Indonesia is known for its impressive waterfalls. Tumpak Sewu (also known as Coban Sewu), located in Lumajang, is one of them. The Tumpak Sewu Waterfall hike is a perfect day trip from Malang in East Java and can easily be combined with other waterfalls in the area including, Goa Tetes, Kapas Biru, Kabut Pelangi, and Coban Sriti.
Panoramic views are easily accessed from the top but hiking down to the foot of the waterfall is another story, a sketchy one. This trail is not suitable for the elderly or small children.
I’m going to share everything you need to know to visit these stunning waterfalls yourself! Scroll down to the bottom of the page to watch my YouTube video.
Tumpak Sewu Waterfall Hike
Elevation Gain: 120+ meters
How to get there
Tumpak Sewu is located two hours from Malang. We stayed in a homestay in Malang that we found on Booking.com and hired a driver for the day to take us to a few waterfalls in the area.
We booked our driver through our homestay because it was fairly priced and convenient. I think it ended up costing around 750,000 IDR for 10 hours, which is around $55 USD, and we split the cost between two people.
We had a list of waterfalls that we could go to in the area, starting with Tumpak Sewu. We knew we needed to leave early in the morning to beat all of the traffic. Guess what time we had to leave Malang? 6:30 a.m. I was so tired!
There are two entrances to the falls, an East entrance and a West entrance. I was unaware of this before we arrived but our driver knew where we were going and took us to the entrance we needed to go to, the East entrance. You can find Tumpak Sewu on Google Maps here.
Since the waterfall is so far away from Malang, it’s best to hire a driver. You could rent a scooter but it’s such a long day and being able to take a nap on the way back to Malang was worth every penny!
If you are staying closer to the falls, you can look into renting a bicycle. I saw a couple of people riding around and think it would be a fun way to visit the waterfalls in the area.
Entrance fee and parking
When you arrive to the car parking, you will need to pay for parking and you will also need to pay an entrance fee to visit the waterfall.
Both of these combined will cost you less than $2 USD. You should bring cash with you to pay for the fees and any extra water or snacks you may want while hiking.
Upper panoramic viewpoint
Shortly after leaving the car parking, you will pass by the entrance point to the trail. Continue along the trail and you will find a panoramic view off to the right. It’s about a 10 minute walk from the car parking. This is a good place to take photos and take your drone out, if you have one.
You will notice a lot of guys hanging around in this area and they might ask you if you if you want a guide. It is not necessary to have a guide but you could hire one if you want to support the local community and find it comforting (the trail is sketchy but easily doable without a guide).
Hiking down to the waterfall
The trail to the foot of the waterfalls is insane! As you make the descent down to the falls, you will follow the cliffside as you climb down steep ladders, both made of bamboo and metal. You will hold onto bamboo railings and cable wires as you climb down through rushing streams of water.
This is when things start to get wet, especially your feet. There is no way to avoid hiking down the rushing water. I wore my Chacos sandals and I would normally recommend wearing something similar, but I ended up cutting my toes on the rocks. I would suggest wearing shoes that you don’t mind getting wet.
It would also be advised to avoid hiking on a rainy day. The hike is already dangerous as it is, and I could only imagine what it would look like if it was rainy.
Getting down to the canyon floor should only take you less than 30 minutes. Once you make it to the canyon floor, you can either go left or right. The trail to Tumpak Sewu will continue to the right. If you end up going left, you will see the way to another waterfall, Goa Tetes.
Through the canyon
As you follow the trail through the canyon to the right, you will pass a hut. You may need to pay another fee at the hut but we didn’t have to pay again when we were there.
Do not leave your belongings behind. No matter where you are in the world, it’s best to keep an eye on your own things. Whatever you don’t need on the trail, you can leave behind at your hotel or in the car with your driver.
Continue through the canyon before you see your first river crossing. There is a metal plank that you will use to cross over the river. The plank has no railings to hold onto, so it’s okay to take your time here.
This is when you’ll turn the corner and catch a glimpse of more than 40 different waterfalls plummeting down the canyon wall. This is also where things really start to get really wet.
Continue walking over the rocky area before crossing the river again on another metal plank. You’ve made it to the foot of the waterfall! There are so many awesome spots to take photos so just take time to enjoy your surroundings and explore the area.
You’ll want to watch out for your camera gear while you’re admiring the waterfalls. It gets extremely wet in this area. You can pack your gear in a waterproof bag to keep things dry.
Goa Tetes Waterfall
After visiting Tumpak Sewu, you have two choices: 1) Immediately head back up the trail that you hiked down and find your way to the car parking or 2) Go check out Goa Tetes Waterfall.
Goa Tetes is another set of waterfalls and series of caves that go all the way up an orange cliffside. You will see signs pointing towards Goa Tetes as you make your way back towards the main trail.
The walk is about 10 minutes. You will most likely find a couple of local guys here asking you to pay another fee. The fee is about $1 USD.
If you decide to skip Goa Tetes, you can make your way back to the car parking by following the same trail that you came down.
Tips for Tumpak Sewu Waterfall hike
I really enjoyed hiking to Tumpak Sewu and I hope you do too! Here are some quick tips to help you plan your trip to the waterfalls.
- Hire a driver. Check to see if you can book a driver through your accommodations.
- Wake up early. If you want to beat the traffic and the crowds, plan to leave around 6:30 a.m.
- Bring extra water. It gets hot in Indonesia! Always have extra water.
- Wear the right shoes. Be ready to get your feet wet but you should also protect your toes.
- Protect your gear. The canyon is wet everywhere. Pack a dry bag for your electronics.
- Check out nearby waterfalls. Goa Tetes, Kapas Biru, Kabut Pelangi, and Coban Sriti are all nearby waterfalls.
- Keep an eye on your belongings. Avoid leaving your things at the huts or along the trail.
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- Kapas Biru Waterfall hike in East Java, Indonesia
- 7 Ultimate Hikes in Hatcher Pass
- My 9 Favorite Small Towns in South America
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