Sawarna Beach used to be a hidden, isolated beach paradise in in the province of Banten, Indonesia. Located in a small village in Bayah, Lebak, the beach which previously can only be accessed only through crossing a bamboo bridge from the narrow road, is now becoming a famous weekend destination in Banten province. Yes, too famous that the crowd can be overwhelming.
Like many other white beaches in Banten province, Sawarna has some of the province’s (or maybe the country’s) whitest beaches with the finest sands – this claim is no idle boast. I’ve experience it myself when we went there last January 2017. Aside from its stunning beaches, Sawarna also captivates adventurers with its spectacular caves.
So if you’re planning to visit Sawarna Beach and you’re compiling your list of activities, my top 7 things to do in Sawarna Beach list might be helpful.
7. Frolicking on Ciantir Beach
Ciantir Beach or the White Beach is probably the most famous in all of Sawarna. It is a long stretch of fine, sandy white beach.
The downside of visiting during the weekends or holidays is the overwhelming crowd like you really couldn’t have a decent picture on this beach without being photobombed!!! And yeah, LITTER. My heart actually broke when I saw litters everywhere on this beautiful beach. I wanted to pick all those garbage and start a clean-up but oh boy, there were too much of them.
My Indonesian friend just said, ‘Oh geez! This is Indonesia.’
No further comment. Case closed.
The good thing was after the rain and when the crowd was away, we had a few minutes to enjoy the beach.
Ahh.. patience is really a virtue.
6. Watching Spectacular waves at Ciantir Beach
According to some travel blogs, Ciantir beach is haven for passionate surfers. Even though I didn’t see any surfers during our visit, just watching the giant waves pushing everyone back to the sand, I could say that it is true. Maybe, luck wasn’t in our side that day.
Children and adults alike enjoyed the big waves as the lifeguards were on the lookout. When it suddenly poured, we took our umbrellas and started walking to the shore, looking for some shelter. Nah, I didn’t really enjoy that moment until the rain stops. Again, luck wasn’t in our side that day.
5. Tasting Local Dishes
No trip to any tourist destination is complete without tasting an authentic local cuisine. There are no big restaurants in Sawarna village so rest assured you will have experience pure flavours of their traditional dishes.
A lot of food eateries and food stalls lining up the shore, a few meters away from Ciantir Beach offering very affordable but delicious meals – from simple dishes like nasi goreng (fried rice) that come in different flavours, seafood, chicken, vegetables, and even noodle dish, you will never go hungry.
4. Take a coastal walk to Tanjung Layar
The ten minute walk to Tanjung Layar from Ciantir Beach will take your breath away. Too bad the weather wasn’t on our side that time we went to see these famous rocks. From drizzle to raindrops, we headed to see the magnificent two big rocks I’ve been dying to see since I googled it.
Walking in the rain was definitely worth it though. Tanjung Layar is no doubt a very famous photography location – it is definitely stunning. Whether from the beach or from atop the hill, its view is drop dead gorgeous.
3. Chasing Sunrise at Pantai Karang Bereum
Karang Bereum (Red Coral/Red Rock) is one of the coral beaches in Sawarna. It got its name from the corals or rocks that turned red when struck by the early morning sun.
In most blogs that we read, they recommend Pantai Karang Bereum to watch the rising of the sun. Although the weather wasn’t really good, we still want to hunt for Mr. Sun. On the way, I was praying to God it won’t rain and that the sun would show up.
The terrain up and down the hill to Karang Bereum can be terrifying and unappealing for travellers especially if this would be their first time on a motorcycle, but this is definitely an adventure you won’t forget.
It was still dark when we arrived. Though it didn’t rain, Mr. Sun though was so hard to find that morning. However, that never ruined our morning. We just enjoyed dark blue skies, the waves crashing the rocks, and the beautiful scenery.
Note: It is recommended to visit the beach area during the summer, around May to August.
2. Relaxing at Pantai Karang Taraje
From Karang Bereum, we went on a scenic motorbike ride to Karang Taraje, in the eastern part of Sawarna. What I love about this ride is that you will pass by the sandy beach before reaching the coral coast.
Karang Taraje is a coral coast that boasts of its beautiful panoramic view. According to our driver-guide, it is named after its structure that is similar to steps of a ladder (Karaje means ladder in Sudanese language).
Climbing the wooden ladder just to see the beautiful seascape and the vast ocean, and listening to the sound of the waves smashing the rocky cliff was so pleasing to both the ears and the eyes. It was indeed a very relaxing moment. Though unfortunately we didn’t get to catch the ‘waterfall-like’ photos we’ve seen on a few blogs, this was my second favourite thing.
By the way, the ‘waterfall’ like photos of this beach can be seen during the hide tide hours, when huge waves blow the cliff rock.
Karang Bereum and Karang Taraje can only be accessed by a motorcycle or on foot if you’re up for hiking/ walking long distance.
1. Exploring the Goa Lalay
Also known as Goa Kelelawar (Bat Cave), Goa Lalay was by far the most favourite thing I did in Sawarna.
It was around 2 km from our homestay but we decided to visit the place on foot. It was very tiring and the heavy downpour was discouraging but it didn’t deter us from exploring the cave.
The entrance of the cave look so small but wait till you get inside. We could still see the light a few meters from the entrance of the cave and then it became so dark inside. The only light we have is from our tour guides.
The cave is worth exploring. You will see beautiful stalactites and stalagmites and you will also be greeted by the excited bats. You have to be careful though as the grounds are muddy, you could get submerged in the mud so don’t let go of the guide’s hands. Hahaha.
By the way, there were no other tourists that time, only Natalia and I. I think this time we were lucky there was no crowd or we won’t enjoy caving that much.