Stumble Into Indonesia's Unseen Places
Tanjung Lesung is a coastal area west of Java that has been overlooked by many, especially since the rise of eastern Indonesia. Little did I know, a vast complex of bungalows awaits tourists who are looking for some beach time. Surrounding the Tanjung Lesung Beach Hotel is an expansive land in the progress of becoming an animal conservation center, a mini zoo, tourism school, and an air strip.
The entrance to the beach hotel is a long road with trees line up right and left. Totally a gem for photographers in the golden hours. The road would make a great jogging and biking track, but we went through it with the bus all the way from Jakarta. The five hours trip ended at the lobby of Tanjung Lesung Beach Hotel. Perhaps because we were a group of guests invited on behalf of Jababeka, the property developer, we were welcomed with cold juices, dances and leis.
The whole resort reminded me a lot of Balinese resorts in early 2000’s. Cream-colored bungalows built on stretched out green lawn with neatly lined up coconut trees. Bungalows are of three types: Zamrud (1 bedroom), Mutiara (2 bedrooms) and Berlian (3 bedrooms), with the prices start at IDR1,200,000/night on weekdays and IDR1,700,000/night on weekends.
I was assigned to a Mutiara bungalow along with three other people, with whom I had to share one bathroom with complete toiletries. A twin bedroom was on the mezanine floor and the double bed room was downstairs. A spacious living room, where a TV with international channels is provided, and the terrace are equipped with dull furniture, though kept clean. Early morning it’s nice to be out on the terrace, do a little stretching and touch the dew on the grass and even on the veranda chairs.
If you want to experience something a little outdoorsy, you could choose to sleep in tents. They’re located near the Beach Club, each tent accommodates up to 3 people. The tents and mattress are provided, even a towel rack. There may not be a TV set and a private bathroom, but you’ll wake up to a sea view.
I used to think there’s no need for a swimming pool when you’re staying by the beach. Turns out, it’s fun to dip in the pool after a session of salt water. Or, like the case in this Tanjung Lesung trip, we couldn’t swim in the sea because the wind was pretty rough, so the pool really did it for us. Playing water polo in the pool was a lot of fun and it’s awesome that they provide the goal posts!
The swimming pool, which has various depths including the one for kids, is located by the semi open-aired Pangrango restaurant area. Just outside the restaurant main entrance there’s a basketball ring and a bicycle rent. With about IDR50,000/bike/day you could explore more of Tanjung Lesung area. When you’re tired after exploring, you could head down to the Spa.
Mobile connection is so-so, but they provide free wi-fi in the restaurant and lobby area.
Tanjung Lesung Beach Hotel is something that city people would probably say “in the middle of nowhere”. It’s far from any town and market, it’s even far from its own main gate. Aside to water polo and biking, there’s really not much you can do there except the water sports at the Beach Club. You can do the banana boat, donut boat, jetski, sea kayaking, fishing by boat, go on a snorkeling and glass bottom boat trip, weather permitting. On a clear day, you can opt for a sunset boat trip to enjoy the sunset view more romantically.
I only had a chance to go on the banana boat, in which we got thrown in the water 3 or 4 times, which was fun, and the donut boat, which I now hate, and my all time favorite: kayaking. These activities range from IDR80,000/person to IDR3,125,000/boat depending on the activity. Excursions to nearby attractions can also be arranged, such as the trips to Anak Krakatau Volcano and Ujung Kulon National Park.
Debus, a self-defense art that involves superpowers, is performed every Saturday night by the swimming pool by a group of people from nearby village. Men eating freshly burned wood, jabbing each other with sharp objects but no bleeding, and so many other unthinkable things that human might be able to do, they show it. If that doesn’t make your jaws drop, I don’t know what will.
The hotel staff could also provide entertainment for group tours. They turned on loud disco-dangdut music and lead us line dancing, North Sulawesi style, called poco-poco. I didn’t like the music, nor the dance, but I awkwardly joined the crowd in the name of not-having-anything-else-to-do-and-was-not-tired-enough-to-sleep.
Guests often come in large groups for office outings. Expect some loud music until midnight (or past midnight!) from the group’s partying on the beach. If you’re a light sleeper and don’t like to stay up all night, you might need to prepare earplugs.
More pictures of debus at Marischka Prudence’s blog.
The trip from Jakarta took almost 5 hours by bus, including a lunch stop at Bu Entin’s in Pandeglang, halfway to Tanjung Lesung. The road condition was alright, but you’ll pass by a lot of trucks and containers on rather narrow roads. If you’re not used to driving on this kind of situation, I’d recommend you hire an experienced driver.
Public transportation is a bit tricky. You might need to take the bus from Jakarta to Labuhan, then get an ojek ride from there. That should take even longer to get there.
For more information on Tanjung Lesung and ways to get there, head down to their official website or contact them at:
Phone: +62 21 572 7345
Email : firstname.lastname@example.org
For more of the highlights of this trip, check out our previous post.