Indonesia has over 17,500 islands and about 240 million people. My sister currently lives in the capital city of Jakarta, in the island of Java, the most populated island amongst the thousands. Today's article is written by Daphne Tan, who lives an expat life for the last one and half years in Indonesia.
A Weekend Getaway: Take A Road Trip to Anyer Beach, Indonesia
By Daphne Tan
Ever since we stepped into the capital city of Indonesia, dealing with traffic and pollution seems to be part of our daily lives. The best way to release stress of course, is to get out of Jakarta especially during the weekends.
Driving to Anyer Beach could be the ideal weekend getaway to thereby avoiding yet another heavy traffic to the airport. Anyer Beach is located in Banten Province, west coast of Java which is 160 kilometers away from Jakarta with a travel time of about two and a half hours. How to get there? Take the Jakarta-Merak toll road and exit via the motorway of West Cilegon. Then, proceed towards the direction of Anyer.
Perhaps a little bit of history about Anyer town before we move on to the beach. Anyer was the starting point of North Coast Road built by Dutch Governor General, Herman William Daendals, a place he landed in 1808. The road ran 1,430 kilometers to the eastern part of Java. Anyer is also home to a forty meter lighthouse built by King Willem III of the Netherlands in 1885 as a memorial for the people killed and town destroyed by the eruption of Krakotoa, Krakatau in Indonesian. Krakotoa was a volcanic island of the coast of Java and Sumatra Islands.
As we drove to the little town of Anyer, there was nothing much to be seen. It was merely a single street with small shops, mosque and a market area. As we moved on, we could feel the sea breeze and the surrounding soon turned into predominantly hotels, villas, cottages and resorts along with local food stalls and seafood restaurants.
We settled in a hotel closed to a quiet beach. It has a unique corridor on the first floor built around numbers of palm trees overlooking the deep sea and blue sky. From here, we could see the enchantment of sunrise and sunset, and the many sea birds that fly low and occasionally prey on fish along the coast. Indulging in these beautiful moments, the massive urban sprawl of Jakarta was out of our mind almost instantly. Yes, Anyer offers a gorgeous sunset to me!
The beaches and the coastline are definite attractions but only limited to hotel guests. These beautiful beaches were purchased by business people and divided into plots. They then developed into private beaches for tourists. You just can’t walk into them freely, what a shame! However, public beaches can be accessed through bamboo gates but don’t forget to pay little tips to the gatekeepers.
Just what to do in Anyer? Well, you can stroll along the sandy beach and find some hermit crabs hiding in the corals. Other fun activities include sunbathing and aquatic sports. There are many recreational and sports equipment available for rent at the beach at reasonable prices such as bicycle, water scooter, banana boat, surf board, and jet ski. The beach is also an ideal place for parasailing. Children’s playground and beach ball arena are also available. All this has made Anyer Beach a popular weekend getaway for people with families living in or around Jakarta.
Several other facilities like tourist information huts, tour guides, coast guard, garden and secure parking area are also available at the beach.
In the evening, you may like to enjoy dinner by the beautiful sunset from restaurants or food stalls offering mostly seafood along Anyer Beach. We chose to eat at a seafood restaurant with some local Indonesian cuisine like Nasi Uduk, fried rice and seafood that were fresh from the sea, bought from local fishermen. And fresh young coconut drink would be the perfect refreshment after a sumptuous hot and spicy meal.
You would notice that rice is served in almost all local food stalls and restaurants. It is the staple food in every part of Indonesia.
The next morning, we set off to the south towards Carita, another beautiful beach next to Anyer. Along the way, we got to see the padi field with farmers and buffalos at work. “Padi” is Indonesian for rice. It was an amazing sight as the padi fields are on both sides of the narrow road. On one side it faces the sea and the other faces the mountain.
As we drove further, we saw wide open beach, waves, sea gulls, lots of coconut trees and mountainous view (part of Anak Krakatua). On the beach, there were many street hawkers and stalls along the beach tents selling local food, snacks, drinks and souvenirs. Fresh coconut drinks seem to be the most popular. This beach area is also equipped with network to access the internet and good communication networks and international distance, as well as internet access so that visitors are able to keep in touch with the outside world.
Finally, we arrived at the little town of Carita where we could only see small shops on both sides of the road selling grocery and local foodstuff. Soon, we decided to return to our hotel before our journey back to Jakarta. The ride took us about five long hours to get home. Immediately, we were looking forward to another weekend getaway!
However, for those who decide to stay longer and are diving fans, try renting a boat from Labuan, a small harbor town at southern Carita beach, and head towards Anak Krakatau for a hike and a dive. It has an absolutely beautiful coral reef. This volcanic island offers white carbonate-sand beach and a wealth of underwater life. Enjoy!
Daphne Tan is a homemaker currently residing in Jakarta, Indonesia. She is a mother of two girls and has been leading an expatriate life for many years. Daphne has traveled to many countries which include Europe, Australia, New Zealand, Japan, China, Taiwan, Thailand, Malaysia, Dubai and Abu Dhabi. She has a passion for reading, writing and translating travel articles. She enjoys music, arts and Zumba.