Exploring The Triple Bs: Banyuwangi, Baluran, Bangkalan

I didn’t know what got into my mind, but last year I finally had my first solo traveling experience to some areas in East Java. With only a few articles that I read on the internet to guide me in travelling solo for the first time I booked all my tickets and accommodation.

This particular trip was like the beginning of all the trip I had back in 2017. I remember I was in between jobs, and I got all so recharged and refreshed by this trip. I went home to Jakarta with all new experience and story.

The previous post from this trip about my visit to Kawah Ijen  was already published. Through this post, I just want to share some photos I took during the trip, especially to three cities/regencies that all started with the letter B: Banyuwangi, Baluran and Bangkalan.

Banyuwangi was a small city that can be explored within just a few hours using a motorbike. It’s surrounded by plenty of beaches, but sadly the beaches on this part of Java is not as beautiful as those beaches that you can find in Bali, Lombok and Flores. The sand and sea was mostly come in dark colors. The sky was also mostly gloomy since it was still rainy season. Here are some photos that I took from Banyuwangi:

Gerson Henry Henry Gerson Lifestyle Traveling Banyuwangi Bengkalan Jawa Timur East Java Indonesia Kawah Ijen Surabaya 01
Departed by train to Surabaya and then transit with another train to Banyuwangi. 
Gerson Henry Henry Gerson Lifestyle Traveling Banyuwangi Bengkalan Jawa Timur East Java Indonesia Kawah Ijen Surabaya 02
Boom Beach
Gerson Henry Henry Gerson Lifestyle Traveling Banyuwangi Bengkalan Jawa Timur East Java Indonesia Kawah Ijen Surabaya 03
Lazy Day
Gerson Henry Henry Gerson Lifestyle Traveling Banyuwangi Bengkalan Jawa Timur East Java Indonesia Kawah Ijen Surabaya 04
Sailing Away
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First time asking a stranger to take my photo.
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Before the rain
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After the rain
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Local shepherd
Gerson Henry Henry Gerson Lifestyle Traveling Banyuwangi Bengkalan Jawa Timur East Java Indonesia Kawah Ijen Surabaya 16
Sunbathing
Gerson Henry Henry Gerson Lifestyle Traveling Banyuwangi Bengkalan Jawa Timur East Java Indonesia Kawah Ijen Surabaya 06
Selfie Stick Squad
Gerson Henry Henry Gerson Lifestyle Traveling Banyuwangi Bengkalan Jawa Timur East Java Indonesia Kawah Ijen Surabaya 07
Old and Abandoned
Gerson Henry Henry Gerson Lifestyle Traveling Banyuwangi Bengkalan Jawa Timur East Java Indonesia Kawah Ijen Surabaya 08
Second time asking for a stranger to take my photo.

Baluran National Park was of course a different story. Located in Situbondo, which was about 2 – 2,5 hours ride from Banyuwangi – yeah I didn’t know what got into me that I was so eager and excited to actually hop onto a motorbike and had that long ride all by myself – this place is often called the Little Africa in Java.

I kid you not, the place was huge. It was so huge that it took another 1 hour from the gate of Baluran National Park to the center spot where you can stop and sit down just to enjoy an endless view of Savanna. Wikipedia stated that its total area is 25,000 ha, which includes 40% of Savanna, lowland forests with 444 kind of plants, mangrove forests and hills.

The road into the savanna was a very bumpy roads surrounded by trees. I remembered praying not to encounter any wild animal, not to run out of fuel, and that the weather would stay calm, at least until I got back safely at the hostel that I stayed in. Stuck in a middle of a forest and had to ride a motorbike during a rain is a complete nightmare. I just experienced that the night before during my hike to Kawah Ijen, and I didn’t want to re-experience it less than 24 hours afterwards.

Gerson Henry Henry Gerson Lifestyle Traveling Banyuwangi Bengkalan Jawa Timur East Java Indonesia Kawah Ijen Surabaya 21
After a total of 3 hours motorcycle ride
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I wonder where are the Wakandans?
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Totem
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Who would have thought that we have this in Indonesia
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Utilizing the self-timer feature while there was nobody around

So after Banyuwangi, I went to Surabaya by train and spent about 12 hours (read about it here) there before my flight back to Jakarta. I arrived at 7am in Surabaya, and there was not much to do that early in the morning. One thing I knew was that I wanted to have Nasi Babi Peneleh as my breakfast (seriously it’s the one thing I miss the most from Surabaya).

I used online transportation (Gojek – an app based motorbike taxi) from the train station to Jl. Peneleh and remember asking the driver what are the places that I need to check out in Surabaya. Then, I asked him about Madura, is it possible to go there and explore that small island located at the northeastern of Surabaya. There are actually some beautiful places that are worth-visiting in Madura, but I didn’t know whether I had the time or not.

To make a long story short, he said it wouldn’t possible as it would normally took about three hours from the Suramadu (the cable-stayed bridge that connects Surabaya and Madura) bridge to the center of Madura. And another three + one hours to go back to Surabaya and to the airport. He then suggested me to just check out the Suramadu bridge and went sight-seeing at this regency called Bangkalan. He even said that he would want to take me there because he needed extra cash, although he didn’t mention a specific number.

So there I was, at 9am in the morning, on my way to Madura accompanied by a Gojek driver, in the name of curiosity. It was not an easy trip, particularly because I was carrying a heavy 60L hiking bag with me.

Gerson Henry Henry Gerson Lifestyle Traveling Banyuwangi Bengkalan Jawa Timur East Java Indonesia Kawah Ijen Surabaya 17
Crossing the Suramadu bridge.

Bangkalan is like the outer layer of Madura. The frontline view that you will first encounter after crossing Suramadu. The view was mostly beautiful, I stopped every now and then just to take photos, but sadly the weather was all-gloomy. What amazing was the Gojek driver was willing to also be my personal photographer haha.

After about an hour, I was starting to feel tired and decided to go back to Surabaya. On the way there I felt the urge to immediately shower and took a nap. So I Googled some available rented rooms in the city, and the Gojek driver even helped out Googling some places. Gratefully, it didn’t take too much time for me to found an affordable place to check-in.

Gerson Henry Henry Gerson Lifestyle Traveling Banyuwangi Bengkalan Jawa Timur East Java Indonesia Kawah Ijen Surabaya 18
Taking this photo using a camera while you were sitting on a motorbike was not easy at all.
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Bangkalan
Gerson Henry Henry Gerson Lifestyle Traveling Banyuwangi Bengkalan Jawa Timur East Java Indonesia Kawah Ijen Surabaya 10
Thank God for the Gojek Driver
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Ohana
Gerson Henry Henry Gerson Lifestyle Traveling Banyuwangi Bengkalan Jawa Timur East Java Indonesia Kawah Ijen Surabaya 20
Gloomy Suramadu

By the way, here’s the super kind Gojek driver. His name is Andika, and I told him that if one day I happen to revisit Surabaya I would contact him again and ask him to take me around just for the sake of giving him an extra income for the day. If he’s still a Gojek driver (really pray that he could get a more steady job to support his family).

Gerson Henry Henry Gerson Lifestyle Traveling Banyuwangi Bengkalan Jawa Timur East Java Indonesia Kawah Ijen Surabaya 11
Thank you, Mas Andika!

 

Write to you later,

HG. (@gersonhenry)

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