Banyuwangi, A City With Many Stories

Banyuwangi, a city in Indonesia with many stories

The mesmerising Gandrung Dance, a informative value of Banyuwangi folks. Photos: RSN Murali

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My trust of a Majapahit Empire was cramped to what we schooled from story books in propagandize many years ago. But a revisit to Banyuwangi in Indonesia’s East Java done me know and learn a lot some-more about a kingdom’s contributions to a world, generally in South-East Asia.

Not surprisingly, a locals in Banyuwangi are unapproachable of their enlightenment and heritage, and reason their ancestors in high regard.

I used to consider that Indonesia’s birthright was customarily strong in Jogjakarta and Bali, though Banyuwangi showed me that there’s a lot some-more to explore.

I was tender by Banyuwangi during this lass trip, that was organized by a Indonesian Embassy in Kuala Lumpur. As we was furloughed a city in a rickshaw, a supplement told stories of Banyuwangi in Bahasa Indonesia.

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“Did we know that Banyuwangi was once famous for black magic?” he said, while indicating to a travel where a obvious practitioner lived in a 1990s. Apparently, he had taken many Malaysians to that residence on his rickshaw.

Curious to know some-more about this “black magic”, we asked him to share some of his personal experiences, if he had any.

The rider, who was in his 50s, emitted that a form of magic famous as “santet” was renouned behind then. This magic is privately used to mistreat a chairman from a distance.

He combined that several eremite total were murdered on guess of incantation in 1998 by indignant mobs, and since of this, a curfew was imposed in a same year by a authorities!


Banyuwangi offers many places of seductiveness to revisit such as this Hindu church during Alas Purwo. Photos: R.S.N. Murali

Today, Banyuwangi is some-more famous for a healthy beauty and informative birthright than a dark, visionary past. And since of this, a city is customarily attracting some-more tourists, both domestically and internationally.

I was mesmerized by a fairyland-like rainforest during Djawatan Benculuk, a sprawling immature park with ancient trees. You can spend an afternoon here holding cinema (highly endorsed for folks wishing to take pre-wedding photographs) or enjoying a elementary picnic.

Banyuwangi is home to some of Indonesia’s singular and involved class of flora and fauna. It is also a good place to declare a universe famous blue fire during a Ijen Crater. This is a healthy materialisation that customarily occurs in dual places in a universe (the other place is in Iceland).

The Baluran National Park is another place value visiting in Banyuwangi. The wildlife charge park is a standout for many reasons, though generally since it is where we can find singular animal class like Banteng (wild buffalo) and Dhole furious dog. This “Javanese savannah” also looks like it is located in a African continent – it is so immeasurable and beautiful.

I was told that a greenery in a city has always been recorded as a locals trust that a object rises during Banyuwangi initial before it hits anywhere else in a Indonesian archipelago.

What’s mostly not created about Banyuwangi is a Alas Purwo National Park. When we travel into a forest, we are now strike by a smell of teak wood. This place is famous to a encampment as a “magical forest” since it is hidden in mystery. A internal told me that years ago, some people went blank in a timberland and were never found. But a few years later, they “returned” unscathed, as if they had never left home.

Near a timberland is a ancient Hindu church that has been announced a birthright site by a Indonesian government.

Locals detected a Agung Kawitan Temple by collision when they were clearing a partial of a jungle in 1967. The church is related to a Majapahit era, so locals announced it as a dedicated site and built another Hindu place of ceremony subsequent to it, called Giri Salaka Temple.


Aekano has immeasurable trust of Banyuwangi.

I had a possibility to pronounce to an intriguing historian named Bapak Aekano, a soft-spoken retirement who possess an discernment into a city’s past. Aekano is a male who was instrumental in compelling a Gandrung Sewu, a exemplary Hindu dance. Initially, customarily group achieved a Gandrung (they would dress as women) though over a years, women were authorised to take partial too.

Gandrung means love, and a dance is a showcase of adore and appreciation that a people of Banyuwangi – generally farmers – have for a rice enchantress Dewi Sri.

The historian pronounced that nonetheless a locals are primarily Muslim, they honour their ancestors’ faith and recorded a ancient dance that came about during a Blambangan era, a final Javanese Hindu dominion to exist.

Aekano also common how Banyuwangi got a name: It is a Javanese word for “fragrant water”, a anxiety to a renouned Javanese folk story of Sri Tanjung. In a tale, a true mother Sri Tanjung is poorly indicted of intrigue on her husband. To infer her innocence, she swears that if she is killed, perfumed H2O will upsurge out from her physique instead of blood.

Aekano’s stories and practice are so interesting, visitors customarily don’t mind spending an afternoon with him customarily chatting away.

Banyuwangi left a durability sense on me.

Citilink, a low-cost auxiliary of Indonesian conduit Garuda, now flies approach (1x weekly) to Banyuwangi from Kuala Lumpur. For some-more information, check out


Other places of seductiveness in Banyuwangi

G-Land Beach

G-Land, or Plengkung Beach, is a renouned roller beach famous to many as “The Seven Giant Waves Wonder”. It’s 7 rolls of waves can strech adult to 6m high! Some zealous roller fans even contend that a waves here is a second best in a universe after Hawaii.

Lider Waterfall

Lider Waterfall is about 60m high, a top in Banyuwangi. There are 5 falls here – a categorical one and 4 others that are somewhat smaller.

Red Island Beach

It’s name comes from a mountain not distant from a beach that is lonesome in red soil. You can simply trek to this mountain during low tide. Otherwise, it’s also a good place to surf.

Osing Tourist Village

The people of a Osing clan live in this informative birthright charge village. The Osing people have their possess singular chapter that is fascinating to hear. Traditional houses from centuries past can also be found here. If you’re lucky, we competence locate performances of normal dances like Gandrung, Angklung Paglak, Barong Kemiren and Othek.

Rajegwesi Beach

Rajegwesi Beach’s chocolate-coloured sand, caused by murky lees brought by stream floods, is pleasing to demeanour at. An aged bunker, pronounced to be from a Japanese function era, still stands in a area. (Source: The Jakarta Post)


Traditional dancers behaving a Gandrung Sewu dance during a festival in Banyuwangi. Photo: AFP

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