Incredible Java Coastline
During a recent trip to the south coast of East Java I was unexpectedly impressed by its stunning coastline in the vicinity of Pacitan Regency. Quite popular and well known with local Javanese tourists but much less known by International tourists or visitors.
Karang Bolong Natural Rock Arch
Above is a wonderful example of coastal features you have in store for yourselves if you take a trip to this part of the extensive South Java Coastline! Not only will you find beautiful beaches but also scenic natural wonders such as Karang Bolong Natural Rock Arch. In Javanese language Karang can mean Coral or Rock and Bolong means Hole.
This is in the region of Pantai Klayar otherwise known as Klayar Beach, (in the Indonesian language Pantai means Beach). A relatively undiscovered wild beach revealing an almost untouched beauty in nature with rocky protrusions, immaculate headland and idyllic white sand beaches.
Pantai Klayar (Klayar Beach - Pacitan)
This area of the South Coast of Java in Jawa Timor is still relatively undeveloped and receives a lot of local tourists during the weekends when it can be rather crowded. During the week less so. It's not one of the easier accessible beach areas due to the rugged terrain anywhere south of Pracimontoro and the coast itself. When you get into this region you will find a stark change in landscape from the regular plains of Java where rice paddies are in abundance and the land quite flat if not undulating.
Here we have for the Geologist especially a Geological wonderland! At first it seemed to me to be either Volcanic Tuff or Tufa or ancient remains of dead Coral strewn everywhere. Huge Pyramids of it can be seen, piles of this strange but somehow familiar rock making up the landscape. It's a hilly region with many trees and the local tradition as can bee seen everywhere has been to use this rock to build walls for partitioning agricultural fields a bit like the English Dry Stone Wall technique or for surrounding their land and houses.
This quite intriguing landscape caused me to do some research where I discovered that sure enough we have Calcareous Sandstone and Tuffaceous Sandstone, and Limestone Karst which explains the incredible rock formations on the coast and at the beaches along with an abundance of the sedimentary rock Lignite.
Regional rock being used for field partitioning
Aside from the interesting Geology that creates the landscape the area is extremely rural in most part probably due to the terrain and this has its positives. Beautiful scenic countryside which is peppered with delightfully beautiful and peaceful villages, road traffic is kept to a minimum and generally you will feel as if you are in a different world when comparing to the hustle and bustle of the big towns and cities and of course the major highways that link them.
Klayar Beach at the end of the day
The above shot is a Long Exposure (Slow Shutter Speed) image taken at Sunset which is a good example of how creative techniques can be used in Photography creating a very different image of Pantai Klayar than the daylight image seen earlier in this post which was taken with a Fast Shutter Speed. Photography is another good reason to head down to this region of the Javanese Coastline!
Rocky cliff strewn Coastline stretches off into the distance
Pantai Klayar (Klayar Beach) is now at the point where serious development has started to take place and I guess looking back on this post in a few years time things will have changed immensely, something I have witnessed time and again in many developing countries over the many moons I have been travelling!
At the moment during my visit road widening was taking place on quite a war footing! Down at the beach there are warungs for food and drink as on top of the headland which overlooks the beach but still quite simple. One thing to mention at the bottom of the steep hill that runs down to the beach is a small area under construction (concrete) which looks like it will be buildings for a number of more modern shops or warungs unlike the present eco-type basic wood/bamboo structures.
Road widening at Pantai Klayar
Signpost at Kalak
Not far away from Pantai Klayar venturing along the coast to the east from Kalak there are a few more interesting beaches and headland. Pantai Mbuyutan, Pantai Banyu Tibo and further still one can reach Pantai Nampu. All of which are worth a visit if Pantai Klayar with its astonishing rock formations and Blow Hole (which I almost forgot to mention) aren't enough for you!
Pantai Mbuyutan Beach
So how do we get there and where exactly is it?
The nearest big cities are Yogyakarta (Jogja) and Surakarta (Solo).
From Solo it's around 2 to 3 hours drive depending on traffic to cover the almost 100km.
Directly south of the city the most direct route avoiding any unwanted hilly regions head through the town of Sukoharjo to Pracimontoro and from there continue east along National Highway 3 until you hit a crossroads. There is an alternative route from there which is very hilly running through beautiful small villages and rural countryside which goes directly south to the very small town of Kalak to Pantai Klayar or you can continue along National Highway 3 to the village of Batu Akik which is known for selling Gemstones (if you are lucky you may be there on a day when the Gemstone market is on)!
From Desa Batu Akik there is a turn off on the road to the right which goes to Kalak and Pantai Klayar via Goa Gong another popular visitor attraction (Gong Cave). This route takes you out of your way a little but the roads are better and even though it is a few kilometers further you will reach your destination much faster due to the road surfaces being better and less hairpin bends and hills to climb and descend.
From Jogja it's around 2 to 3 hours drive depending on traffic to cover the almost 100km
Head out of Jogja travelling southwest to Wonosari and on to Pracimontoro and then the remainder of the directions from Praci (Pracimontoro) to Klayar are as mentioned above in the Solo-Klayar info.
There is enough accommodation at Pantai Klayar certainly during weekdays as I discovered with simple and comfortable Homestay accommodation above the Beach on the raised headland around the entrance gate. Entry fee costs 7000 idr (Indonesian Rupiah) per person for entering the area and 2000 idr for parking. I couldn't comment about the weekends though regarding accommodation but all the locals mentioned just how busy it does get!
There is also a Homestay down on the beach itself about half way towards the blow hole.
I'm sure low season would be different as I was there at the start of the rainy season and the roads, steep in places, some covered in grit and mud can be quite treacherous when wet! Hence I imagine there would be a lack of visitors and maybe a limited number of open homestays to choose from.
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