Merah Island Beach
Banyuwangi, located at the most-eastern edge of Java can boast yet another world class surf spot next to the already well known G-land at Plengkung: this is Pulau Merah Beach. Pulau Merah Beach is so called since just some 100 meters to the side of the beach is a picturesque little hilly island called Pulau Merah, that is reachable on foot. This is situation is similar to the location of the island of Tanah Lot to the main island of Bali. Unlike at G-land where are found sharp coral rocks by the beach, the beach at Pulau Merah-or the Red Island Beach-is open sand so that it is also safe for beginner surfers.
Compared to Bali’s Kuta Beach, surf here is stronger, offering large 4 meters high barrels with a length of 400 meters, ideal for surfers to try out tubing techniques. But since surf here comes in at an average of two meters height, beginners and amateur surfers alike can enjoy this beach. Whereas, the beaches at Plengkung and G-land should be ventured by professionals only.
Merah Island Beach Surfing Paradise
Beside the already famous G-Land, Banyuwangi also has another beautiful beach with indulging surfer’s waves: Pulau Merah Beach (or the red island beach in English) which got its name from the picturesque little hilly island called Pulau Merah just about 100 meters from the beach.
Unlike at G-land where are found sharp coral rocks by the beach, the beach at Pulau Merah – or the Red Island Beach – is open sand so that it is also safe for beginner surfers. The beach has also become a favorite haunt for family holidays. Paragliding enthusiasts use the island’s hills to take off and glide down gracefully onto the beach.
Pulau Merah beach was originally known as Ringin Pitu. There are two versions for its name change. One version has it that because the color of the soil and sand are reddish, this is where it got its name from, while another story says that at one time some bright red rays shone from the small hilly Pulau Merah island onto the beach, thus giving it the name Pulau Merah beach. Another feature of the beach is the nearby fishing village called Pancer, where you can stay at villagers’ homes. Their hospitality to visitors in spite of their simple life is truly heartwarming.
Merah Island Beach had a tsunami
When you wish to explore Pulau Merah Beach, head to Pura Tawang Alun temple. This Hindu temple was built in 1980 and is frequented by Hindus from the East Java’s Bromo mountain area as well as from Bali. Unfortunately, the 1994 tsunami destroyed the outer walls of the temple but the inner sanctuary (palinggih padmasana) has remained intact. During the tsunami a 13 meter wave swept across the village destroying all including parts of this temple.
During your explorations you will see people wearing bright green uniforms. These are gold miners, at a mine found near the shore. Local villagers, however, are opposed to its existence here since the mine pollutes the sea.