On the remote Southwestern tip of Java, the Unesco World Heritage-listed Ujung Kulon National Park (admission 59,500Rp) covers about760 sq km of land, including the large Pulau Panaitan.
Because of its isolation and difficult access, Ujung Kulon has remained an out post of primeval forest and untouched wilderness in heavily developed Java; alongside some fine opportunities for hiking, it also has some good beaches with intact coral reefs.
Few people visit the park, but despite its remoteness, it is one of the most rewarding national parks in Java.
Ujung Kulon is best known as the last refuge in Java for the once plentiful one-horned rhinoceros, now numbering only around 55.
The shy Javan rhino is an extremely rare sight and you are far more likely to come across banteng (wild cattle), wild pigs, otters, squirrels, leaf monkeys, and gibbons.
Panthers also live in the forest and crocodiles in the river estuaries, but these are also rare. Green turtles nest in some of the bays and Ujung Kulon also has a wide variety of birdlife.
On Pulau Peucang, sambar deer, long-tailed macaques, and big monitor lizards are common, and there is good snorkeling around coral reefs.
The main park area is on the peninsula but it also includes the nearby island of Panaitan and the smaller offshore islands
of Peucang and Handeuleum.
Much of the peninsula is dense lowland rainforest and a mixture of scrub, grassy plains, swamps, pandanus palms, and long stretches of sandy
beach on the west and south coasts.
Walking trails follow the coast around much of the peninsula and loop around Gunung Payung on the western tip.
Getting information about Ujong Kulon
The Labuan PHKA office (8 am-4 pm Mon-Fri) is a useful source of information, but you pay your entry fee when you enter the park at the park office in Tamanjaya or on the islands.
Try to pick up a copy of the excellent, but rarely available, Visitor’s Guidebook to the Trails of Ujung Kulon National Park (25,000Rp) from the park office.
The Jakarta Visitor Information Office also has information and can organize tours
The best time to visit Ujung Kulon is in the dry season (April to October), when the sea is generally calm and the reserve
Be aware that malaria has been reported in Ujung Kulon. Guides must be hired for hiking in the park and cost around 250,000Rp per day.
Bring along lightweight food, such as packaged noodles, and drinking water if you are trekking; otherwise, food can be organized by tour operators or the park wardens.
Supplies are available in Tamanjaya, but in Sumur and Labuan there is more choice.
Activities to do in Ujong Kulon
Tamanjaya village, the entry point to the park, has accommodation and can arrange guides for the three-day hike across to the
west coast and on to Pulau Peucang.
This is the most rewarding way to explore the park and its diversity. It can be tackled by anyone of reasonable fitness, but is not a stroll.
Conditions on the trail are basic – there are rough shelters, but some are almost derelict. If you have a tent, bring it.
The trail heads to the south coast and the hut near Pantai Cibandawoh. The second day is a five-hour walk along the beach to the
hut at Sungai Cibunar – rivers have to be waded through.
On the third day, most hikers cross over the hills to the west coast at Cidaon, opposite Peucang. An alternative and longer trail with good coastal scenery go from Cibunar via Sanghiang Sirah and the lighthouse at Tanjung Layar, the westernmost tip of mainland Java.
Pulau Peucang is the other main entry into the park but can only be reached by chartered boat. Good but expensive accommodation and a restaurant are run by a private tour company, Wanawisata Alamhayati (%5710392).
Peucang also has beautiful white-sand beaches and coral reefs on the sheltered eastern coast. Hikers might be able to hitch a lift on a boat out of Peucang, but don’t count on it.
There is also comfortable but simple accommodation at Pulau Handeuleum, which is ringed by mangroves and doesn’t have Peucang’s attractions.
Boats or canoes can be hired for the short crossing to Cigenter, on the mainland opposite Pulau Handeuleum, and other trails can be explored on this side of the park.
Large Pulau Panaitan is more expensive to reach but has some fine beaches and hiking opportunities. Panaitan is also popular with
surfers (see p847 ).
It is a day’s walk between the PHKA posts at Legon Butun and Legon Haji, or you can walk to the top of Gunung Raksa, topped by a Hindu statue of Ganesh, from Citambuyung on the east coast