Tuesday, July 22, 2014

Five less crowded beaches

Pristine, castaway beaches are abundant across the Indonesian archipelago, but many of them are remotely inaccessible.

The Jakarta Post Travel chooses five beaches not far from popular tourist destinations that will give you a sense of being on a secret beach.

Pulang Burung, Belitung The island is famous for its granite rock formations on Tanjung Tinggi beach, but it’s getting more crowded due to local residents and tourists, especially during sunset. Escape via a 20-minute boat ride from Tanjung Kelayang to Pulau Burung (Bird Island). There is almost nobody on the island except tourists from the mainland. The unique formation of giant granites surrounds the main beach. Its long dreamy white sand with calm turquoise water puts the island on a par with the Seychelles, or even the Maldives. There are lots of colorful starfish along the coast, something that makes this island unique compared to the others.

Peucang Island, Ujung Kulon The island is located in Ujung Kulon National Park in Banten province, famous for its almost extinct Javanese Rhino. To reach the island, you have to take a three-hour boat ride from Sumur village, near Tanjung Lesung (a four-hour drive from Jakarta). Once you reach the island, you will understand why it is the closest unspoiled paradise to Jakarta. The beach is a small part of the wildlife reserve, dominated by a tropical forest ecosystem. It faces the main island of Java, protected by a cape, so there are almost no big waves touching the long coastline. While lying on its perfectly white, powdery sand, you will not only see many sand creatures, but also deer, monkeys, or even wild hogs.  

Bias Tugal Beach, Bali Bias Tugal Beach is located a mere 100 meters from Padang Bai harbor - one of the busiest in Bali. On both sides of the harbor stand tall cliffs that block most of the mess and noise made at the harbor. The beach is hidden by the harbor’s western cliff. Surrounding cliffs serve as natural barriers to this 100-meter long coastline. To reach the beach, take a right turn at the harbor from the main road and turn right when you see a welcoming sign saying “Polisi Teman Masyarakat”. The road goes uphill and there’s a left turn at the first intersection leading to a paved road that eventually ends. Bias Tugal is still lacking paved road access. A short but arduous trek gets you to the beach, well worth it once the white sands appear. The beach has no sharp coral or big rocks, and rustic shacks provide quick fixes of coconut water or perhaps a massage. The water is perfect for swimming as the current is gentle save for the occasional big waves, and it is almost immediately of swimming depth, so bring a snorkel if possible.

Dream Beach, Nusa Lembongan You will most probably arrive in Nusa Lembongan at Mushroom Bay. Go further to the south until the end of the road, where you will find a secluded beach under a cliff. The cliff occupies an eco resort with the same name, Dream Beach Resort, but the beach is free to the public. It is a typical southern Balinese beach, where the sand is golden and the water is turquoise with occasionally big waves, only much less crowded. The beach is not ideal for swimming because of the current and coral, but it is perfect for sunbathing.  

Sepanjang Beach, Yogyakarta Yogyakarta, commonly known as a center of arts and culture, also has some beautiful beaches in its Gunung Kidul regency. From downtown Yogyakarta, take the road to Piyungan district and keep going to Karangmojo and Tanjungsari district. As you go south, the road becomes steeper and more challenging. On the other side of the hills lies your destination: pristine, beautiful white sand beaches flanking azure water filled with marine life. Sepanjang Beach is located in Kemadang village. With a very long coastline, white sand and crystal clear water, this beach is often called the “Kuta of the past”, referring to the original beauty of Kuta Beach in Bali before it became overrun with tourists. (Jakarta Post)

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