Thursday, July 15, 2010

Beach, Pangandaran

Pangandaran is a small town and a subdistrict in southern Ciamis regency, West Java, Indonesia on the southern coast of Java.


With its black beaches, Pangandaran, will never stand a chance compared to Bali when it comes to attracting the big crowds. However, this is exactly the appeal of this remote town of beach resorts. Even though it is a popular tourist destination with the locals on national holidays for its fine sand beaches (considered to be of the finest in Java), you will not feel overrun by the tourism.

 Get in

 By air

Susi Air [1] flies from Jakarta (with a short stop in Bandung) on small 12 passenger Cessnas. The airport is a small landing strip on the beach within walking distance of the hotels.

 By bus

The bus terminal stops at the market just 500 meters from the beach where you can find plenty of accommodation. It is close enough to walk, but if you are lazy or laden with heavy bags it will not take you long to spot a bicycle rickshaw (more likely, they will spot you) ready to help you empty your wallet.
Local buses run from Pangandaran’s bus terminal to Tasikmalaya (30,000 Rupiah, three hours), Ciamis (20,000 Rupiah, 2½ hours), Banjar (12,000 Rupiah, 1½ hours), Kalipucang or Majingklak (5000 Rupiah, 40 minutes) and to Cilacap (25,000 Rupiah, 2½ hours). Buses also run along the west coast as far as Cijulang (7000 Rupiah, 40 minutes).
The large patas buses generally leave from the Sari Bakti Utama depot, just north of town, and Budiman bus company depot, about 2km west of Pangandaran along Jl Merdeka. Frequent normal buses go to Bandung (32,000 Rupiah, six hours) between 6am and 9pm.
However, the most comfortable way to travel to Bandung is with the Sari Harum (639276) door-to-door minibus for 50,000 Rupiah. Perkasa Jaya minibuses (639607) pick up from hotels for the trip to Jakarta’s Kampung Rambutan terminal (normal/air-con 55,000/75,000 Rupiah, nine hours). Travel agencies can also book tickets for most buses and minibuses for a premium, but transport to the depots is usually included.

 By car

Most travel agencies rent minibuses with drivers for about 500,000 Rupiah per day including driver and petrol. Put together your own tour and you may be able to negotiate a better rate. The most popular trip is a three-day tour to Jogyakarta. The usual route will take you as far as Wonosobo for the first night. The second day goes to Dieng for the sunrise, then on to Borobudur for the night. The final day is to Yogyakarta via Prambanan.
Seven hour drive from Jakarta.

 Get around

Pangandaran’s becak (tricycle) starts at around 5000Rp and requires heavy negotiation. Bicycles can be rented for 25,000 Rupiah per day, and motorcycles cost around 50,000 Rupiah per day, excluding petrol


A kite-flying festival is held on the beach in July each year. Locals regularly use kites in the evenings to catch bats,which are either eaten or used in Chinese remedies. There is a local belief that wearing any green garment in this area will anger Loro Kidul, the Javanese guardian spirit or goddess of the southern sea, and will bring misfortune.
The Penanjung Pangandaran nature reserve is nearby on a peninsula connected to the mainland by a narrow neck of land. About eighty percent of the nature reserve is secondary rainforest. The flora of the nature reserve includes the Rafflesia.

River passage through Green Canyon, Pangandaran
River passage through Green Canyon, Pangandaran
Green Canyon Journey through some truly wondrous jungle - rich in massive teak trees, palms, various hanging vinery and the shrill sounds of extensive birdlife. The canyon is apparently a couple of hundred metres long, but it is only safe for visitors to venture the first hundred. At the end of the passable section, have the opportunity to jump from a 5 metre high stalagmite formation rising from the canyon floor into a deep pool below. The rocks aren't sharp or slippery and there's a myriad of harmless critters around like frogs, dragonflies and miniature crabs to marvel at too.
Citumang is 15km outside from Pangandaran. The english name is Green Valley. It's very nice to walk there to the Waterfalls. It's possible to swimming in the river with his very clear water.
Paradise beach is a deserted island that will satisfy all your Robinson Crusoe adventure feelings for a day. Hire a boat (600,000 for the day), stock up on supplies and have the ultimate picnic on the white sandy beaches of this sliver of paradise.


In short; beach, sun, surfing and kicking back is the image of Pangandaran. However, there are so much more in this yet unspoilt paradise. Hire a motorbike and explore the surrounding area. Not far from the beach you will encounter the life of the unimpressed locals tending to their crops and livestock. Take a trip to the Green Canyon (see above) and continue on to Batu Karas, for some of the best surfing Java has to offer.
Surfing lessons are offered in Pangandaran, prices vary around 200,000 - 250,000 per day. Every hotel and tour operator will let you know about this as soon as you arrive.
Tours to the Green Canyon and/or treks to local tribal communities are eagerly offered. They average about 150,000 per day.


ATMs are available near the bus terminal and only one by the beach near POS 4 lifeguard tower.


Seafood comes fresh to the fish market on the eastern side of the city every day. Here you can have your pick from one of the many cheap eateries. Pick your live seafood (fish, crabs, lobsters, prawns etc.) and watch while they cook it in front of you. It doesn't get mor authentic than this.
On the west side (the beach side), western style cafes and restaurants line the beachside road.

  • Bamboo Cafe. 08:00 - midnight. has a decent menu for breakfast, lunch, dinner and beyond (beer, drinks and snacks) that attracts a steady following of both locals and travellers. 10,000-30,000.  
  • Steak House. 08:00 - midnight. offers the same sort of menu as Bamboo, plus - not surprisingly; a steak menu. 10,000-40,000.  
  • D.E. Coffee. serves espresso coffee (although pricey) and tasty sandwiches as their specialty, but really it's recommended for its proximity to Steak House and wifi enabled internet cafe (250 RP/minute). A perfect day well spent.  


  • Bamboo Cafe. (see above) is a good place for a sundowner, but hardly a party place. 
Often a bonfire on the beach and drinks and snacks from the closest Warung is the definition of a night out in Pangandaran.


There are hundreds of hotels to fit every budget. Shop around; they are all very close to the beach and each other.


These are some in the sweet spot of cheap and good. You can get cheaper and better by walking down the beach road (and its back alleys).
On national holidays prices go up and you should book ahead.

  • Bamboo House. A popular long running guesthouse. All rooms have bathrooms, the fan rooms come with open-air bathrooms, priced at (single/double) Fan: 50,000/80,000 AC: 80,000/100,000 (includes breakfast and free tea/coffee all day). 
  • Mini Tiga. All rooms have fan (no A/C) and shared bathroom, but the charm of the place and the hospitality of the owners make this a favorite. single/double: 60,000/80,000. (includes breakfast and free tea/coffee all day).  


  • Hotel Surya Pesona, Jl. Pamugaran Desa Bulak Laut, Pangandaran, Ciamis, Jawa Barat, Indonesia, +62-265-639428 (, fax: +62-265-639289), [2]. This hotel is right next to a wide stretch of sandy beach. Restaurant serves freshly caught seafood. 24 hour coffee shop and massage center.  


Internet There are some internet places by the beach, but the cheapest (1000 per 15 minutes) is near the bus terminal. They don't have wifi, but you can bring your laptop and plug it into their lan (same price). Next to steak house (below) by the beach, wifi is available at 250 RP/min, but at the time of writing they were having problems delivering a connection.