Stumble Into Indonesia's Unseen Places
Submitted by viravira on 25 September 2014 • Destination
To visit all the hidden beaches of Indonesia is quite impossible, or very difficult, to not seem pessimistic, because there are endless beaches on this large archipelago. I heard that Indonesia has the 5th longest coastline in the world! But there’s a fat chance you’ll find some hidden beaches when socializing with the locals anywhere. By hidden beaches, I mean beaches that aren’t widely known or visited.
On my visit to Batukaras this time, I’m glad that I hang out with our AirBnB hosts, Lia and Ondi. We share car rent and they took us to the hidden beaches of Batu Karas, inform us where we could find a lagoon.
After driving westward for almost an hour from Batukaras beach in the very hot and sunny afternoon, we arrive at a beach with stunning blue water opening to the Indian Ocean. It’s not a gorgeous white sandy beach. It is, in fact, a little bit dirty with trash. But it’s a wide beach and the big rocks formation combined with the blue ocean really get me wide-awake after a long nap in the car.
The waves are hitting the rocks hard. The beach is pretty dangerous to swim at because there are too many hard corals. Not a surfer in sight, either. I guess the ocean itself has a lot going on, you as a visitor only need to sit and chill at the provided wooden chairs.
Continuing the venture, we drive through a very stony road to reach a rather closed part of Madasari beach. Turns out, there’s a lot more activities in this part. There is even a tour bus parked closer to the entrance. We drive further in and stopp in front of a row of warungs.
It’s now late in the afternoon, some fishermen are starting to get their boats out to the sea. Enthusiastic children help out the fishermen in the midst of playing with the waves on tubes.
Ondi tells us about a view point up on the cliff. We climb up wearing flip flops, unprepared for this kind of activity. Lucky for me, the path was easy peasy. There are many stones and tree roots to hold on to and step on. We got to the top in 5-10 minutes.
The view is fantastic!
Fisherman boats are seen from afar against the blue vast ocean. We can see cliffs on other sides, with concave shape at the lower part, caused the wave-crash for god-knows-how-long. The crash sometimes blasts water sprinkles up to the top of the cliff. I have to cover my sketchbook several times when the sprinkles get that high, so that it doesn’t smudge the drawing.
Ondi says that you can actually walk further and higher, but we decide to climb down because we’re getting hungry. On the way down, we pass by a few men with their fishing rods and some teenagers on their way up.
We enjoy the view so much, we’re going back there the next day. The beach and cliff get more visitors because it’s Sunday, but overall it’s still a decent beach to relax and not be bothered with anything. I almost fall asleep under a tree, but get back up hurriedly when it’s time to munch that grilled fish and chili paste!
– I don’t recommend taking a low-ground-clearance car to Madasari beach due to the stony path.
– Going on a motorbike is fine.
– A small fee is required when entering Madasari area, about IDR 4,000 / vehicle.
When Ondi finds out that Diyan and I went for a jog on Batukaras beach earlier on our first morning there, he tells us that if we went on further eastward we would find a lagoon. Curious, we follow his direction on the next morning.
On our way there, our sights are spoiled by the vast ocean with rolling waves. The beach is pretty wide even though it’s a bit high tide in the morning. The sand feels smooth with only little coral stones and tree branches scattered on the beach, making my barefooted run very convenient. I don’t think I ever want to run with shoes ever again!
We pass by some hotel ruins, which were swiped by the tsunami in 2006. It feels a bit eerie, imagining such tragedy happened to such a beautiful place. It’s no wonder that now this part of the little peninsula is somewhat desolated. Almost nobody is in sight after about 2 kilometers away from the main Batukaras beach.
Jogging (or walking) 4 kilometers eastward from Batukaras beach’s main area, which is the part across Villa Monyet and Bale Karang Cottages, we finally find the lagoon. Except, well, I don’t think it is really a lagoon. It’s not separated from the sea by reefs or barrier islands that lagoons are supposed to. It’s more like an estuary, I think. But, it seems that ‘lagoon’ is something people would like to have in their area, just like the one in Vang Vieng, Laos. Perhaps because a ‘lagoon’ sounds exotic, doesn’t it?
Lagoon or not, we’re psyched to get to this body of water. There is no one but us at the area. Other signs of human beings are some fishermen on boats passing by not far from there, docking on the other side of the rock barricade across from us. We can also see the airport tower from there.
The sand is really mushy, I can’t walk without leaving a deep footprint. There must be a term for this kind of sand, but I’m not sure. We’re having fun running around leaving footprints and trying to get close to a flock of birds, which is obviously a major failure.
Swimming is fun, but I don’t dare to go to the deep end. The sea floor is super mushy, it freaks me out. I don’t want to get ‘sucked in’ and drown. Hahaha, yeah, I can get a bit paranoid in such a quiet and unknown type of body of water. I don’t think I’ve ever been to such a place before. Having said that, we really take our time at the ‘lagoon’. I forgot to apply my sunscreen, and voila, another episode of sun-burnt shoulders and back!
– A turn-off is trash scattered on the beach, and it’s no exception at this lagoon aka estuary. All kinds of trash are found there, from plastic food wrap to a lens cap! So please, if you ever go there (or any other place), bring back your trash and dump it in the trash bin.
– Little did I know, Diyan was secretly concerned about the possibility of a saltwater crocodile existing, when we found out that we were actually at an estuary. He secretly freaked out when seeing a small log of wood in the water, floating towards me, but he didn’t want to tell me so not to make me scared. So if you are going to this place, please make sure with the locals, whether or not they know of any crocodile having been seen at the area.
– And please, always apply sun screen to protect your skin and make a few next days easier for yourself.