Camping on Sukabumi’s Mountain sides
There are several places where you can camp out to experience outdoor life in some of the best environments. They are the Pondok Halimun in the Mt. Gede-Pangrango National Park, Cangkuang on Mt. Salak camping ground, and Buni Ayu camping ground at Nyalindung, Gunung Walat, and on Mt. Halimun.
One of the most prominent is the former Shorea Situ Gunung Resort, now under a new management, where camping takes you to a new level of outdoor living luxuriously. The camps are set comfortably on a flat garden in the middle of a tropical forest on Mt. Pangrango. Airbeds and other hotel amenities are partially available for your convenience, while athe same time living on the edge of adventure. The volcanic lake and the tall tropical trees and its fauna are something to explore while you embrace nature.
Caving Going Down Under
For a different kind of exciting experience, the Buni Ayu Adventure takes you down a long cave, some 45 meters below the earth’s surface along a 1.5 km. terrain, that takes you to another world that you have never seen before. First, cavers make an 18 m.vertical drop by rope. Then, passing a dome where a cool stream meanders along mysterious stalagmites and stalactites you reach the Cave of Eternal Darkness. Here even insects are blind but grow long antennae to feel their way in the pitch darkness. Then cavers must crawl and climb up boulders through a mudpool before finally emerging out of the cave on the other side. After which you are drenched in a refreshing waterfall to rid yourselves of the clinging mud. A true adventure rewarded with a Certificate announcing that you have passed the ordeal. (for detailed information click: www.buniayucave.com)
Sukabumi’s unique geomorphology offers countless challenging rivers. The most prominent rafting activities that attract many to Sukabumi regardless of distance and traveling time, are along the Citatih River, in the Warungkiara district, and the Citarik River, near Pelabuhan Ratu. These two have grade III and IV currents and are available from several tour operators offering various packages.
Some say that the adventure foilowing the two rivers are both challenging in terms of rapids as well as the roads up to the starting point. Tour operators will surely put you in a rural ‘angkot’ that goes all the way to the most remote places in the rugged area where are the rafting resorts like the Riam Jeram or Citarik Rafting and Outbound Resort which are their starting point. (check at http://www.riamjeram.com/)
Surfing the Curls
Karanghawu beach and also the Cimaja Beach are the two places where international surfers are often seen to enjoy themselves with the curls. International surfing tournaments are also staged in these places. Other places to surf with the local ‘spyderbilts’ and ‘bilabongs’ are Ombak Tujuh Beach (seven waves), and Karangsari for the amateurs.
Away from it all and an off-the-beaten-track surf spot is in Ujung Genteng. The trip there is a challenge already although 7-seaters can ride just as quickly and safely. The jungles have been connected with towns and bus stations, as roads are developed all the way to the beach front. Life there is very slow. Probably the 5 to 6 hour drive makes it less visited by mass tourists. People are friendly and there is less pretention when it comes to hospitality.
The beach is clean and the water especially clear. Walking on the beach can be a solitary activity as few people come here due to the long trip time. However, surfers love the quietness and the serenity of the environment. Turtles lay their eggs here as the nests are protected by the locals and the government. High tide huts are found in several places for surfers and travelers.
Culinary Hunt in Downtown Sukabumi
The city of Sukabumi is a modest yet growing city which is said to be the smallest city by region in Indonesia. Houses in downtown Sukabumi are built back to back with little space in between. Out of the crowded residential areas, most of the prominent buildings were built in 1926 when Mr. G.F. Rambonnet was appointed a burgemeester, the mayor of the municipality. Some of the old buildings are the Grand Mosque Masjid Agung, the train station, the catholic church, Bethel, Ubrug power plant, and the police academy.
Everywhere an ‘angkot’ can take you to places where you can stop by to sample good food.
Up at Bhayangkara Street between the Police Academy ‘SECAPA’ and the end of the street near BUNUT Public Hospital, a special snack shop selling ‘mochi’ has been here for decades on Jalan Kaswari. Ask for Mochi Kaswari Lampion and people will show you where it is.
Walk down the main road, Jalan Ahmad Yani, and you will find lines of stores in their metamorphosis from traditional to modern styles. Here and there, you can still find traditional food sellers especially in the evening. An easy stroll across the city’s postal office will bring you back to an evening in the early 90s where food sellers still roam the alleys.
The first impression about downtown Sukabumi is a morphing Chinatown into city of signs and billboards. The narrow streets are filled with parked cars and pedestrians looking for snacks. People here seem to love buying street snacks.
A building named ‘Capitol’ was once the biggest department store and now is left desolate as larger malls in the surrounding areas start to replace its popularity.
A hundred meters from there to the west, the city square is called the alun-alun. This is a complex with a grand mosque, the mesjid agung, and also a Protestant church. The buildings may look ordinary although they are some of the oldest ones, but the street food sellers in the vicinity are worth visiting.
Pelabuhan Ratu, Abode of the Queen of the South Seas
The mythical queen believed to livein the southern seas is known as Nyi Roro Kidul. To get an idea of who she is believed to be, go to Pelabuhan Ratu, a coastal town by the southwest cape of West Java . Traveling time to Pelabuhan Ratu is around 3 hours, passing a series of villages and rubber plantations. Meandering rivers and terraced rice fields will be the occasional exhibits during the trip.
As you get to this fishing town of Pelabuhan Ratu you will see rows of sea food restaurants and stalls decorating the main road that passes the fish market by the harbor. Keep going to the next village called Cisolok, where accommodations range from modest inns to luxurious hotels. One of the most prominent and the first hotel here is the Samudera Beach Hotel, where Nyi Roro Kidul has been assigned an room exclusively dedicated to the Queen of the South Seas.
Pelabuhan Ratu has a long coast with beautiful panorama. But, do not swim in any of the beaches unless you are an experienced surfer. Many have met misfortunate due to their disregard of the signs that discourage visitors from swimming, because of the particularly strong undertow here that may pull down away any normal adult male or female.