Watch Sunrise and Sunset at The Same Place, at Pangandaran.
Another beautiful place in West Java is Pangandaran. Located at the Regency of Ciamis, around 240 km from Bandung, the capital city of West Java, Pangandaran covers a 530-hectare-area which the status became a national reserve after a rare, endangered flower named Rafflesia Patma found in Pangandaran forest.
Rafflesia Padma is an endangered parasitic plant which the flower can reach 30 cm in diameter and grow endemically in Pangandaran on a particular vine named Tetrastigma ssp .
This wonderful place also has some attractions which are considered unique and become magnets attracting people to visit.
It might be hard to find in this world but you can have it in Pangandaran that sunrise and sunset can be watched from two sides of beaches at adjacent areas. To enjoy sunset we only need to go to scenic west beach while for sunrise we just go round to go to east beach.
Besides offering sunset and sunrise, those two neighboring beaches are also unique in different colors of their sands. Pangandaran west beach has black while east beach has white sands.
Rafflesia patma which is only found in Pangandaran is one thing, but Pangandaran also has other attractions to offer.
West beach is the most lively part of Pangandaran where most tourists come and cheerfully do activities like swimming, surfing, sailing around the beach by rental boats, cycling, kiting, or just beach combing or hanging around. No wonder that this beach is very crowded at peak seasons like school holidays, Eid el Fitr (end of moslem fasting month), Christmas and new year holidays.
When dusk is about to come, beach guards do their patrols to remind swimmers to end their activities. The beach then gradually left and makes it more spacious although it's never really empty. Many still roam, riding bikes, or sitting on the sand waiting for sunset. Those who long for sunset have big expectation that the sky will always clear and have their camera ready just to make sure that they won't miss the opportunity capturing the enchanting beauty of nature performed by sunset.
Along the west beach we can also find Inn, hotels and resorts which accommodate all level of budgets, restaurants with freshly caught sea foods as the main menu, and hundreds of souvenir shops selling crafts which many of their products are byproducts made of sea shells and crustaceans.
Sunrise and Fish Feast at East Beach
For sunrise enthusiast we can go to East Beach very early in the morning. To reach east beach from west beach we only need to drive round from Jalan Pantai Barat (West Beach Street) to Jalan Pantai Timur (East Beach Street) for only a few minutes. East beach can also be reached on foot by taking a popular short cut from West Beach Street. Look at the map below to know how to reach east beach-west beach to and fro.
East beach is much quieter than West Beach since the beach is not comfortably smooth for swimming and other fun beach activities. Although not as crowded as west beach, people also come to east beach for some reasons :
Those, mostly tourists, who come very early in the morning (around 5 a.m) certainly expect to see sunrise.
Buy fresh fish at fish market and let the seller prepare the fish for them to enjoy just on the spot there.
Enjoy the beauty of sparkling sea and see attractive scene of fishermen coming from fishing and doing their boats unloading.
Sunrise at this beach can be viewed from sea sides which overlook the sea. When the weather is clear, which usually takes place during dry season, the sun will slowly show off its beautifully blended golden-orange glowing colors in the horizon.
Pangandaran is the best place for various seafood. Prawns, red snappers, squids, crabs, milk fish, shark fins, puffer fish (be really sure the cook knows how to prepare this fish to remove its poison), lobsters, groupers and other fish. We can buy them at nearby east beach fish market and no need to sweat to cook them since we can ask the seller to prepare and cook the fish for us so that we can dine right there at the tables provided. We won't get more charge for the preparation and cook service since everything is included in all-in-one price. Reasonable price and satisfaction guaranteed !.
Another unique view at Pangandaran is presented in the morning after sunrise takes place. Fishermen go back from fishing can be seen along the coast, they wait for their turns to upload their boats contents.
What makes the scene unusual that those fishermen do everything manually, including when they try to slide their boats from the coast to the beach, they help each other pull the big, long rope which is tied up to one boat so that it gets close to the pier.
Pananjung National Reserve
Another attraction we can find in Pangandaran is Pananjung National Reserve. It used to be located on an island separately, but due to sedimentation which took place for a long time had made Pananjung island gradually connected with the main Java island through a tombolo-like passage. This passageway benefits the travelers that they can visit the reserve overland instead of crossing it by boat.
Besides rare plants Rafflesia Patma being reserved in the national reserve, Pananjung is also the habitat of some endangered animals like wild buffalo (Bos sondaicus), deer (Cervus timorensis), bambi (Tragulus javanica), porcupine (Hystrix javanica). You can observe the wild buffalo from an observation tower near the grassing field. Wild buffalo likes to leak salt, in order to attract them to come to the field the guide sometimes put some salt at grassing field so that observer can watch their behavior clearly from the tower.
Traces of Japanese occupation are also found in Pangandaran. Here we can see Japanese troops hiding caves amidst the forest and have some battle immagination by entering them from the entrance and come out through the exit at an unexpected place in the forest . What a cunning strategy !.