Jember Things to Do
Meru Betiri National Park is large. There are two approaches. One is from Banyuwangi where Sukamade turtle beach is the prime attraction. The other apporach is from Jember and leads to Bandealit beach.
We visited Bandealit beach as a daytrip from Jember, because we were under the impression that there was no accommodation, only a camp ground. That was unfortunate, because Bandealit deserves more time and there are cabins for hire. The cabins lie a couple of 100 m east of the beach and are named Wisma Raja Udang and Wisma Soneratia. The price (2014) is Rp 200,000 (standard) or Rp 300,000 (VIP), room 2 pp. only. Call 0857-49912052 for reservations.
The beach is part of a wide bay, so that the surf is calm and the beach is safe for swimming as well as for fishing boats landing. And for children there is the shallow estuary of a river to play in. In that estuary we observed the phenomenon of inverted temperature: the water at the bottom was hotter than the water on the surface. Normally it is the other way round because cold water is heavier than warm water. But here the water at the bottom was salty, which made it heavier than the fresh water at the surface.
Although we came on a Saturday, there were only a handful of visitors. The scarcity of domestic visitors also means that the beach is not spoilt by rubbish. And very few of these scarce visitors seek out the Japanese bunker (goa Jepang), which lies at 200 masl on a hill at the western end of the beach. We tried to reach it, but had to give up because the trail was too overgrown!
With more time and preparation we might have walked the 14 km through the forest to an even more remote bay: Teluk Meru. And the really hardy ones can try a three day hike all the way to Sukamade beach. Only in the dry season and with a guide!
Half way along the 14 km jungle road lies rafflesia conservation site. We did not stop there, but with luck you might see a flowering Rafflesia Zolleringiana.
Directions: The best route is from Jember south to Ambulu, then west staying on the sealed road until one reaches the park gate outside Padukuhan (45 km altogether). From here it is another 14 km on a bumpy jungle road. A 4WD is advisable but our Isuzu Panther had enough clearance to make it. Two bridges were in a deplorable state, we had to ford those rivers.
Admission: Rp 2,500 for locals, Rp 20,000 for foreigners. Car Rp 6,000, motorbike Rp 3,000. Camera: Rp 5,000 for locals, Rp 50,000 for foreigners.
Office: Meru Betiri National Park, Jalan Sriwijaya 53, Jember.Related to:
- Jungle and Rain Forest
- National/State Park