Pangandaran is one of West Java’s best kept-secrets as far as international tourists are concerned. Located on a peninsula on the south coast of West Java, about 91 Km from the town of Ciamis, Pangandaran offers uniquely black and white sand, calm waved beaches and spectacular sunsets. The beach resort facing the Indian Ocean is 223 Km from Bandung and 400 km from Jakarta, and lies halfway between Bandung and Yogyakarta.
This beautiful peninsula was once better known as a small fishing place; fishermen would set sail in the morning and return in the afternoon with their catch. As the fishermen return, all the locals would meet them on the beach and help them pull the nets heavy with fish to shore. This activity can still be seen today; you can also participate and experience the sensation of pulling the heavy fish nets back to shore and get to know what it is like to be a fisherman. It also makes a swell picture.
Pananjung beach, located at the western end of the peninsula, is an ideal place for family activities. Here, the waves are relatively calm so you and your family can swim around safely. You can also bathe under the sun or simply just watch the enchanting panoramic view. Next to the beach is a forested hill which is also a natural reserve. It is the dwelling place for many monkeys, deer, buffaloes and other exotic animals. There are also a number of natural caves and some man-made caves built as bunkers by the Japanese during the Second World War. At the top of the hill is a beautiful waterfall which drops directly into the ocean. To reach it, you must first take a hike, but don’t worry, for along the way you’ll be presented with astonishing views and you will likely meet various animals. From this high location, you will also get a better view of the entire coastal area of the peninsula.
The eastern coast is a paradise for Fresh Sea Food Lovers. Here, you can take your pick among many selections of restaurants and food stalls that offers freshly caught fish, squids, crabs, prawns and others, which are displayed on their front veranda. At the south end of this restaurant line-up, is the fresh fish market where you can buy fresh caught fish and other sea food, and have them grilled or barbequed to your own liking. The East Coast is also a place for Jet Skiing and Banana Boat Rides which are surely perfect activities to release your stress and return completely revitalized.
Pangandaran also hosts many annual events. One in particular is the International Kite Festival which is held in July every year. This festival is a gathering of kite enthusiasts from all over the world and a place where all different kinds of kites are flown together under the Blue Pangandaran skies.
Pangandaran is a one stop complete experience. From swimming, snorkeling, Jet Skiing, Fishing to Hiking and hill climbing, Pangandaran has it all. It is a full package vacation, fit for every age and an ideal place to be visited at anytime of the year. So, why don’t you try Pangandaran for your next family vacation.
There’s nothing like freshly caught Seafood covered in a fine mixture of herbs and ingredients, accompanied by a glass of iced coconut milk, and to top it all, you can enjoy it on the shore with the sound of waves breaking on the rocks. When it comes down to cuisine, Seafood is obviously the specialty of Pangandaran.
There are a lot of souvenir shops near the beach that sell various T-shirts, Short pants, swim wear, Hats and all kind of Beachwear. They also provide various sea handicrafts, such as bracelets and necklaces made from sea shell, miniature surf boards and all kind of unique gifts. There are also shops that sell dried salted fishes (ikan asin), you may want to try the “Jambal Roti” salted fish for which Pangandaran is also famous.
There are many Hotels and inns fit for families, executives and backpackers in Pangandaran.
In general, Pangandaran is a fabulous beach destination. It offers all kinds of beach and marine activities such as sunbathing, swimming, surfboarding, fishing, Jet Skiing, and more. You can also explore the human side of Pangandaran by cycling through the village and observe various activities of the fishermen and villagers. There is also a dirt track fit for Semi Pro Cyclist Uphill and Downhill ride.
Pananjung / Western Beach:
Pananjung Beach is a calm black sand beach that is fit for family activities such as swimming, surfboarding or just playing around in the sand. There are also boats that can take you to the marine park and you can also snorkel there. These boats can also take you to fishing spots, where you can spend your day fishing for that big catch.
Pananjung Natural Reserve:
You can explore the beauty of natural life by just walking around this natural reserve accompanied by groups of monkeys that will greet you around every corner. Take a time to visit some of the caves and marvel at the enchanting panoramic view to the shore. For a more exciting adventure, you can hike to the buffalo’s field and upward to the waterfall. On your way up the hill, you will find a clear lake with fresh mountain water that tempts you to jump in at the moment of its sight.
The Eastern Beach is a place for extreme fun water sports. Here you can rent Jet Skis, Banana Boats and other adventurous rides. The Eastern Beach is also The Seafood Center of Pangandaran. You can feast on the various selections of fish, crabs, shrimps and other Seafood.
Coral reefs in Pangandaran are the fringing reef type, which is dominated by Acropora along the Western Beach and Monticora at the Eastern Beach. Corals at both places are dominated by the branching, encrusting, and massive types; which indicate that there are strong currents in this marine area. It makes a great place for snorkeling, or just simply enjoying these from aboard a wooden boat. Sadly, observations in 2008 show that some of these reefs have been damaged, and this has called for a mission to save them. You can join in the reef rehabilitation mission by taking part in the “Adopt a Baby Coral” program.
The best way to get around Pangandaran is on foot, since a walk on the beach and having your feet touch the sand offers its own sensation. You may also want to try to get around Pangandaran on a bike. There are a lot of bike rental services that offer various kinds of bicycles for rent, from the usual bike such as BMX or standard bike to the Tandem Bike that can take two or three persons. If you feel a bit tired after a long stroll, just call out “becak”, a three-wheeled cart that can take you back to your Hotel or other places.
Susi Air provides scheduled flights from Jakarta to Pangandaran. It’s the fastest and most comfortable way to reach Pangandaran. There are daily flights from the Halim Perdanakusuma Airport in Jakarta to the Nusawiru Airport in Pangandaran.
A common way for reach Pangandaran is by bus. Buses leave nearly every hour from Jakarta’s Kampung Rambutan bus station toward Pangandaran. But not all busses drive direct to Pangandaran. With some buses you have to change the bus in Ciamis, Tasikmalaya or Banjar.
When you take the direct bus, the trip takes around 7 hours and costs around Rp 60.000 without AC and around Rp 80.000 with AC. The fee depends on the bus company.
It’s also possible to rent a car with a driver in Jakarta. This will cost around Rp 1.300.000.
Susi Air also provides scheduled flights from Bandung to Pangandaran. There are daily flights from the Hussein Sastranegara Airport.
With the bus you can reach Pangandaran from Bandung’s Cicaheum bus station. Some buses drive directly to Pangandaran, while others are only direct to Ciamis or Banjar. From these bus stations you may have to take other transportations to Pangandaran.
Swim only along designated areas, Some beaches are relatively dangerous and are not suited for swimming
Please obey safety rules at all time and pay attention to the announcements from the life guards or Balawista who came in bright orange and red uniform. They are posted in many areas of the beaches and ready to help, should you need any assistance.
During weekend or Holiday seasons, hotels and other accommodation are usually fully booked, so it is best to make your reservations prior to arrival.