The trip started with a short conversation and impulsive decision coming from a friend and me on our way back home. We agreed that we needed a short getaway (after our last vacation to Derawan back in July 2014 – see my post here) and this busybody friend of mine proposed to go on 1-3 January 2015, with the 4th as a spare day for a rest. I’d then suggested to go to Sawarna, a beautiful (I’d only seen it in pictures back then) beach located in Pulau Jawa. (To be exact: in Lebak, Banten.)
As always, I took the initiative to ask some friends for options: first option is to drive on our own (this was our initial plan) so I asked for cheap and clean homestay contact numbers and the second one is to join a tour with all-in package including return transport from Jakarta to Sawarna and homestay. After some quick calculation, we decided to go with the second option, joining LiburanBareng (this is another small local tour agent).
Our trip started on 1 January 2015 near midnight (we departed from our meeting point in Plaza Semanggi at 11 PM) to arrive in Sawarna on the 2nd at 4 AM. (The predicted trip duration was 6-7 hours, so we were ahead schedule.) We weren’t able to check in to the homestay that early, so we took some rest and had breakfast at the homestay owner’s house before starting our “adventure”. It was raining but didn’t stop us from going – at 9 AM, we started our walk to Goa Lalay (‘lalay’ means bat in Sundanese, the local language) for caving. There are several routes for caving that you can choose, but we only took the shortest, easiest one. It took us approximately 2 hours from getting in until we got out. The walk was slippery but pretty fun, especially because you can see bats sleeping on the cave ceiling. I’m wondering how it looks like in the inner parts of the cave – the local guide told us that the stalactites are prettier and more natural since there are fewer people going there.
Going back from Goa Lalay, we checked in at our homestay, got cleaned up and had lunch. After a power nap while waiting for the rain to stop, we took another walk to…. *drumroll* the beach. Finally. Our first purpose going to Sawarna. So the first beach that we visited was Pantai Tanjung Layar, located not so far from our homestay. After some pictures and coconuts, we walked back to our homestay to have a rest.
The last day, we were supposed to wake up early so we can get the sunrise view from Pantai Karang Bokor and Pantai Karang Taraje (‘taraje’ means ladder in local language), but due to tiredness from the previous day, we all overslept and only went there after sunrise. We were lucky though, it was sunny when we got there, in contrast to the weather the morning before. So we walked from one end to another, sunbathed (unplanned, but all of us were sunburnt by the time we got back to the homestay) and took a lot of pictures. These 2 hidden beaches (it was actually 1 beach area divided into 2 or more attraction points) were worth the 2 km walk, not to mention the elevating and slippery routes. After cleaning up and lunch, we had to say goodbye to Sawarna to go back to Jakarta.
(The trip to Jakarta was pretty torturing – we left Sawarna at 1.30 PM, only to arrive at Jakarta at 11.30 PM.) Overall, I’m quite happy with our short getaway, regardless the less active trait of the tour guide. Sawarna is a recommended place for those who want to have a short vacation from Jakarta.