Hey, let’s go to Peucang!”

What? Where the heck is Peucang? Didi, one of my colleagues who just shouted the invitation out of nowhere, began to show me some pictures of white sand and clear deep blue water. And that was all it took for me to say yes.

Just by looking at these pictures, I'm sold

Just by looking at these pictures, I’m sold

We originally didn’t really have any holiday planned out. I guess thanks to Didi, whom out of boredom managed to find this weekend getaway idea from Facebook.

Distance from Jakarta

Distance from Jakarta (source: Google map)

The meeting point for this trip was set at Pasar Festival Kuningan, where we got to meet and greet the organizer and other fellow travelers. We were then each given a piece of Bengbeng with our roommate’s name written on it before we boarded the vehicle. Little did I know that the organizer had arranged for a Metro Mini to take us to Serang … the exact same Metro Mini I’ve been cursing at almost every day due to the driver’s reckless driving and appalling manner!

To be honest, we weren’t informed about the type of transportation we would be using prior to the trip, so it was a bit of a shock for us all to know that the 30 of us plus 2 guides had to squeeze into this not-so-big of a vehicle. The organizer was kind enough though to provide some extra plastic chairs for people to sit at the aisle, but even so, some poor fellows still had to stand up for the whole 2-hour journey. It was a real Metro Mini experience indeed!

From Serang, we changed to two smaller vehicles since from this point on, the roads got substantially narrower and some parts were badly damaged.

8 hours bus ride and we are not there yet!

8 hours bus ride and we are not there yet!

After an 8-hour drive, we stopped at Sumur, West Java, where we could finally stretch our legs and had our breakfast. We got 2 hours to just loiter around the area, get a feel of the water and enjoy a dash of caffeine before continuing our journey. Yes, even after 8 hours we had not yet reached our destination. We still had another 3 hours boat ride ahead of us, which I was actually glad at. After being deprived of a good sleep in the cramped elf, it was such bliss to finally be able to sleep on the boat, gently rocked by the waves and lullabied by the sea breeze.

Before I knew it, we had reached our destination: Peucang Island – the north western coastline of Ujung Kulon National Park, the first Indonesian national park that was declared as one of the World Heritage Sites by UNESCO in 1992. The word ‘Peucang’ itself means ‘barking deer’ in local language (Sundanese).

The long journey to get here is totally worthy

The long journey to get here is totally worthy

In front of us was a gorgeous white sandy beach and clear blue water. Some of us didn’t waste any time and jumped off the boat before we even reached the dock.

Pristine beach in Peucang

Pristine beach in Peucang

Arriving on the island, we had to immediately report to local municipal and checked into our lodge. Even though it is called Ujung Kulon Resort Flora, don’t expect it to be like a fancy resort hotel in Bali. Electricity is still scarce in this remote area and thus is only available from 6pm to 7am. The resort has a large communal living area and 8 double rooms (into which 4 of us had to squeeze in one room at that time). We didn’t mind, after all this was a budget trip. The most important thing however, the lodge was clean and equipped with an AC.

Beach

 Beware of the monkeys! They can be aggressive towards bright colours and food!

Lunch was served at the beach. Some monkeys were eyeing us, or to be precise … our lunch. After being fed by tourists for some time, these monkeys simply felt they had the right to share our food.

A gigantic monkey seemed to have eyes for my lunch. Even though he was much smaller in size, I didn’t plan to risk being attacked or bitten by this creature. I retreated inside a bale and secured my legs up. The monkey started prying for another victim, and it was its lucky day indeed. The moment Didi put down her lunch pack, the monkey grabbed it without any hesitation. It took a few seconds before Didi realized what was happening and started shouting. Didi finally managed to secure her lunch fish… surely not without a struggle. But that’s all what’s left of Didi’s lunch. The evil monkey got away. It went up the tree, victoriously enjoying the stolen food. Poor Didi!

Who can resist this white sandy beach and crystal clear water?

Who can resist this white sandy beach and crystal clear water?

After lunch, we were all eager to dip into the water. The water was calm and cool against my skin. I just floated and listened to the silence of the ocean while enjoying the warmth of the sun at the same time for hours. Heavenly!

SunsetNot far from where we were staying, there is this place called Cidaon, where you can see wild cows and peacocks. Frankly speaking, I wasn’t too interested in cow-gazing but it was fun to see some people crawling close to the ground to get a closer look at the flock.

Cow grazing ...and cow gazing

Cow grazing …and cow gazing

The next day, we were up early to do a little trekking across the National Park to visit Karangcopong. Ujung Kulon National Park is home for varieties of wildlife such as deer, monkeys, wild boars, and most famous of all, one-horned Javanese rhinoceros. This almost extinct animal was one of the reasons I came here. How disappointing it was to find out that it would require at least one day of camping in the forest to reach the rhinos, a time we didn’t have then.

Ujung Kulon National Park

Ujung Kulon National Park

Once we reached Karangcopong lookout, the view was simply breathtaking (ok, putting aside the amount of rubbish people threw around herecome on people, let’s not spoil our beautiful islands!). From 30m above the water, I still could clearly see the beautiful corals and cockatoo fish.

View from Karangcopong lookout

View from Karangcopong lookout

Sandy beachI must say it was a tiring long drive to get here. Will I come back for another visit though? Definitely!

 

Article written by Ifix, an architect who seems to be working all the time. She enjoys photography and travel. Check out some of her other travel stories as guest contributor here.