In East Java, southwest of Surabaya, the capital of East Java, in my hometown, there is a ridge dominated by the Welirang and Arjuno volcanoes. It must have been around 1870 that some people from Surabaya first became aware of this region.
It also must have been one of the most romantic places in Mount Arjuno, East Java. Kijang Valley is not only famous in recent times but also in the colonial era, especially Dutch colonial era.
The Kijang Valley is also known as a best destination for the hiker, trekker and adventurous activities like a scout wanderer and other outdoor activities group.
Surabaya and Malang are the two largest cities near Kijang Valley. But it is depending on the route you choose your starting point will be different. Tretes is about 2 hours drive from both cities.
Kijang Valley is one packed destination of tourism with Arjuno and Welirang trekking. It has volcanoes that exceed 3000m and are not touristy and completely off the beaten track.
Welirang, like Kawah Ijen, also produces sulfur and there are porters of sulfur (sulfur miners) working there.
Formerly, Kijang Valley was recognized and famous in Europe with symbolized as “Lalie Djiwo”. It was the name of a hut or lodge in the Kijang Valley area that was used as a base camp for the hunter.
Kijang Valley is located in 2500msl (meter sea level) in the mountainous area of Arjuno- Welirang East Java. In 1903 Kijang Valley also was a famous place that symbolized mysticism and aversion to European materialism.
Tjalie Robinson, the author of unique Indo literature and a famous writer once wrote: "For me, culture is not three walls full of standard works, but the Lalie Djiwo mountain hut".
What was so special about Lalie Djiwo lodge?
Ok, I would like to describe first the condition and surrounding of Kijang Valley and Lalie Djiwo Lodge in the former time then comparing in recent time.
Formerly, in Dutch colonial era, especially in East Java, southwest of Surabaya, there is a ridge dominated by the volcanoes Welirang and Arjuno.
I do not know exactly about the time, but it must have been around 1870 that some citizen from Surabaya first received attention for this region.
Especially the region of Tretes and Prigen area. It must have been around 1870 that some people from Surabaya first became aware of this region.
This condition was the same as when the inhabitants of Batavia took refuge in the high land of Buitenzorg (Bogor) because of the hot weather, many citizens of Surabaya sought the mountain air in the villages of Prigen and Tretes.
So, Tretes and Prigen in East java became famous. One of the first Europeans to settle and have a house in Tretes was the Scottish Duncan de Clonie MacLennan.
He worked at the trading house Fraser Eaton - he bought lands in Tretes, East Java and he planted with many crops, such as rice and corn.
MacLennan was not only a good merchant, he was also a deer hunter. To stay overnight closer to his hunting grounds, he built a pondok (hunting lodge) or hut at 2500 meters high above sea level.
The hunting lodge on the flanks of the Arjuno is a very simple hut with European style , which could also be used by others. Inspired by the natural environment, he gave it the name Lalie Djiwo means "forget your soul".
The resort would soon become known because more and more Surabaya people settled in Prigen and Tretes.
Not only was it visited by these new inhabitants, but also day trippers from Surabaya came to visit. And all praised the beautiful surroundings.
In 1903, a travel guide from the Koninklijke Paketvaart Maatschappij reported: we went on horseback to Lalie Djiwo, a small country house about four hours walk, and from there on foot (three hours of climbing) to the crater.
The descent naturally takes less time, so that they can be back at the hotel In Prigen before sunset. However, more pleasure from the trip can be obtained if they take more time out of it.
In that case they first go to Lalie Djiwo and stay overnight until three o'clock in the morning, to climb further up by the light of the moon or torches to see the sunset at the top.
After a few hours of rest we return to Lalie Djiwo and, if necessary, in the afternoon to Prigen.
While Prigen and Tretes were initially difficult to reach, this changed from the beginning of the 20th century. More and more citizens of Surabaya were able to purchase a car and arrive at their weekend accommodation in an hour.
A new road in the late 1920s would increase the accessibility of the towns. The Indian Courant wrote in 1928: more and more Indian families, who had completed their careers and still had a child in Holland, started renting.
For that reason, Prigen became a favorite place. In the last ten years the villages have been 'discovered': private individuals build their villas there, in which they spend the weekends. For recent times it is not different from former times.
The living environment of Prigen and Tretes was so pleasant and the area so suitable for excursions that it soon became a local tourist industry: hotels, bungalow rentals, horse rentals and guides.
Kijang Valley and Lalie Djiwo lodge were also increasingly visited., as a ranger who had also acted as an innkeeper, lived here for a long time. If one wanted to spend the night in the pondok, then one had to call in advance.
The only difference was that the building of Lalie Djiwo lodge in Kijang valley disappeared. The hiker or trekker can not find the remains.
On Google Earth, you find countless photos of the waterfalls in Tretes, of the summit of the Welirang and the Arjuna, and even of a nearby hut camp of local sulfur winners, Kijang Valley but not for Lalie Djiwo lodge.
In recent times, the ascent of Kijang Valley in Arjuno-Welirang Mountains as alone from Tretes is possible without a guide. The path is wide and you can not get lost.
However, for the ascent of Kijang valley , as well as for all other climbing routes of Arjuno Mount, it is strongly advised to use a guide if you want to continue to Arjuno Mountain.
The paths are not very well marked, the vegetation invaded the path that it almost disappears! And another point, the beginning of the climb is hard to find. So be careful if you do not use a guide.
From Tretes, the hiking path to Kijang Valley is a wide stone road that starts from the parking area with payment to the huts of sulfur miners ( about 5h walk). Then you walk to Kijang Valley for about 45 minutes.
From where you can see the beautiful in Kijang Valley. Green savannah, the view of Arjuno mountain top and the exotic of sub alpine vegetation.
From Surabaya you can use a private taxi. Surabaya airport taxi costs about IDR 300,000 / taxi that can fit up to 4 people.And also you can use the bus, from Surabaya Airport take a DAMRI bus to Bungurasih Bus Station.
From there take a bus to Pandaan, then take an Angkot (mini bus) or an ojek (motorcycle taxi) to Tretes. From Malang, taxi from the airport or Malang train station it costs about IDR 350,000 / taxi that can fit for up to 4 people.
How about using the bus? You can start from Arjosari bus station, take a bus to Pandaan, then take an Angkot (mini bus) or an ojek (motorcycle taxi) to Tretes. Alright, that is a Kijang Valley.
Are you interested in visiting it? Try!