I stayed in Bondowoso a couple of days, just relaxing away from all the other places that are packed with tourists. The nearest largest city is Surabaya, approximately five hours away. Bondowoso is a nice, peaceful and clean town with considerably less traffic than other cities in Java.
I’ve found here super interesting markets, great food and nice people. The common dialects are Madurese and Javanese, although Madurese is the majority.
The food in Bondowoso is delicious and cheap, and they have food stalls everywhere in town at all times. They also have delicious coffee.
Bondowoso is known for its dessert, tape, that is made from slightly fermented cassava. Tape from Bondowoso has a special sweet taste that locals say can’t be imitated by other towns.
The traditional markets are a must, you can wander for hours just exploring. Locals were quite curious when they saw us, they were commenting, saying hi, and smiling a lot.
Bondowoso is a small provincial town easily walkable, but you can also get into a becak (bicycle rickshaw) if you want a break from the heat.
Bondowoso has a park in the city centre, called Alun-Alun, with a magnificent view of the mountains.
The biggest adventure we had here was to try to rent a motorbike. Apparently, people here find it hard to say they don’t know or there is no such thing here in Bondowoso. Instead, we had people giving us all sorts of tips and directions that led to nowhere. We got rides in motorbikes from strangers without helmets that said: “we can deliver” ?
That day we “talked” with dozens and dozens of people, that didn’t speak any English neither we could speak their language, so google translator was our saviour.
By the end of the day, we were no close to finding a place to rent a motorbike, but we were well known around town.
We also went to a hotel to swim at their pool and refresh from the heat of the day.
To get to and from Bondowoso they have frequent buses.
photography – all rights reserved – Ana Rocha