The Jakarta Post
The Public Works and Housing Ministry has recommended Java’s southern coastal highway (Pansela) as an alternate exodus route to the northern coastal highway (Pantura) during this year’s Idul Fitri season. The recommendation was made to alleviate congestion along Pantura, a commonly taken route.
Pansela connects regions from Banten to West Java, Central Java, Yogyakarta and East Java along a 1405 km road. Around five to seven meters in width, the road is in relatively good condition and passes through villages, hilly areas and along the coastline.
One attractive spot that can be found along the southern route is the new road crossing Mount Sewu. The mountainous area itself stretches across Bantul, Gunungkidul, Klaten and Wonogiri regencies in Central Java to Pacitan and Tulungagung regencies in East Java.
Geographically, most parts of Mount Sewu are located in Gunungkidul, making it a gateway to Central and East Java cities for travelers entering from the Pansela direction.
Despite its smooth road surface, however, the route is full of curves and steep terrain. Gunungkidul regency’s general administration assistant to the regional secretary, Ir. Anik Indrawati confirmed that officers and field staff were ready to ensure the safest and most comfortable journeys possible for travelers. The regency administration has predicted that numerous travelers would enter Gunungkidul from three days before Idul Fitri onwards.
Thirteen surveillance posts have been prepared at strategic spots along the southern coastal line that crosses Gunungkidul, comprising five independent surveillance posts and eight joint surveillance posts.
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The Pansela route enters Central Java from Ciamis regency in West Java into Cilacap, Banyumas, Kebumen, Purworejo, Wates (Kulonprogo) and Bantul regencies in Central Java. From Bantul, travelers can choose the Mount Sewu crossing to reach Central Java towns in the south, or East Java.
Central Java towns in the south include Klaten, Surakarta, and Wonogiri. Those towns can be reached through Sewon, Imogiri, Dlingo, Playen, Wonosari and Semin. This route crosses the back of Mount Sewu, through curvy roads in between teak forest and karst formations, particularly around Dlingo to Playen.
Meanwhile, the Wonosari road to Semin is busier, so travelers can easily find gas stations, rest areas, restaurants and automotive repair shops.
The Sewon – Semin track offers picturesque scenery, dotted with some interesting recreation areas such as Oyo River, Sri Gethuk Waterfall in Playen, an ancient volcano in Nglanggeran, and Pindul Cave in Bejiharjo.
This road could also lead to East Java through Wonogiri, Baturetno and Pracimantoro. But for those who want to enjoy the Mount Sewu route with beach views, take the alternative route through Wates, Panggang, Baron, Tepus, Girisubo and Pacitan. From the latter, the journey can be continued to Trenggalek and Ponorogo regencies, Blitar city, and other cities in East Java.
Be more cautious when traveling through Panggang as the terrain is more challenging. The road is narrower and public facilities are limited. It is better to take this route in daytime as streetlights are also limited in some spots. Otherwise, take the Dlingo route.
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Despite the challenges presented by the Panggang route, its beach views are a sight for sore eyes. Stretches of pristine beach with white sand and clear water are visible along this route. For those who wish to spend a night at the beach, the most recommended are Drini, Sundak and Indrayanti beaches. Meanwhile, the beachside culinary hotspots are Baron, Drini and Krakal.
Entering Pacitan in East Java, there are many beaches to visit but it is about 30 km from the main road to the coastline. The two less distant beaches from the main road are Pancer Dor and Teleng Ria.
Java’s southern coastal highway is therefore worth considering for its picturesque scenery and numerous recreation areas. However, its challenging environment requires vehicles and drivers to be in prime condition. With safe driving a top priority, the southern direction offers valuable experiences and adventure for travelers heading to their hometowns to celebrate the holy day. (mut)