Can you recommend some off the beaten path destinations in Java?
The beaches of Gunung Kidul are worth a visit: Pantai Indrayati, Pantai Krakal, Pantai Ngobaran, Pantai Jogan, a total of roughly 16 beaches. Be careful when swimming in the connecting freshwater pool at Pantai Baron, the current can be very strong when seawater rushes in.
Close by are a handful of waterfalls and caves. For some adventure, try caving at Gua Jomblang, one of hundreds in a network of caves in Gunung Kidul that was once featured in the reality tv show The Amazing Race. It's a vertical cave with a dense ancient forest below. Once you're inside, marvel at the magnificent ray of sunlight from above. The cave was once a dumping place for bodies from the PKI massacre, and locals are afraid of it (the usual ghost stories abound), but even if you believe in that sort of thing, the best time to go under is before noon...ghosts are still fast asleep then, communists or not.
For an easier but still strenuous adventure, try sandboarding at Gumuk Pasir. Be ready to fall flat on your face or ass. Cave tubing at Gua Pindul (life vests provided) is good, leisurely fun for all ages. You float on an inner tube through an underground river and enjoy the spectacular views of the cave.
*Photo by Leony Aurora
**Follow R.L.’s adventures through her Instagram account @stelivena.
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