I was very thankful to the bunch of travellers from Malaysia that I encountered at my hostel “Nasi Bungkus”. They were the ones who recommended this website www.yogya-backpacker.com, which contains a lot of useful information and useful tips on the not-so-mainstream sights and places of interest. One of them is Goa Jomblang, about 90-minute drive from Yogyakarta, it is situated in Semanu, Gunung Kidul Regency.
To get there, one has to set off pretty early from Yogyakarta around 7-7.30am because you have to get there by 10 am as there is a restriction on the number of people that could go down to the cave per day (around 30 or so). In this case, my friend and I hired a private driver whose name is “Wahyu” which was recommended on the website above, I recommend having him as the driver as he is highly entertaining and very knowledgeable and he speaks pretty good English too! En route to Goa Jomblang, Wahyu would actually stop by some food stalls to buy us some snacks and some seriously delicious pineapples (really really sweet that it’s called Honey Pineapple!)
The last stretch of the road going to Goa Jomblang is pretty bumpy, it is literally a dirt road with rocks and no tarmac. And there is a “Jomblang Resort” at the end of the bumpy ride. At the resort, we were given tea or coffee and a bottle of water each, and we had to change into rain boots in preparation for the rough terrain at the cave.
The sinkhole is enormous and it drops 50 metres to the bottom. Never had I imagined myself to be dangling midair 50 metres from the ground! Imagine how nervous I was when I had to rappel down a sinkhole which is 50 metres high!!! Thankfully the staff were pretty well-trained and with all the safety harness and equipment they strapped on me, I felt pretty safe. The moment I let go of my grip and step off the edge into the thin air was one of the most terrifying moments in my life.
My friend and I were lowered down to the bottom of the sinkhole, the whole process was actually pretty quick (a minute or so) and the scenery from above was very beautiful and serene. Once we reached the bottom, we had to wait around until the rest of the group is at the bottom, we then hiked to another cave system via a muddy and slippery trail (due to the rain the day before, it’s rainy season in September). In order to get to another cave where you could see the “Heaven Lights” you have to go through a dark tunnel to get to Goa Grubug. I highly recommend to bring a head light or torch light as it is pitch black inside the cave, I had to rely on the spotlight on my phone. The trail was muddy and slippery so one has to be extra careful in the darkness. The tunnel is about 250 metres long, and once you entered Goa Grubug you would be greeted by some lights shined through the roof of Goa Grubug. In order to see the “Heaven Lights”, one has to be quite patient, as it’s not something that’s readily available once you are inside the cave, you need a lil bit of luck depending on weather and condition. We had to wait for about 20 minutes before the clouds finally gave way for the rays of sunlight to shine through the trees which were growing around the mouth of the cave. The result was rays of sunlight hitting the bottom of the sinkhole, the rays of sunlight were sparkling, iridescent and scintillating, its intensity and direction constantly shifting and changing, and sometimes within minutes it’s gone out of sight. Therefore time if of the essence to capture such a beautiful sight!
I would highly recommend this adventure to those who are looking for something different, off-the-beaten track kind of trip when in Yogyakarta.
Goa Jomblang (including safety helmet and harness and lunch) – IDR 450,000
Private driver hire (Whole day including other destinations 7am-7pm) – IDR 600,000