Exploring a dark quiet cave is an adventure only brave people would enjoy. And if you think you have lots of guts, then maybe you would prefer vertical caves more than normal horizontal ones. In Indonesia, we have plenty of vertical caves thorough the country. But if you think traveling from cave to cave around Indonesia is too time-consuming and money-spending, then all you need to go to is Yogyakarta Province, especially around Gunungkidul region.

Gunungkidul is a heaven for cave adventurers as the region has plenty challenging caves. From the Top Ten list of “The Most Amazing Vertical Caves in Indonesia”, the three of them are located on Gunungkidul Region, Yogyakarta Province.

 

Getting There

If you are from aboard or outside Java Island, you can take a flight to Adi Sucipto International Airport on Yogyakarta. And if you are already on Java Island, you can also take a domestic flight to the same airport. Trains and buses are also available to take you to Yogyakarta.

From the city to Gunungkidul actually is just 50 kilometers away. But due to the natural contour of Gunungkidul geomorphology, the road to reach your destination would have so many ups and downs and turns. Thus, it would take about 2-3 hours to get there. Getting a taxi would cost you a lot. So we would recommend you to rent a car with a driver. Public transportation is actually available. But it is kind of rare.

 

Accomodation

There are no many hotels or inns on Gunungkidul region, especially the ones near the caves. Plus, banks and convenience store are a little bit difficult to find. So it might be better for you to have a stay on the city where all the amenities are available for 24 hours.

 

The Caves

Now here are the vertical caves in Gunungkidul we would like to recommend:

1. Jomblang Cave

Jomblang Cave is known to have a difficult track. You need caving equipment that meets the international safety standard. You also must be accompanied by a local instructor who knows the cave well. This cave is definitely not for a beginner.

Overall, the cave is 80 meters deep and has several tracks that you can choose. The most popular track is the VIP Track of 20 meters. To get down there, you must do the Single Rope Technique (SRT) vertically. Once you reach the base, you will see a primordial forest.

The view on this primordial forest is very breath-taking with moss, ferns, bushes, and some big trees standing close to each other. To continue your journey, you need to do a little bit of trekking through this forest for about 15 minutes.

The Primordial Forest at the Base of VIP Track (Source: inisayadanhidupsaya.wordpress.com. Credit: @aikankoiphotography)
The Primordial Forest at the Base of VIP Track
(Source: inisayadanhidupsaya.wordpress.com. Credit: @aikankoiphotography)

After that, you will find a long and dark alley. This alley would take you to Grubug Cave. But this alley is the best part of Jomblang Cave. Walking on this alley, you will need to turn on your flashlight or headlamp as it is perfectly dark in here. You will find some amazing stalagmites, stalactites, and the shimmering crystal stones on the wall around you.

And the best part is you will see something known by name “Light of Heaven”. Light of Heaven is a glimpse of sunlight that comes into the cave through a hole on top. This phenomena can only be seen around 10.00 to 12.00 AM.

The Light of Heaven on the Cave Alley (Source: Flickr. Credit: Cory Waite)
The Light of Heaven on the Cave Alley
(Source: Flickr. Credit: Cory Waite)

If you want to get there using public transportation, you can start from Giwangan Terminal and find a bus with Jogja-Wonosari route. Take a stop on Simpang Lima Wonosari and continue your trip using a public car to Semanu Region.

To have a well-planned adventure to Jomblang Cave, you can contact Mr. Cahyo Alkantana, the owner of Jomblang Resort on +62 811 117 010. He will help you with detailed information and preparing the equipments for you and your team about caving down the Jomblang Cave.

 

2. Braholo Cave

Braholo Cave is quite challenging for a vertical caving adventure as it has three pitches. The first pitch is 35 meters deep. The second pitch is just 6 meters but there are plenty of boulders there you need to watch out. And the last pitch has a diagonal track with 25° of slope and 5 meters long. Along the journey, you will be amazed by the natural ornaments you see such as the stalagmites, stalactites, gourdes, radastories, and pillars. The cave wall is mostly covered in karst, just like most caves in Gunungkidul are.

Inside the Cave (Source: jariajah.blogspot.com. Credit: jari_ajah)
Inside the Cave
(Source: jariajah.blogspot.com. Credit: jari_ajah)

Braholo Cave is not just naturally amazing. But it is also archaeologically amazing. Inside this dark cave, there were already 10 complete sets of fossils has been found. Beside the fossils, archeologists also have found some tools such as arrowheads and flakes. Those fossils and artifacts are estimated to be more than 12,000 years old.

The Fossils Found inside Braholo Cave (Source: panduanwisata.com. Credit: ipank)
The Fossils Found inside Braholo Cave
(Source: panduanwisata.com. Credit: ipank)

If you wish to go there using public transportation, get a bus from Giwangan Terminal with the route of Jogja-Wonosari. On Wonosari Terminal, get off and find another public transportation to Karangmojo. If you wish to have the service of travel agent, please contact Maharatu Tour and Travel. You can call them to +62 274 8373005 or email to [email protected]

 

3. Luweng Cokro Cave

Luweng Cokro Cave has two entrances that are separated for 8 meters away. One entrance is about 12 meter squares wide and the other one is about half of that. So it is almost impossible to go through the second entrance. The depth is 18 meters. To go down this cave, you need to use the Single Rope Technique. After you reach the base, you will find an alley. This alley is about 300 meters long and will lead you to a chamber. The chamber is about 25 X 4 meter squares with the ceiling is about 25 meters high.

Going Down the Cave with Single Rope Technique (Source: ninograph.wordpress.com. Credit: ninograph)
Going Down the Cave with Single Rope Technique
(Source: ninograph.wordpress.com. Credit: ninograph)

The chamber is lacked of oxygen because it is located so far deep. Plus, the cave and the alley get narrower the more you go deeper. That is why it is not allowed for more than 10 people to go inside this cave at the same time. On the chamber ceiling, you will see many bats and Sriti birds hanging and flying around. It is amazing.

The cave has beautiful natural ornament at the whole place. Huge stalagmites and stalactites are standing stiff everywhere. You can also find some cave pearls shimmering when the light of your headlamp touches it. There are also some incredible flowstones formed some unique shape.

Cave Pearls and Flowstones (Source: wisata.kompasiana.com. Credit: REP)
Cave Pearls and Flowstones
(Source: wisata.kompasiana.com. Credit: REP)

It is a little bit difficult to access this place using public transportation. The most possible way is to take a bus from Giwangan Terminal to Wonosari Terminal and continue your trip using “ojek”. “Ojek” is a transportation service like a taxi. But they use motorcycle instead of car. “Ojek” can be found easily on the terminal.

If you plan to have an adventure on this cave, please contact Mr. Sularno on +62 87838111466. He is the coordinator of caving instructor. He can give you detailed information and help you out with the plan.

 

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