Whenever one thinks of Indonesia, images of lush tropical forests, glistening waterfalls and incredibly intricate temples tend to come to mind. One thing that Indonesia is not short of is picturesque waterfalls, with the Tumpak Sewu waterfall being one that ranks top of the list!
Why Visit Tumpak Sewu?
Deemed the ‘the Niagara Falls of Indonesia’
It’s 120 metres tall
It’s not just one waterfall
Its backdrop is an active volcano
It’s less touristy
Tumpak Sewu waterfalls (also known as Coban Sewu or air Air Terjun Tumpak Sewu in the Javanese language), is an off the beaten path travel activity for visitors to East Java, Indonesia which makes it even more appealing.
This significantly untouched mammoth beauty is truly a unique adventure without the crowds.
What is Tumpak Sewu
Tumpak Sewu is an enormous waterfall that creates a semi-circular curtain of showers against a giant rock face. Tumpak Sewu is generally translated to mean ‘1000 waterfalls’ in the Javanese language and stands at a whopping 120 metres (390 ft)!
Tumpak Sewu has two magnificent viewpoints. The first one is safe, the other is slightly more treacherous to get to – So you know I had to do both!
Tumpak Sewu Viewpoints
Just a 15 minute walk from the entrance ticket box and parking area is where your eyes are able to feast on the stunning aerial waterfall view of Tumpak Sewu. From the viewpoint, you will see a curtain of dewy white waters cascading down the rock face.
This consists of an observation deck where Tumpak Sewu Lumajang dreams are realised and you can witness this hidden treasure of Indonesia. Waterfalls like this are truly a once in a lifetime opportunity to see in person.
In saying this, it also literally took little to no effort to get to this point – which is always a win!
SIDE NOTE: I’ve seen on other travel blogs, that travellers, have ‘hopped the fence’ to get a better unobstructed view of the falls from above. I certainly don’t recommend this regardless of how great your travel insurance is. That drop will kill you, Air terjun Tumpak Sewu Lumajang takes no prisoners.
So now you’ve exhausted your selfie limit on top and ready to get your adventure on and head down.
Lower Viewpoint: Tumpak Sewu Waterfall Hike
What you will encounter, is a combination of bamboo ladders, ropes, and mud steps all somehow impressively attached to stubborn roots and the craggy rock face leading down to the base of Tumpak Sewu Waterfall in Java
This is all in the name of adventure right?
The dramatic ‘hike’ to the bottom of the waterfall’s ravine involves navigating, grasping and slipping down the ever-so-slightly precarious bamboo ladders and through rushing waterfall streams.
CAUTION: It’s definitely not for the faint of heart or for anyone who is scared of heights. Stick to the panoramic viewpoint at the top if you are one of these people. But for adventure lovers it’s a great experience.
It is not dangerous per se but you do have to watch your step. There’s a fair level of fitness to trek down and then back up again, you’ll definitely find yourself needing to hold onto the makeshift bannisters, the chains next to the stream or your guides hand now and again.
TRAVELIST TIP: Do not wear flip-flops (my own rookie mistake) it was uncomfortable, they kept coming off in the stream and there was no grip. I’d suggest some sandals with a grip or gripped aquaboots.
After you are done descending, you have to walk for another 5 minutes or so by crossing two walk bridges over the river to get to Tumpak Sewu waterfalls.
Once you reach the bottom of the canyon. It’s sheer beauty.
The towering cliffs stand at impressive heights and there’s just water coming out of everywhere – totally understand the 1000 waterfalls point now.
In saying this everything is covered in a gentle spray, which makes the rock face intricately decorated with peppering’s of lush green moss.
The grandeur of the waterfall is a truly unbeatable scene and despite it’s lack of popularity, This was a highlight of our East Java itinerary.
Want to visit more place in East Java? Check out my East Java Itinerary
TRAVELIST TIP: Another point to note is at this point you must understand that you will get wet, it will be misty with the constant spray and your professional camera and electronics should be put away or protected.
There are several great viewpoints and rock lookouts within the canyon but do beware, these rocks are permanently wet so they are incredibly slippery
PERSONAL EXPERIENCE: Due to my rookie move wearing flip flops, I did not venture onto many of the rocks for epic photographic moments, Unfortunately wearing flip flops limited my mobility in the area because everything is so slippery. I really DO RECCOMMEND wearing a closed shoe or sandal with grip or aquaboots with grip
Now if you thought the adventure was over and it was time to head back up, you’d be wrong!
Oooooooo! This is a goodie!
What are the chances that you can visit one incredible waterfall and just a short walk further into the valley find another impressive set of falls, beautiful and completely different.
Goa Tetes Waterfall
This is another collection of smaller streams that fall off a cavernous section of rocks, so its actually Goa Tetes cave that creates this incredibly stunning Goa Tetes waterfall.
The name actually means cave waterfall. The cave is in a cliff face, over which the waterfall flows from above. When standing inside the cave, the waterfall creates a magical rainfall pattern, dripping down the cliff.
The waterfall flow is quite high pressured and provides a wonderful waterfall massage when standing below it.
The Goa Tetes, Tumpak Sewu trip is definitely worth making is your on route to Mount Bromo or Kawah Ijen as an addition to your East Java Itinerary.
Goa Tetes Information
Goa Tetes Entrance Fees: IDR 5000
How to get to Goa Tetes: Turn left at lower viewpoint junction for Tumpak Sewu Waterfall
How long to spend at Goa Tetes: As long as you need to
What to do at Goa Tetes: Take plenty of pics and definitely a refreshing dip under these falls. If you’re brave and able, you can also climb into the cave
Want to bask in another East Java waterfall? READ: Madakaripura Waterfall – An Indonesian Natural Wonder
Where is Tumpak Sewu Waterfall Indonesia
The Tumpak Sewu Waterfall location is between the Pronojiwo District and Lumajang Regency in East Java, Indonesia. Another incredible feature of this amazing waterfall is that it has the equally incredible volcano Mount Semeru in its sight line.
How to get to Malang
Jakarta to Malang
OPTION 1: If you are in Jakarta you can fly from Soekarno Hatta (CGK) to Malang (MLG) and then get a driver or tour company to take you for a one day trip and drive from Malang to Tumpak Sewu waterfall.
OPTION 2: A cheaper but significantly longer option is to take a train from Jakarta to Malang but this will take you easily between 15 to 16 hours.
Bali to Malang
OPTION 1: If you are in Bali again you can fly from Denpasar Bali, Ngurah Rai International airport (DPS) to Malang (MLG) airport.
OPTION 2: There is a bus and train option which involves travelling from Sanur to Jember by bus, then in Jember take the train to Klakah station then to Malang station. It’s overall a 10+ hour journey.
OPTION 3: The bus ferry, train option involves taking a bus in Bali to Terminal Mengwi, then take the bus trip to Gilimanuk port at the port take the ferry to Ketapang. The train station is close enough to walk to in Ketapang, Take the train from Ketapang to Klakah station then to Malang station – again this is an 11+ hour journey.
Surabaya to Malang
OPTION 1: To get from Surabaya to Tumpak Sewu, you can take a train from Surabaya station (Gubeng) to Malang train station, which is approximately 3 hours.
OPTION 2: Take the bus from Surabaya Kota to Malang Perum Griya Sampoerna
OPTION 3: Surabaya also does have an airport so there is the option to fly from Surabaya to Malang, however for the price of the flight and time it would take, its not a bad option to take the train which would only take approximately less than 3 hours to get to Malang
How to get to Tumpak Sewu Malang
The closest major city to Tumpak Sewu Indonesia is Malang. Most people will travel to Malang and then visit Tumpak Sewu from Malang.
Here’s 4 options to choose from on how to get to Tumpak Sewu waterfall from Malang:
OPTION 1 – TOUR: Most people think a tour is an inauthentic experience. Here I beg to differ. Using tours, gives yo a chance to interact with locals, asks questions and get a far more in depth cultural experience with local interaction.
OPTION 2 – BOOK A SCOOTER/CAR AND DRIVER: If you’re opting to find a guide in the city, a scooter/motorcycle guide for the waterfall day trip should cost approximately IDR 350 000 400 000. Now riding on the back of someone’s motorcycle for an hour might not be in everybody’s wheelhouse (or safe for that matter)
A second option is to get a car with a driver which can cost anything between IDR 550 000 to 650 000 per car for the trip. If you’re a group, and split it, it works out pretty cheap!
OPTION 3 – HIRE A MOTORCYCLE: Only an option if you are experienced with riding a motorcycle in Indonesia or a busy South East Asian country along with having the relevant driver’s license. There are a number of places that you can hire from in Malang, but you will need to check their terms and conditions first and their breakdown policies. You will also have to pay to park your vehicle/motorbike at Coban Sewu Lumajang.
Parking fees between between IDR 5000 to 10000.
TRAVELIST TIP + CAUTION: ONLY RECOMMENDED FOR THOSE WHO HAVE EXPERIENCE RIDING A MOTOR BIKE IN INDONESIA. The traffic and roads in Indonesia are no joke. You best have VERY GOOD TRAVEL INSURANCE is you’re choosing this option.
The journey as per Google maps is only 56 km which is an hour’s drive, however this is Indonesia.
Unfortunately Google maps does not take into account road closures, trucks on the road, the state of the road etc, so I’d suggest doubling the travel time it actually says on Google.
PERSONAL OPINION: As with most things in Indonesia, these prices can be negotiated, but also remember you are contributing to the countries local economy and helping these people put food on their plates– so be mindful when negotiating too!
OPTION 4 – PUBLIC TRANSPORT: For those not able to stretch the budget, there is a public transport option that will truly leave you feeling like you’ve embraced the local experience. In Malang head to Bus terminal Dadang, take the bus to Pronojiwo terminal. You are able to get off there and walk to Tumpak Sewu. The journey is approximately 3.5 hours from Malang with no air-conditioning. Other important points to note, is that the bus only operates once sufficiently full and doesn’t run after 5 pm, getting back via bus is also not guaranteed.
Tumpak Sewu Accommodation
Not sure where to stay near Tumpak Sewu? Where to stay recommendations would probably Malang or Lumajang. Malang is the bigger of the two cities with more accommodation options for all budgets.
When visiting Air Terjun Coban Sewu, I did notice on the road leading up as well as directly opposite the entrance of the waterfall ticket box were Tumpak Sewu homestay options.
Looking for hotels in Malang? Check Agoda
Here are my picks for where to stay near Sewu Waterfall Indonesia:
Tugu Malang Hotel – Travellers rave about this hotel near Tumpak Sewu, Its authentic traditional accents coupled with brilliant service represent Indonesia’s rich culture and tourism very well.
Golden Tulip Holland Resort Batu – Here everyone raves about the ambience and views
The Shalimar – This upscale hotel in a 1930s colonial-style building, beautiful decorated and equipped with all necessary amenities
Looking for Tumpak Sewu Homestay options? Check Agoda
Tumpak Sewu Waterfall Tours
I highly recommend doing a combined itinerary tour that allows you to see some other major attractions in East Java.
We did the Mount Bromo Tumpak Sewu waterfall tour which also included Kawah Ijen. I loved Tumpak Sewu waterfall, East Java Indonesia is truly brimming with natural beauty and the lack of crowds is a huge appeal to me.
PERSONAL EXPERIENCE: We did the Tumpak Sewu Bromo Ijen tour which cost IDR 4 million at the time, which was an all inclusive and a REALLY GOOD DEAL at the time, from what I’ve seen in times of COVID-19, these prices have dropped so if you’re looking and see it advertised for less, you really are getting a bargain.
Tumpak Sewu Waterfall Entrance Fees
The Tumpak Sewu entrance fee is IDR 20 000 for foreigners and IDR 10 000 for locals. This is exceptionally reasonable for such a stunning location.
TRAVELIST FYI: I have read on other sites of foreigners being charged IDR 50 000 IDR on weekdays and IDR 60 000 on weekend, As we went through a combined tour with other locations our pricing was already included in our tour (one perks of having a tour and guide is lack of overcharging).
Best Time to Visit Tumpak Sewu
Tumpak Sewu East Java is best visited out of rainy season. Indonesia only has two seasons, wet and dry season. Dry season is from mid April to November. Visiting Tumpak Sewu during wet season would be too dangerous to get down to the bottom canyon.
What to Pack for Tumpak Sewu Waterfall
There are a few essentials needed for this day trip:
Correct shoes: Sandals with grip or aqua boots would be a much better option than flip flops especially if you are planning to venture to the bottom viewpoint or Goa Tetes waterfall
Dry Bag: A dry bag is extremely helpful as you will find that at the bottom of the Tumpak Sewu gorge, there is a constant stream of mist which will leave any clothes and bags you’re carrying very damp.
Quick-dry clothes or a change of clothes: I definitely commend wearing waterproof or quick-dry clothing due to the mist and water that you will get wet on both Tumpak Sewu and Goa Tetes waterfalls.
Water bottle: there is no shop at the bottom of either falls, there is a small shop at the panoramic viewpoint if you need a snack etc.
Sunscreen: Indonesia is hot, and the sun is always out (you should only be visiting this attraction during dry season).
Waterproof camera: Your cellphone definitely will get wet with mist from the falls, so having the Go pro is an option is a good idea especially to get those wide angles
Drone: If the weather is good, having a drone is especially lovely as you will be able to get some incredible overhead shots and possibly get Semeru Volcano in the background.
Towel: For drying off especially if you get under the falls at Goa Tetes
The experience of standing amongst the stones below these magnificent falls is truly something special. The area has a constant spray of mist which creates a hazy view but its stunning and somewhat enchanting. It really is unlike anything I’ve ever experienced. Truly beautiful. Visiting Tumpak Sewu Waterfall Java Indonesia is truly worth adding to your itinerary.
Tumpak Sewu Waterfall FAQ
If anything, this should be a given for any trip you take! But be sure to keep a copy of your insurance details. This is an adventure experience so you need to be prepared.
Check out World Nomads for amazing travel insurance options
Affiliate Disclosure: Some of the links in the article have affiliate links, what this means is, if you click a link and make a purchase I may earn some money to buy a coffee (whoohoo!). Thanks for the support, I’d love to keep making this content freely available to all. As always opinions and thoughts remain my own.
Indonesian waterfalls are among the best in the world and Tumpak Sewu and Goa Tetes definitely earn their spots in this incredible group.
HAVE I CONVINCED YOU TO VISIT TUMPAK SEWU WATERFALL? HAVE YOU VISITED ALREADY? I’D LOVE TO HEAR FROM YOU IN THE COMMENTS BELOW
3 thoughts on “Terrific Tumpak Sewu Waterfall: Java’s Greatest Waterfall”
Great blog, helps me in planning the trip….Is there any place to put our bags and mobiles while getting into the water, since we are planning to hire a bike rather than a car.
Tumpak Sewu waterfall tourist spot is very charming
a view with a waterfall which is great for a vacation, and of course there are very many who are interested in coming to this place.