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An exotic Hindu Temple standing on a giant rock overlooking the vast ocean on the horizon and soft pearly white sands embracing the waves coming in onto the shore; no this is not Tanah Lot, icon of Bali, nor any other beach on the fabled island, this is a spectacular sight at Balekambang Beach, situated at the southern coast of Malang Regency, East Java.
Balekambang Beach is located at the Srigoco Village, Bantur sub-district, about 70 Kilometers south from the city of Malang, or approximately 170 Kilometers from the capital of East Java, Surabaya. The beach retreat is a hidden gem among East Java’s tourist attractions dominated by Mount Bromo as main icon and the town of Batu its ideal mountain resort.
Here, a vast white sandy beach stretches almost endlessly for 2 kilometers. The sight and sound of raging waves hitting the shore present its own unique beauty. In the shallow shores, visitors can swim or just play around in the waters, however, swimming beyond the marked red flags is not allowed for this beach is notorious for its swirling undertow. The beach is also decorated with lines of trees on the shore that perfectly shelter visitors from the scorching sun. Thus, making it a perfect place to lay back and release the tensions of daily city life.
The beach is highlighted with three rocky islands named after the characters in the shadow puppets stories: Anoman Island, Wisanggeni Island, and Ismoyo Island. Wisanggeni Island is connected to the shore and to Ismoyo Island by a 100 meters concrete bridge. Sitting dramatically on the Ismoyo Island is the Amerta Jati Temple or also simply known as Ismoyo Temple. Bearing distinct Hindu characteristic similar to those in Bali, the temple on the rock and its connecting bridge creates a picturesque scenery overlooking the vast blue ocean. When the sun sets over the horizon, the silhouetted temple over the brilliantly colorful sky generates an even more spectacular sight.
The Amerta Jati or Ismoyo Temple was built in 1985 by the regent of Malang at the time, Edi Slamet. Modelled after the famous Tanah Lot temple in Bali, the temple is a sacred place for Hindu followers where various religious rituals take place. One of the most highlighted rituals that take place here is the Jalani Dhipuja ritual. The ritual ceremony is conducted three days before the ritual of Nyepi as a part of the series of celebrating the Saka or Hindu New Year. The main highlight of the jalani Dhipuja rituals is the Larung Jolen, where offerings are given to the sea as a symbol of gratitude to God for all His blessings, and to ward off future misfortunes.
Despite its secluded location, Balekambang Beach has all the necessary facilities, from toilets and showers, snacks and food stalls, restaurants, lifeguards, souvenirs shops, to modest inns. So, whether it’s to bathe under the sun, observing the picturesque temple, or simply to immerse in the beauty of nature, Balekambang Beach is truly a place worth visiting.
Due to its secluded location on the southern coast in the Malang regency, it is best to rent a car by the day from Malang or Surabaya. The trip from Surabaya to Malang will take approximately 2 to 3 hours depending on traffic conditions. From downtown Malang, it is about another 2 to 3 hours drive before you can get to Balekambang beach. There are two alternative routes to reach Balekambang Beach. The first is by taking the Malang-Kepanjen route which continues to Gondanglegi, Pagelaran, Bantur, Sri Gonco Village, until you reach Balekambang Beach. The second is the Malang-Bululawang route passing Gadang and Kendalpayak until you reach Gondanglegi where the route follows the first one. Directional signs are already available from the city of Malang and all the major intersections along the way, so you don’t need to worry. Please note that nearing the location (from the Srigonco Village to Balekambang Beach) the trip may get a bit bumpy and the roads narrow, completed with both sharp and winding turns. The scenery is decorated with nothing but teak trees on each side, untul you reach the entrance to the beach.