Parangtritis Beach is the closest beach from Yogyakarta, the artistic and cultural capital of Indonesia. One hour away driving, this beach is a perfect spot if you are looking for somewhere to chill around Yogyakarta.
Celebration and traditions of Idul Adha
I have been travelling there last Sunday, being invited by my favourite Indonesian family to take part in the celebration of Idul Adha, one of the most important Muslim celebration, such as Christmas for the Catholics.
When I arrived early morning, people were gathering in the village, skinning a cow they’ve sacrificed as part of the ritual. I arrived just after the life of the cow was taken. This event happens only once a year, and Muslim people do not mind investing a lot of money in buying a cow that will be sacrificed. Rich families are able to spend crazy fortunes, it can reach the amount of a Ferrari to get the healthiest cow for their family and guests.
The celebration is a moment of gathering where men take care of skinning the cow, and cutting the pieces of meat that were then divided into 7 families per cow. This was an interesting experience but after discussing a bit with the local people I preferred to wait home with the kids, as the smell of the dead cow was very strong.
Beef satay, very tasty!
Mas Memet and his family prepared some beef satay for lunch and we ate together with some rice, vegetables and a very spicy sauce, made of 28 chillies!
The beef is first marinated in a garlic sauce before being prepared on the barbecue, we then sat on a carpet in the garden and enjoyed a delicious lunch together.
My host lives on a hill which offers an outstanding view of Parangtritis beach, in a really quiet place. Furthermore, it becomes quickly crowded on weekends with the locals arriving from Yogyakarta, wanting to spend their Sunday at the beach.
Parangtritis is also a famous place for the mysterious myth of the Queen of the South The Queen of the South loves the green colour and has for habits to take away with her people wearing green. As it would attract the Queen who is not friendly to visitors, Javanese people respect the tradition by not wearing green color when they visit this place.
Every year some people are drowning in the sea – as the current is strong, locals believe in the sacred powers of the Queen.
Once a year the sultan of Yogyakarta proceed to a ceremonial, locals making offerings to the Queen and ask for her guidance.
One of the only sand dune in South East Asia
For my part, I felt very welcomed and went to visit the sand dunes of Gumuk Pasir, which are among the only sand dunes in South East Asia. This is very surprising to discover this desertic landscape in such a tropical area. The sand was actually brought by volcanic eruptions and carried away by the river which created sand dunes. Unfortunately, I did not have a sand board with me but I used a skimboard that I found on the beach which worked pretty well! 🙂
Sunset on the beach and surfing
Seeing the waves without a real potential to being surfed I did not expect to find any surfers there, but at my great surprise I found some people renting surfboards on the beach. Being far from all the surfing spots that offers Indonesia, I was happy to catch some choppy waves. Lastly, we enjoyed a nice sunset with the local people.
Another activity you can enjoy on the beach is to rent an ATV and drive along the coastline, local people love it!
Sop Kikir, to finish the day.
Back home, Mas Memet’s family insisted to invite me to drink a soup made of the cow’s feet (Sop Kikir), I was not extremely enthusiast about it, but this was difficult to refuse coming from such a nice family.
Well, the taste is not that bad. The soup is mixed with many spices so you don’t really realise what you are drinking, plus this is supposed to be very healthy.
I recommend visiting Parangtritis beach if you are passing by Yogyakarta and looking for a break at the beach. This is a quiet spot where locals are very friendly with foreigners since they are not used to meet many.
Parangtritis beach is located 30km away from Yogyakarta city. For a fun ride you may go by scooter following Jalan Parangtritis (south of Yogyakarta), until you reach the beach, around 40 minutes later. You can also rent a car for the day if you are looking for a more comfortable trip. This is an easy place to find, as road signs indicate the way to go.