Our good friends suggested we visited the beach for a weekend. Since we didn’t have any plans and we are always ready to travel, we packed up our beach gear and headed to the city of Pelabuhan Ratu in West Java. This beach is well known among Indonesians for being a great surfing spot and a good place to relax not to far from Jakarta.
Pelabuhan Ratu is a mere 100 kilometers away from Jakarta, however it took us over 5 hours to get there by car due to the traffic jams and the bad road conditions. After a long winding drive there, we were eager to stretch our legs and enjoy a little bit of God’s creation. As soon as we got to our bungalows, we were glad we had decided to go there, despite the rough ride.
We stayed at the Ocean Queen Resort and rented a four-bedroom beachfront bungalow we shared with our friends and their 6-month-old baby boy (Joshua’s best buddy). We only had to pay for the two rooms we used in the bungalow and we had a houseboy to come and clean the house every few hours. The bungalow was spacious and had a small basic kitchen, two bathrooms, a dining room and a small living room. The views from the veranda were just spectacular and the AC in the bedrooms made the stay very comfortable. The rooms were not fancy but they were clean and sufficient to sleep and relax. Having a fridge was very important to us since we brought home-made baby food from home and we didn’t want it to go to waste. We brought some snacks and food for the kids and for ourselves and bought bottled water from the hotel.
The resort had a nice swimming pool with a kiddy pool and a volleyball court as well as a small football field. The staff was very friendly and they were always eager to play with the kids as we sat down and ate our breakfast, lunch or dinner. For dinner one night we enjoyed a delicious fresh grilled fish and brought our own wine. We did not try to do it, but if you ask the hotel staff, they will come over to your bungalow and grill a fish for you in your own outdoor grill. They also had very affordable spa treatments that are in our to-do list for next time we visit.
The beach was beautiful. The sand was black and soft. Evan loved making sand castles but was afraid to go in the ocean. The tide was rough. Even I was a bit hesitant to go in, and I love swimming in the ocean. We could tell this was definitely a surfing sport more than a place to swim and relax. I think the boys would really enjoy it once they are older. Joshua’s first experience at the beach was not as good as I had expected. He didn’t particularly like the sand in his hands and feet and he got really scared of the rumbling ocean.
Two days at the Ocean Queen Resort were not enough. We are already planning on visiting again soon. There are many activities available nearby such as a turtle farm, a bat cave, white water rafting, a fish market and hot springs. We did visit the hot springs at Cipanas and will be posting about those very soon.
If you decide to visit Pelabuhan Ratu here are a few tips:
1. Bring patience, snacks and movies for the long ride there.
2. When swimming in the ocean, be careful and make sure the currents are not dragging you away from your hotel.
3. Eat the fresh fish but make sure it is handled correctly and that it is actually fresh. The husbands went into the kitchen and looked at the fish before deciding to order it.
4. Don’t expect 5 star resorts but expect a nice place to relax by the beach.
5. Try to talk to the locals as they will lead you to the best fish markets or maybe offer you a discount on a boat ride.
6. If traveling with kids, bring enough snacks and supplies for them. Diapers, wipes and some baby food is available but the mini-marts are sometimes closed or just too far to go for an emergency stop.
Evan and Joshua at Pelabuhan Ratu