Ujung Kulon, literally Western Tip, is a National Park located at the most western tip of Java Island, Indonesia. It is known most for becoming the habitat of Javan Rhinoceros or Badak Bercula Satu in Bahasa Indonesia, which unlike any normal Rhinoceros, this one only has one horn.
To see this rare Rhinoceros was my motivation coming into this place. It turned out I took the wrong route by joining a joint trip to Pulau Peucang, a part of Ujung Kulon National Park. Even so, I didn’t have any regret at all. Pulau Peucang and some other places I visited were just beautiful, naturally beautiful. A virgin paradise of nature.
A long 8 hours bus ride from Jakarta to Wisma Sarang Badak, Sumur, West Java; started our journey. My friends said that the road was not easy, the bus needs to climb up and down lots of inclining roads. Worse, the road is not flat and lots of holes must be passed. These made the bus went slowly and shaking a lot. I didn’t feel anything at all since we departed on 9 PM so I was just sleeping all along the road.
Arrived at Wisma Sarang Badak at 5 AM, we took a short break and breakfast before departing to Pulau Peucang by boat. To see how The Wisma looks like, please refer to the first 28 seconds of this video.
On the way to Pulau Peucang, we made a stop at a small island where we could go snorkelling. The underwater scenery wasn’t so good though, just okay.
2 hours after, we arrived at the beautiful Pulau Peucang! We all were stunned by the magnificent look of its long vast, virgin, untouched, white sandy beach. This was the best beach I’ve ever seen, well maybe second after The Pink Beach at Komodo Island. But this one is better in terms of cleanliness, no single garbage was seen. It’s because Pulau Peucang is an unhabited island. There are only not more than 10 people living at the island; they are all the keepers of the island.
Upon landing, we were warmly greeted by 2 children who we then played football with.
We make Pulau Peucang our base camp on our 3D/2N adventure at Ujung Kulon National Park. We lived at a small house with 2 rooms, 1 room for the boys, 1 room for the girls.
A part of The Wide Ujung Kulon National Park, Pulau Peucang is home for Rusa Deer, boar, monkeys, and some wild animals live in it. So, don’t get shocked if you find them standing very closely to you. I had an experience where when I opened my bathroom door after I took a shower, I screamed because right before my eyes was the nose of a Rusa deer!
After lunch and a short break, we depart to a place called Tanjung Layar, a bay with lots of high hard rocks facing to the beach that protect the area from strong waves that comes every 5 seconds. Due to good climate, the surface of the rocks is now beautifully covered by the green grass, makes it look like alps. People used to build an old lighthouse at the highest rock in there before it was destroyed by the strong waves. Now they have built another one at the deeper area of the jungle.
To reach Tanjung Layar, you have to track down a jungle for about 30-60 minutes. You’d find a giant tree that has a big hole on its branch. Quite a sweet spot to take a photo. So we made one even though I wasn’t in the picture. :p
From Tanjung Layar, we go to Cidaon, a vast savannah and a home for Bison, Cow, Peacock, and some wild animals. It wasn’t very good to visit it in the afternoon since most of animals usually show themselves in the morning. But it was still quite an experience. I’ve never seen Bison and peacock so close before my eyes in their habitat.
After enjoying the sunset on the way back, we all took a break at Pulau Peucang. The next day, before we went back to Sumur and take bus go back to Jakarta, we visited Cigenter river and go canoeing. The feeling was……. Ahh, I don’t know what’s the right for that. It feels like I am in Anaconda movie when they go through the river in the middle of the jungle with the boat. No sound was heard other than the sound of our paddle touching the water, birds chirping, insects buzzing, and snakes hissing. It feels a bit mystical for me. Again, a whole new experience for me. Feels so different compared to when I canoeing at Pulau Umang, Singapore.
Cigenter was our last destination on this adventure. But for me the adventure has not finished yet. I had a… I don’t know, maybe a little bit crazy experience but it made such a good adventurous memory.
It was because of the strong waves on our way back to Sumur before we leave to Jakarta. The boat was not high enough to keep the water not going into the boat. We, who sat on the deck, literally had our butt soaking wet because we put it on the salty sea water filling the deck’s floor. Also, a lot of time a very strong wave came and hit the boat very strongly, causing a huge splash of sea water, hitting directly to our face and body. Being treated like that by the sea for couples of hours, we were all soaking wet when we arrived Sumur. The only thing we want was just having a shower. But where could we do it? There was no plan to go back to Wisma Sarang Badak. The bus was ready to take us go back to Jakarta already. And then I found an old Mosque about 10 meters from where the bus park. I walked my foot off to the Mosque. It is a small mosque, only 3-4 meter wide and no more than 10 meter long. The only thing I looked for from the Mosque is the bathroom. And it feels like I found heaven’s door when I saw 2 bathrooms next to the praying chamber. Perhaps I was making a sin by not asking permission from the Mosque keeper, but without thinking twice I went into the bathroom and took a bath! I even forgot to turned on the lights before I went in. And it feels so good after taking a shower, so fresh. When I was out from the bathroom, the other people were lining up in front of the door, wanting to do the same thing with what I just did, take a bath before our long 8 hours drive to Jakarta. I was such a provocator. :p But that’s the thing I love the most from travelling. It always leads me to new different things I can try and new experiences I can have.
This mass showering at the small Mosque at the small town of Sumur concluded our journey. Too bad I didn’t went to where the Rhino are, but I’m still happy to have this adventure. I’m in love with the tranquil Pulau Peucang, and the mystical Cigenter river.
For those of who wants to see the Rhino, here is the information I got from the boat captain that might be useful. To see the Rhino, you have to cross the jungle, cut across it from North to South or East to West. It usually will take 2-3 days of tracking and you have to camp in the jungle. Still, the odd of stumble upon even just a single Javan Rhinoceros is very low since there are only about 50 of them left, living in the area of 1280 square kilometer in Ujung Kulon National Park. But you can try your luck, there’s no no harm doing it even though it could be harmful since the jungle is also a habitat of leopard and other wild animals. That’s why you need to report first at Ujung Kulon National Park office at the town of Labuhan in West Java, about 4 hours away from Jakarta, and get the ranger and porter (optional) to go with you to the jungle. I really long to do this, so if there’s any of you wants to do this, please contact me, and we can arrange everything to go together.
Thanks for reading! Adventure never ends!
P.S.: my friend made a documentary video, please check it out to have better visualization of how the national park looks like.