YOU MUST GO TO THIS BEACH!!!Journal
From Malang to Banyuwangi I was expecting a long traveling, but I was really not prepared for the quality of the roads. The whole trip was up and down, during about 10 hours. The good thing is that you can appreciate a lot of the beautiful eastern javanese landscapes filled with little villages, farm fields, palmtree jungles and always with the vulcanoe mountains as background. I tried to sleep most of the time, as we started our trip at around 4 AM.
On our way to Banyuwangi, we wanted to pass through Kawah Ijen, the world's largest acidic lake in the Ijen crater. That sounds really exciting, so I couldn't wait for it! When we got there, unfortunatelly it was closed because of some dangerous fumes that the crater was exhauling. But I was promised a rain check some other day. From Ijen to Banyuwangi it takes about 1h30m driving. The next day would be a day dedicated to beaches! My host had talked about east javanese beaches and i had seen pictures, so I could not wait for it.
The road to the beach was long, but we went through an amazing road in the middle of a big plantation. There were many workers around and little villages in the middle of it. As I had never seen anything like it, I was wondering what those strange fruits were when my host answered my unasked question: those were cocoa trees. Every 100m you would see a group of women sitting on the floor openning up those strange reddish fruits, taking out the white meat inside and smashing it to seperate the bits.
When I asked to stop to take a picture, I found an old lady by herself, opening up her fruits. I reached her and asked for a photo. After my photo, she offered me a bit of the raw cacao - i didn't even know if it was eatable! But, guessing my hesitation, she took a piece of the fruit and ate it herself, to show me that it was ok. I took one piece for myself and ate it to find out it was surprisingly good! She offered me two big fruits, but I could not accept it as I know that is where she gets her money from. One more proof of the Indonesian kindness. A bit further ahead I stopped around a group of women, each one doing one of the steps in the process: one breaking the fruits open, two smashing it in pieces and another one putting it all in bags.
PANTAI TELUK HIJAU
As we continued our way to the beach, we reached a guarded passage. We were in the middle of a forest in the hills and I had no idea how it was possible to exist a beach nearby! There were many palmtrees and I noticed something very curious about them - they all had pieces of it taken off to make it possible for people to climb them and get the coconuts! I had to try climbing one, but unfortunately I was wearing a dress.
Further ahead I spoted a big cow and then... the sea!! We stopped at a house where there were a big family who were very nice! This house was in a clearing with on one side the sea, on the other the woods. There was no one else there visiting other than us. As my indonesian friends stayed there talking to the family, I went around enjoying my first view of an indonesian beach - very long, white sand and mountains all around. This was also where they left their boats which they used to go around the different beaches - also to transport tourists.
But that day, they were all at shore because the tide was too strong. That was also the reason why we didn't catch a boat to get to the Green Bay beach. So, we continued by car in the middle of the forest, until we got to a place where two man told us to park the car a continue by foot. One of these man spoke a bit of english and asked me a few questions about myself. From where we were, we could see the sea below but no beach - just the sea hitting the mountains.
So, we continued through a dirt road up a hill in a very narrow path with quite difficult passages. We stayed on that path for 10 minutes until we reached the first beach - the stone beach. It is called that because of, well, the beach it is really just big round stones there. We continued by foot through a path in the forest and then... woooow.
PANTAI BATU - stone beach
me and my group
I could see the most unbelievable deserted beach in the middle of the tree branches!! And what on earth is that thing running in front of me?! It was a monkey. Its a wild beach in the middle of the mountains, with a forrest as background and monkeys. It was singularly the most beautiful beach I had ever layed my eyes on. As I walked across the white sand I spotted something that I had always dreamed about - swings coming down from a tree looking over the sea.
Finding the best place on TELUK HIJAU
Me and Lili
let take a pose... that's my coolest style
I knew I had right there my new Facebook profile picture. I sat there, swinging and looking at the waves that were pretty scary and I wondered: will I be brave enough to dive in these waters? Pretty soon I would find out, but first we needed food! The moment we start unwraping our lunches, there comes one of our close relatives to see if we could give it a bit of our food.
I love monkeys, but I know you should not feed them, otherwise they might want more things and still it! But these monkeys are shy, which I like, and one of my indonesian friends threw him some food. This clever little primate picked it up, cleaned his hands from sand and ate it. When I was starting eating, I get attacked by some weird bugs. I kill one, but soon enough comes another, which I also kill, but it's followed by yet another one... I was already running across the beach away from these bugs!! Suddenly they give up and I was able to eat in peace, looking over this paradise I was in.
Now the time came for me to show what I'm worth! I will take a dive in these water, even if it kills me! I did not know the tide, and that is what scared me. But I am a good swimer, so I went... and it was really nice. The water is warm, you just want to stay there forever - however, don't, or you will be taken away by a wave and wake up in Australia or something. As I was getting dry, we started preparing our way back - there was yet another beach waiting for us! Oh, this beach is a tough act to follow. Going back was harder - we went more up than down. But very doable. Pretty soon we were in the car, driving through the very bad roads on our way to the next beach. That's when I fell asleep.
PANTAI RED ISLAND
When I woke up, oh my. I really thought I was still dreaming. Red Island beach is a huge sand extension, with bars and music and a big beautiful rock on the left side. Literally, I got out of the car and I just ran, only stopping at the sea.
Here you can dive with no problems. Unfortunately the sun was already setting and it was starting to get cold, so I didn't dive in. I wished I could stay there longer, I thought. Or go there the next day... It's a kind of beach where you can be all day, moving very little, just enough to get water and food and go for a swim. It is very touristic, I felt.
another side from PULAU MERAH
There were a lot of bule there, but it didn't bother me at all - this beach is what you expect to find in Bali, for example, it's supposed to have other foreigners that you can meet and see the sunset with a cocktail in your hand.
Comparing to the previous one, this beach is much safer. But of course, it's not as wild or deserted either. I could not tell which one I liked the most - it would depend on the mood I would be in. Maybe with a boyfriend i would prefer the Green Bay; but alone or with friends, this one would be my choice. So, for me, this beach is exactly what someone wants in their hollidays: easy, relaxing, fun, people to meet, not having to move a lot. And not forgeting - gorgeous.
I was imagining myself waking up in the morning, going for a jog there in the sand, then putting my bikini and just relaxing the whole day, with friends and cocktails. Well, I did not have cocktails, but I had very good company, these delicious cakes called SOMETHING THAT I DONT REMEMBER and one of the best sunsets of my life, even with a soundtrack, courtesy of the street vendor behind us that had Dangdut, traditional Indonesian folk music, playing lowdly on his radio.
SUN SET on PULAU MERAH
My indonesian friends always tell me not to dance this type of music, because it's kind of corny, but I don't care - the rhythm just gets to me! As I looked around I noticed that this beach has some tourist accomodation nearby, which strengthens by belief of this being a perfect vacation place. The sun set and we had to go back, unfortunately. But this beach is on top of my list of things to do when I go back to Indonesia.