West Java

Pangandaran National Park

Love Engine | Thursday, 29 January 2015 - 13:05:39 WIB | be read: 4830 reader

The Taman Nasional Pangandaran (Pangandaran National Park), which takes up the entire southern end of Pangandaran, is a wild expanse of dense jungle. Within its boundaries live porcupines, kijang (barking deer), hornbills, scorpions and monkeys (including Javan gibbons). Small bays within the park enclose pretty tree-fringed beaches. Occasionally, the park is even used as a temporary home for elephants being transported around the archipelago.

The park is divided into two sections: the recreation park and the jungle. Due to environmental degradation, the jungle is usually off limits. It’s possible to follow the stone path in the recreation park, which has a few small caves and a couple of nice beaches on the eastern side, but trails can be muddy and quite tricky to follow. The best walk is the Boundary Trail, which is a natural trail that skirts the jungle. Starting at the eastern entrance, take the trail along the coast past Wisma Cirengganis; the Boundary Trail starts 150m before Goa Cirengganis cave. It leads uphill and then down along the river for 30 minutes to Wisma Cikumal and the western entrance.

Like most south-coast beaches, the surf can be treacherous, particularly the northern end of the west beach, where people still drown regularly. South from Bumi Nusantara Hotel, the beach is patrolled (sometimes) and is sheltered by the headland, so swimming is safer. Pangandaran’s best beach, Pasir Putih, on the western side of the national park, is now off limits to stop the hordes that have destroyed the coral reef. At sunset huge fruit bats emerge from the forest in search of insects. They fly right down the length of Pangandaran’s beach but have to evade local boys who patrol with barbed-wire kites. Few are trapped this way, but every now and then a bat’s wing will get caught on a kite string and the creature will be brought crashing
to the ground in a fit of squeals, before being dispatched to the cooking pot.

Surfing lessons (per half-day incl board hire 150,000Rp) are offered at the northern end of the beach. Pangandaran is a good place to learn, and local instructors have ‘soft’ boards ideal for beginners. You’ll find instructors in the Mungil Steak House.

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