Only an hour's boat ride from Bali, Banyuwangi offers many attractive destinations for tourists that are both picturesque and unique. In addition to having three amazing national parks, it is also blessed with breathtaking beaches and captivating local cultures.
Here are five recommended things to do when you have the opportunity to explore the regency.
Enjoy an African safari
One of the regency's must-visit gems is Baluran National Park. It is situated around 30 minutes from Banyuwangi's Ketapang seaport or a six-hour drive from the city of Surabaya.
Consider spending the night at one of the park's cottages which, in addition to offering affordable rates starting from Rp 125,000 (S$12.68) per night, also feature splendid views overlooking wild animals at the Bekol savannah and the calming sea at Bama Beach.
Safari enthusiasts can also head to the Sadengan savannah at Alas Purwo National Park. Animals such as wild buffalo, barking deer, wild pigs, peacocks and jungle fowl can be seen at the park from the view tower especially in the morning and afternoon.
Ride the waves
Blessed with numerous gorgeous beaches along its coastline, Banyuwangi is paradise for those seeking to ride the waves.
Popular surfing spots include Plengkung Beach's G-Land and Pulau Merah Beach in Pesanggaran district.
Those not interested in surfing can opt for beach-hopping as Banyuwangi also offers beaches with friendly waves to swim in and secluded parts to linger and sunbathe.
Several recommended spots include Pulau Merah and Wedi Ireng beaches in Pesanggaran district, Green Bay Beach in Meru Betiri National Park, and Pancur Beach in Alas Purwo National Park.
Get adventurous in Mount Ijen
Nestled in the most western part of Banyuwangi, Mount Ijen features picturesque views of the light tosca-coloured crater lake, which is one of the world's largest, and unique blue flames as a result of the crater's burning sulfur a gas, which usually appears around 3 a.m. Many tourists especially trek the volcano to marvel at the blue flames starting from 11 p.m.
Engaging with the fire diggers, or local sulfur miners, who may carry up to 90 kilograms of sulfur down the mountain twice a day, is also a unique experience offered by Mount Ijen.
Appreciate traditional dances
Similar to other parts of the country, Banyuwangi also offers many interesting cultural attractions. The so-called Gandrung dance, for example, represents the joy and happiness following the harvest season. It uses a unique combination of Javanese and Balinese traditional musical instruments.
Several statues depicting Gandrung dancers can be found around the downtown area of Banyuwangi and the dance itself is performed at the great annual Banyuwangi Festival.
Other notable dances of the regency include the Seblang dance, Barong dance, Praburoro dance and the Damarwulan dance.