Jember is one of the regencies in East Java Province that offers abundant natural beauty. The regency covers an area of about 3,293-kilometer square that borders Banyuwangi Regency in the east, Lumajang Regency in the west, Bondowoso Regency in the north, and the Indian Ocean in the south.
Despite being famous for its annual Jember Fashion Carnival, which is the first fashion festival in Indonesia, the places of interest in Jember seem to be unexposed.
Luckily I had the chance to see the land of Jember ranging from its northern part which is geographically located on the slope of the Iyang Mountains to its south beaches which are dense with vegetation.
Tourist destinations in Jember can be categorized as family-friendly and special interest ones. The family-friendly destinations are mainly accessible by vehicles and frequented by locals. The places are in fact natural but they are polished with some constructions to make them visitor-friendly or Instagram attractive for visitors. The special interest places are challenging to visit and are usually accessed on foot. However, all places in Jember are rich in nature.
It should be noted that the things worth seeing in Jember are widely scattered. As such it is better to visit the places located in the same area or direction. Therefore, visitors can only cover two places or even one place in one day depending on the accessibility of the location and the time spent there. I visited both special interests and family-friendly destinations. Now, let’s go to the northern part first.
Tancak Waterfall is considered one of Jember’s special interest destinations. It is situated on the slope of Mt. Pasang. The gate to access the area is Agrowisata Gunung Pasang Boma. It is a family-friendly destination with a huge green park, camping ground, and pond where visitors can paddle the small boats. The road is shaded by tall trees on both the right and left sides. The smooth road leads to Suci Village in Panti Subdistrict. Suci Village, about 16 kilometers from Jember City, is a residential area for the workers in the nearby Jember Plantation Company whose main commodities include rubber and coffee.
I arrived in Suci Village when it was about to rain. The village is clean and neatly arranged. It is highly recommended to visit Tancak Waterfall accompanied by the local guide from Gunung Pasang Adventure whose small office is located in Suci Village residential area.
Gunung Pasang Adventure also offers a tour package for a group of special interest people that wants to have a one-day or two-day trip on the slope of Mt. Pasang. Not only exploring the area of Mt. Pasang, but the company also pushes its environmental agenda for the visitors through its campaign to plant seedlings in forest plantation areas.
Accompanied by the guides from Gunung Pasang Adventure and officers from Jember Tourism Agency, I decided to visit Tancak Waterfall. Though the sky was cloudy and it was drizzling we all determined to reach Tancak Waterfall.
While the tour leader rode on his motorbike and the others got on the pickup, I, as a guest, rode on the four-wheel jeep with the two ladies from Jember Tourism Agency. It was a good ride since the asphalted village road was smooth. The air was chilly and totally fresh amid the drizzle.
We reached a coffee storehouse and from there continued the ride on the off road crossing the thick plantation. The road was getting bad which only allowed a skillful motorcycle rider or a car driver to steer. Other passengers and I on the jeep were shaken because of the bad road. But we all enjoyed our ride as the surrounding view was so natural and beautiful. The hovering fog was near and it seemed to be in our hand reach.
As we reached the Post 1 there was no other way to access the waterfall but walking on foot. “It is not far from here,” said Heriyono, the tour leader, standing in the drizzle. “It is about a half hour,” he tried to convince participants who visited the Waterfall for the first time. We all agreed to say yes, including the ladies, only our drivers stayed at Post 1.
We were walking in the rain. A couple of times we were walking under the shade of the trees so we were protected from the shower. The first étape was fine, it was flat, and once in a while, we needed to jump over a streamlet.
After we crossed a bamboo bridge over a river, the road was challenging. It was ascending and a bit slippery. I needed a walking stick, which one of the guides gave me. He got it from the twig of the plant. As we were stepping up, I needed to concentrate to avoid being slipped.
Having struggled for more than 10 minutes, the difficult section was finally over and we were reaching the flatland as the rains subsided. From a distance, I could see the gigantic whitish Tanjak Waterfall.
The area was surrounded by towering conifer trees hovering with fog. The view generated a magical atmosphere. The air was too fresh to be inhaled. The atmosphere and surrounding view abruptly forgot all the tough efforts to reach the 82-meter-high waterfall.
We were at about 600-meter altitude. There was a small hut with some wooden banks. Some of us sat there amused by the fresh and green atmosphere. The young crews from Gunung Pasang Adventure made a surprise. They eventually brought with them a portable stove so we could enjoy sipping a glass of hot fresh coffee in this luxurious natural ambiance by the forest.
All of sudden, the fog surrounding the waterfall was gone, and we could see the Tancak Waterfall clearly. How lucky we were! It was so gorgeous.
Although a bit tempted, none of us plunged into the pond or the clean stream whose water came from the waterfall. The water was, in fact. ice cold.
After taking some photos and taking some rest, we decided to return as the day was getting dark, and we didn’t bring enough light if we walked in the dark. Everyone was happy, especially me, who loves the waterfall so much.
Although the way home seemed to be shorter I still needed to step carefully as the road was more slippery after raining. While walking I sensed something on some parts of my ankle and feet. I thought it was just a sensation after walking a lot so I didn’t pay much attention.
Most importantly, everyone was happy as we could reach Tancak Waterfall and arrived at the office of Gunung Pasang Adventure just after the maghrib prayer of call.
At the hotel as I took off my trousers, I was shocked to see some leeches infested on my feet and calf, I was about to scream to see them on my legs. Anxious, I removed them one by one and saw bleedings on the points where they have infested. Then I washed my legs with soap and put some antiseptic lotion on them.
I’d strongly recommend that visitors see Tancak Waterfall during the dry season to avoid any leech infestation and slippery roads. At any rate, the trip to Tancak Waterfall was a real adventure and it was fun as well.
Location: Tancak Waterfall, Suci Village, Panti Subdistrict, Jember Regency.
The trip to the location was facilitated by Jember Tourism Agency