Sawarna: a relieving treat, a challenging trip, a great getaway.

Ciantir beach, Sawarna, Banten
Ciantir beach, Sawarna, Banten

Nature is so kind. Any conservation effort we do can not complement what nature has given to us. Yet, any little damage we make brings big loss to nature, to us, human race. Now think!

Some of my friends thought Sawarna as a hidden paradise unknown to most travelers. Its remote location holds this nature gem away from tourist heyday. Most of its spots are difficult to reach, making it possible for you to be the first human being (OK, tourist) to mark your foot prints.

I even called a lagoon with my name, just because our local guide recalled no tourists ever reached it.

Sawarna is a sleepy and quiet village. It’s by no means a fishing village, even though it is only few hundreds meter from the beach. Villagers are mostly farmers, raising their crops in small patches in their hilly backyards. Yet, few villagers make their life (or foods) from the sea – not much, but enough to see any fishing activities to keep away your curiosity.

The trip to Sawarna began at Ciantir beach. To reach this secluded beach, you have to cross a river on a dangerous wooden bridge that sways ten times harder then any move you make. Surviving from the lethal bridge, then find your track inside the village and the farm yard. You may not get lost, as long as you can still hear the ocean wave thumps stronger and stronger.

The beach is really heaven for those who want nothing but the nature and themselves. That says; bring your own properties if you want to spend a little longer here. Don’t bother to find warung or snack stalls here.

You can rest your painful feet and sore body after a long walk in some wooden huts, but that’s all; they won’t keep you away from the strong night wind. Bring your tent to have a comfortable – in Sawarna standard – night sleep.

If you’re awake in the night, get out and look above. You may be excused to think that you’re on a top of the highest mountain for seeing massive stars above your head and finally think that you’re nothing in this universe.

Back to the beach, if you walk your feet to the right (west in map), you will find a river-cum-lake by the beach. It’s actually a natural water reserve made by the ocean waters flowing into the land and locked. It’s not deep, less than your thigh, but will make a good mirror for any objects beyond. Get your camera ready.

Our direction was to the left, where unidentifiable spots will potentially be found. It’s not an easy track but not the most difficult either. Lots of water, glucose-high snacks and comfortable waterproof shoes should make you a natural trekker here. (Did I mention shades and headwear to make you a stylish trekker?)

Check out Tanjung Layar, where you’ll see two huge rocks soaring from the shore and blocking the Indian Ocean wave. These two rocks are challenging enough to climb, if you crave to squeeze your adrenaline. The borderless view of the Ocean is the prize that your friends down there won’t get. So far, this is the best spot for sunset spotting as the two rocks will frame a good picture along with the very strong sun.

Further left, Legon Pari is where you will find a small fisherman settlement, thanks to its most sheltered bay in the area. Because of human activities, you will expect plastic wastes littered the beach. If this is not what you’re looking for, then, go further left, where the adventure starts.

You will see Karang Taraje (taraje = ladder) from Legon Pari. It’s a geological formation that ended up in lagoons, towers, cliffs and shelters. Don’t blame yourself for staying here too long, as these lime rocks are so photographers’ wonder because they’re so cute (cute is the right word, eh?)

Walk further and you’ll find Pantai Sepang. Now this is where all of your survival kit will come very handy. Imagine a vast desert by the beach: humid air, dizzying heat, skin-burning sun, throat-burning dry temperature, etc etc. Okay, it might be too much for a beautifully landscaped Pantai Sepang, though.

Here, you’ll find about two kilometers-long of flat white powdery sand beach. Don’t bother to spot a neighbor here, there aren’t any! It’s all yours, along with a small trail of fresh water from the hill yearning for its ocean home. Oh, the never-ending wave breaks in front of you might overwhelm your Ipod’s music, so save your battery and listen to nature instead!

Walk further and you’ll find another rock formation called Palistir – our final frontiere. Now, our guide, Kang Redy (who’s ever ready like the battery) told us very little – if any – tourist ever made here. It’s far and challenging (too challenging for a fun trekking, I think!). He even told us that we were probably the first group to reach here. Hallelujah!

From the top of Palistir Rock, you can see another tip of Java island facing the southern ocean. Kang Redy told us, we’re half way from Sawarna to Pelabuhan Ratu and he challenged us to walk further.

With such minimum ammunition (we were running out of water on our half-way back), we thanked him and chose to return with a grim face.

The walk to Legon Pari turned out to be more difficult: because our stomachs yelled like hell. As no more energy left from instant noodle in the morning, we decided to take a quick nap under a tree shade.

It was proven to be relieving but we got more starving than before. Lesson learned: don’t sleep if you’re starving as you’ll wake up with nothing but getting more starving.

Luckily, Kang Redy fed our painful stomach with coconut juice from the backyard of the fishermen settlement when we reached Legon Pari. A relieving treat, indeed. A challenging trip, surely. A great getaway, unarguably.

What makes this trip different?

  • We kept our group small to keep damage minimum.
  • We hired local guides to support local economy.
  • We stayed with the local and ate local foods made in their kitchen to help their economy and understand more about their live and culture.
  • We brought back our waste from the beach
  • More inspiration for responsible travel:


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