Overlooking the vast open Indian Ocean, featuring crystal clear blue water and stretches of white sandy beach, shaded by beautiful rows of sheltering trees, the Sawarna Beach is without a doubt one of the most beautiful beaches in the province of Banten.
Located by a peaceful little village on the south coast of Java Island, Sawarna Beach offers a host of natural wonders such a sits rushing river, lush forest, rocky hills, caves, and more. The beautiful landscape is also shrouded in the myth of “Nyi Roro Kidul”, the mythical Queen of the South Seas, besides being replete with the history of coal exploitation in the nearby areas of Bayah and Lebak.
The tourism village of Sawarna is the entry point to this natural wonder. As you enter the village, you will be greeted by lush green paddy fields, serene village ambience, and refreshing breezes. Rows of coconut and teak trees decorate the village which add to its serenity. Sawarna Beach is located at Gendol, Bayah District, Lebak Regency, in the province of Banten, Jakarta’s neighbour to the capital’s west.
The beach is about 150 km from the town of Rangkas bitung, center of Banten Province.
The beauty of Sawarna beach is truly captivating. Those who enjoy surfing will also find the waves at Sawarna quite challenging. Its barreling waves have managed to attract surfers from all over the globe including those from USA, Australia, Japan, and Korea.
Beneath the surface, the underwater beauty of Sawarna also makes it a perfect place for snorkeling. Here, you can find most colorful coral reefs and various species of tropical fish. Some of the best spots for snorkeling are at Ciantir Beach, Tanjung Layar Beach, Karang Bokor Beach, Karang Seupang Beach, Karang Taraje Beach, and Legon Pari Bay.
Aside from its stunning beaches, Sawarna also offers fascinating adventure opportunities in some of its spectacular caves, such asthe Lalay Cave, the Sikadir Cave, Cimaul Cave, Singalong Cave, and Pasir Tangkil Cave. The caves at Sawarna are Karst caves that were formed during the early Miocene period.
Most of the local inhabitants of Sawarna are fishermen and one of their major catch is small fry popularly known in Indonesia as“teri”. You can buy these smooth tiny fish for less than IDR 10,000 a package. The fish has a distinct taste and can be cooked in numerous ways, one popular snack being fried in flour, which also makes this a tasty cracker.
Here are some of the restaurants near the area:
Tegal Bahari, Jl. Raya Bayah – Malingping
Lesehan Katineung, Jl. Raya Malingpin – Saketi Ds. Bolang Kec. Malingping
Surya Minang, Jl. Raya Bayah-Malingping Kab. Lebak
Rumah Makan Dada, Jl. Raya Bayah Cibareo
For a convenient experience it is best to arrange a trip to Sawarna through tour operators.
There are a number of accommodation facilities near the beach which usually also offers guide services. There are also guesthouses provided by the locals.
At Lalay Cave, literary translated as Bat Cave, you can see hundreds of bats who make the cave their home above the stream that runs through the cave. The cave is known to have been formed from cracks on the karsts wall due to the earth’s tectonic movement. The cracks were later flooded with flowing water which over time created the cave. Lalay cave is estimated to be 1,000 meters long.
If you feel the need to contemplate at a more secluded spot you can head out to Laguna Pari. Decorated with sparkling white sand and nothing but the sound of waves embracing the shore, this is the best place to immerse yourself in the indulging beauty of nature. The beach is also used by local fishermen to dock their boats. The beach in Laguna Pari is also the best place to watch the sunrise since it faces east.
In Palitsir and Karang Taraje, the beaches are decorated with stunning rocky cliffs. In Karang Taraje, rocks pile up one upon the other resembling a stairway, thus giving the beach its name which in the local language, Taraje, means bamboo stairs.
Around the area, you can also visit a palm sugar production center, woodworkers who produce guitars and violins, and the tomb of Jean Louis Van Gought. Jean Louis Van Gought was the first businessman who established a coconut plantation along the Sarwana Coast in 1907. Today, the plantation is still in operation and is managed by the Indonesia’s National Plantation Company (PTPN). It is said that it was Van Gought himself who wished to be buried in Indonesia. The tomb was only found in the year 2000 and his family in the Netherlands confirmed that the it was indeed Jean Loius Van Gought’s tomb.
To reach Sawarna Beach, you can take the route from Serang to Pandeglang-Malimping-Bayah-Sawarna, or alternatively Rangkasbitung-Cileles-Gunung Kencana-Malimping-Bayah-Sawarna.
From the capital city of Jakarta, you can take the toll road from Tomang to Serang. From Serang, you can head to Saketi, in Pandeglang.
Another alternative is to take the public bus from Jakartato Pelabuhan Ratu in Sukabumi. From Pelabuhan Ratu, there are mini buses that can take you straight to Sawarna which charges around IDR 35,000. These minibuses follow the route Pelabuhan Ratu-Cikuray-Cibeber-Bayah.
From the city of Bogor, in West Java, you can also reach Sawarna via Cilograng to Pelabuhan Ratu which is approximately about 145 km. This is the route used by public buses from Bogor. From Pelabuhan Ratu you can take another bus to Bayah Terminal. From Bayah there are jeeps that can take you to Sawarna through a bit of relatively rough roads. Do remember that these jeeps only operate until 05.00 in the afternoon, so you need to be there beforehand.