The surf and the sand are not as fine as inn Bali or at Pelabuhan Ratu, but a visit to the historic ruins at banten or the active volcano. Anak Krakatau, or the famous Ujung Kulon Nature Reserve more than nmakes up for this. Go during the week, when it is less crowded and hotels like the Carita Beach offer a discount rate.
To visit the ruins at Banten, which are some distance from the main road, hire a car or taxi. A round trip Jakarta – Banten excursion by car will cost about US$50 and take the better part of a day (See Jakarta Maps) for a listing of rental car and taxi companies, or inquire at your hotel, and request a driver who knows the area around Banten). Otherwise tka e a bus from Jakarta’s Grogol Terminal to Serang (any bus bound for points west: Merak, Labuan or Sumatra will pass through Serang – fare about US$85) and alight at the centre of town. Then locate the small road leading north to Banten, and wait at the intersection for a local mini bus ferrying passengers up to the village (fare: about Rp 100 or US$10), or walk the remaining 10 km (6 miles). A slow. Local train also goes to Serang from Jakarta’s Tanah Abang Station (See, Train Station).
A taxi or rental car to the west coast beaches at Anyer or Carita will take about 4 hours and cost about US$60. Achartered minibus “colt” will cost less, about US$30, and carry more people (ask someone in your hotel in Jakarta to arrange this for you). In cither case you can make the datour to Banten along the way though this should be negotiated as part of the fare in advance.
Inter city buses run hourly from Jakarta’s Grogol Terminal to the port of Labuan on west coast (about 5 hours) via the inland route htrough Serang and Pandeglang (fare abput US$20), and from here you can catch a “colt” going north along the coastal road to the beach areas for just a few hundred rupiah (about US$20 to 50), depending on your destination). Or you can take the slow, local train from Tanah Abang Station in Jakarta to Cilegon, and from here catch a “colt” on the main road going south. Remember that if you intend to visit the National Park at Ujung Kulon, you must first get your permit and make arrangements through the PPA Conservation – See, Ujung Kulon below).
Alternatively, phone the Jakarta booking office of any west cost hotel to make all the arrangements for you. They will be happy to aarnge transportation (generally at a slightly higher cost than if you do it yourself), if you plan to stay at the hotel (See Accommodation below). Private tours to Ujung Kulon, Krakatau and west coast can also be arranged. Contact travel agents in Jakarta for details (try Vayatour, Jl. Batu Tulis 38, Jakarta, Tel: 3800202).
Serang is a fairly small town with only a few losmen – for more comfortable accommodation continue on to Cilegon, Merak or to the west coast beaches.
The Krakatau Guest House is open to general public – air conditioned motel style bungalows renting for about US$20, a bit seedy now but quite inexpensive. The Merak Beach Motel, located right on the water just next to the Merak Bakauhuni ferry terminal at the far northwestern tio of the island, is clean and reasonable at US$25 to US$30 a night for air conditioned room (tax and service included).
The most comfortable place on the west coast beaches to the south is the Anyer Beach Motel. Tidy little concrete bungalows set in a grove by a broad, secluded beach for US$30 on up to US$80 a night for a suite (plus 21 percent tax and service).
Farther south around the village of Carita are two somewhat more rustic seaside establishments: the Selat Sunda Wisata Cottages, a small resort with several air conditiones bungalows by the shore US$35 per night, and the larger Carita Krakatau Beach Hotel – US$36 per night, plus 21 percent tax and service.
Anyer Beach Hotel – Carita Beach Resort, Jl. Sirih Km. 135, Anyer, Anyar, Serang, Banten
Anyer Beach Motel (30 rooms), Jl. Raya Karang Bolong, Anyer, Serang Banten, Jakarta and Reservation Gedung Patra, Jl. Jend Gatot Subroto, Kav 32 – 34, Jakarta.
Patra Comfort Anyer, Jl. Raya Karang Bolong, Tambang Ayang, Anyer, Bandulu, Anyar, Serang, Banten 42166
Carita Krakatau Beach Hotel (150 rooms), Carita Labuan, Pandeglang, West Java, Jakarta Office Wisata, Jl. M.H. Thamrin, Po. Box 2457.
Guest House Krakatau Steel, Kompleks P.T. Krakatau Steel, Kota Baja, Cilegon, Banten, West Java.
Merak Beach Hotel (30 rooms), Jl. Raya Merak, Banten, West Java, ext Merak 164.
Selat Sunda Wisata Cottage, Cibenda, Carita Beach, Labuan, Banten, West Java, Jakarta Office, Jl. Panglima Polim Raya 21, Kebayoran Baru.
From Serang, a town 90 km (56 miles) west of Jakarta, a surfaced road leads 10 km (6 miles) north to Banten village. About 2 km (1 miles) before the village, on the right hand side pf the road, is the tomb of Maulana Yusup, the second Muslim ruler of Banten, who died around 1590. A little farther on, on the left hand side, are the remains of Istana Kaibon, of palace of queen Aisyah, mother of Banten’s last Sultan.
Crossing a narrow bridge and turning off to the left down a direct track, you arrive after about 1 km (zero mile) at the old Banten town square. The remains of Surasowan Palace lin the south side of the square and the Grand Mosque stands to the west.
Banteng used to be protected by a thick outer wallenclosing the fortified palace with the square at its centre, sorrounded by a large market and a number of crwoded ethnic quaters inhabited by Malay, Chinese, Gujarati, Abyssinian adn Annamese traders. The palace was exvated and an elaborate 4 km (2 miles) long system of terracota pipes was discovered, complete with two filtering reservoirs, linking the sunken royal baths with Tasik Ardi, an artificial lake and pleasure garden, about 1 km (zero mile) to the south west.
About 1 km (1/2 miles) to the north west of the square are the ruins of Fort Speelwijk, built by the Dutch in 1682 and expanded in 1685 and 1731. To the west of the fort, a paved road ;eads across a bridge to the red and yellow Wan De Yuan temple, one of the oldest largest Chinese temples on Java. The Goddess of Mercy, Kuan yin or Avalokitesvara, is enshrined here along with several other deities, and a steady stream of devotees burn incense and consult the temple’s fable divination sticks.
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