Scotsabroad's Weblog

October 1, 2012


Filed under: Books,Indonesia,visits — scotsabroad @ 8:24 pm

In 1883 the original island of Krakatau vaporised into history. Having read Simon Winchester’s book about Krakatau, the children’s book, 101 balloons and watched the film, East of Java, I desperately wanted to see the setting. However, we thought it best to go West.


We had thoughts of doing this trip with friends last year but the weather broke down before we could go. This weekend we ventured out on our own despite a recent eruption earlier this month. The weather proved to be perfect and the sea was calm. Anak Karakatau  (child of Krakatau) emerged from the sea in the 1920s and continues to grow.

We set out for the town of Carita on Friday after school not knowing what we were driving towards. Everything was fine on the Merek Toll Road but as we hit the port town of Clegon, with its constant stream of trucks coming off the ferry from Sumatra, we were reduced to a crawl in the  dust-filled darkness. We began driving through an enormous industrial landscape without any reasonable roads. It took us over two hours to travel the 15 kms to Anyer because of the volume of traffic, road works and incredibly selfish driving. 

Anyer, once a big Dutch port was destroyed by the tidal wave produced in 1883. We drove past the still operational lighthouse dating from 1885 and headed towards the Rakata Hotel at Carita.  Six hours after leaving Jakarta we checked in, to be offered a family room with one double bed. We upgraded to another room, without shower, sink or toilet paper – but two double beds. We couldn’t get anything to eat and didn’t hold out much hope of a good breakfast. We drank Bintang and collapsed. 

Next morning we woke early and drove to a more luxurious hotel for breakfast. To be fair, at the Rakata the beds were clean and it was only $25 for the room. 

We returned to the hotel to meet our guide and the boat that left from Carita beach. For 3 million we had a boat to ourselves with a captain and a mate, drinks and lunch provided. The journey out across the Sunda Strait (about 50 kms) took about 90 minutes.

As we sighted and then approached Krakatau our excitement increased. We passed the real Rakata, a fragment of what is left from the original cataclysm. We landed on the beach of Anak Krakatau and walked up through the tree line towards the first level. Huge, recent expulsions from the volcano have cratered the  dusty-ash slopes. We  came across many scorched trees ignited from the falling debris and hot ash. We touched huge lumps of lava and rock that had been hurled out the volcano, some as big as cars, like black lumps of dough from a giant bread maker. A hot 40 minute climb allowed us to see a recent lava flow, taste, smell and spit out the sulphurous fumes. A film set from Blake’s Seven.

The recent lava flow descended right down to the sea, still smoking and giving off tremendous heat, while turning the water a sulphurous yellow. We descended covered in dust, the boys running down the slope. At the bottom Lucas turns back to meet us… and thanks us for a brilliant trip.

We then sailed right around Anak Krakatau and landed on the beach of Rakata. We eat cold Nasi Goreng with a cold fried egg out of styrofoam boxes – delicious. A cut melon is magically produced from the boat. The remaining prawn crackers were crumbled and used to entice the fish as the boys snorkel off the beach.  We headed back to Carita and arrived at the beach about 3pm. Instead of facing another night at the Rakata we checked out and drove home, this time across West Java, avoiding Clegon, towards Pandeglang. Brilliant.  

PS Today (Tuesday) the weather broke.



  1. What a brilliant birthday – so glad you all got back safely. x

    Comment by Ian and Linda — October 1, 2012 @ 10:46 pm | Reply

  2. I just love the hats! Another interesting adventure. Forbes M

    Comment by Forbes M — October 6, 2012 @ 2:44 am | Reply

  3. nice picture n nice moment 🙂

    Comment by carita — October 12, 2012 @ 6:21 pm | Reply

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