Sepanjang Beach(updated on 5/19/2014)
The Old Kuta Beach
Desa Kemadang, Tanjungsari, Gunungkidul, Yogyakarta, Indonesia
If you want to enjoy the nostalgia of Kuta Beach in the past time, Sepanjang Beach is the right place. Sepanjang has long coastal lines, clean water sands, and medium waves. You can just choose: sun bathing under the bright sun, surfing, or just enjoy the beach beauty. You can enjoy all the things when you come to the beach that lies some kilometers from Sundak Beach.
Sepanjang Beach is one of newly opened beaches. The name 'Sepanjang' which means 'long' derives from the characteristic of the beach that has the longest coastal lines of all beaches in Gunung Kidul. The atmosphere of this beach is so natural. The seaside is decorated with palm trees and huts roofed with dry leaves. The coral reef in the rise and fall of tides area is kept well. The dashes of waves reflect blue color signaling uncontaminated sea water. With such a situation, it is not false if the local government and investors plan to make this beach the second Kuta Beach.
The natural atmosphere makes Sepanjang Beach superior to Kuta Beach. Sepanjang does not offer such cliche things as beach cafe and luxurious cottages, but closeness to nature. You can still dig out coral reef to find mollusk and starfish (Echinodermata). You can also pull out seaweed from the coral. However, you must be careful in order not to stick the sea urchin's spines. You will not find those all in Kuta, will you?
The community sticks firmly to the coastal culture. No permanent buildings alongside the beach, only some huts where local people are living. Still on the coastal area, there is field where people plant soy bean. The slope beach that is directly dashed by waves prevents people from going to sea. Looking at the back, there are two hills on which valley where people plant corn as their main food. The land on top of the hill has been bought by an investor to make villa where visitors can stay.
Sepanjang also has a historical site, namely Banyusepuh. 'Banyu' means 'water' and 'sepuh' means to wash. Thus, the name means that the place that used to be a water spring is used to wash or to bathe. Those who used the place were Islamic pious leaders who washed their sacred weapons. You must ask local people to locate this site. When YogYES came to the place, there was only dry trash damp with wild plants around it.
When you get tired, have a rest. Local people usually sell food and drink in the huts alongside the beach. You may sit on bamboo seat while chatting and enjoying the wind of the sea. YogYES had the opportunity to enjoy the cool weather under the hut. When daylight is fading, look westwards where the sun sets. Local people will warmly welcome you to stay in their house because there are no villas yet.
For the souvenirs that you are going to take home, you do not have to worry. You do not have to take food as souvenir, do you? Some people living some kilometers from the beach make handicrafts from seashell that then are sold by coastal people. Even though it is not as commercial as those in Malaysia, the handicrafts vary. The shapes are royal carriage, statue, hair pinch or the dried ones and buried in white sands. Some of them are painted.
Low price does not necessarily mean low value. Handicrafts made from seashell have precious historical value. If you read articles or books on Conchology Mollusca, you will know that such handicrafts are of high culture developing in coastal community. The people in Hawaii of the United States of America, Melanesia islands, or Maori in New Zealand develop similar handicrafts. They set seashell to become necklace, pant, belt, and carve them to make marvelous fine arts.
If you have no budget for the souvenirs, you can collect the seashell on the seaside. This small thing becomes interesting present with further processing. Take a piece of seashell and put it into plastic bag. Arriving at home, buy some tobacco or mint and mix it with alcohol 90%. After you soak it one night, take it and polish it slowly. The process will eliminate the lime layer on the seashell, leaving the central layer (prismatic layer). Polishing will make the color of the seashell brighter.
Isn't it interesting to make a tour to Sepanjang Beach? What are you waiting for? You can just ride your motorcycle or step on the gas pedal of your car. You do not have to worry about the stony road to this place since the beauty of nature and culture you are going to enjoy pay for it. Trust me, it pays everything and you will agree to a tourist from the Netherlands saying, "This is the real new Kuta. There are many beaches here and there have been so many tourists in Bali; the beach here is so quiet, so enjoyable." (YogYES.COM)
Text: Yunanto Wiji Utomo
Photo: R. Syah
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