In the middle of the jungle in Java, Indonesia, is a waterfall that until recently was unknown, but after a drone photo of the waterfall went viral on the internet, it has now become a must-visit in Indonesia.
The Tumpak Sewu Waterfall is a natural wonder found in Java, Indonesia. This hidden gem is often overlooked, but it proves to be no less magical than more popular falls. In fact, having the falls to yourself is what makes this experience better than any other.
This post will give you all the information you need to explore this breathtaking site. From what to expect as you hike down to the falls to the recommended packing items for your trip.
You’ll also find some helpful tips that will make your visit even more enjoyable and safe, so don’t forget to read through them before heading out.
And finally, we’ll take a look at its history and why it’s important for travelers not only from Indonesia but around the world too!
Logistics of a Tumpak Sewu Waterfall Trip
Tumpak Sewu Waterfall is situated at the base of Mount Semeru in Lumajang, about 2 hours from Malang.
Keep in mind, Google Maps can be a little bit iffy when it comes to providing an accurate time, and on occasions, different routes may take you a little bit longer. Maps can’t account for wandering cows and the intensive Indonesian traffic.
Traveling from Malang, you’ll pass through local villages, winding up and down mountain ridges. As you near your destination, you’ll notice that there are a number of waterfall signs.
Just remember that you’re looking out for the Tumpak Sewu/Coban Sewu one.
The hike to the falls takes you through a lush green forest, and on a clear day, you’ll experience views of Mount Semeru on the horizon. This is just one of the many active volcanoes in Java – 45 of them to be precise.
Seeing the falls up close, it definitely makes sense as to why this waterfall is called a ‘thousand falls’. Reaching a height of 390 feet (120 meters), there are dozens of waterfalls flowing from above the bowl.
This waterfall was recently discovered by travelers like yourself, so it’s not as crowded as other more well-known destinations, like Victoria Falls.
A great time for visitors to come is during the wetter season (February and March), when the water flow is at its highest. But if you’re looking for an adventure, any time of year will work.
If you’re an early bird, seeing the tropical landscapes, awe-inspiring falls, and mountain backdrops is particularly magnificent to see at sunrise.
The entrance fee for visiting the falls is IDR 10,000 ($ 0.75). You can buy tickets in person when entering.
This fee includes entry into the area as well as the use of all facilities in addition to your time spent on this park visit. From one traveler to the other, bring along some toilet paper, as the restrooms aren’t often stocked.
There’s parking available at the entrance if you’re driving yourself over, IDR 5,000 (approximate cost: $ 0.38).
Path to Tumpak Sewu Viewpoints
Tumpak Sewu is considered one of the most exciting destinations for those seeking natural beauty in Java. The main viewing point is only about a 10-minute walk from the parking lot.
Before you decide to go down to the base of Tumpak Sewu, be aware that you will get completely wet, and so will all your belongings, the canyon leading to the base of the waterfall is extremely humid, with its own micro-climate, which is always raining.
So even with a rainjacket, will you get soaked from the humidity. So it´s advisable to pack all your belongings in waterproofed bags.
The view from the top is pretty spectacular, but for thrill-seekers, the real adventure comes from trekking to the base of the falls.
If you’ve got yourself a drone, now would be the perfect opportunity to snap some shots. Mount Semeru looms in the distance, and you’ll have panoramic views of the falls.
If you choose to wait until you reach the base of the falls, you might find that the wind and mist from the water cause some shaky footage.
The hike to the base of Tumpak Sewu Waterfall is not extremely difficult and can be completed by anyone who’s reasonably fit. But it´s slippery and narrow. So it´s still not for everyone. and if you decide to venture down to the base of Tumpak Sewu, be sure to wear good footwear.
If you choose to take it at a leisurely pace, there are plenty of spots along the way where you can stop and take in the magical views.
Just a heads up, if you plan on hiking down, you’ll be getting wet – no matter the season. If you’ve rented a car to reach the falls, it’ll be a good idea to leave a fresh bag of dry clothes for when you return.
What to Expect When Hiking to the Base of the Falls
During the wetter months, expect to be hiking down alongside smaller falls. This means you’ll need to be getting down and dirty as you walk through rapidly flowing waters and down creaky bamboo stairs, which is very slippery, so be sure not to wear flip-flops as I did.
And when you reach the bottom will you have to cross two small bridges, which can be scary for some.
Some of the bamboo stairs is also broken, so be careful and watch your steps.
Follow the sign as you cross two bridges over the river before reaching Tumpak Sewu. The journey will take you around 30-40 minutes, depending on your fitness level and if there is any rainfall.
Chances are, you’ll have the falls to yourself, and seeing them this close really allows you to see how extraordinary Mother Nature is.
Given that the hike down was quite intensive, we suggest you spend an hour or two marvelling at this natural wonder (and catching your breath). And If you thought going down is tough, it´s even tougher going up agian.
As if the falls aren’t spectacular enough, there’s a second waterfall that is special in its own way. It’s not as powerful as the main falls, which makes it great for splashing around in.
Get up close and personal with the falls by taking a shower right under the waterfall.
Don’t forget to bring along some extra cash for this adventure. There is an entrance fee of IDR 5,000 ($ 0.70). You can follow the sign and small path from Tumpak Sewu to reach the Goa Tetes.
Getting a Local Guide for Your Indonesia Waterfall Adventure
Tourism plays a large part in the livelihood of the local villagers. Supporting a guide or the locals can be done by booking a driver or tour to the falls or for the duration of your time in Java.
Perhaps you’re staying a little further than the city of Malang, which means that you may be spending up to seven hours road tripping to see the falls.
You could rent a car to get to the falls, but the traffic and narrow roads can be tough to navigate when you’re not familiar with the area.
To take the hassle out of your trip, hire a local driver. And after a busy day at the falls, you’ll be able to relax on the drive back.
This also provides you with the opportunity to ask all kinds of questions. Your driver most likely knows the area better than a guidebook, and it’ll be a great chance to discover the culture of Java.
While you might not be inclined to take a tour guide along for your adventures, having one for Tumpak Sewu is a great idea if you’re traveling solo. Warm and welcoming guides are super experienced with the routes down and which paths are safer during different seasons.
If you opt for a guide, don’t forget to tip them! On top of their tour fee, a tip of around IDR 70 00 (around $5) is a safe bet.
Tips for Visiting the Thousand Falls
Generally, embarking on a waterfall mission doesn’t take much effort and planning. However, with Tumpak Sewu being a more remote destination, you’d rather be over-prepared than under.
Before hopping along to the falls, take note of these points and important bits and bobs to gather in your daypack.
- It can be a risk traveling to the falls during the high rainy season, November to March, as the falls may be closed due to dangerous hiking conditions.
- Have a reusable water bottle on hand; there aren’t any vendors at the base of the falls, and the journey down can be tiresome. Once you’ve reached the falls, you can fill up again for the hike up. There are a few tea and coffee stalls at the entrance to the falls if you need a quick pick me up.
- Bring some snacks for your journey and keep them safe in watertight packaging. The drive to the falls can also be long and intensive, and if you’re prone to being hangry, road trip snacks can make a huge difference.
- Wear comfortable shoes! You’ll be doing a lot of walking on uneven terrain. Shoes with good grip are recommended. The route down is treacherous, especially when it’s wet.
- You’ll most likely be traveling to the falls with a daypack, and it would be unfortunate if all your belongings got wet. A rain protective cover comes in handy here. They’re relatively cheap and can be purchased at most outdoor shops. And if you haven’t prepared for the wetness, a bin bag works just as great!
- Don’t forget to pack in some bug repellent, the flies and mosquitoes can become quite pesky in the heat.
- Having a backup Java Indonesia map provides for a stress-free road trip.
Accommodation near Tumpak Sewu Waterfall in Java
There are no hotels at the base of the waterfall, but there are small villages and towns which have some homestays and guesthouses.
It’s recommended that you stay closer to Yogyakarta if you want more hotel options. Or stay in nearby Lumajang East Java for an unforgettable jungle experience!
Tumpaksewu Homestay is a top choice for those seeking a great location.
Being centrally located, and just 41 km from the airport, you can rent bicycles from the guesthouse and discover the area with an East Java map.
If you’re looking for something more luxurious, you can’t go wrong with Hotel Santika Premiere Malang. As the city of Java is hot and humid, you’ll appreciate the outdoor pool, modern air-conditioned rooms, and balconies.
Where to Eat?
If you’re hungry after your hike, drive from the falls to try out one of these restaurants: Javanine Restaurant, Loe Mien Toe Café, or the outdoor restaurant Taman Indie.
They all offer traditional Indonesian dishes, some including Gado-Gado (vegetables with peanuts), Nasi Uduk (with coconut rice), and Ayam Goreng (Indonesian fried chicken). And, of course, fantastic local Indonesian beer.
Brief History of the Falls
The Tumpak Sewu Falls has been around since ancient times. They were considered sacred by local people due to being both a clean drinking source and a powerful energy spot where they could connect with their ancestors or higher powers in nature.
Today, locals still venture to the falls, but more because of the fact that it is slowly becoming one of the more well-known attractions in Java.
The Land of a Thousand Waterfalls Awaits you
Traveling off-the-beaten-path can often be one of the most rewarding things a traveler can gift themselves with. Not only do you get to discover untouched landscapes nestled away from the hustle and bustle of cities, but you also don’t have a crowded tourist destination.
Make some room on your Indonesian itinerary to embark on a wild and wonderful experience to the falls. While Java photos are enchanting, nothing beats the water and mist powering from these enormous falls.
Trekking through the luscious jungle, standing under the towering falls, and meeting friendly locals is all part of an unforgettable travel adventure.