Everything you Need to Know about Anyer

Anyer, Indonesia, a beach resort town in Banten, West Java, is becoming a popular weekend escape for city-weary Jakartans seeking fresh sea breezes and sunshine. Located about 160 kilometres west of Jakarta on the island's west coast, and across the Sunda Straight from Sumatra, Anyer was once a major port in the Dutch colonial era. The town's fortunes changed dramatically in 1883 when it was hit by a large tsunami generated by the eruption of the nearby volcanic island, Krakatau (Krakatoa). Anyer's lighthouse was destroyed along with the rest of the town, but two years later, at the behest of King Wilhelm III and Queen Wilhelmina of Holland, a new lighthouse was built, where it remains today as Anyer's most famous landmark.

Anyer has a growing number of beach resorts lining its sparkling shoreline from Merak Harbour to the north down to Karang Bolong. Relaxing and enjoying the gorgeous tropical sunsets are the main things to do here, though there is certainly enough to see and do in and around Anyer to keep its more active visitors entertained.

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Anyer Attractions

Anyer beach is the area's chief attraction, with balmy waters and soft white sands enticing families of all ages seeking a sublime holiday. Many resorts along the beaches are an easy walk to the sea, perfect for taking in those romantic sunsets over the water.

Visible from Anyer's shoreline is the island Anak Krakatau, or 'Child of Krakatau', which is steadily rising from the sea in the place of its 'mother' island that was obliterated in the 1883 Krakatau eruption. A boat trip to visit the island may be arranged in Anyer or from nearby Calita to see the unique volcanic landscape up close. Another island near Anyer worth visiting is Pulau Sangeang (Sanghyang), with untouched, uninhabited lush jungle and offshore coral reef formations teeming with marine life.

Karang Bolong, just 11 kilometres south of Anyer, has an attractive beach with a huge hollowed-out rock arching over the sands that forms a dramatic archway 'entrance' to the sea.

Further afield is Ujung Kulon National Park, a protected tropical rainforest where there's a chance to see the rare Javan Rhinoceros and other exotic wildlife. Be sure to set aside at least three or four days to fully explore the area.

Anyer Restaurants & Dining

Anyer restaurants range from basic seafood huts to well-appointed sea-view resort eateries including some lovely dining spots at the Hawaii a Club Bali Resort and the café and seafood restaurant at the large Marbella Hotel. For a bit more international flair, there is a Japanese restaurant at Griya Anyer Spa featuring sushi, bento sets and tempura in upscale surrounds.

A warung is a casual, open-air restaurant that is the preferred style of dining among most Indonesians, and there are many of these up and down the coast around Anyer. These family-run operations are the place to get fresh local fare and tasty coconuts. Simple meals including nasi goreng (fried rice) and mie goreng (fried noodles) are the main choices, and there will often be some western food on offer such as sandwiches, soup, pancakes or pizza.

Anyer Nightlife

Anyer nightlife is much more low-key than other tourist destinations like Kuta Beach in Bali or Jakarta -- Anyer is more of a place for chilling out and enjoying sunset cocktails with friends and family than for wild late nights of dancing and drinking. Many Anyer resorts have a bar serving beer, wine and cocktails with sea views, and TVs for watching sporting events, while the Marbella Hotel also has a disco featuring DJ and live music some evenings.

Blue Moon Café is a small open-air bar on Anyer's beachfront strip that's a favourite with local expatriate residents. It's also the base for the local branch of the international 'drinking club with a running problem', the Krakatau Hash House Harriers, who hold monthly fun run events in the area.

Anyer Shopping

Shopping in Anyer you'll find a number of souvenir and handicraft shops selling Indonesian and West Javan goods including silverwork, batiks, casual and beach wear, leather and cotton handbags, bone carvings, shell ornaments, pottery and ceramics, basketry and statues carved from sandstone or wood. Some resorts have their own shops with jewellery, souvenirs and fashion items from sarongs to sunglasses for sale. A number of vendors can be seen hawking souvenirs, as well as fruit, snacks and drinks along the beach.

Anyer Activities

Anyer activities revolve around enjoying the sea and beach to the full. Those who wish to take a break from sunbathing on the sand will find some excitement out on the water with jet-ski rental, speedboat cruises, banana boats or parasailing. A tour to nearby Krakatau island may include some hiking, picnics and camping, while Sanghyang island attracts divers for its rich underwater life. Fishing trips may also be arranged.

Some areas have big enough waves to enjoy some surfing, while back on the beach there are loads of family fun activities to enjoy including kite flying, beach volleyball and football on the sand. Getting a relaxing beach massage is another superb way to wile away a tropical afternoon.

Some of the larger Anyer resorts have a full range of fitness and recreation facilities to enjoy including swimming pools, waterslides, tennis courts, gyms, pool/billiards and table tennis, as well as spas providing a range of beauty and therapeutic treatments.

The nearest golf course, Permata Krakatau golf club, is about 14 kilometres away in Cilegon.

Anyer Information

To get to Anyer by car from Jakarta, take the toll road and turn off at Cilegon. The entire trip takes about 2.5 to 3 hours. To travel by bus, catch a bus to Merak and depart at Cilegon, then take another public bus or private-mini bus to Labuan, where it makes a stop in Anyer along the way.

Anyer is reached by a number of direct domestic flights from a number of locations across Indonesia including Jakarta, Denpasar in Bali and Sumatra. Note that air travel in Indonesia is often delayed and difficult, and some of the local carriers have less-than-stellar safety records. Online air ticket booking is still in its infancy in Indonesia, so it's best to check for available flights and book with a local travel agent.

Those planning a short visit to Anyer may wish to arrange a stay during the week to avoid the weekend crowds.

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