My original major destination on this part of my two-week trip was supposed to be Mount Ijen, a volcano famous for its surreal turquoise-colored volcanic crater lake. Unfortunately, I found out when I was already in Bondowoso that Mount Ijen was, at the time, closed off to tourists because of high volcanic activity.

So, I decided to visit Baluran National Park in East Java instead. I spent a few days in Baluran, attempting to make my own wildlife spotting safari (on foot). I did get to see lots of wild animals and birds freely roaming at Baluran’s savannah.

From Baluran, I traveled by land to Surabaya, where I was supposed to catch my flight to Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia. While waiting for my departure, I spent a few hours exploring the old city and riverside area of Surabaya.

Itinerary Rundown

Trip Date — March 2012

Itinerary Notes & Tips

Day 1

Mount Bromo to Probolinggo

  • Ride ojek from Cemoro Lawang to Probolinggo – Rp50,000
    • The bus was empty and I knew it would take a long time to fill up and depart. So, I contacted Juri, the ojek driver, to take me to Probolinggo
  • 9:30am to 10:30am – ride ojek from Cemoro Lawang to Probolinggo (1 hour) – Rp50,000
  • 10:30am – Probolinggo arrival. Drop-off at the bus terminal.
  • Ride bus from Probolinggo to Bondowoso (3 hours) – Rp12,000
  • 1:30pm – Bondowoso bus terminal arrival
    • Information office told me the last trip to Sempol, Palduting, or Ijen left at 10am. They advised me to spend the night in Bondowoso and return to the terminal 7am early morning the next day.

Bondowoso Hotel check-in

  • Ride bechak (pedicab) from Bondowoso terminal to Hotel Baru (1.5km; 15 minutes) – Rp20,000.
    • I was ripped off. Staff at Hotel Baru told me the ride should only cost Rp6,000
  • Check-in at Hotel Baru
    • Double room (twin beds; private TB) – Rp75,000
    • Excellent value! Rooms were clean, spacious, and very cheap for the quality of service.
  • Bondowoso Walking Tour
    • Visit Bondowoso Tourist Information Center.
    • Staff discouraged me to go to Ijen because of high volcanic activity in the area, at the time.
  • Eat at warung – Rp9,000
    • Mie Goreng Ayam + Kopi
  • Eat at night market at the park
    • Roti bakar (blueberry flavor) – Rp8,000

Day 2

  • 9:00am – Free breakfast at Hotel Baru
    • Curry with rice
    • Java Kopi
  • 12:30nn – Hotel Baru check-out

Bondowoso to Baluran bus

  • 2:45pm – Ride bechak to Bondowoso bus terminal – Rp10,000
  • 3:30pm – Ride bus to Sito Bondo – Rp6,000
  • 4:40pm – Situbondo bus terminal arrival.
  • Eat at sidestreet sate stall
    • Sate kambing (barbecued goat meat  on skewers; 10 pcs) and rice – Rp20,000
  • 5:40pm – Situbondo departure
  • Ride bus from Situbondo to Baluran – Rp10,000
    • 6:45pm – Got stuck in standstill traffic for almost an hour near Baluran because of at least 3 trucks that broke down along the two-lane road. It was also raining very heavily at the time.
  • 7:30pm – Arrival at the “gate” of Baluran National Park
    • Park entry closed at 4pm. The park rangers did not allow me to enter. Instead, they advised me to sleep at a homestay nearby and come back 8am the next day.
  • Hitch ride with a park ranger to Mt. Subakat’s Homestay

Baluran Homestay check-in

  • Check-in at Mr. Subakat’s homestay (Randuagung RT.. 002/001 Wonorejo – Banyuputih – Situbondo – Jawa Timur – Indonesia; +6281358193838, +62333463822)
    • Double fan room (shared TB) – Rp75,000
    • Very friendly and accommodating hosts

Day 3

  • 6:30am – wake-up
  • Breakfast at warung owned by Mr. Subakat – Rp15,000
    • Nasi Goreng Ayam + Kopi

Baluran National Park hostel check-in

  • Ride ojek (driven by Mr. Subakat himself) to Bekol (pronounced as Buh-khol) savanna within Baluran National Park – Rp35,000 (one-way)
  • Pay park fees at Baluran National Park visitor’s center – Rp25,500
    • Entrance ticket for foreigners – Rp20,000
    • Entrance ticket for locals (ojek driver) –  Rp2,500
    • Motorcycle entry fee – Rp3,000
  • Check-in at Wisma Rusa cottage – Rp52,500
    • Double room (no fan; twin beds; shared TB) – Rp35,000 per person per night
    • Late check-out on my second day – Rp17,500 (50% of full nighly rate)

Baluran National Park DIY Solo Walking Tour

  • Bekol Savannah
    • Deer Herds
    • Huge band of long tail Macaques
  • Evergreen Forest
    • Hornbills
  • Bama Beach
    • More monkeys
  • Early dinner at the cafeteria in Bama Beach – Rp22,000
    • Nasi Goreng Ayam Telur (fried noodles with chicken and egg)
    • Kopi
    • Minute maid pulpy orange
  • Guy working at the park offered me a ride back to Bekol savannah

Day 4

  • 12nn to 4:20pm – continue photo walk in Baluran National Park

Baluran to Surabaya night travel

  • 5:00pm – Arranged pick-up by Mr. Subakat from Bekol savanna back to the homestay
  • Reserved a seat for 12mn night “travel” (van shuttle transport) from Baluran to Surabaya
  • Standby at homestay and wait for “travel”
  • 12mn – Baluran to Surabaya shuttle (5 hours)
    • Free buffet dinner stopover along the way. Simple menu. Free WiFi at the restaurant.

Day 5

  • 4:45am – Arrival in Surabaya.

Surabaya walking tour

  • Breakfast at Soto Ayam warung – Rp13,000
    • Soto Ayam + Kopi
  • 4:45am to 9:30am – Surabaya City Center walking tour

Surabaya to Kuala Lumpur flight

  • Ride metered taxi from Surabaya City Center to Juanda International Airport – Rp120,000
    • Metered fare – Rp103,000
    • 1st toll booth – Rp5,500
    • 2nd toll booth – Rp2,500
    • Airport car entry fee + tip – remaining
  •  10:00am – Arrival at Surabaya (Juanda) International Airport
  • Early lunch at Risky Café – Rp24,000
    • Club T (Rp6,000)
    • Nasi Putih (Rp6,000)
    • Ayam Kecap (Rp14,000)
  • Check-in for Surabaya to Kuala Lumpur Flight via AirAsia – Rp150,000 airport tax for international flights
  • 12:15nn – Departure from Surabaya Airport
  • Surabaya to Kuala Lumpur Flight
  • 4:00pm – Arrival in Kuala Lumpur Airport