Vacationing in this national park is like escaping from city hustle bustle of Java. This park is located in Java, but looking at the atmosphere, it likes being on completely different island. Ujung Kulon National Park is the only piece of Java where wilderness is kept at its best. Packed with lush trees, the park becomes one of the most intact rain forests in Java.
In 1991, UNESCO awarded the park a World Heritage Site attribute. This is meant to conserve the place as it is the only land on earth where the critically endangered Javan Rhinos survive. From the beginning, this one-horned animal has been the target for both illegal and sport hunting for its horns cost a lot of money. But ever since it is declared to be protected animal, the rhinos can graze and live freely and soundly.
Javan Rhino gains special status in the national park. Its natural habitat which mainly center on the tip of Ujung Kulon peninsula is a limited area for travelers. Trekking activity is allowed as long as travelers follow the already designated trek and are guarded by rangers. All the rules are made for the sake of the rhinos that are now only 50 individuals left.
Ujung Kulon National Park covers an area of 443 km² that also encompasses several neighboring islands. To enter the park, visitors need to gain admission from the park office in Labuan, a coastal village in Pandeglang city. The next important thing is finding resorts to stay in that are only available on the islands of Peucang and Handeuleum.
Other than wild animals, the park draws visitors’ attention with its virgin beaches, rivers and pristine underwater beauty. It’s better to trek into the jungle before enjoying the other beauties of the park’s neighboring islands. It indeed need struggle but the result will be equal. You’ll first walk through shrubs and Kiara, Ujung Kulon’s native giant trees, before you finally reach Tanjung Layar beach. This spot is the westernmost tip of Java that boasts pristine beach dotted with cliff and rocks.
To enjoy the jungle, trekking and hiking are not the only ways, but you may try rafting or canoeing. Handeuleum island is split by Cigenter river that will bring visitors to enjoy the rain forest in a more relaxing way. There are not Javan rhinos nearby the river, but you’ll spot a lot of kingfishers and greater racket-tailed drongo.
Each islands in Ujung Kulon has its own charm. Peucang island is a preferable destination for tropical sunshine seekers. The wave of this beach is calm that it becomes a favorite spot in Ujung Kulon for divers and snorkelers. You’ll be accompanied by clown fish as you enjoy the view of colorful soft corals.
The biggest island within the national park is Panaitan. It lays just some kilometers west of Peucang that can be reached by boat in minutes. For surfing lovers, this place might be the second reason why they go to Ujung Kulon other than to see Javan rhinos. Among tourist, its challenging surf is called “One Palm Point.”
Another not-to-miss attraction in Ujung Kulon is Krakatoa island which emerged following the destructive eruption of mount Krakatau in 1883. This small volcanic island houses mount Anak Krakatau that grew bigger and higher year by year. Like the mother volcano, mount Anak Krakatau is active and frequently has small eruptions. Though so, travelers bother hiking the volcano.
To get admission to the park, you can visit tourist center in Labuan or in other park office in Sumur and Tamanjaya villages. Those two last villages are the nearest transit point to Ujung Kulon where you can buy logistics for supply. You can also rent sailboats, local guides or shop for rhino statue souvenirs in these villages.
The ticket of the park varies between weekdays and weekends/holidays. Local tourists only need to pay between Rp 5000 – Rp 7.500, while foreign tourists between Rp 150.000 – Rp 225.000. Ticket for boats is charged based on its engine power.