East Java has a lot of places to discover. You’ll be mesmerised by its beautiful nature which offers many attractive locations such as mountains, beaches, waterfalls, and valleys.
Each city has its own unique quality that you cannot resist. One of them is Kediri, a small city situated near the Brantas River, the longest river in East Java. The city is near-identical to the well-known Hindu-Javanese Kingdom dated back in the past called Kediri Kingdom. Today, Kediri is famous for its amazing tourist attractions, and I was lucky enough to spend a couple of days in the city to enjoy its warmth and magnificence.
My first stop in Kediri was Mount Kelud, the top tourist attraction in Kediri. Located on the border between three cities – Kediri, Blitar, and Malang – this active volcano lies between the complex of Mount Kawi and Butak in the east, and also Mount Wilis in the west. The mountain is relatively small with a summit elevation of 1,731 metres above sea level. To reach Mount Kelud, I drove for approximately 27 kilometres from the city centre of Kediri. As an active volcano, Mount Kelud is considered one of the most dangerous volcanoes in Java due to its frequent eruptions; the last one being in 2014, when its volcanic ash spread around East and Central Java.
I was fascinated by the cold breeze of fresh air and the irresistible scenery of Mount Kelud. It was perfect for ecotourism and adventuring because there are several places to enjoy cool shady plantations, rock climbing, jogging, and camping. I took a trip to see the lake of the enchanting yellow crater by hiring a motorcycle taxi. It was quite thrilling as the motorcycle passed through the dark tunnel and rocky roads up to the crater, but the driver told me not to worry as it was absolutely safe to travel by motorcycle.
After I had finished exploring the crater, I drove my car out through the anti-gravity zone. This anti-gravity zone makes any object run uphill, although it does not move. I tried to put my car into a neutral gear with a running engine and it felt like magic; my car ran uphill very slowly. Although the locals believe that it has to do with supernatural powers, I believe that it is actually the area where the gravitational force on the upper hill is stronger than the other side.
In the foothills of Mount Kelud, there is an Orchid Village that has big gardens of flowers and orchid-filled greenhouses. I was curious to see the orchids being cultivated there, so I decided to stop by. Situated on an area of 400 hectares, this orchid garden has many types and colours of orchids from all over the world, such as dancing-lady orchids, moth orchids, Singapore orchids, Cattleya orchids, tiger orchids, Dendrobium orchids, and boat orchids that you can take home for around Rp10,000-40,000 each.
There are five greenhouses and laboratories which can be explored by visitors. I also visited the mini zoo and the flower garden that’s complete with a unique replica of a giant gorilla made of corn. At the end of my visit at the Orchid Village, I had lunch at a nice food court around the colourful flower garden. There are plenty of food stalls offered as well as souvenir shops. It was definitely a well-spent day.
Simpang Lima Gumul Monument
I spent my afternoon catching a sunset at Simpang Lima Gumul, a big monument in the heart of the city of Kediri which resembles the Arc de Triomphe in Paris, France. According to its name, Simpang Lima Gumul connects five regions of the city of Kediri, which are Kediri, Pare, Pagu, Wates, and Gurah. Reputedly, the construction of the monument was inspired by the desire of King Prabu Jayabaya, from the Kediri Kingdom, to unite the five regions of Kediri. On this 25-metre high monument, you can see huge sculptures depicting Kediri’s history.
Moreover, there is an underground walk from the parking area to the monument which showcases multiple pictures of popular destinations in Kediri as well as the history of the monument. It was quite enjoyable to walk from picture to picture while strolling to the monument.
Tegowangi and Surawana Temple
The next morning, I managed to have a historical tour to Tegowangi and Surawana Temple, the iconic Hindu temples in Pare. Both temples have different characteristics; Tegowangi Temple looked a bit neater than Surawana Temple as some of the relics were not fully intact. It is believed that Tegowangi Temple was built in 1400 AD by order of King Hayam Wuruk of the Majapahit Kingdom, to purify his cousin, Bhre Matahun who died in 1388 AD. Meanwhile, Surawana Temple was built in 1390 AD as a memorial to Wijayarajasa, the Prince of the Wengker Kingdom. The temples are not far from each other, only 8 kilometres away, and you will see vast rice fields along the way to the temples. If you are interested in knowing more about the temples, there is an on-site guided tour with an additional fee.
At noon, I continued my trip to Dolo Waterfall to see one of the biggest waterfalls in Kediri. The trip to the waterfall which is located 1,200 metres above sea level, was quite tricky as there are lots of steep hill drives. However, you will be impressed with the breathtaking scenery along the way. There are several interesting things in the complex of the waterfall, such as camping grounds as well as children’s playgrounds.
In order to reach the waterfall, you need to trek down for approximately an hour. Quite tiring, it is, but do not worry as you can find small shops that sell cold beverages along the way. Make sure to bring enough cash with you!
After a long trek down, I finally felt a splash of water on my face as I was approaching the waterfall. I was so thrilled that I immediately dipped my feet into the freshwater and enjoyed the chirps of birds in the tranquility. It was totally worth it!
Later in the evening, I continued my trip back home. It was such a wonderful experience to visit Kediri, which offers a variety of charming tourist spots. Moreover, most of the attractions are free, with only parking fees for around Rp5,000-10,000 – quite affordable and fun indeed. I will definitely come back to Kediri!