Enjoy The Freshness Of Sukabumi

Located on the southern slopes of lush Mt. Gede-Mt. Pangrango National Park in West Java, the district of Sukabumi is cool and scenic and is a favored area for outbound group activities that include camping, mountain trekking, whitewater rafting, to adventurous caving that descends deep underground into dark cavernous domes with stalagtites and stalacmites.

Sukabumi in West Java
Sukabumi in West Java (Source : tanyawisata.com)

During Dutch colonial days, the town of Sukabumi and its surroundings was the favored place for rich Dutch tea planters because of its beautiful tropical scenery and cool climate. In 1914, the Dutch Colonial government established a Gemeente or municipality in Sukabumi since many wealthy European and Dutch families lived in this region. They were elite members of the Preanger Planters Club, an exclusive society of Dutch tea plantation owners in the western part of Java, headquartered in the Vrier Building at Bandung’s Postweg, today known as Jalan Asia Afrika. Tea from this area of Java was at the time, the island’s main export commodity.

To Sukabumi’s south the land slopes down all the way to the Indian Ocean where lies the town of Pelabuhan Ratu, originally a fishing village now a tourist resort. This area and indeed the entire south coast of Java is believed to be the abode of the mystical and feared Queen of the South Seas, known as Nyi Loro Kidul.

Further west from Pelabuhan Ratu, along the Karanghawu and Cimaja beaches surfers have found a location ideal for surfing the challenging barrels of the Indian Ocean.

Pelabuhan Ratu beach, Sukabumi
Pelabuhan Ratu beach, Sukabumi (Source : kmk312dewi.wordpress.com)

Although less known than the Puncak – Cianjur main mountain route from Jakarta to Bandung, the Sukabumi district and town, located some 3 hours drive from Bandung or 4 to hours from Jakarta, is an area truly worth enjoying especially by nature adventure seekers.


There are several gastronomic items you might want to sample as you pass the city or stay there.

(the street in Indonesian Bahasa is called ‘Jalan’ or abbreviated as ‘JL’ or ‘Jl.’ as ‘street’ into ‘St.’)

Bubur Ayam is chicken porridge with exceptionally delicious plain porridge. There are a few dressings to add with the porridge, such as ‘karoket’ or a fried eggroll that tastes second to none, boiled egg, cakwe, tasteful chicken intestines and gizzards, fish chips or rice cake. Eat it as a breakfast or anytime. Go to Jl. Siliwangi no. 93 and see BUBUR AYAM BUNUT. Alternatively go to ODEON, on Jl. Pejagalan no. 33 and it is only open as the sun goes down.

Bakmi pengantin, or wedding noodle at the Chinatown, locally named ‘pecinan’ at the back of the train station during the night. The crowd is uninterrupted because the taste is superb, not to mention the icon of the place is the cook, a pretty young Chinese girl. Not far from it, another noodle-base cookery is the Mie Oyen.
On Jl. Ahmad Yani and Stasiun Timur junction, a small warung, food stall, sells traditional cake named bandros and pukis. These two cakes are made of rice flour and especially bandros with the addition of gritted coconut. The size is only for adults and have it with coffee or traditional ginger beverage, the bandrek.
Bu Entik’s mashed beef meat, or locally called gepuk Bu Entik. The perfectly cooked plain rice  smells nice and the mashed beef meat is mouth-watering when you look at it. Please go to Jl. R. Samsudin SH. The sambal, or chili paste is tasteful yet super spicy. Mang Ja’i meatballs and noodle is on Jl. Ir. H. Juanda close to the House of Representatives. The meatballs vary in size and the soup tastes like heaven. It has been around for 37 years, and this extended experience lends to its incomparable taste.
Dimsum Hj. Lien is also one of the must-try foods in Sukabumi. It offers you tasty dimsum, kwotie, hakao, siomay, chicken feet, rice crackers and all is pork free. So it is not a usual Chinese dimsum as the owner is a Moslem.


There are many items to buy here such as natural stones that come from very old tree fossils. Snacks from Sukabumi are also various. There are things you DO NOT want to buy as you visit the coastal area. They are turtle eggs and souvenirs made out of sea corals. It is better to be a wise traveler rather than promote natural destruction.

There are plenty of hotels here.

Camping on Sukabumi’s Mountain sides

There are several places where you can camp out to experience outdoor life in some of the best environments. They are the Pondok Halimun in the Mt. Gede-Pangrango National Park, Cangkuang on Mt. Salak camping ground, and Buni Ayu camping ground at Nyalindung, Gunung Walat, and on Mt. Halimun.

One of the most prominent is the former Shorea Situ Gunung Resort, now under a new management, where camping takes you to a new level of outdoor living luxuriously. The camps are set comfortably on a flat garden in the middle of a tropical forest on Mt. Pangrango. Airbeds and other hotel amenities are partially available for your convenience, while at the same time living on the edge of adventure. The volcanic lake and the tall tropical trees and its fauna are something to explore while you embrace nature.

Caving Going Down Under

For a different kind of exciting experience, the Buni Ayu Adventure takes you down a long cave, some 45 meters below the earth’s surface along a 1.5 km. terrain, that takes you to another world that you have never seen before.  First, cavers make an 18 m. vertical drop by rope. Then, passing a dome where a cool stream meanders along mysterious stalagmites and stalactites you reach the Cave of Eternal Darkness. Here even insects are blind but grow long antennae to feel their way in the pitch darkness. Then cavers must crawl and climb up boulders through a mud pool before finally emerging out of the cave on the other side. After which you are drenched in a refreshing waterfall to rid yourselves of the clinging mud. A true adventure rewarded with a Certificate announcing that you have passed the ordeal.


Sukabumi’s unique geomorphology offers countless challenging rivers. The most prominent rafting activities that attract many to Sukabumi regardless of distance and traveling time, are along the Citatih River, in the Warungkiara district, and the Citarik River, near Pelabuhan Ratu. These two have grade III and IV currents and are available from several tour operators offering various packages.

Some say that the adventure foilowing the two rivers are both challenging in terms of rapids as well as the roads up to the starting point. Tour operators will surely put you in a rural ‘angkot’ that goes all the way to the most remote places in the rugged area where are the rafting resorts like the Riam Jeram or Citarik Rafting and Outbound Resort which are their starting point.

Surfing the Curls

Karanghawu beach and also the Cimaja Beach are the two places where international surfers are often seen to enjoy themselves with the curls. International surfing tournaments are also staged in these places. Other places to surf with the local ‘spyderbilts’ and ‘bilabongs’ are Ombak Tujuh Beach (seven waves), and Karangsari for the amateurs.

Away from it all and an off-the-beaten-track surf spot is in Ujung Genteng. The trip there is a challenge already although 7-seaters can ride just as quickly and safely. The jungles have been connected with towns and bus stations, as roads are developed all the way to the beach front. Life there is very slow. Probably the 5 to 6 hour drive makes it less visited by mass tourists. People are friendly and there is less pretention when it comes to hospitality.

The beach is clean and the water especially clear. Walking on the beach can be a solitary activity as few people come here due to the long trip time. However, surfers love the quietness and the serenity of the environment. Turtles lay their eggs here as the nests are protected by the locals and the government. High tide huts are found in several places for surfers and travelers.

Culinary Hunt in Downtown Sukabumi

The city of Sukabumi is a modest yet growing city which is said to be the smallest city by region in Indonesia. Houses in downtown Sukabumi are built back to back with little space in between. Out of the crowded residential areas, most of the prominent buildings were built in 1926 when Mr. G.F. Rambonnet was appointed a burgemeester, the mayor of the municipality. Some of the old buildings are the Grand Mosque Masjid Agung, the train station, the catholic church, Bethel, Ubrug power plant, and the police academy.

Everywhere an ‘angkot’ can take you to places where you can stop by to sample good food.

Up at Bhayangkara Street between the Police Academy ‘SECAPA’ and the end of the street near BUNUT Public Hospital, a special snack shop selling ‘mochi’ has been here for decades on Jalan Kaswari. Ask for Mochi Kaswari Lampion and people will show you where it is.

Walk down the main road, Jalan Ahmad Yani, and you will find lines of stores in their metamorphosis from traditional to modern styles. Here and there, you can still find traditional food sellers especially in the evening. An easy stroll across the city’s postal office will bring you back to an evening in the early 90’s where food sellers still roam the alleys.

The first impression about downtown Sukabumi is a morphing Chinatown into city of signs and billboards. The narrow streets are filled with parked cars and pedestrians looking for snacks. People here seem to love buying street snacks.

A building named ‘Capitol’ was once the biggest department store and now is left desolate as larger malls in the surrounding areas start to replace its popularity.

A hundred meters from there to the west, the city square is called the alun-alun. This is a complex with a grand mosque, the mesjid agung, and also a Protestant church. The buildings may look ordinary although they are some of the oldest ones, but the street food sellers in the vicinity are worth visiting.

Pelabuhan Ratu, Abode of the Queen of the South Seas

The mythical queen believed to livein the southern seas is known as Nyi Roro Kidul. To get an idea of who she is believed to be, go to Pelabuhan Ratu, a coastal town by the southwest cape of West Java. Traveling time to Pelabuhan Ratu is around 3 hours, passing a series of villages and rubber plantations. Meandering rivers and terraced rice fields will be the occasional exhibits during the trip.

As you get to this fishing town of Pelabuhan Ratu, you will see rows of sea food restaurants and stalls decorating the main road that passes the fish market by the harbor. Keep going to the next village called Cisolok, where accommodations range from modest inns to luxurious hotels. One of the most prominent and the first hotel here is the Samudera Beach Hotel, where Nyi Roro Kidul has been assigned an room exclusively dedicated to the Queen of the South Seas.

Pelabuhan Ratu has a long coast with beautiful panorama. But, do not swim in any of the beaches unless you are an experienced surfer. Many have met misfortunate due to their disregard of the signs that discourage visitors from swimming, because of the particularly strong undertow here that may pull down away any normal adult male or female.


From Jakarta, Sukabumi is 120 kilometers away and it takes around 4 hours during the night (as there are less traffic jams in the connecting towns) or 5 hours when there are traffic congestions in Ciawi, Cicurug, Cibadak, and Cisaat area.

From Bandung, it will take you only 3 hours by car at normal speed. You will pass West Java’s deep gorge at Rajamandala, a district before entering Cianjur and a walk across the bridge is a thrilling experience.

Buses are available and they run the Jakarta-Sukabumi route or Bandung-Sukabumi route from dusk to dawn.

Angkot is everywhere in Sukabumi. Each color designates different routes. You should try riding one of these angkots. Horse carriages are still seen in several parts, and so are becaks, the trishaws.

Facebook Comments

"Photos are copyrighted by their owners."

error: Do Not Copy