There weren't lots of articles that talked about Sawarna on the internet. If there was, mostly they did the trip recently, either in 2014 or 2013. I found out later that Sawarna is a pretty new tourist attraction, about three years been commercialized. In the past, there were only foreign tourists came for surfing. Which is common because of its location that faces the Indian Ocean, makes it has big waves.
From Depok, we boarded on a train to Bogor Station then took angkot 03 to Baranangsiang Terminal then bus with Bogor-Pelabuhan Ratu route. The first mistake happened here; there were two buses going to Pelabuhan Ratu. So I asked a man nearby, which one left early? He pointed on the non-AC bus. So then we got on it, instead of the MGI AC bus which parked beside it. As soon as we sat, they immediately asked us to pay. First alarm went off: there was no one but us on the bus and they asked for money so soon meaning that they wanted to ensure that we'd stayed. Then Raras whispered to me:
"Mbak, ini kan kayak bis roti tawar yang di Purwokerto, yang ngetemnya lama banget terus jalannya ugal-ugalan"
Jeng jeng! But I tried to think positive and assured her that we weren't in hurry for the first day and we'd eventually get there and prayed so that nothing bad would happen. Yeah, that made us sitting on the bus for 5 hours and my brother vomiting his stomach off. Not recommended. Better take the MGI AC bus which is faster and smoother for only IDR 10,000 difference.
After we got to the terminal, we took a rest in a warung to eat our home-packed lunch, and of course to let my blue-faced brother drenching in sweat sit for awhile. I asked people how could I get to Sawarna and if the Sawarna elf still there. The Sawarna elf is like a van and is the cheapest way to get to Sawarna. There is only one elf which means if we missed it, get ready to dig your wallet a little deeper. Everybody in the warung said that the elf had left since 9 am. Another said that the elf left at 11 am everyday. Then they offered me another option; by angkot or by ojeg. Basically people who were at the warung were drivers of either angkot or ojeg. They were hovering all over us. They charged from IDR 60,000/person (angkot) to IDR 150,000/person (ojeg). I was skeptical about them, I believed that there was another cheaper way than those optins. So I went to an officer and asked him. To my annoyance, the angkot and ojeg drivers followed me. Then one of the officials pointed at one elf in the corner and said, 'Isn't it Icep?' We went there and yes! To my relief, the Sawarna elf is still there! Yay!! By the way, Icep is the elf driver.
Good thing we met Pak Icep. He had a warung by the beach and then I decided to camp in front of his warung. Yay! Our camping location solved even before we get there!
The rest of the day went by with us sitting by the beach watching sunset. The beach was deserted, the warungs (there were LOTS of them by Pasir Putih beach) were closed. Pak Icep's wife told us that most of the warungs only opened from Thursday to Sunday. No tourist on Monday through Friday. Good thing we came on Thursday, we got to enjoy the quiet and peaceful beach :)
On second day, we went to Lalay Cave. An ancient cave that has this eerie feeling to it (or is it just me who was never caving before?). To get there from Pasir Putih beach, we went out to the main road and walked about 2-3 km to the cave. The fact that Sawarna is a pretty small village with relatively few tourists makes the villagers recognized us instantly! We had breakfast by the main road, and one guy who sat there greet Raras and asked if we were heading home. Raras answered accordingly, but then I told her afterward that he must've recognized us by the way of his question.
We walked along the main road and didn't have any idea what would indicate the location of the cave. We were just greet the villagers whom we passed and asked about the cave. When we were walking, a family on a motorcycle stopped on the other side of the road and told us that we'd missed the cave. I mean, that's just awesome! It was as if the whole village knew that we were going to the cave! Haha!
Or most probably they knew because we greet them and asked... Still it was very kind of them to take the effort to get there and tell us :)
To reach Lalay Cave, we passed hectares of rice fields with hills on the background. That's the unique thing about Sawarna. It has different soil, the kind of soil that could be planted by rice fields yet it's only metres away from the ocean. It has freshwater, too, right from the tap. Not the salty water that usually happen in other area.
Like what I said, Lalay Cave has this mystique atmosphere to it. It was kinda scary and exciting. We walked about 300 metres inside the cave in knee-deep water.
Then we walked up and down the hill heading to Legon Pari beach. It was far, farther than what it took us from Pasir Putih beach to Lalay Cave. In and out the forest, passed drying rice fields... Then we got there! Legon Pari beach. It was HOT. But I didn't really feel it until later I realized that I got sunburnt...
Anyway, the plan was to do beach trekking from Legon Pari back to Pasir Putih which took us the whole day, plus one hour where we had lunch and took a nap in one and only warung in Karang Beureum. The beach between Karang Beureum and Tanjung Layar was rocky. It was really hard for me because I was the only one who wore flip-flops. It got slippery at times.
Sawarna beaches are beautiful. We passed Legon Pari beach, Karang Beureum, Tanjung Layar beach then Pasir Putih beach. Each beach has its own uniqueness to it, and it's just awesome.
We played with the waves right after we got to Pasir Putih beach. As usual, a local whom we greet earlier came to us and warned us to be careful. That was what locals had been telling us since our tent stood: be careful of the waves. Don't get too far into the water. It's just natural, I guess, since the waves were seriously big all the time and we were new there.
The rest of the evening spent by chit chatting with Pak Icep and her wife in the warung. It was also raining and our tent was flooding. So we stayed overnight in Pak Icep's warung. It was really peaceful, sat in the warung made traditionally by bamboos, talking about the history of Sawarna whilst listening to the sound of the beach.
I went home the next day with fond memories about Sawarna and its serene life.