Pacitan: The City of a Thousand Caves

Beautiful caves hidden in the bowels of limestone hills, the steep cliffs protecting the stunning beaches and many surf spots with good waves welcome you at Pacitan

Pacitan is a town in East Java located in the south-western part of the province, overlooking the magnificent Indian Ocean. The borders of Pacitan regency are Wonogiri regency (Central Java) in the west, Ponorogo and Wonogiri in the north, Trenggalek in the east and the Indian Ocean in the south.

This regency is known as the city of thousand caves, because Pacitan is surrounded by cave-filled limestone karsts and hills and Pacitan, the birthplace of President Susilo Bambang Yudhoyono, may not be as popular as other places, but attractions such as cultural tours, secluded splendid beaches and natural landscapes can be found here.

Gua Gong
Gua Gong or Gong Cave is one of the most phenomenal caves in Pacitan. Some say Gong Cave is one of the most beautiful in Southeast Asia with a length of 256 meters. This cave is popular because of its stunning stalactites and stalagmites. Exploring this extensive cave, you will see beautiful limestone formations made from sediment-laden mineral water formed thousands of years ago.

Gong Cave is located about 30 km to the west of Pacitan. Entering the first part of the cave, you will see that it is divided into entry and exit trails. Passing through a narrow opening, you will come upon the second site. This area is really large with amazing stalactites and stalagmites. Some lighting has been installed at some areas, producing dim light that makes the cave more beautiful.

First, I thought it would difficult to walk but there is stairway and grip rail so I could walk easily without fear of slipping. Exploring this cave with its beautiful limestone formations is an unforgettable experience; as if it takes you to another dimension. Curtain-like flowstones can be seen in some corners, adorning this cave with their beautiful shapes. It is really amazing, even more if you imagine how many thousands of years were needed to produce these stunning formations. A giant stalagmite separates the third chamber at the end of the cave. Sparkling white crystal formations give it the name ‘crystal chamber’.

Klayar Beach
Klayar Beach is located approximately 45 km west of Pacitan. The drive here is very challenging due to the potholed, narrow roads in some parts and the winding route. There are several extreme rising and falling gradients. However, the beautiful scenery of green hills and valleys will accompany you along the journey.

This beach is a very beautiful and exotic. White sand stretches with crystal-clear waves break on shore, flanked by reef cliffs to the right and left. I went up to the hill on the right and from there I could enjoy the beautiful scenery of the Klayar landscape. After admiring it, a walk on the soft white sand was the best thing to do while playing with the waves. I liked the amazing, beautiful lagoon that lay between two reef clusters. Crystal clear-waves splashed and hit the reefs before breaking and turning back to the ocean along the white sandy beach. This small lagoon was stunning.

Strong waves repeatedly hit the reefs creating a waterfall effect with beautiful white foam froth. From the east lagoon I saw high reefs above the water line. One of them looked almost like the famous Sphinx from Egypt. Exploring the reef area in the rear, I saw a few small holes on the reef filled with water. Far to the right, there were some reefs full of holes in the bottom part of the cliff that looked like a tunnel underneath. All of sudden, a fountain was splashing there. It was another beautiful natural phenomenon. There was a crack in this reef. When strong waves arrived, water was forced under the rock and splashed upward like a giant fountain that could reach up to 10 meters. This fountain also made a whistling sound. That is why it is often referred to as the ‘flute of the sea’.

Text and photos by Grace Solarbesain

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