purwo has now become a popular destination for travellers from all over the world. Its vast savanna becomes a grazing spot for buffaloes and deer alike.
Alas Purwo also becomes home to the endangered Javanese leopard, hiding behind tall grasses to prey on the grazing animals. Between January and September, a wide variety of turtles also come to the shores to lay eggs. Maybe if you are lucky you could also help releasing the babies back into their natural habitat!
For surfers, Alas Purwo has one of Southeast Asia’s best surfing spot, Plengkung Beach or also called G-Land. Between April to October is the peak for surfing activity with ideal waves. The beauty of the nature and surfing scene of Alas Purwo has successfully attracted travellers from all over the world.
Challenge the inner adventurer inside of you to explore what is supposedly the longest cave in Southeast Asia. Lowo (bat in Javanese) Cave in Trenggalek is very accessible from the interstate road also headed to popular tourist destinations Prigi Beach and White Sand Beach.
Travellers can indulge in the majestic stalactite and stalagmites adorning the interior of the cave. The inside of the cave is well lit with a clear path visitors can follow, stretching as long as 859 meter into the depth of the cave.
Lowo Cave is unique as it is comprised of nine rooms, each vary in height between 20 to 50 meters. Also as the name suggests, it is also home to thousands of bats hanging from the ceiling.