I have been to about twenty countries and most of Southeast Asia but Indonesia is one country that has completely blown me away. Indonesia is made up of 13,000-18,000 islands (no agreement apparently) and stretches over an area that is nearly as big as the continental US. Indonesia’s numerous volcanoes (many over 2000 meters), heavy rainfall and tropical temperatures result in a lush landscape with 1000’s of incredible waterfalls. I have just started exploring this amazing country.
Indonesia has impressed me so much that I have visited three times in less than two years and I am already planning my next trip (Lombok). My trip to East Java was a spur of the moment decision and planned less than two days. In September a big typhoon was headed to Taiwan on a Wednesday and in addition both Thursday and Friday were holidays that would have been ruined by bad weather so I took advantage of the time off and left Taiwan just before the typhoon hit. Luckily I had done a fair amount of research on Indonesia and had a good idea where I wanted to go. I still missed many great waterfalls that I have learned about through Instagram through many of the Indonesians that I follow. Follow me on Instagram
I started my trip by staying in a hostel in Malang and renting a motorcycle to explore the first 4 waterfalls in 2 days. After that I hired a private car to take me to Madakaripura Waterfall and then to meet my sister in Surabaya. I had completely underestimated how long it would take to travel between places and I should have limited my trip to the Malang and Probolinggo regions but I really wanted to see Grojogan Sewu Waterfall (#8 below) so my sister and I ended up riding long distances in hired cars. After meeting my sister we hired a second driver and stayed in Madiun and Yogyakarta before flying to our respective Asian homes (Taiwan for me and Jakarta for her).
Indonesia is always hot so you can’t time your trip for cooler weather but there are distinct wet and dry seasons. Java and eastward tends to be rainy from December to March and then dryer the rest of the year. The best time to see waterfalls would be March to May but many of these big waterfalls should flow year round.
What recommendations to you have for me in East Java and the rest of Indonesia? I want to visit everywhere in this beautiful country.
- I started my trip with Pelangi Waterfall on the slopes of Mt Bromo. Pelangi Waterfall is one of the waterfalls that can be combined a Mt. Bromo sunrise tour (from Malang). It is a short hike into a deep lush valley. I was very impressed by the effort given by the locals to keep it clean (mostly clean).
2. Rondo Waterfall is one of the best known waterfalls in the Batu area. There isn’t much of a hike but the waterfall is quite impressive. There were other waterfalls in this region that are more remote that I will explore on my next trip.
3. Talun Waterfall isn’t located too far away from Rondo Waterfall but it only gets a fraction of the visitors. The short hike goes through a varied landscape before a steep downhill to the waterfall. It isn’t as tall as most of the waterfalls on this list but it is one of my favorites.
4. Watu Ondo Waterfall was one of my favorites on the trip. It was a little off of the beaten path so it wasn’t too crowded (on a weekday) and the trail down to the waterfall provided perfect viewpoints the entire way down. As an added bonus there was a second smaller waterfall across from Watu Ondo Waterfall.
5. Madakaripura Waterfall instantly became my favorite and the most impressive waterfall that I have ever visited. The stream isn’t particularly large but it is one of Indonesia’s tallest at 200 meters. But the most impressive part was walking into the 200 meter tall cylindrical tube with the green cliff walls towering above you. As an added bonus there is a smaller curtain waterfall that visitors will have to walk through before entering the green tube.
6. Sedudo Waterfall is one of East Java’s most famous and tallest waterfalls. It is fairly spectacular at 105 meters tall but the downfall of this popularity is a lack of nature. There were signs for two other waterfalls on the road to Sedudo Waterfall and these could have been the nice hike that I was looking for.
7. Seweru Waterfall isn’t very big but it is located in an amazing gorge in a rarely traveled place. It takes the most effort to get there out of any on this list but it still isn’t very hard. Climbing over rocks and walking through the stream might be exciting for some. I loved the remoteness and the beauty of this waterfall.
8. I had such high expectations for Grojogan Sewu Waterfall and went way out of my way to get there. Because of these expectations, it was also the only disappointment of the trip. The waterfall itself is incredible but the area is overdeveloped, crowded and they use a significant two tiered pricing policy for foreigners. On weekends tickets cost 160,000 IDR (12 USD) compared to about 15,000 IDR for a local. Every other waterfall that I have visited so far in Indonesia was less than 25,000 IDR. I don’t mind paying 50% more or even double but 10x seemed ridiculous.
Other waterfalls to check out next time. The links go to various blogs written in Indonesia Bahasa.