Some 35 kilometres west of the south coast tourist town of Pangandaran is a somewhat well-kept secret hideaway for surfers and beach lovers. The village of Batu Karas is located on the edge of a lovely sandy bay where waves roll in one after the other, perfect for beginner and intermediate surfing.
It's not the surfing that is the best part of Batu Karas. It's the overall laid back vibe that encourages swimming, eating, sleeping and not a whole lot else. In fact, most people here start their day with a dip in the ocean before breakfast, and then retreat to their accommodation for rest during the heat of the day.
The ratio of foreign guests to local visitors is higher here than in nearby Pangandaran, but that isn't saying too much. There are still very few foreign tourists making it this far as it's just too far off the normal tourist trail for most people to bother with, but we say it is definitely worth the effort.
In fact, splitting your time between Pangandaran and Batu Karas is a great idea if you can manage to pull yourself away from the fabulous Pangandaran beach.
Most accommodation in Batu Karas is within about 100 metres of the main beach on the one road through town with a smattering of other accommodation up over the hill near the fishing beach. Cafes and warungs are similarly located in the main beach area near the majority of the best accommodation.
Before coming here, you will need to call in at an ATM in Pangandaran as there are none in Batu Karas. Similarly, internet facilities here are rudimentary and a decent connection is difficult to find.
There is no public transport to or from Batu Karas. The nearest point that public transport reaches is Cijulang, a 5,000 rupiah, one-hour bus ride from Pangandaran. From Cijulang, it's a 10,000 rupiah ojek ride to Batu Karas.
By Adam Poskitt