When the hustle and bustle of the city gets too much, it’s time for a road trip. The island of Bali and the coastal town of Banyuwangi on the eastern tip of Java have many things in common; a strong shared heritage, awe-inspiring wilderness areas, and locations of outstanding natural beauty. They are also connected by a route that threads each of these wonders together, creating the trip of a lifetime.
Whether starting in Denpasar and heading to Banyuwangi, or vice versa, this epic journey is like an Indonesian equivalent of Route 66, complete with steaming volcanoes, colorful coral reefs and the white sands of idyllic tropical beaches.
The northwestern tip of Bali is home to West Bali National Park; 382 hectares of protected natural habitat comprising mangroves, lowland rainforest, savannah and sandy beaches; a haven for wildlife such as kingfishers, monkeys and the endangered Bali starling.
Nearby Menjangan Island is a secluded and serene speck of land floating offshore, home to wild deer and the occasional Buddhist shrine, and ringed by pristine coral gardens that make the island a divers’ paradise, packed with underwater treasures just waiting to be explored.
Just across the Bali Strait is the eastern edge of Java, where the brooding silhouette of Mount Ijen looms on the horizon. Rising 2,799 meters (9,183 ft) above sea level, this spectacular volcano is home to the world’s largest sulphur lake, where miners brave the elements to harvest minerals directly from the smoking vents. Trekking up here is like a visit to the moon; this otherworldly place is like a different planet to the tropical paradise below, but has its own brutal beauty.
The journey between Banyuwangi and Denpasar takes you through some of the most attractive and culturally rich landscapes Indonesia has to offer. From below the waves to above the clouds, the trip is packed with action, adventure and the epic drama of Indonesia; a country of contrasts, contradictions and dazzling beauty.