Photo: Wild Parangtritis Beach attracts big local crowds.

Parangtritis Beach

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Wild seas, jagged cliffs, sand-boardable black dunes, huge skies with stunning sunsets, Parangtritis Beach, 30 kilometres south of Yogyakarta, is certainly atmospheric. And if the tempestuous landscape isn’t enough, the local myths and legends will send chills running down your spine.

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The Sultanate of Yogyakarta and its precursor Mataram have long been shrouded in mysticism and folklore. Key is the legend of Kanjeng Ratu Loro Kidul, the Queen of the Southern Seas (also known by a number of other names).

Hanging out on Parangtritis Beach. Photo taken in or around Parangtritis Beach, Yogyakarta, Indonesia by Sally Arnold.

Hanging out on Parangtritis Beach. Photo: Sally Arnold

As the story goes, Sutawijaya, Sultan of Mataram (1584–1601), spent three days and three nights in her watery palace, where he was offered everlasting power and her love. We’re not sure what the payoff was, but she became his wife and pledged herself to all his descendants. Many Javanese believe she is the reason Yogyakarta remains politically powerful to this day. However the love of the Sultan is not enough for this insatiable sea nymph, and she likes to entice swimmers into a watery grave, apparently preferring handsome young men, but anyone wearing the colour green will suffice. Locals are very superstitions about this, so bear that in mind when you’re dressing for a day at the beach.

To avoid any mishap, we’d actually avoid swimming (really). The sea is dangerous, with rips and undertows, and drownings are not uncommon. In case you’re wondering, her presence can be felt by a sudden short gust of wind leaving a strong and lingering fragrance. Further to this legend, some 450 kilometres west of Yogyakarta as the crow flies (longer by road), in the beachside town of Pelabuhan Ratu, West Java, the Samudra Beach Hotel keeps room 308 furnished in green, and reserved for this aquatic queen. The myth extends to involve President Sukarno and his ... Travelfish members only (Around 600 more words) ... please log in to read the rest of this story.

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How to get there
Buses to Parangtritis leave from Giwangan bus terminal in south Yogya regularly between 06:00 and 16:00 (15,000 rupiah). The last bus back leaves around 17:00 (check when you arrive). Arranging private transport is a better bet, however, as that way you can explore the coastline and stay for sunset. Some local travel agents offer day trips.

Parangtritis Beach
30 km south of Yogyakarta
Admission: 4,000 rupiah

Location map for Parangtritis Beach

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