Address : Parangtritis, Parangtritis, Depok, Bantul, Daerah Istimewa Yogyakarta
Located in the equator line, Indonesia has tropical climate with high rainfall. However, it is surprising that in this prosperous country there is such a unique natural phenomenon like sand dune which looks like the Middle East desert. This sand dune phenomenon exists alongside Opak River estuary to Parangtritis Beach, Bantul, Yogyakarta.
Previously, the people who live around Gumuk Pasir did not realize the beauty and uniqueness of this sand dune. They thought that it was just another natural phenomenon. It was the foreign guests that the Faculty of Geography of Gadjah Mada University had and took to Parangtritis that opened the eyes of the local people that the sand dune is another world heritage. In fact, it is the only natural phenomenon of the kind in Southeast Asia.
Gumuk Pasir is a natural phenomenon in form of hill-like sand dunes which was formed by wind movement. The term gumuk derives from Javanese language which means a heap or something portrudes from a flat surface. Morphogenetically, or according to its formation process, Gumuk Pasir alongside Parangtritis Beach cannot rule out the existence of Mount Merapi, Mount Merbabu, Opak River, Progo River and Parangtritis Beach itself.
Particles of sand which form the sand dune derive from the volcanic materials of Mount Merapi brought along by Opak River and Progo River to the South Sea. At the estuary, these volcanic materials are pressed by the strong wave of the Indonesian Ocean. These materials transform into soft sand particles.
Soft sand particles are flown away by the sea breeze to the shore and they keep moving where the wind blows. In transitional season, the wind blows very hard and takes more sands which form sand dunes that resemble hills and called Gumuk Pasir. The formation process of these sand dunes took thousands of years before there is the natural phenomenon we witness today.
Gumuk Pasir at Parangtritis has specific features, one of them is the extreme temperature change between day and night. This results in the area inhabited by only specific floras and faunas. For you who has the interest in natural phenomenon, you should not miss Gumuk Pasir.
As a rare and, even, the only phenomenon in Indonesia, Gumuk Pasir at Parangtritis Beach is certainly a potential tourism destination worth visiting. It is accessible from alongside Parangtritis Beach to Opak River estuary. “To kill two birds with one stone” seems appropriate while you are walking along the shore, you can stop by to enjoy Gumuk Pasir.
Entering this sand dune area, you will be welcomed by the hissing of the soft sand blown by the wind. This hissing combines with the splashing wave of the South Sea results in a harmonic tone. The harder the wind blows, the more sand particles are blown away. They bury your feet and they feel sticky all over your body. Thus, it is suggested that you put on your jacket, hat and sun glasses to protect yourselves from the sand particles and also from the blazing heat of the sun.
As if in a real desert, the temperature in Gumuk Pasir constantly changes. In daylight it is fiercely hot and when the night comes the temperature changes extremely freezing. Therefore, although the area of Gumuk Pasir is vast enough, tourists rarely camp here. Those who usually camp here are nature lovers having training and education program.
For academicians, Gumuk Pasir is a natural laboratorium which is often used for research. Gumuk Pasir at Parangtritis is pretty unique and is a rare phenomenon. Similar sand dune can only be found in Mexico. Other sand dunes are found in different appearances such as transverse, barchan, parabolic and longitudinal dune.
Not only does it serve as a research object for academicians, Gumuk Pasir at Parangtritis is also a favorite photo shoots object for artists. For example, famous Indonesian singer Agnes Monica and the band Letto used this setting for their music videos. Photography lovers also choose Gumuk Pasir as their photography setting.
In addition, Gumuk Pasir at Parangtritis is also used to perform manasik of hajj for those leaving for Mecca. So, before getting to Mecca they get prior knowledge about the desert there. Visitors who want to get deeper knowledge on Gumuk Pasir phenomenon can visit Gumuk Pasir Geospatial Museum in this area. The museum which also serves as a laboratory is very useful for scientific and recreational activities and equipped with several instrument and books about geospatial and geography.
Gumuk Pasir stretches 15.7 km from Opak River estuary to Parangtritis Beach at Parangtritis Village, Kretek District, Bantul Regency, Special Region of Yogyakarta, Indonesia. Its projection towards land reaches 2 km long from the coastal line.
The access to Gumuk Pasir is the same as the access to Parangtritis Beach. From Yogyakarta downtown you can go southwards to Parangtritis Street. After around 45 minutes of journey you will arrive at Parangtritis Beach. The vast array of Gumuk Pasir is there welcoming you.
Yogyakarta – Imogiri – Siluk – Parangtritis route is an alternative route you can take. This is 10 meters longer than the route through Parangtritis Street. However, this route offers scenic view of ricefields, rivers, coral hills and the graveyard of Mataram kings of Imogiri.
If you do not take your own vehicle, you can take a public transportation from Giwangan bus station. Take the Jogja – Parangtritis bus which will take you staright to Parangtritis bus-stop. You only need to pay Rp 10.000 for the fare (March, 2010).
To enjoy the natural phenomenon of Gumuk Pasir alongside Parangtritis Beach, tourists are charged Rp 3.000 per person. Additional charge for motorcycle costs Rp 500, for car costs Rp 1.000 and for tourist bus costs Rp 2.000. Each person is also charged Rp 250 for insurance. So, in case you come in two by motorcycle you will be charged Rp 7.000. This does not include the parking fee. However, when you take a public transportation, you only need to pay for the fare and not the entrance ticket.
F. Accommodations and Facilities
As an icon for Yogyakarta tourism, Gumuk Pasir has complete supporting facilities such as public conveniences, lifeguard and security posts, health clinic, house of prayer, souvenir kiosks, food stalls, and also inns.
Text: Elisabeth Murni
Translation: Apri Widiastuti
Photo(s): Collection of Jogjatrip.com
(Primary data and various sources)