It was Sunday and the weather was nice and sunny, yet only a few people got wet at the gorgeously inviting beach at Tanjung Lesung’s beach club.
Santi, 25, was putting dry clothes on her 2-year-old daughter at the beach's open restaurant where I sat. Her adorable child had been playing around at the beach for some time with her father, who was still there, but it was obvious that she wanted to go back and splash around some more.
"I came to Banten to attend a relative's wedding. While spending the night at her house, I heard about this place and decided to take a look. We had to pay Rp 100,000 [US$8.56] per car to enter, but it was worth it," said Santi who reside in Jakarta.
Some time later, I stumbled upon 58-year-old Heni, who also came with her family from Jakarta. This is her second trip to Tanjung Lesung.
"We are staying at a hotel at Pasir Putih Beach, but we’ve come here because the beach is much nicer," said Heni.
Other than visitors like Santi and Heni, I also met a guest staying at Tanjung Lesung at the restaurant.
Bimo, 50, who lives in South Tangerang, said that he had heard a lot about the place but had just gotten the chance to visit it.
"I just came last night with my family so I haven't got the chance to explore the resort. But so far we are enjoy it," added Bimo.
Located in Banten province, 170 kilometers from the capital city, the 1,500-hectare Tanjung Lesung with a 13-kilometer beach line is a developing integrated beach resort owned by PT Jababeka.
Though most of the property and its beaches cater only to guests of the resort, non-staying visitors can also enjoy some of its attractions.
"Bodur Beach, for example, is open to the public. Visitors can visit by paying an entrance fee of Rp 30,000 per car. You can watch the beautiful sunset there," said PT Banten West Java Tourism Development (BWJ) sales executive Melliana.
PT Jababeka acquired BWJ, the initial owner of Tanjung Lesung, in 2011 to add leisure and hospitality to its successful initial businesses of land development and infrastructure.
Though presently only a small part of the area has been developed since 1997, the resort features lots of facilities and activities. Its choices of accommodations are Kalicaa Villa Estate consisting of 44 villas with private pool, Tanjung Lesung Beach Hotel consisting of 61 villas, the Blue Fish, the Sailing Club and Green Coral Exclusive Camping.
"Our hotels' standards are four-star with a starting price of Rp 1.7 million per night per villa. We also offer budget accommodations at the Blue Fish, which is our version of a bed and breakfast with starting price of Rp 900,000," said Melliana.
As for the Sailing Club, which caters to boat owners, the company offers private villas for sale.
"Presently, we have less than ten units at the Sailing Club. All of them are owned by foreigners," added Melliana.
On a mission to become Banten's Nusa Dua and Bintan Island, Tanjung Lesung indeed offers plenty of excitement for its visitors. Other than water activities such as swimming, snorkeling, banana boat rides, a sea kayak adventure, glass bottom boat rides, wake boarding, night fishing, water polo, volley polo and jetskis; guests can also jog, cycle, play basketball, table tennis, badminton, practice their golf swing at a driving range, and go on an ATV adventure or a picnic to nearby Mount Krakatau and Ujung Kulon National Park.
"We offer a day trip to Mt. Krakatau or Ujung Kulon with starting fares of Rp 6 million per trip using a speed boat that accommodate up to eight people. The boat ride to both places usually takes around two hours and the fare includes an English-speaking eco-guide, lunch and soft drink," said Melliana.
For diving enthusiasts, Tanjung Lesung is also home to at least five attractive diving spots that include a shipwreck drowned during the colonial era and now underwater around 7 to 8 meters deep.
"We don't have a dive center yet, hopefully next year, but guests can rent our diving gear by making prior arrangements," said Tanjung Lesung's beach club staffer Firdaus.
From around 250,000 visitors coming to the resort every year with high seasons of June-August and November-December, up to 80 percent are domestic tourists, while the rest are foreigners, with many from the Netherlands and Germany.
Determined to boost the numbers, the owners have plans to improve infrastructure to ease access to the resort.
"Other than the development of a new toll road to link Serang with Panimbang via the Jakarta-Merak toll road, we also have plans to build an airstrip to accommodate chartered flights from Jakarta's Halim Perdanakusuma Airport to Tanjung Lesung as well as South Banten Airport to accommodate scheduled flights," said Tanjung Lesung Beach Resort general manager Priono Indrayanto.
How to get there
Tanjung Lesung is situated in Tanjung Jaya village, Panimbang district, Pandeglang regency in Banten province; approximately 170 kilometers from Jakarta.
It is accessible by car via the Jakarta-Merak toll road, which will take around three to four hours.