Not too keen on spending your precious travel time indoors? Take this time to spice up your adventure with something a little more daring! If you are an adrenaline junkie heading to Yogyakarta, you’ll find the following recommendations of top adventure sports and fun activities worthwhile.
Rock Climbing at Siung Beach Cliff
There is a reason why climbers are always trying to conquer higher peaks and more dramatic works of nature. Whether you are stretching for an elusive handhold, negotiating a tricky overhang, or just mustering the courage to descend, rock climbing is one of the most challenging adventure sports that will exhilarate your mind and body.
Personally, I have been fond of mountaineering for six years now. Mountains have since become an addiction and a fantastic cure for my wanderlust. I’m not a professional climber, but I have always prepared everything well – physically and mentally – to climb up and tackle either walls or real cliffs. Good preparation and a safe environment will make climbing really fun! This time, I had valuable travel time to enjoy one of the popular yet challenging climbing spots in Indonesia: Siung Beach Cliff.
Siung Beach Cliff is located in Purwodadi District, Tepus, Gunung Kidul, some 55 kilometres from the southern part of Keraton Yogyakarta. Public transport is rather unreliable, making it a better option to rent a car. Google has a long list of private tour providers or car rentals in the Yogyakarta area, some of which offer a wide range of packages at competing rates.
It took me around two hours to reach an exposed, greenly road curving around the hills of the southern region of Yogyakarta. Strategically located at the border of the world’s third largest oceanic division, the Indian Ocean, Siung Beach Cliff offers a magnificent sea panorama, beautiful outspread of white sands, and most importantly, a very challenging rock climbing spot comprising 250 routes with various levels of difficulties and characteristics.
It is no doubt that Siung Beach Cliff is Indonesia’s most popular rock climbing site both in the eyes of domestic and international climbers. Every year, this place usually hosts a climbing gathering for enthusiasts from at least 15 Asian countries.
This abrasion coast, also known as cliffed coast, results from the action of marine waves that formed steep cliffs. The coast may create a steep declivity known as a cliff. The waves attacking the cliff-foot form a wave-cut notch by constant abrasion action producing an overhang, which grows in size as the cliff is undercut. For these reasons, Siung Beach Cliff is best known to have more daring, challenging levels of difficulties that vary for every climber.
Because the area is only open on special occasions, it’s crucial to plan ahead.
Good news is, there are professional crews and climbers available to help you set up. I contacted Agus, an outdoor adventure sports manager in Yogyakarta. He has had years of experience organising all kinds of adventurous activities in the Yogyakarta area, from rock climbing and caving to hiking and rafting. He’s also known as a pioneer who opened new routes for outdoor adventures there.
When I arrived, Agus greeted me with all the necessary rock climbing gears along with two team members. My first mission was to use the easiest route. I was instructed to try out bouldering before continuing with top-rope climbing. The height of the cliff was about 10-15 metres. Before climbing begins, Agus and his crew will usually survey the surrounding and inform you about safety issues, as well as the weather and the environment.
They’ll then guide you with helpful information about how to climb up the top of the cliff and tackle the route. It’s all about top-roping climbing - a style in which a rope is used for a climber’s safety. A belayer, the person on the ground who secures the climber, stands ready to run a route through one or more carabiners connected to an anchor system at the top of the route and back down to the climber.
Top-roping is all about having fun, being outside and climbing rock faces. With this method, top-roping offers the ultimate rock climbing experience with all the rewards but minimal risks because the climbing rope is always anchored above you. If you fall, you’d usually descend for only a few metres before the rope catches you, thus minimising the risk of injury. In addition to having low risks, this style is also perfect for beginners, and a great way to learn the basics of climbing.
Generally speaking, rock climbing is considered the world’s toughest outdoor sport, but it can be fun and exciting when done properly and safely. So, even if you are not a professional climber, you can still scramble up the cliffs.
For more details about rock climbing in Siung Beach Cliff, please contact Agus (+62) 856 4342 2261 or (+62) 819 0400 7981.
Pengilon Hiking Trail
Be it a short walk through rice paddies or a multi-day trek up smoking volcanoes, Yogyakarta has it all. Many of these journeys take visitors through untouched rainforests, valleys, mountains, open savannas and deserted white-sand beaches.
Pengilon Hiking Trail is a wonderful way to enjoy the idyllic nature and fantastic views of the southern part of Yogyakarta. The trail starts right next to Siung Beach Cliff and leads east along the ridge.
Pengilon Hiking Trail is a newly-opened tourist attraction in the southern region of Yogyakarta. According to locals, the spot has been open since 2014, but with minimum accommodation options and exposure. Fast forward to 2018, the situation remains pretty much the same. There are few sites – namely on camping grounds or at the edge of the cliff – where tourists can rest or spend the night. Some small warung or kiosks are available near the entrance of the trail. A lack of toilets calls for some strategic practices.
Those aside, Pengilon with its jaw-dropping scenic views, is by far my ultimate favourite hiking trail. Located less than five minutes away from Siung Beach Cliff on foot, it’s such an easy and enjoyable stroll on soothing white sands.
Hiking up and down the main peak takes between two to three hours, depending on how many photos you snap. You might also want to allocate some time for sunbathing at the edge of the cliff, or just to sit at ease taking in the strong tide of the ocean waves.
With waves breaking one after another, this place offers a great beach with big waves hitting the cliff. As I write this, I still can feel the strong sense of the currents, with a large movement of water in one direction. Thundering waves crash with explosive power against sheer cliffs, shooting upward like geyser from holes in volcanic rocks, and churning violently in stone caldrons eroded by the sea.
The first spectacular point of interest that my eyes caught was the marine terrace, a unique combination of geological processes that made a charming viewpoint at the entrance of the Pengilon Hill.
You’ll also find in the area the Banyu Tibo Waterfall. Discover the path to the waterfall cliff by walking down the creek along a steep trek just to the east of the marine terrace. After winding down this path for about 300 metres, I headed uphill to the left of the cliff band. After trekking up the hill of the moderately steep path, I ended up at the wide green peak of Pengilon Hill.
I still can’t believe how much I enjoyed my time trekking over hills here rather than overhanging at the edge of the cliff. What is truly appealing about hiking up to the hills is the spectacular panoramic views of the landscape. There are dozens of viewpoints that offer simply smashing, perennial excitement. Whether you are a nature lover, a photographer, or just someone who enjoys traveling, there are also roadside stops along Pengilon Hiking Trail that will give you a front-row seat to the best show on the coast.
Off-Road Jeep on Merapi Lava Tour
Since my childhood days, never have I said no to any offer to visit Yogyakarta. Popular historical attractions aside, Yogyakarta has so much more to share with its visitors. For me personally, this place is magical due to its natural points of interest and adrenaline-rushing experiences. It’s a different experience of Yogyakarta than the one I was used to growing up, but for now I find it thrilling to take on all the mud, speed, mountains and yes, the off-road Merapi Lava Tour.
In 2006, the active stratovolcano Mount Merapi on the border between Central Java and Yogyakarta erupted, sending huge plumes of hot gas and ash into the air and down its southern slope. Some 17,000 people were ordered to be evacuated from the area. Two weeks later, a 6.3 magnitude earthquake struck roughly 50 kilometres from Merapi, killing at least 5,000 people and rendering some 200,000 others homeless. A smaller eruption took place in 2010.
Today, Mount Merapi remains the site of a very active volcano monitoring programme, with the government banning community activities in disaster-prone areas and proclaiming an ongoing exclusion zone within the radius of 2.5 kilometres.
Since then, the once hugely popular Indonesian destination has seen a sharp drop in the number of visitors, and yet a rise in the interest among nature enthusiasts wanting to discover the volcano as well as the ruins and ravages it has caused. Dubbed the Merapi Lava Tour, the strenuous journey is done on an off-road Jeep.
My Off-Road Jeep on Merapi Lava Tour was sponsored by ARTOTEL Yogyakarta in December 2017, in conjunction with its grand opening. The journey started in Kaliurang in the northern region of Yogyakarta, where we explored the hilly roads at the foot of Mount Merapi. Reaching the top of the mountain was tough. It was raining heavily, so the thrill factor was really present! Even though the weather was mostly cloudy, the view was worth every effort.
Progo River Rafting
This is as good as white-water rafting gets. My trip to Progo River, Kulon Progo, Yogyakarta, provided moments of pure thrill, times of absolute serenity, a feeling of togetherness with a group, and most importantly, a very deep connection with nature all combined into an ecstatic adrenaline rush.
River rafting requires careful planning. To help me make the most of my time at Progo River, I turned to TOP Rafting OARS, run by four senior rafting athletes and experts: Cahyo Alkantana (Director), Yuni Amalia, Muhamad Rizali Umarella, Mohammad Taufik Rizal and Agus Cahyo Rahmanto.
All you need to bring is a swimming suit, sunscreen and plenty of appetite for adventure. Everything else will be taken care of by the guides at TOP Rafting OARS, who maintain every piece of equipment with safety and comfort in mind.
Not only did this trip offer a bunch of wild adventure, white-water rafting also allowed me to bond and make new friends. TOP Rafting OARS has successfully brought this thrilling activity into a fun, exciting adventure that can be enjoyed by folks of all ages and experience levels.
Starting Point: Klangon Bridge (Jagalan Village, Kulon Progo)
Ending Point: Dekso (Sleman Village)
Distance: 16 KM
Rapids: >10 rapids (grad 4/6 white-water)
Transport: No public transportation, car rental from the city is necessary
It was three o’clock in the afternoon, and the weather was friendly. The colour of the sky matched that of the river, a mystifying grey hue. There were two rafts, each consisting of a group of six people, including the rescuers.
I jumped into one of the rafts with much enthusiasm. My guide, Agus, made sure that my life jacket was tight and my helmet was on its place. After listening carefully to instructions, I was handed a paddle, which I realised was longer than my body.
We drifted through and into the calm, cold river. As we approached the rapids, Agus told us to hold on tight and paddle harder. In admiration of the unfolding scene, I dipped my fingers into the wild white water.
Within seconds, huge waves were in front of us, looking somewhat like lifeless ghosts, overturning our raft. We laughed out loud with excitement and joy. In the end, it was a fantastic adventure in the water. Would I do it again? The answer is definitely YES.
This article is originally from paper. Read NOW!Jakarta Magazine February 2018 issue “Season of Love”. Available at selected bookstore or SUBSCRIBE here.