Sawarna has been reviewed so many times. Google it and whether we search it in English or Indonesian, we’ll find more than hundreds of result. But here I am, still writing another review, and again, about Sawarna. But please hang on there a while.
For people who are searching Sawarna for techincal references because they will be heading there, may I suggest you to read Wikipedia about Sawarna, Bayah, Lebak (in Indonesian).
Sawarna. In sundanese (local language used by people who live in Bayah districk where Sawarna Beach located), Sawarna means one color. I have no idea and foolish enough not to ask local people why the beach was named Sawarna. But referring to Wikipedia, it is the most beautiful beach among 5 beaches which located in Banten province.
If you have read reviews how to get there before you got here, let me confirmed you one thing: getting there via Serang is more recommended than Pelabuhan Ratu. Yes, it meant there was more distance to drive and not comfortable enough due to bad deterioration of the road. Bright side is: we’ll arrive there stress free from the bad traffic. Plus we’ll experience roller coaster sensation, thanks to the damaged road.
When we go together, let say 5-6 persons – it’s pretty convinient to rather rent a car to reach Sawarna. Plus we can load more things to carry to the beach. If you want to know range of price to rent a car, I might say around 1-2 million Rupiah (price by March 2014).
Another thing: it is better to leave at night. Sure we will be meeting big trucks along the way there, but the traffic is more friendly than day light, and we will arrive early, ready to explore the beach. Sawarna beach shoreline is quite long enough: about 5 km. Along the shoreline, there are about 11 points that become famous for public amusement.
When we arrived at Sawarna village at 3.30 AM, we were planning to head directly to Legon Pari, one of the points in Sawarna Beach. After waiting for our guide, a local named Saiful, and walking for more than 40 minutes, I arrived with half of my breath. I hold my breath not only because of the strenous route, but also due to the view when we arrived at the beach. It’s before 5 AM so it’s still dark. My night vision only permit me to capture shadows of sands and rocks around me. But when I looked up, the bright stars gather here and there, they hooked me up. Yeah, when we get accostumed by skycraper buildings, a Milky Way will always be a privilege to see…
There were many things I want to write here, so let me discuss little more about Sawarna in points:
- Choose neat and comfortable homestay. I bet name of Widi Homestay has been traveled around the travellers. Even the room next to my room was occupied by travellers from France, and they went to Sawarna for surfing (I don’t speak French but I can see the surf board in front of their room). And yes, I really satisfied with their room, their food, and also their price. One person was charged Rp 175.000,- (price by March 2014)
- Sawarna is really a nice place with nice people and nice price. Price of food and snacks in Sawarna Beach wasn’t that pricey like any other tourist attraction. And peopple who live there were so friendly. One example is Saiful, our guide. He offered us to bring our backpack to our homestay. Because cars couldn’t go through the street to the village, we have to walk a bit to reach our homestay. So Saiful brought his motorcycle and try to minimize our load.
Guiding us to the beach, he also offered his hand to bring the tripod. And when we want to go back to Jakarta, our car got stucked in the parking area. He didn’t just leave because the business between us was over. But he also helped pushing the cars blocking our way. He is really nice, isn’t he? Too bad I forgot to take picture with him.
Another kindness from the local was felt when we went to the beach before 5 AM on second day and got hungry. Claudia and I (ladies of the trip) looked for snacks and we’re sorry that we had to wake up the owner of a food stall. But he didn’t looked mind to be awaken, and he sold to us with regular price, not arbitrarily as the consequence for waking him up too early. Yet he offered us his place if we would like to rest before catching the sunrise. Nice… That’s why one of us said that it might be the local people that became the reason why Sawarna keep being a busy and most crowded public attraction in Java. Yeah, I thought so.
- To reach beaches from the village, there were motorcyclists (in Indonesian, we called them as ojek) which could help us get to where we going. We could walk actually, but ojek is simpler and easier way to reach the beach, especially when we bring with us heavy cameras and tripod. And the price, well, was not that pricey. From the village to the Tanjung Layar, a point of the beach, cost us Rp 25.000,- for round trip.
- Be careful when you walk in the shoreline, through the rocks. Please mind your step when you try to step any rocks there, particularly if you bring advanced photography gadgets. The rocks would looked like they were rough, but actually it was so slippery. One of us slipped his step and felt down. But, being photographer, it’s not himself he worried first, but his photography gadgets. Immediately got up, he checked all the gears, then he checked himself. Thanks God that he was okay after being slipped. But unfortunately, one camera lens that he carried was immersed and not functioning well that it needed further repair. So, please be really careful.
- There would be no trash bin anywhere in the beach, so it is recommended to prepare plastic or container to collect our trash so we wouldn’t litter in the coastal environment. And talking about environment, we would see forest whom function has turned into oil palm plantations in some part along the way to the Sawarna. That was so sad, really.
- Taking 6 hours drive time from Jakarta to Sawarna, leaving the capital city in Friday night and come back from the beach in Sunday morning is a perfect weekend gate away. If you would need Sunday mass, you could take evening mass at 5 PM near Alam Sutra, which is easily accessed after taking exit in BSD from high way from Serang. We were really be thankful that were allowed to make it happen, and to end the holiday with holly eucharist in Sunday mass.
Now after talking about Sawarna, let me explain a bit why I titled this review by Sawarna + Photographers. Well, simply because I went there with the photographers and this trip is dedicated to capture landscape of Sawarna beach. Four photographers, all boys, and two girls (including myself). That’s our gang for the trip. Yes, one thing for sure: group going is always better. We share the price, and the fun. Well, when you go with photographers, there will be a new definition of fun.
So here’s something fun that we might get when we go for holiday with photographers:
- Two days in a row, Claudia and I must follow their schedule. First day, we got at the beach at 4.30 AM. Second day, 4.15 AM. So, travelling with photographers means getting up very very early. They hunt down for sunrise and sunset. Unfortunately, we didn’t catch up with a perfect golden sun rise or red sun set when we were there. But that’s okay, beacuse in landscape photography, they were not only looking for sun, but also at the clouds, and the sea waves, and and the rocks, and the colors. And Sawarna beaches provided all of that.
- They will not exploring many places. They rather explore few places but deep enough to work on angles, setting up tripod, and looking for perfect scheme for long exposures. From 11 points I mentioned before, we only visited 3 spots: Legon Pari, Karang Taraje, and Tanjung Layar. So they left me and Claudia time to do lot of sitting and ejoying our time while waiting for them in the beach. But hey, they compensate with taking photos of us. Well, getting pictures taken by photographers, by professional cameras, some girls will kill for that. Haha.
- They will sometimes forget about their belongings and go hunting, makes us the girls worrying about things in their backpack. Imagine professional cameras with lots of lenses and flash and another camera gears… $$$. But then again, Thanks God for Saiful, our guide/hero, who also helped us to look after our belongings.
- At night, the photographers gathered around, looked at their photos for the day, and joined themselves together for mini workshop of picture editing. But we enjoyed the night, laughing with them, and because we got up very very early, we got sleepy very very quickly.
In the end, having holiday in Sawarna with photographers, I must say that Sawarna is famous among the landscaper (photographers that enjoy hunting for pictures in natures). In Legon Pari, there’s a lot of people there with tripod and big cameras, there even was a group that come with yellow uniform.
Being a part of south coast beaches which consist of truss of breathtaking and beautiful beaches, Sawarna beach has a really nice atmosphere, billow (large sea waves) typical of south coast beaches, and big rocks. It was really worth to take a visit there.
The photographers, they had taken many great pictures in Sawarna, and I’ve asked them to choose one photo as their favorite to be shown here. So, let’s take a look; here they are…