Pangandaran is located along the southern coast of the island of Jawa (better known as Java in the international community). Amongst Indonesians it’s pretty well known for its beaches, and it has been a popular destination for weekend getaways for as long as I can remember.
We previously covered Batu Karas in Pangandaran, and for this post we have other interesting destinations around the area! Atri will take another trip down memory lane to talk about Batu Hiu and Green Canyon, while Leon will give a more updated take on Green Canyon and Taman Nasional Cagar Alam.
During my trip to Batu Karas in 2008, we stumbled upon Batu Hiu quite accidentally on our way to Green Canyon, and it was so pretty that we decided to have an impromptu photo session there. The rocks are quite sharp and we figured that’s how it earned its name, as ‘batu’ mean ‘rock’, and ‘hiu’ means ‘shark’ in Indonesian. The beach itself was empty and it was a welcome respite from the crowd we encountered at Batu Karas. Since there were no locals around to ask about the beach, we decided to not take a dip in the sea – Pangandaran is notorious for its strong currents. It’s always better to be safe than sorry, especially when you’re heading to unfamiliar places.
ATRI’S TRIP TO GREEN CANYON
I had no idea what Green Canyon was, but my friend insisted that we had to go there – so off we went! We didn’t do much research before we went, but it wasn’t like we could miss the row of boats-for-hire, complete with guides ready to help us all. He explained to us that he would take us to the mouth of Green Canyon where we can take photos by the rocks, and then we can choose to explore the area on foot and swim for a bit, or we can continue on our way down river on the boat.
At first we figured we would just do the boat trip, but by the time we got to the mouth of Green Canyon – we were completely entranced by the view that greeted us. Dangling tree roots and greeneries decorated the cliffs that surrounded us, while the sun peeked between towering trees that we can only see the tops of, awaking a sense of adventure that encouraged us to explore further into Green Canyon on foot.
The trip couldn’t have taken more than half an hour, we climbed on top of bat-poop covered boulders and hopped across pebbled areas, encountered albino snail-like creatures and curious birds. I can’t remember what exactly we saw at the end of the trip, only that it was a relief to float back to the mouth of Green Canyon. Because the funny thing is, you go towards the main attraction on one side, and on the opposite side the current goes the opposite way – so you can just float back towards the entrance without having to put in much effort. The rest of the trip was a relaxed boat ride to calmer waters.
LEON’S TRIP TO GREEN CANYON
One of the reasons my friends and I ended up in Pangandaran was because of Green Canyon, and in 2013 the road there was a nightmare – local residents planted banana trees in the potholes to stage a protest! Thankfully by my second trip to 2015, the roads were so smooth and well kept.
The ride towards Green Canyon was insanely pretty. Like Atri mentioned, tree roots and vines dangled from the cliffs and water continuously dripped from them – occasionally forming rainbows. It was just so breath-taking, and the ride there seemed to take no time at all. Green Canyon is locally known as Cukang Taneuh, and you can either go there on a boat ride or you can ride a pick-up to the mouth of Green Canyon before descending so you can start the trek towards Pemandian Putri (The Princess’ Bathing Place) – The main attraction at Green Canyon that Atri completely forgot about.
Pemandian Putri is a naturally formed pool surrounded by stalagmites. Stalactites and stalagmites actually line the way along the cavernous Green Canyon – it’s a pretty cool sight to see. I preferred getting the pick up to Green Canyon, as once we were done with swimming, we got to climb back up and drink hot milk tea served in bamboo shoots. Just down the road from Green Canyon, we found a place to cliff jump from the height of 9 meters! Back then none of us brought waterproof cameras, I really wish we did.
TAMAN NASIONAL CAGAR ALAM
Taman Nasional Cagar Alam is the place to if you like to walk! They provide guided trekking tours to see the wildlife, visit old Japanese forts, and caves where people used to visit to meditate. And if you’re a fan of old Indonesian movies, they’ll take you to sites where they used to shoot colossal silat movies of old.
I personally feel like the highlight of my trip was Green Canyon, every part of it was just a breath of fresh air translated into a landscape that will be burned in your memory for a long time to come. But if you’re not up to much exploring you can just head to the main Pangandaran Beach where you can pay a guide to take you along the seaside by boat.
There’s cheap attractions aplenty around Pangandaran, and that’s probably why a lot of students end up heading there for their first road trip with their friends. Where did you go on your first road trip? We’re always on the lookout for budget destinations!