Visiting Jomblang Cave
What is Jomblang Cave?
Before anything fun, you’re given your ill-fitting helmet and wellies and step into your harness and then wait around forquite some time. The Jomblang Cave experience firstly includes being lowered 60m off the edge of the sinkhole using rappelling equipment. You’re attached to a rope, put into a sittinng position and down you go. Stepping off the edge and being lowered down for Hayley was the best part. It feels scary but absolutely amazing just hanging 60m above ground.
Once you reach the bottom and the whole group are together (25 people or less), you walk through dense forest, see incredible limestone walls and, trek through a dark (and at times slippery) tunnel to reach another vertical cave, Grubug Cave. This is where you see the heavenly light. The rays of sunlight were flooding in from the hole in the roof of the cave and and everyone you see are silhouettes.
Inside the cave, there are photographers who are ready to take your adventure photos. The photos will be printed and sold at the registration hut where lunch is also provided. That said, if you’ve got a camera with you (obviously recommend) then ask one of the guides to take your picture and they will happily do so (from several angles might I add).
How to get there?
Scooter rental in Yogya is roughly RP. 60,000, give or take RP. 10,000 depending where you get it from, and the drive will take roughly 1 hour. As we didnt take a scooter I cannot garuntee 100% accuracy for these directions but I always recommend Google Maps or Maps.Me for your offline navigation.
Take route 3 east and go to Semanu, roughly a 50km drive. When you get there turn right towards Giripanggung and continue until you see a high school. Turn right before the school on the tarmac road and in roughly 1km yoi will see a road in the left called Jomblang, take it! From this point expect the road to get really shitty but continue down as youre on the right path! First it is paved with concrete blocks, then at some point you have a choice to turn left onto a stoned road and about 1-2km later you will have reached your destination.
We booked a private car and left around 7.30am as you need to get there early as prepping everyone takes time and you have to reach Grubug Cave between 11 & 1 for the best view of the heavenly light rays. For this reason, there are no tours in the afternoon. The journey seemed to be pretty easy bar the last stretch. The road is so awful (zero tarmac, strictly dirt and rocks), we were convinced that we were lost and that there couldn’t possibly be a popular tourist attraction at the end but there you go.
How much does it cost?
Well I have to admit we didn’t go for the budget friendly option which is very unlike us. The whole excursion including the private car and ticket for Jomblang Cave (which includes equipment, small lunch and water) came to RP. 1,300,000 (£75).
The ticket alone costs RP. 450,000 per person.
Is it worth it?
In our opinion, Yes! Being the budget travellers we are, the initial bulk you have to pay (if going with a tour operator at least) is very sad. That said, the experiencing of traversing 60m into a cave, trekking through the pitch black and being presented with glorious white rays and people silhouettes is something that an Instagram picture or simple description just doesn’t match.
Arrange your transport to arrive at 9:30am, as they begin lowering people at 10am, and it works on a first come first serve basis. By getting there earlier, you also get first choice on those beautiful wellies!
Choose a pair of wellies that fit. I know it seems pretty obvious but we only say this because it is very wet and slippery when in the cave and we saw several people fall over. So having a pair of wellies that actually fit should help when trekking through the cave. Sadly, I can’t say it will help your balance.
Some people recommend bringing your own torch but these are provided at no extra cost. Likewise, people recommend bringing a spare change of clothes but we don’t think this is necessary. That said, do wear long socks or bring a change of socks as we initially wore clothes that we didn’t mind getting a little muddy and are comfortable (sports wear is good) and ended up walking away with only mud on the bottom of our legs (sour socks were ruined); so you be the judge!
Hopefully this is enough information to prep you for your journey into Jomblang Cave and you have a hella good time!