Ever wanted to repel 150+ feet down into a cave, trek through knee deep mud, and witness the light from heaven emerging from above? Well, the Goa Jomblang cave in Java, Indonesia offers that exact type of experience. This will be a muddy excursion but it is sure to be one of the most memorable ones to take part during your time in the country. Read on to learn everything you need to know about this one of a kind day.
1) Goa Jomblang Cave Background
Goa Jomblang is part of a cave system on the island of Java, Indonesia. What makes Goa Jomblang so special is that at the end of the cave, there is a wide opening that brings in light from above.
At a certain time of day, around 11:00AM – 12:00PM the sun is at the perfect angle to shine light beams through from above, giving the cave an out of this world feel.
Since the cave is privately owned, you cannot just simply head down on your own. You will need to join the tour which departs just once a day that will bring you down to the cave, and help guide you to the end of it.
The whole experience is made up of a few parts. Since the opening of the cave is located about 150 feet below surface level, you will need to rappel down to the bottom of this sinkhole. Once everyone is down at the bottom, a few guides will take you down the muddy path for about 20-30 minutes to the end of the cave.
At the end of the cave, you will wait until the perfect moment as the light beams shine through and brightens up the dark cave. After enjoying your time there, it is another muddy trek back to the cave entrance, where you will be rappelled back up to the top.
When it comes to unique experiences to take part of in Indonesia, this is definitely towards the top of the list.
2) Yogyakarta to Goa Jomblang
Goa Jomblang is about 1.5 hours east of Yogyakarta. Most people who take part of the cave experience are doing it as a day trip. There are two main ways to go about a Goa Jomblang experience – hiring a driver or joining a tour.
Yogyakarta is full of drivers who would be willing to take you to Goa Jomblang. You can speak with your hotel to help arrange one to take you on this day trip. I
had met a driver when I first arrived at the Yogyakarta airport and ended up using him for the days I was heading out of the city. The cost for a private driver is around 400,000 IDR or $30 USD.
If you are a solo traveler, this may be a bit expensive but if sharing with multiple people, it can be a pretty cheap option.
Join a Tour
Alternatively, there will be plenty of local travel agencies in Yogyakarta that could arrange the whole day for you. For one price they will pick you up from your hotel, bring you to the cave, and take you back to the city. It may also include other stops in the afternoon such as a tubing experience.
If interested in taking part of a tour I would recommend signing up in advance through a highly rated company.
Below is a map of the drive from Yogyakarta to Goa Jomblang Cave. The drive is pretty straightforward but do note that the last 10-15 minutes of the drive are done on some rough roads through the countryside (image above).
3) Goa Jomblang Cave Important Facts
Before jumping into the experience, I wanted to list out a few very important facts to take into consideration when planning your trip:
⇒ There is only one group departure per day at 9:30AM. Do not just expect to get there at anytime and be able to take part. You must get there before 9:30AM.
⇒ With that said, there is a limit of 80 people who can take part of the experience on a first come first serve basis. Due to this limit I would recommend getting there well before 9:30AM to ensure your spot. I arrived there around 8:30AM but during the peak summer season, you may be better off getting in even before then.
⇒ Do not leave Yogyakarta past 6:30AM – 7:00AM in order to get there in time. In peak summer season, you may need to leave even earlier. Advise with your driver ahead of time.
⇒ If taking part of a tour, they may have spots secured already for the group, so you should not need to worry as much about running out of spots.
⇒ The whole experience will last about 3 hours (9:30AM – 12:30AM). Once you are back up at the entrance you will have a nice lunch waiting for you.
⇒ The cost of the experience is not cheap. One ticket is 500,000 IDR ($35 USD), making it one of the more expensive activities to take part of in Indonesia. Do note that this includes lunch and insurance. If taking part of a tour, this will be most likely already be included.
⇒ You will get muddy so do not wear your best clothes on this tour! They will supply you with big rain boots so do not worry too much about what shoes you bring along.
⇒ Take part of a trip to Goa Jomblang as part of a longer Java Itinerary
4) What to Bring Along
Since this is quite the unique experience it may be helpful to bring a few essentials with you down into the cave:
1) Dry Bag – since the mud can get quite messy, I found it super helpful to put my valuables inside a dry bag instead of in my pockets. » Buy your Dry Bag ahead of time!
2) Cash – bring enough IDR for the cave, paying your driver, and also if you would like to take part of a second caving experience in the afternoon (more on that later) !
3) Headlamp – this is not a necessity but can be helpful to have. The guides are the only ones with headlamps on so if you would like to bring your own, that can definitely help when walking through the dark mud. » Buy you Headlamp before you go!
4) Clothes that can be thrown away if necessary – like I said, it can get muddy in there. I would not bring your best clothes into the cave, rather just a cheap shirt/shorts that you don’t mind getting a bit dirty.
5) Travel Towel – at the end of the experience, you will be able to wash up. Having a quick dry towel is perfect here to clean up and change into a new pair of clothes. » Buy your Quick Dry Towel before you head out!
6) Extra Pair of Clothes – if you don’t want to be sitting in your dirty shorts and shirt, I recommend bringing a change of clothes to put on at the end of the experience
5) Goa Jomblang Cave Experience
Now that you know all the important details to better prepare you for your trip to Goa Jomblang Cave, lets get a bit more into the experience itself. After making the 90 minute drive from Yogyakarta, and getting through that last stretch of bumpy road, you will arrive at the Goa Jomblang parking lot.
» Take part of this day trip during a longer Yogyakarta Itinerary that takes you all throughout the area
A) Check In
Right when you arrive, make the short walk to the open aired hut, where you will sign up with the person at the desk (pictured on the left of the photo below).
You will pay your 500,000 IDR and will be given a group number. This group number is used when making the order of heading down into the cave first.
Right near the check in, you will have restrooms, coffee, and tea available. Depending on when you arrive, you may have some time to kill before actually starting the tour.
After checking in, head on over to the boot station, where there will be a variety of boots and different sizes to choose from. Dig around for a pair that works best for you and just hang out until the experience begins. You will also be given a helmet for safety reasons.
B) The Rappel Down
Once 9:30AM rolls around, you will head right nearby the rappelling station and sit in the order of your group numbers. There will be 2 people harnessed together and rappelled down at a time.
It will take about 1-2 minutes to get down to the bottom of the sinkhole, where they will remove the harness and you will then wait down there until the rest of the group makes it down safely.
Up top they will be taking pictures of your descent, that you may purchase later on in the day.
C) The Muddy Trek
After everyone is down at the bottom of the rappel, it is time to begin the 20-30 trek down into the cave and towards the end of it. Watch your step at the beginning as you make the descent down the muddy stairs.
Behind you will be an incredible view of the massive cave opening so be sure to snap some pics!
Once down the steps there will be somewhat of a path to get you towards the end. While there are some wooden planks to help with your footing, the path can get very muddy, and you may not be able to see them at some points.
There were plenty of people getting stuck knee deep at some points but it really all was in good fun. Thankfully the trek through the cave is not too long but can take a little while since everyone is walking pretty slowly.
D) The Light
Soon enough you will arrive at the endpoint of the cave, where there will be a massive hole above you. While there will be some light shining on down when you arrive, you may have to wait 20-30 minutes until the sun is in the perfect position above you for those beams of light to come through.
When the beams of light do come through, it creates this incredible effect inside the cave that is sure to give you some picture-perfect photo ops.
Initially when we all arrived at the endpoint, the guides mentioned that we could wait in line for a particular photo op spot towards the upper right hand side of the cave. The picture below shows that angle.
I however preferred the angle a bit towards the left hand side of the cave that was not as elevated. The images below show what type of pictures you can take from basically anywhere on the left hand side.
Do be careful though as you are making your way around since there really is no set path and it can get very slippery in there.
E) The Trek & Rappel Back
Once all done taking pictures and enjoying the beams of light, it is time to do the same trek back to the rappelling station. Once back at the rappel station, you will be partnered back up (first come first serve) and be pulled all the way back up to the surface.
Now, as you get up to the top you will be able to see what type of pulley system is going on here. Unlike before where they were just slowly sending you down with a couple guys, you will see about 20 men pulling altogether a long rope to bring everyone back up.
It was one of the most fascinating things to watch as all these people worked in unison to safely bring everyone back to the surface.
Once back up and to safety, you can wash yourself off at the cleaning stations and will then be given a nice lunch to enjoy. Depending on when you got pulled back up, you should be back up top around 12:30PM – 1:00PM.
6) What’s Next
If you do not just want to head right on back to Yogyakarta, another popular activity around the area is to head to Goa Pindul caves. Your driver should be familiar with them and you can let them know ahead of time that you would also like to do this activity.
There are several operators around the area that offer similar experiences. Essentially, there is one part where you will be tubing within a dark cave with bats and stalactites all around. And the second part will be tubing down a narrow river, where you can opt for a swim and some cliff jumping.
The cost of the combo experience will be about 150,000 IDR.
Once all done with your activities, whether it be just Goa Jomblang Cave or also the Goa Pindul caves, it is time to make the drive back to Yogyakarta for the night to end a successful day enjoying some Indonesian caves.
7) Where to Stay in Yogyakarta
Yogyakarta is full of accommodation options that extremely reasonably priced. Below are several highly rated options that come at a good value:
Well, that about does it for a Goa Jomblang Cave experience in Java, Indonesia. I hope this has given you a better idea on how to take part of a day caving and has helped answer any questions you may have had along the way. Feel free to ask any questions below and check out the other Indonesia itineraries and guides up on the site!
Have fun out there and safe travels!