26. November 2019

Java: The beautiful waterfall Tumpak Sewu

We drove from Malang to Licin and visited the beautiful waterfall Tumpak Sewu on the way.

A new day and a new exhausting journey lay ahead. Our Airbnb hostess arranged a driver to take us from Malang to Licin near Mount Ijen. Since we could not do the tour to the waterfalls the day before, we planned this now for sunrise and had to leave the airbnb already at 2 am at night. The night before was very short. Our driver barely understood English, but he knew the 8 hour route and even small shortcuts from Malang to Licin without using Google Maps.

After about 2 hours we arrived exactly at sunrise at Tempak Sewu and were by far the first visitors at the waterfall. We first looked at the mighty waterfall from the upper vantage point, let the drone fly, and then went down the steep and muddy path across the stairs. Flip flops are definitely out of place and you should definitely wear hiking boots or at least some sneakers. We had sneakers on and slipped away quite often. The stairs are steep, partly laid out with bamboo, sometimes just muddy.

After some time you will reach a part where your feet can not stay dry anymore. The path leads through a waterfall and you have to climb over rocks in the water. Then a rope leads along the rock facade. After a few more slippery steps you’ll reach the lower ravine from which you can either go to the right to the Tumpak Sewu or left to Goa Tetes. We first went to the Tumpak Sewu, spent some time there alone and took some pictures. You definitely will not stay dry here. The waterfall is so powerful and the humidity is probably 100%. The view up to the waterfall is incredible. I have seen many waterfalls and some of Iceland’s most beautiful ones, but this one is definitely among my top 3.

We were already soaking wet when we went back the way and made the quick detour to Goa Tetes. The waterfall is quick to reach and not quite as impressive as the larger neighbor. We were quite exhausted and stepped under the waterfall for a short cooling. That was incredibly good, even though the water was quite cold. Refreshed we climbed up the muddy stairs again and met the next visitors and a whole group of students on the way up. Luckily we were traveling so early and were able to enjoy both waterfalls all by ourselves.

As we arrived at the parking lot, our driver was already waiting for us and we headed for Licin. The ride took only 6 hours instead of the actual 8 hours and that’s exactly how the ride felt. We drove almost constantly on the right side, although there is left-hand traffic in Indonesia and small vibrations shook us awake in case we took a short nap on the way. Without stopping, we drove through to Licin to our accommodation, the Bamboo & B. We were tired and hungry. Unfortunately we could not find an open restaurant, as all people celebrated the end of Ramadan and the restaurants were closed. So Felix went with the host on the scooter to an ATM, which, as so often in Indonesia, wasn’t filled up with cash and to a supermarket to get us cup noodles. When we ate our noodles we heard fireworks and a big parade not far from us. We just tried to sleep, as we had to get up again at 2 am the next day to see the sunrise on Mount Ijen.