Secret Beaches of Yogyakarta

I know everyone’s talking about the spectacular beaches of Bali, Lembongan and of course, the Gili Islands! But…do you know about the secret beaches of Yogyakarta?

I didn’t…well, not until a few months ago, anyway! Perhaps that’s why they are called the “secret beaches”! 😉

I’m not talking about the old time famous tourist spot of Parangtritis Beach {with it’s black sand and hoards of tourists!} …I’m talking about the Gunung Kidul District of Yogyakarta, this is where the local people of Yogyakarta head to when they need a break away from the city. This stretch of Javanese southern coastline has dozens of secret beaches and small hidden coves {and caves too!}, making it the perfect destination for an escape out of the hustle and bustle of Yogya.

A life time ago when I lived in Central Java, in the mid 90’s, I travelled a lot, I mean I travelled every chance I had; on weekends, on public holidays and on every work holiday I had while I lived and worked there. I travelled throughout Java; I’d take bus journeys to surrounding cities and small villages in Central Java, and also across the island and further afield. I’ve also travelled to Java many times over the years since living there, and I thought I had pretty much seen most of it.

However, as I always seem to find with the wonderful Indonesia, there is ALWAYS somewhere new to be discovered. Upon my recent journey to Indonesia, I discovered the secret beaches of Yogyakarta that I had been hearing about!

I decided to take a day trip with a private driver to go and see these so-called “secret beaches” for myself and I was not disappointed! I think the photos pretty much speak for themselves. {#nofilterneeded on these pics – with stunning scenery and perfect blue skies they really do speak for themselves.)

So, let me take you on a journey to the south coast of Central Java to the Gunung Kidul District of Yogyakarta in search of some spectacular coastline and beaches.

PANTAI PULANG SYAWAL

After approximately a two hour drive from Yogya {with a short stop off at Kota Gede}, our first stop in the Gunung Kidul district was Pantai Pulang Syawal {also commonly known as Pantai Indrayanti – named after a local cafe & restaurant on the beach, which had a board up saying “Indrayanti” thus people began calling it Indrayanti Beach or Pantai Indrayanti!}. The beach is a long stretch of white, soft sand and the most amazing blue ocean with rushing waves coming into shore, all enclosed by big cliffs and rocks. The beach is lined with small cafes/restaurants/warung- {whatever you want to call them!} so it’s the perfect spot for a stop for lunch, and that’s exactly what we did.

After lunch it was time to continue our journey along the coast line and check out some of the other beaches.

PANTAI KRAKAL

Pantai Krakal is one of those beaches that has long been renowned for it’s beauty; a long 5km stretch of soft white sand with it’s sloping coast line and countless coral reefs, it’s no wonder. Pantai Krakal is known as a popular surfer’s spot hence it’s popularity amongst local and foreign tourists.

‘Krakal’ in Javanese means; small stones or rocks, and seems fitting due to the big rocks surrounding the southern coastline and also the numerous coral reefs in the area.

Across to the right hand side of the beach, up on the rocky hill stands a big yellow fish sculpture – a new icon built in 2016 to attract tourists to Krakal beach. You can make the trek up to the fish sculpture for panoramic views over Krakal beach and beyond.

PANTAI KUKUP

Pantai Kukup was next on our agenda, another white sandy beach situated in Kemadang village in the Tanjungsari district. The thing that made Pantai Kukup pretty cool compared to the other beaches in the area was the fact that Pantai Kukup has a rock island. There is a path that leads to a small bridge that crosses to the rock island where you can see panoramic views across the coast from east to west. Pantai Kukup is only 1km from Pantai Baron.

“Jangan rusak Aku” – Pantai Kukup

PANTAI BARON

To get to Pantai Baron, stroll past all of the seafood warung set up along the pathway to the beach. We couldn’t resist a bag of prawns to snack on, especially when they cost Rp20,000 {$2.00} a bag.

Pantai Baron is a U-shaped beach between two coral reefs on both sides. Now, don’t expect a white sandy beach here, as Pantai Baron is a fisherman’s beach. But, what makes Pantai Baron quite unique is that there is a fresh water river that flows into the shore of the beach, meeting the salt water and creating a small pool of water which is popular with swimmers.

From above the coral hill on the east {left hand side of the beach} stands a lighthouse……Mercusuar Tanjung Baron {Lighthouse of Cape Baron} was fairly recently built in February 2014 and was made official in December the same year. The 40-meter-high lighthouse was built to replace the old one, which stood just beside-a rusty iron tower. Aside from replacing the old tower, the new tower was also built to attract more tourists to visit Baron Beach. The tower maintains its original function of guiding ships through the night.

As Pantai Baron is a fisherman’s beach, the shoreline is filled with perahu {traditional style fishing boats}, which makes for quite the picturesque view. {I think it would be a photographer’s dream at dusk/sunset time…it’s so pretty! *Note to self: Add this to your wanderlust list so you can come back to this beautiful coastline of southern Central Java.}

And there you have it…a little insight into some of the beautiful beaches in the Gunung Kidul district of Yogyakarta. And there are so many more! So do yourself a favour, if you’re in or around Yogya, take a day trip {or even stay for a weekend or longer!} and check out this wonderful part of Indonesia. It’s truly stunning!

Have you visited the secret beaches of Yogyakarta before?

Do you know any other secret beaches in Indonesia that I don’t know about?

{Always happy to have an excuse to go back to Indonesia – to explore a new place!}

Planning on going to Central Java? What’s on your itinerary?

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