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Leave all the conveniences of the modern world behind, cross the strait between concrete structures and extraordinary woods, venture into a world of natural splendor, and gaze upon some of the most mystifying sceneries on the face of the earth : those are what the secluded Sempu Island has to offer.
Situated on the south coast of Malang Regency in East Java and administratively located in the Tambak Rejo Village, Sumbermanjing Wetan Sub-District, this small island lies just off the coast of Sendang Biru Beach, approximately 80 Km from Malang city or about 180 Km from the capital of East Java, Surabaya. The 877 hectares forested island is a Nature Reserve under the management of the Natural Resources Conservation Office of East Java (BBKSDA) and the Ministry of Forestry of Indonesia, and was actually designated a Nature Reserve since 1928 in the Dutch Colonial period.
Among the island’s most fascinating features is the Segara Anakan lagoon located about 2.5Km further south into the island. Hidden deep beyond the thick tropical forest, the approximately 4 hectares lagoon is truly a secluded paradise where a white sandy beach meets calm blue waters separated from the raging tides of the open ocean by a picturesque rocky wall surrounding the area. The incoming tides penetrate only through several caves above and below the surface, thus the water inside the lagoon remains calm, and makes a perfect place for swimming. Its secluded location also radiates a sense of intimacy, where the beach becomes a private getaway, not unlike the setting for the 2000 Leonardo Di Caprio’s Movie “The Beach”.
Adventure awaits those who wish to explore Sempu Island and reach the Segara Anakan Lagoon. Cross the straits from Sendang Biru Beach on the mainland to the Teluk Semut (Ant Bay) at Sempu Island. From here, the journey continues over a trekking path for about two hours through quite thick forest with several ascending and descending tracks, before one reaches the secluded lagoon. While the trip may not be an easy walk, the grand price that awaits at the finish line is more than just worth it. Boats and guide services are available at the Sendang Biru Beach area.
Sempu Island also has other fascinating spots which offer equal splendors including the Waru-waru beach, Telaga Lele (Catfish Lake, a fresh water lake named after the many catfish found within), Tiger Cave, Pasir Panjang Beach (Long sand Beach), Pasir Kembar Beach (Twin sands beach), Fresh Water Beach (named after a fresh water spring on the rocks near the beach), and Telaga Sat (Dry Lake).
As a Nature Reserve, Sempu Island has various types of ecosystems ranging from coastal forest, mangroves, and lowland tropical forest which dominates the whole island. Among the vegetation found on Sempu Island are bendo (Artocarpus elasticus), triwulan (Terminalia), wadang (Pterocarpus javanicus), ketapang (Terminalia catappa), waru laut (Hibiscus tiliaceus), pandan (Pandanus tectorius), Mangroves (Rhizophora mucronata and Rhizophora apiculata), and many more. Interestingly, the name Sempu is said to have been taken from a particular type of tree that is found in the island, however, the tree can hardly be found these days.
The Nature Reserve is also home to several wildlife inhabitants such as: the Javanese Monkey (Tracypithecus auratus), Black Monkeys (Presbitis cristata pyrrha) , Grey Macaques (Macaca fascicularis), wild boar (Sus sp), deer (Muntiacus muntjak), kancil/small deer (Tragulus javanicus), Prawn (Alcedo athis), belodok fish (Periopthalmus sp), crab (Ocypoda stimsoni), and many more. There are also several types of reptiles including giant lizards and snakes and also several types of birds that find shelter on the island.
Setyadi , Head of the Sempu Island Conservation Office
Phone: +62 852 3346 8545
Watch the video about East Java:
Please notice that Sempu Island is a nature reserve and not merely a vacation site, so there are certain arrangements you need to make before making a trip to Sempu Island. Before you can conduct any activity on Sempu island, you need to have a special entry permit to the conservation area (Surat izin masuk kawasan konservasi/SIMAKSI). The entry permit can be obtained at :
Kantor BBKSDA Jawa Timur (East Java office of Natural Resource Condservation)
Jl. Bandara Juanda Airport Surabaya
Phone: +62 31 8667239
Fax: +62 31 8671985
Website : www.baungcamp.com
Bidang KSDA Wilayah III
Jl.Jawa No.36 Jember
Seksi Konservasi Wilayah VI
Jl.Mastrip No.88 Probolinggo.
Do notice that the nearest facilities are located at the Sendang Biru Beach, so make sure you are fully prepared with enough logistics and drinking water before departing to Sempu Island. Wear appropriate shoes or footwear, since some of the tracks are slippery and muddy, especially after the rain.
Located approximately 80 Km from Malang, or about 180Km from Surabaya, the capital of East Java, the best way to reach Sempu Island Nature Reserve is to rent a car or arrange a package tour. 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 the departing point to Sempu Island,at Sendang Biru Beach. From the Sendang Biru beach you need to rent a boat that will take you to Sempu Island. It is best if you contact the Nature Reserve post at Sendang Biru beach since they will provide you with guide to lead you to Sempu Island. The boat will coast IDR 100.000 for the return trip and can accommodate up to 10 persons. Make sure you arrange the pickup time or get the boatman mobile phone number for the return trip.
There are two alternative routes you can take from Malang to Sendang Biru Beach. The first is to take the intercity road of Malang- Bululawang-Turen-Sumbermanjing Wetan-Sendang Biru-Sempu Island. The second is Malang-Kepanjen-Gondanglegi-Turen-Sumbermanjing Wetan-Sendang Biru-Sempu Island. The roads from Malang to Turen are in relatively good condition with plenty of signs leading to Sendang Biru Beach. From Turen to Sendang Biru the roads are narrow with a bit of ascending and descending track, some of the roads may not be in the perfect condition, especially nearing the Beach area.