As a bordering region between East and Central Java, Pacitan is an untouched remote destination waiting for you to explore. Thanks to the newly built Java’s Southern Coastal Road in recent years, exploring Pacitan has never been so easy and fun.
Pacitan, Once a Minus Region
There has not been a massive development in this one of East Java’s small regency. Not even when our President was a Retired Military General born and raised in Pacitan. His reign was for 10 years, but there wasn’t so much for his own hometown.
Maybe the Java’s Southern Coastal Road is his only legacy. The road connects regions on the southern coast of Java Island, which is still an on-going project. In East Java, it will connect the Pacitan Regency all the way to Banyuwangi, the eastern tip of Java.
These southern regencies were, and are for some, minus regions. People live in a very isolated place, which sometimes, doesn’t get electricity.
Pacitan is somehow lucky to have development in progress, although not as fast as her sisters in the north.
The Imbue Destinations
You would surprise what Pacitan has to offer. The limestone mountain region hides remarkable destinations for intrepid travelers. Some are incomparable to others in the world.
Caves and beaches are the main attractions. Countless beaches have been found on its coast. Some are very beautiful, mostly with clean white sand, crystal clear waters, and huge southern waves, ready to welcome travelers and world-class surfers around the world.
It is also known as A City of 1001 Caves, although it’s more like a small town. The Karsts land of Pacitan is the extent of mountainous region from Gunung Kidul in Yogyakarta, known as “Gunung Sewu”, a local name for a thousand mountains.
These limestone mountains hide many grandeur and mysterious caves, the Goa Gong Cave for example. Its sparkling interior is unspeakable.
The other cave that has been open for tourist is the Tabuhan Cave. And there are many other discovered by the locals that haven’t yet to be explored.
Pacitan doesn’t only have caves and beaches, it also has other natural beauties like waterfalls and river stream. Those are rarely exposed by travelers.
The Goa Gong Cave
I remember the first time I visit Pacitan. It was totally an alien region. Six hours overland journey was a little bit too much, I started from Surabaya.
I had no Idea that we went through a tortuous, ups and down the road on the mountains. It was all dark from inside the car, and I spent almost all the journey sleeping. The Grand Mosque of Pacitan was our arriving destination to perform the dawn prayer.
We then visit our officemate’s home, the place we were going to spend the night. As usual, they welcomed us in the best possible manner. We felt at home in an instant.
The Goa Gong Cave is where we headed next, once we finish out breakfast. There are only resident’s houses with quiet roads in downtown Pacitan. Another tortuous road we had to pass once we left the town.
Magnificent Grand Design
Stepping in the cave’s mouth, I got a creepy feeling all in sudden. It looked dark and humid. The tunnel made us walk and bow at the same time.
“Impressive” I said, the second I got to the Chandelier Chamber. Its ceiling holds stalactite structures looking like chandeliers, together with the stalagmites on the ground, they create a huge natural dancing hall diorama. The installed colorful lightings make the scene even more dramatic.
Going through this Chandelier Chamber will lead us to a bigger chamber. Imagine a four story building, but the stair is going down instead of going up. I was a little creature with mouth open and eyes gazing to every corner of the cave’s interior. The scene was so crazy that I couldn’t describe it in words.
The stair was actually leading us to a huge pillar made of both stalactite and stalagmite that joining in a thousand years process. This pillar is so huge, that five persons alone cannot cover its periphery.
An Underground Fantasy Realm
The light went dimmer too. And some narrow path we had to go through for the next chamber. I hardly breathe at this moment. The deeper we went, the harder to breathe. And our clothes are wet by our own sweat.
Most of the stone formations are wet. Sometimes we see the water drop from the tip of a stalactite. This is a stalactite building in progress. Once it touches the ground, a stalagmite grows. Some stone formations on cave’s wall formed a large curtain, sometimes it looks like a blossoming flower.
The next chamber is the Crystal Chamber. A magical chamber full of stone formations covered in tiny sparkling crystals. From the Crystal Chamber, we can take a peak of other chambers that can’t be accessed due to the absence of pathway.
The wonderland of Alice is nothing compared to what I witnessed. Both creepy and enchanting, have become the amusing part exploring the Goa Gong Cave.
The Klayar Beach
The Klayar Beach is one of a well-known beach in Pacitan. Getting there is easy, there are road signs guide the tourists to go to Klayar Beach.
Some road lanes are very steep. The driver must be a professional to handle this road. It’s narrow and bumpy. Gravels are everywhere as the result of a damaging road. I wonder why the government had not fixed such bad condition that might lead to an accident.
Anyway, the sea breeze hailed us by the time we arrive at the beach. It was sunny and windy. The hill on the west is where visitor takes photos with sea background, and it’s mostly the first point to land.
The beach has tiny mild white sand, with coral rock bed at the shore. The waves are pretty high, even higher on the eastern coast that bordered by a small hill.
The rock formations on the east have peculiar shapes. It formed Obelix and boat sails. This where the name come from, Klayar means sail. They stand strong in line, creating exotic looking background photos, especially in sunset time.
But this is where many have died. The stone formation is so intrigued to be explored, but very dangerous at the same time. The sea flute point is where many people lost their life dragged by the huge tidal.
Indeed, it is the natural phenomenon that hard to miss. It’s a hole in the rock bed that connects to the open sea. Whenever the wave comes, it will continue to create a high water splash in the air up to ten meters, sometimes with a flute sound.
Hidden Natural Pool
Walk to further east, and we will find a lower ground separated by a natural rock wall. This is where natural pools reside. Climb down and swimming on these pools is not a bad idea.
Beware of the high waves that fill up the pool’s water. Don’t swim close to the edge of the pool. Our tour guide said that a man died here sometimes ago.
Do some jumping on the crystal clear water. It’s only a man-chest deep. Swimming with friends will be the best option, in case of anything happens, someone will help.
Once you finished enjoying the scene, you can always eat and drink at the food stalls near the beach. Order a fresh young coconut fruit and do some seafood barbequing. It will surely be one of the best moments in your traveling story.
The Srau Beach
The main attraction at the Srau Beach is the rocky peninsula that stretched for almost a kilometer to the open sea. Unique coastal plants grow in between exotic coral rocks, with the sea background, will be an awesome scene for photography lovers.
Exploring the peninsula would be a good experience. Beware of the sharp rocky edges, the wave beneath is lethal.
Srau Beach is rather a small beach, less than one kilometer long. This white sand beach considered a romantic beach in Pacitan, spending time with daydreaming and watching the waves coming one after another sooth deep into your soul.
Hence, playing in the water in small lagoon under the natural rocky bridge can be fun. The hole underneath the bridge is where the water comes from. Its crystal clear water is tempting anyone to swim.
Sunset is the best time for a loving couple to spend. The orange light from the sun changes through time. It slowly falls down and hides behind the hills as the sky turn dark.
The Watu Karung Beach
Maybe, Bali’s beaches are the most famous in Indonesia. But never underestimate other beaches on its neighboring Islands like Lombok and Java Island. Watu Karung Beach in Pacitan is one perfect picture of white sand, pristine water, and sunny beach.
This is truly a tropical paradise. The shore stretched for about 2 kilometers long in crescent shape. The tide near the shore is mild, but not at the further distance. Its tide is perfect for surfing. Thus, it was a venue for World Class Surfing Competition in distant past.
Walk from edge to edge and feel the smooth sand grain adhered to your feet. Gaze the sparkling turquoise crystal water to the horizon. And feel the cold breeze while witnessing a tropical wonder before your eyes.
The Private Beach
The sun forced me to set up my tiny tend under the trees. It is where we rested. But one thing bothered me in a sudden. What’s behind that rocky hill on the west?
So I took initiative to check out what is out there. Sharp gravels prickled our bare feet as we climb the pathway on the hill. Once we’re on its top, another smaller beach lies ahead of us, waiting to be explored.
There is no one else but us on the beach, a private beach, having the beach for our own bring out the joy in the fullest. We played water, buried bodies in the sand and some silly jumping. This hidden beach was a surprise, a bonus to our trip.
And to experience such a trip is always good for our body and soul. It keeps us youth, clearer in thinking and more productive at work. Pacitan is truly a destination of wonderful experiences.
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