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Planning A Java Road Trip? Here Are The Places You Should Stop By!


With the launch of new expressways in Indonesia, there are several road trip destinations that are now within accessible distance. In Java, the Trans Java road consists of two main routes, the Northern Route (PANTURA) and the Southern Route (PANSELA). In the last article we have covered the northern route, so let’s discover some more potential road trip pit stops along the Southern Route!

Pansela (Southern Route)

Those who chose to opt for a road trip on the southern route of Java will pass cities stretching from Serang, Banten to Banyuwangi, East Java. Here are some interesting holiday pit stops to choose from.

Serang Regency

This regency offers plenty of exciting beaches to choose as pit stops at the starting leg of the road trip such as Anyer Beach, Carita Beach, Sambolo Beach and also enjoy a nature tour at Mount Cibaja.

1| Anyer Beach

Anyer Beach in Serang Regency, Banten Province, is probably the most sought out getaway for many Jakartans because it is just a mere 120 km from Jakarta or around a two-hour drive from the nation’s capital.

There are many intriguing resorts and hotels to choose from along the shores. The beach is definitely a magnet for a refreshing family holiday, where everyone could enjoy water activities like Diving, Jet Skiing, Speed Boat, Para-Sailing and other fun aquatic sports.

2| Carita Beach

Another favorite getaway, around a three-hour drive from the metropolis, is Carita Beach. Located in West Banten, Labuhan district, Pandeglang regency.

Coconut trees swaying with the gentle wind, lining the alluring beaches, where you could also view the remains of Mount Krakatoa, rising above the horizon in Sunda Strait between Java and Sumatra.

3| Sambolo Beach

Sambolo Beach is also located in Banten Province, in the same route as Anyer Beach. A comfy beach to enjoy the sunrise and sunset, with plenty of beach activities to choose from.

4| Mount Cibaja Nature Tour

From the peak of Mount Cibaja, visitors can experience a breath-taking view of the natural surroundings of the mountain area, the lovely Anyer beach, and also the rice fields neatly spread beneath. Backpackers could also enjoy camping on the site to take in all the beauty and scenic nature.

Pandeglang Regency

From Serang we move on and continue the road trip to the Pandeglang Regency, Banten. The pit stop options are Tanjung Lesung Beach, Ujung Kulon Preservations, and White Cihara Beach (Pantai Putih Cihara).

1| Tanjung Lesung

Only a three-hour drive from Jakarta, Tanjung Lesung offers a captivating beach, coral reefs, and a mesmerizing view. Standing in 1.500 Ha of land, Tanjung Lesung is currently developed to become an International Tourist Destination.

Besides the on-going developments in this tourism facility, Tanjung Lesung is also the entry point for tourists who plan to visit Ujung Kulon, National Park.

2| Ujung Kulon National Park

Ujung Kulon translates as the Western End or Point West. It is Indonesia's first proposed national park and was declared a UNESCO World Heritage Site in 1991 for containing the largest remaining lowland rainforest in Java. In 2005 the park was designated as an ASEAN Heritage Park.

The park encompasses the natural reserve of Krakatoa, with its diverse flora and fauna, demonstrating the on-going evolution of geological processes since the Krakatau eruption in 1883. You can still find several species of endangered plants and animals, which makes this spot definitely a worthy pit stop for the road trip!

3| White Cihara Beach

Located in Kampoong Sukahujan, Ciparahu Village, in the District of Cihara, South of Banten, this beach is easily accessible for tourists. The beach also has a signature basin which makes it one of the most popular places for tourists to swim in.

Lebak Regency

From Pandeglang we continue the road trip to the Lebak Regency (Banten) with pit-stop options being the Tanjung Layar Beach and Guha Gede Beach.

1| Tanjung Layar Beach

This beach is located in Sawarna Village, Bayah District, Lebak in the westernmost part of Java Island. Two big coral reefs stand as the iconic landmark here, where the locals believe that they were the sails of Sangkuriang’s (a local folk tale) boat. In the tale, he became furious when he got rejected to marry Dayang Sumbi, he then kicked the boat and it became Mount Tangkuban Perahu. While the sails were scattered on this beach and became those big coral reefs.

2| Guha Gede Beach

Located south of Cilograng Village, with around 1.5 km of shoreline filled with white sands and towering reefs, ‘Guha Gede’ or The ‘Big Cave’ is a favorite spot for those who love to go fishing!

Kulonprogo Regency

From Banten Province, we continue the road trip to Central Java, Kulonprogo Province. Here are some interesting pit stops: Kembang Soka Waterfall, Mudal River Park (Taman Sungai Mudal), and Kalibiru National Park.

1| Kembang Soka Waterfall

The locals called this place Kembang Soka (Soka Flower) because there’s an abundance of these flowers growing exquisitely throughout the area. This is certainly an astonishing place with a breath-taking view that you can find in Jatimulyo Village, Girimulyo Sub District, Kulonprogo Regency.

2| Mudal River Park

Kulonprogo Regency is also the home of Mudal River Garden (Taman Sungai Mudal), around a one-hour car ride from the city of Yogyakarta. This park holds a stunning orchid garden for educational tourism, as well as waterfalls and also water springs where visitors would enjoy. For those backpackers, there is also a camping ground to enjoy nights bonding with the bliss of nature.

3| Kalibiru National Park

Kalibiru is a national park popular amongst backpackers with alluring green forest beauty. Located 10 km from Wates city in Kalibiru Village, Kokap Sub-District, Kulonprogo Regency.

The locals manage this national park, and backpackers love this park as it is a perfect place for an outdoor adventure with a lot of amazing Instagrammable views.

Bantul & Sleman Regency

Still, in Central Java, we continue the road trip to Bantul & Sleman Regency where we can find pit stops like Parangtritis Beach, Kali Adem, and Mangunan.

1| Parangtritis Beach

This beach is a well-known tourist destination, located around 28 km from Yogyakarta. The mystical vibe of this beach is what also attracts visitors to Parangtritis. Local legends said that this beach is the domain of Kanjeng Ratu Kidul, Queen of the Southern Ocean.

The locals also believed that there is a restriction of wearing green or yellow-green clothing in this area. Aside from the mystical and sacred atmosphere of the beach, Parangtritis is simply a thing of beauty.

2| Mangunan

Mangunan is a village with tons of captivating agro-tourism, cultural, and historical sites that excites tourists to visit.

One of the most popular tourist attractions is Mangunan’s Fruit Garden. You could see fruits everywhere in this garden; starfruit, rambutan, durian, and many more. Located in Dlingo District, Bantul Regency, in the city of Yogyakarta, some locals also nicknamed the place as “land above the cloud”.

3| Kaliadem

Kaliadem is one of the most popular tourist attractions in Yogyakarta. Located right on the slopes of Mount Merapi, It is a plateau area with 25 Ha pine forest situated on 1100 meters above sea level.

It is around 30 km north of Yogyakarta in Cangkringan District, Sleman Regency. Although being devastated to the ground by the Mount Merapi eruption, visitors still flock the area to find traces of the catastrophe, enjoy the cool temperatures, explore the volcanic museum, safety bunker and have some off-road adventures using Jeeps.

Gunung Kidul Regency

From Bantul & Sleman, we continue the road trip and head on to Gunung Kidul Regency where we could find: Jomblang Cave and Kalisuci.

1| Jomblang Cave

Around a 90-minute car ride from Yogyakarta, located in Pacarejo Village, Gunung Kidul Regency, is the fascinating Jomblang Cave. To get to the cave, visitors will need to get in gear and be rappelled down a large hole with a diameter of 25 meters and drop at least 60 meters down.

The thing that attracts visitors to see this cave is the astonishing view inside the cave where the large hole creates a photogenic space where the sun reaps in and illuminates a majestic nuance to the cave. Don’t miss out on the chance to frame yourself with this heavenly light!

2| Kalisuci River

Ever heard of the word “Cave Tubing”? Well here in Kalisuci River, visitors could experience this fun activity. It’s basically an adventure, riding on a floating tube along the river through the interconnected caves and absorbing the beautiful view inside the cave filled with stalactites and stalagmites. Kalisuci translates as the Holy River because the river produces an endless flow of crystal clear water even in the rainy season. Located at Pacarejo Village, in the Semanu sub-district, Gunungkidul Regency, Yogyakarta Province, be sure to make time and enjoy the ride!

Malang Regency

From Gunung Kidul, we continue the journey to Malang Regency (East Java) where there are quite a few intriguing beaches to explore: Teluk Asmoro Beach, Banyu Meneng Beach, Bantol Beach, Tiga Warna Beach, Clungup Beach and Gatra.

1| Teluk Asmoro Beach

Some say that Teluk Asmoro Beach’s beauty is equivalent to the beauty of the famous Raja Ampat Beach (West Papua). Around a two hour drive from the city of Malang, located at Tambakrejo Village, South Malang Regency.  Splurge on the stunning white sands spreading along the shoreline, the clusters of small islands surrounding the beach, the swaying trees and of course the crystal clear waters, with the extra delightful sight during the sunset and sunrise.

2| Banyu Meneng Beach

Located in Sumberbening Village, Bantur sub-district, Malang Regency.  The term ‘Banyu Meneng’ derives from Javanese language meaning ‘The Calm Water’, therefore visitors could enjoy playing in the water at ease.

The cool wind and trees along the beach help the visitors take shade and relax while enjoying the view.

3| Bantol Beach

Head on to the village of Sumberceleng-Banjarejo on the Donomulyo Sub District, Malang Regency and we will find Bantol Beach. Visitors could also come across three unique kinds of lobsters on this beach: the flower, the leopard and the tiger. Quite an interesting attraction right? There is also a lush green forest nearby waiting to be explored.

4| Three Colored Beach

The most appealing thing about this beach is the three-toned colors of the water, hence the name “Tiga Warna” or “Three Colored” Beach. These color differences are caused by the variety of depth that made the waters appears to be in hues of red, green and blue. The beach is also a part of a Protected Mangrove and Coral Reef Conservation, located in Sendangbiru, Malang Region.

5| Clungup Beach

Not far from Tiga Warna Beach, you can find Clungup Beach. This beach has been developed as a mangrove conservation area.

Not many know about this hidden gem, as it is still pure and seemed untouched by civilization, a slice of beach heaven.

6| Gatra Beach

Next is Gatra Beach. Here, you can find tents for rent to set camp at the beach. In these three beaches, visitors are required to report their luggage, to make sure they would not litter and bring a possibility of trash to the beach.

Respect for the environment is highly upheld in these three beaches. So be sure to help keep them clean and pristine!

Banyuwangi Regency

Approaching the end destination of the road trip in the southern route of Trans Java is the Banyuwangi Regency. This regency is well sought after by surfers around the world as it is the home to the best waves! Red Island Beach (Pantai Pulau Merah), Plengkung Beach, Watudodol, Sukamade Beach, and Green Bay Beach (Pantai Teluk Hijau) are some of the best surfer’s haven to find in East Java.

1| Pulau Merah Beach

Red Island Beach or Pulau Merah Beach was originally known as Ringin Pitu. Locals named it Pulau Merah because of the reddish color of the soil and sand, while another version says that at one time some bright red rays shone from the small hilly Pulau Merah island onto the beach, thus giving it the name Pulau Merah Beach.

Located in Sumberagung Village, Pesanggrahan District, towards the south of Banyuwangi, reachable around 2,5 hours by car from the city center. This beach served as a host for the International Surfing Championship joined by surfers from over 20 countries around the world back in 2013.

2| Plengkung Beach

Another surfer’s paradise is Plengkung Beach, situated inside Alas Purwo National Park. This beach is known to be one of the best surfing beaches in the world. Plengkung Beach is also known by another name “G-Land”. The “G” stands for Grajagan, the name of the Bay where surfers could enjoy huge waves.

The beach also earned its fame as the “Seven Giant Waves Wonder”, where the waves could roll up to seven rolls and over six meters high. Only professional surfers are recommended to surf here as the terrain is quite challenging and dangerous for beginners or non-professional surfers. Not to worry, beachgoers who have no interest in surfing could still enjoy beach activities along the shore and take in the amazing view.

3| Watudodol Beach

Located in Kalipuro District, the name Watudodol derived from the Javanese language “Watu” meaning “Batu” in Indonesia or “Stone” in English and “Dodol”, a sweet local delicacy, black in color. Near the beach in the middle of the road, you can find a giant black rock that resembles the “dodol” delicacy, hence the name Watudodol. This beach is often used for sacred local rituals, a tradition going way back to the local’s ancestors. Apart from enjoying the day at the beach shore, visitors could also rent a boat to explore the waters near the coastal line.

4| Sukamade Beach

Sukamade Beach is situated around 97 km southwest of Banyuwangi and is part of the 8.45 km2 coastal swathe that spreads inside the 580 km2 total area of Meru Betiri National Park.

The area is considered an important conservation site because sea turtles lay their eggs here. A special turtle hatchery has also been constructed to ensure the safety of the eggs. Park rangers protect the park and the beach. You can also take part in witnessing the tiny hatchlings of the sea turtle take their first step into the big blue ocean.

5| Green Bay Beach

Still located in the Meru Betiri National Park (Banyuwangi) is Teluk Hijau or Green Bay, another pit stop worth to visit.

You will be pampered with alluring turquoise water and a shoreline of white grains of sand backed by beautiful lush green forest. There is also a small waterfall and fresh cool stream that provides natural showers. We could also find monkeys here, but please be aware not to feed them. For environmental preservations, please kindly give high regard to the cleanness of the area and avoid littering. There is a sign on the beach printed at the entrance: “Do not leave anything but footprints. Do not take anything but pictures. Let’s keep the environment clean to preserve its natural charm!”

So there you go, we have covered both Northern and Southern Routes with all the potential pit stops to choose from for an unforgettable road trip. Be sure to complete your Road Trip plans with Rest Areas information and a. special culinary checklist that you could savor along this enjoyable Trans Java voyage.