Enchanting treehouse and jungle bungalows
Ijen Shelter is a labour of love created by a charming and enthusiastic German woman, Daniela, and her local partner in a beautiful secluded cliffside rainforest location on the way to Ijen.
At the time of research in January 2018, they offered one treehouse style bungalow clinging to the cliff and had just about completed a second bungalow further back in the forest, with plans for a total of seven in the future.
The terrific restaurant serving local speciality dishes is worth a visit alone. The simple rustic nature of this place is not for everyone, but we think it’s rather delightful, the basic digs are a tad like glamping, so don’t expect much in the way of mod cons however do expect to wake up to the smells and sounds of surrounding jungle with chattering monkeys, birdsong, click-clicking geckos and the intoxicating fragrance of the coffee plantation when it’s in flower.
The treehouse itself is truly enchanting, a Swiss Family Robinson cliché built from recycled wood, thatch and gnarled tree branches lashed by rope, perched over the edge of the precipice—Daniela assured us that European engineers had checked out the construction and said it was safe.
The simple mezzanine style double-storey structure can sleep up to five with one double and three single mosquito-netted mattresses on the floor—be careful climbing the ladder to the higher level. Windows at the front and sides flood the room with light and enjoy stunning views. We love the small balcony leading to the natural stone clad hot-water bathroom complete with tree growing through the middle—handy for hanging your towel! Here there’s a Western style toilet and the quirky wash basin outside is made from an old wok.
The newer double-storey bungalow was designed with the bedroom upstairs with large skylights and the front open to the elements with an open-style living area below shared with the stone bathroom which has separate rooms for the shower and toilet. Although this bungalow doesn’t have the views of the treehouse, it’s still offers a delightful jungle experience, and possibly a safer option for travellers with kids.
The open-style restaurant is located further along the cliff edge from the treehouse, and as well as offering a very interesting and innovative menu, has handcrafted oversized boardgames such as connect four, and soon a giant Jenga. Homemade included breakfast is served here, and with so many delicious sounding dishes to taste, you could happily eat all your other meals here too.
Try the house speciality nasi lodhog (25,000 rupiah), rice cooked with spices and either chicken or salted fish in bamboo that is served with a wooden dowel to “lodhog” literally push it out in the local lingo. Be warned, service can be a bit slow, but what’s the rush with that view?
The owners are very keen on developing the sustainable tourist potential of the area and have been working with locals to search for “hidden” waterfalls and trekking routes. Maps of the area and local tourist information are on display throughout the restaurant. Additionally they offer a free archery lesson, a sport locally popularised by Jokowi, Indonesia’s President at the time of our research in early 2018. Soon they will add a “hammock zone” near the restaurant for folks to stop for a meal and a sleep on their way back to Banyuwangi from Ijen.
We love the unique offering here at Ijen Shelter with its peaceful back-to-nature vibe and think it’s an excellent option to spend a couple of days exploring, but be prepared for bugs and any other critters nature may have in store for you. Pack mozzie spray.
If the accommodation here sounds a little too rough and ready, we’d still recommend a stop for a meal, and perhaps try one of the delightful (and somewhat more polished) bungalows at family-run Mi Casa up the road, alternatively if you desire a pristine jungle experience with a lot more creature comforts you could splash out for a night or two at the high-end Jiwa Java Resort Ijen.
Address: Jalan Raya Ijen, Banjarsari, Licin
T: (0858) 1679 5510; (0821) 4024 3989; (0858) 1679 5510; (0838) 4776 2687;
Coordinates (for GPS): 114º16'36.21" E, 8º11'56.88" S
See position in Apple or Google Maps: Apple Maps | Google Maps
Room rates: 400,000 to 1,000,000 Rp
What we were quoted as a walk-in.
|Extra Bed||100,000 rupiah||100,000 rupiah|
|Dbl fan private bathroom||400,000 rupiah||650,000 rupiah|
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