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Introducing Pangandaran

Situated on a narrow isthmus, with a broad stretch of sand on either side and a thickly forested national park on the nearby headland, Pangandaran is Java’s premier beach resort. Walk away from the centre and the coastal scenery is reduced to its raw elements: a strip of dark sand, a vast, empty ocean and an enormous, gently curving horizon.

Most of the year Pangandaran is a quiet, tranquil place to enjoy walks along the beach or through the forest, but the town fills up on holidays (and weekends). The heavy swell that relentlessly pummels the impressive beach doesn’t make for great swimming, though there are some more secluded spots along the coast. As the surf is consistently good, it’s a great place to get out on a board, or learn how to (surfing lessons can be easily arranged).

Pangandaran was hit hard by a tsunami in 2006 (a different one from the disaster that devastated Banda Aceh in Sumatra) but the town is very much open for business again. Sadly sections of the beach are littered with plastic and flotsam and in dire need of a clean-up.