It’s always interesting to talk about places in East Java, Indonesia. This eastern part of Java Island, located right next to Bali, is best known for its active volcano Mount Bromo, archaeological sites in Mojokerto, theme parks in Batu, and of course, the fast developing modern capital city of Surabaya, which is the 2nd largest city in the country. However, not so many people know that the southern part of Malang regency has many hidden areas of paradise that are very interesting to explore, including one of the most beautifully hidden lagoons on earth, Segara Anakan!
A virgin lagoon
A lagoon in Malang? Well, not exactly! The area is actually located in the middle of a small 877-hectare (2167 acres) island named ‘Sempu’ (it still belongs to Malang regency), where the island is actually an uninhabited conservation area. However, It’s a lagoon in the sense that it is separated from the sea by green cliffs. Being here feels like being in your own beautiful paradise, located in a mysterious place in the middle of nowhere, separated from the outside world where all you can see is the green cliff and the white sandy beach. You will be able to view the strong waves, coming from the great Indian Ocean, as they continuously hit the cliffs while observing where some of the water flows from the gaps! Amazingly the majority of the lagoon is calm and shallow, probably less than 1-meter deep (3 ft) , except for the area near the cliffs, making it possible to safely swim here.
Rent a motorboat and hire a ranger
From the city of Malang, you will need to go to one of the southern beaches named Sendang Biru. It’s about a 2.5-hour drive through long and narrow winding roads, and once you get there you will need to go to the ranger office for administration purposes. The price is 25,000 IDR (1.80 USD) per group of 5 people for the permit to enter the island. You also need to pay a ranger 150,000 IDR (10.82 USD) to show you the way, otherwise it’s dangerous as you may get lost (remember nobody lives permanently on this island, and you will find no human infrastructures there). After some briefing from the ranger telling you what to do while on the island (e.g. don’t be too far from your group, or don’t litter), you and your group are good to go. You will then need to rent a motorboat, which costs you 150,000 IDR (10.82 USD) for a round trip journey to Sempu Island. After disembarking, the boat will sail back to Sendang Biru, but beforehand he will have given you his cell phone number to call when you are ready to sail back to the mainland.
Go for fun trekking
After your arrival to the island (the 20-minute boat ride from Sendang Biru), all you need to do is follow your ranger while walking the footpath that carries you to the lagoon. You will need to trek for about 1.5 hours to get to Segara Anakan, before your effort is paid off by the lagoon’s hypnotizing beauty!
Camping at the lagoon
It is such a beautiful and exotic place, you may be wondering if you can camp here? Yes, and you can enjoy both the sunset and sunrise from here while camping! Please remember that the island is completely uninhabited, and you will not find any shops, restaurants, or even basic facilities that provide electricity. Bring all the supplies you can think of (flashlights, mini stove, food etc.), and you may need to hire some helpers at Sendang Biru to help you to carry your tents. You may also previously buy some fish from the fish market at Sendang Biru beach to make barbecued fish to eat for the night. Remember to bring extra water as the lagoon’s salty water isn’t drinkable, even if you boil it. It’s a conservation area, so be prepared with a possible close encounter with monkeys!
Climb up the cliff to view the ocean
So, if the area is so secluded from the outside world, what about behind the cliffs? If you climb up, what you will see is really in contrast with the lagoon, the vastness of the ocean! If you are lucky you can see a school of dolphins jumping from the water!
How eco friendly are you!
Since the island is uninhabited, there are no trashcans. However, there are ways to manage your leftovers and your ranger will tell you what to do. For degradable materials, such as your food leftovers, you can dig a hole and bury them there, and for non degradable items like empty bottles, it’s better to carry them with you to be thrown away in a trash can when you get back to the mainland. So, how about it? Are you ready to enjoy your own private paradise?
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