Java’s location on the convergence of several tectonic plates, has endowed the island with a complex geographical system. Aside from volcanoes, inland Java is dotted with limestone outcrops and ranges of varying geological ages. The biggest concentration of limestone features is around south-central Java where there are hundreds of natural caves and interconnected cave complexes, many of which can be quite easily explored.
Embultuk Cave (also known as Goa Umbul Tuk) is one of the most interesting. Comprising of attractive stalagmite and stalactite formations, wide vaults, subterranean fauna (bats and shrimp) and an underground river complete with rapids, waterfalls and deep pools, adventurous types will definitely want to add this one to their itinerary.
The cave entrance is where the river surfaces and from there, visitors walk, scramble, wade or swim upstream as far as 1.5km back into the hillside. Access to the upper chambers can depend on the water level and may only be reached by crawling or diving through the water. Not for the faint-hearted!
You will get wet and dirty exploring Embultuk so dress accordingly. The water level varies depending on the time of year – deeper during the rainy season and early in the dry. Wading or swimming through water and a fair amount of scrambling are unavoidable. Sturdy footwear that you don’t mind getting wet and won’t stick to the muddy bottom is essential. Sandals, preferably with closed in toes, are ideal. Flip-flops not so much.
Guides to the cave carry a lamp but you’re better to have your own torch or headlamp. Think twice about taking anything other than a waterproof camera with you.
Embultuk Cave is located Tumpakkepuh village, 33km south of Blitar (1.5 hours) and just 2km to the north of popular Tambakrejo Beach. The easiest way to reach the village is by private car or ojek. Try to time your visit for mid-week if you can as it can get busy on the weekends, particularly during school holidays. At the time of writing, admission to the cave including a guide with a stormking lamp was Rp 40,000.
*Information and photos courtesy of Theo van Buesekom.