Alas Purwo National Park

Travel Guide Asia Indonesia Java East Java Alas Purwo National Park

edit

Introduction

Alas Purwo National Park is located at the southeastern tip of Java. Its 434 square kilometres cover the Blambangan peninsula consisting of savannah, beach forest and tropical lowland forest, as well as adjacent wetlands with mangrove forest. It is arguably Java’s most important park from an ecological viewpoint, yet it attracts few foreign tourists. The exception is G-land at its southern tip, which is a famous destination among experienced surfers. Apart from the surf camps at G-land, amenities for tourists are minimal or non-existent and there are no plans to develop them, for a reason. The name Alas Purwo can be translated as ‘First Forest’ or ‘Original Forest’ and expresses the belief that here the earth (or at least the island Java) started emerging form the primeval ocean. That belief is still widely held among Javanese mystics and was invoked to explain otherwise inexplicable mishaps during the development of G-land. In other words, the forest of Alas Purwo is held sacred, and that is a good thing for its conservation. Once a year, during the Javanese month of Suro, the first month of the Javanese calender, hundreds of people of all religious beliefs make the pilgrimage to the park to meditate, make offerings to Nyai Loro Kidul, the goddess of the South Sea, and to harvest the supernatural energy of the place.
Office address: Balai Taman Nasional Alas Purwo, Jl. Brawijaya 20, Banyuwangi 68417; phone (0333) 428675.

Top

edit

Zoology

Green peacock at Sadengan

Green peacock at Sadengan

© theo1006

The mammal species that inhabit Alas Purwo forest include the banteng (Bos javanicus javanicus), the rusa deer (Cervus timorensis russa), the Asian wild dog (Cuon alpinus javanicus), the wild pig (Sus scrofa), the barking deer (Muntiacus muntjak), the panther (Panthera pardus), the leopard cat (Prionailurus bengalensis javanensis), the ebony leaf monkey (Trachypithecus auratus auratus), and the longtail macaque (Macaca fascicularis). Four species of turtle visit the beaches of the park, viz. the Pacific ridley (Lepidochelys olivacea), the leatherback (Dermochelys coriacea), the hawksbill (Eretmochelys imbricata), and the common green (Chelonia mydas).
Over 200 bird species live within or visit the park. The endemic species include the red juglefowl (Gallus gallus), the hornbill (Antracoceros coronatus), the green peafowl (Pavo muticus) and the Javan kingfisher (Halcyon cyanoventris). From September to December migrant birds from Australia can be seen at Segara Anak estuary, among them the sacred kingfisher (Halcyon chloris/Todirhampus sanctus), the blue-tailed bee-eater (Merops philippinus), the common sandpiper (Actitis hypoleucos), and the wood sandpiper (Tringa glareola).

Top

edit

Sights and Activities

  • Pura Agung Giri Salaka - In 1967, when clearing some forest, locals discovered the ruins of a temple built of brick that now is subscribed to the Majapahit kingdom. Subsequently a Hindu temple has been built near the site. Once every 210 days the Pagerwesi ceremony is performed by Hindus from near and far, making the place look like Bali in Java. The location is one kilometre south of the entrance gate to the park at Rowobendo.
  • Trianggulasi Beach - A white sandy beach at 2 kilometres south of the Rowobendo gate. Some bungalow-style accommodation was built here, but has been abandoned. The site is suitable for camping if one brings provisions.
Bantengs and storks at Sadengan

Bantengs and storks at Sadengan

© theo1006

  • Sadengan savannah - The best place for wildlife spotting, a short distance inland from Trianggulasi Beach. There are a watchtower and a rangers’ station. Best time to see wildlife is early morning or late afternoon, when the animals come to drink at a water hole close to the fence. Regular visitors are the banteng, the rusa, the green peacock and the lesser adjutant stork. Unfortunately there is no accommodation, but the rangers are willing to share their modest housing, even let you use their kitchen. Be generous with your tip.

Sunglon Ombo - One kilometre south of Trianggulasi Beach there is an estuary, Sunglon Ombo, said to be the habitat of pythons. Also a good place for bird spotting.

Rusa deer

Rusa deer

© theo1006

  • Pancur Beach - Pantai Pancur beach is the farthest one is allowed to go south with own transport. If you want to proceed to G-Land, you have to use the 4WD rentals available at Pos Pancur. Or walk the next 9 kilometres, you may encounter deer crossing the road.
  • Caves - No less than 44 caves have been identified in the park. Not surprisingly the caves are frequented for their mystical value and to meditate. Easiest reached is Goa Istana, located at two kilometres inland. Goa Istana is a water source; the trail to it leads through a bamboo forest.
  • Ngagelan Beach - A lesser known turtle conservation project is located at Ngagelan Beach, five kilometres west of the Rowobendo park entrance. Four species of turtles are known to lay their eggs on this beach. The site can be reached by car.
Surfer at G-land

Surfer at G-land

© theo1006

  • G-land - Named G-land by surfers, Plengkung by the Javanese, this is where world-class surfers come to ride the waves up to 5 metres high. The season is from March to November. The surfers usually arrive by boat from Bali and stay in one of three surf camps. A fourth camp went broke.
  • Segara Anakan lagoon - Segara Anakan (also: Segara Anak) lagoon is a lengthy estuary separated from Grajagan Bay by the mangrove forests of Marengan peninsula, also known as Bedul. It belongs to a river the source of which is close to the park entrance and the mouth twelve kilometres westward at Cape Grajagan. It is a bird spotters paradise with about 40 species of water birds, some resident and some migrating from Australia. For the latter the season is September through November. To reach the lagoon, head for Grajagan village. The Javanese name Segara Anak(an) means: ‘child of the ocean’.
The road to  Candi Purwo

The road to Candi Purwo

© theo1006

  • Candi Purwo - This small Hindu temple is located in the mangrove marshes south of Pangpang Bay, therefore outside the boundaries of Alas Purwo Park. But it is part of the mystic lore and as such visited by traditional believers from Java and Bali. It is only a few kilometres west of Tegaldlimo village. Park your vehicle at the eastern exit of Tegaldlimo and walk the partly inundated road.

Top

edit

Best time to visit

For the forest: dry season, i.e. March through October. To see migrant birds in the wetlands: September through November.

Top

edit

Cost

Entrance fee as from July 15th, 2014: Domestic IDR 5,000; foreign IDR 150,000. Student groups (minimum 10): domestic IDR 3,000; foreign IDR 100,000.

Top

edit

Getting There

Starting point for reaching the park is Banyuwangi town, at an hour’s flight or 6.5 hours’ train ride from Surabaya, and just across the Bali Strait from Bali.

By car or motorcycle

The only feasible way is by own or rented motorized transport. It is about 60 kilometres from Banyuwangi to Tegaldlimo, the village closest to the park. From there it is another ten kilometres to the park entrance at Rowobendo. If you want to go to Segara Anakan lagoon, head for Grajagan village, also at about 60 kilometres from Banyuwangi.

Top

edit

Getting Around

Trianggulasi Beach, Sadengan Savannah and Pancur Beach can be reached by car. That is also true for Grajagan village and Ngagelan Beach. Remember that from Pos Pancur to G-land one is not allowed to use own transport. For exploring Segara Anakan estuary one can hire a boat. There are hiking trails for those who want to leave the main routes.

Top

edit

Eat and Drink

Unless you head to G-land and are prepared to pay the elevated prices there, bring your own food and drink.

Top

edit

Sleep

There is no accommodation except at G-land, but there are several camp sites. The rangers at Sadengan savannah are inclined to share their basic accommodation.

Top

Contributors

as well as Utrecht (5%)

Alas Purwo National Park Travel Helpers

We don't currently have any Travel Helpers for Alas Purwo National Park

This is version 13. Last edited at 21:44 on Aug 1, 19 by theo1006. 3 articles link to this page.

Creative Commons License
Except where otherwise noted, content of this article is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-ShareAlike 3.0 License