Drini Beach Yogyakarta, the serenity that blows your exhaustion away

70
Drini Beach
Drini Beach, the serene beauty off Mount Kidul. Photos: Nurvita Indarini

IO – Quiet waves. Smooth white sand. Bright blue sky with rolling clouds. A verdant coral island filled with freshness and beauty. Isn’t that the best combo for a beach locale? This little spot of Heaven is called Drini Beach. 

Drini is located in Banjarejo Village, District of Tanjungsari, Gunungkidul, Yogyakarta. It is just one beauty in the string of beauties spread out along the Southern Java Coast, which include Sepanjang Beach, Kukup Beach, Indryanti Beach, Sadranan Beach, Krakal Beach, and Slili Beach. 

It is very easy to reach, as there is a smooth road there all the way from Yogyakarta City proper. You can use this spot for beach hopping, as each of the beaches have their own different beauties to enjoy. 

Taking My Ease on the White Sands 

The first thing I did when I got to Drini Beach was to rent a mat. Yes, the beach is spattered with persons who rent out beach mats and umbrellas. That saves everyone from bringing their own, of course. For a mere IDR 30,000.00, you can lounge as much as you like on the sands without fear of getting dirty or baked too harshly by the sun. 

A tip, though: don’t take the mat that’s closest to the sea. As the day rolls, the coastline will rise further and further inland, swallowing your mat and getting you wet. Unless you don’t mind getting wet, you should continually move your mat back. But the mat’s owner will warn you to move back before it becomes a problem anyway. 

I took in the entirety of Drini Beach as I slathered sunblock lotion over my body: the cool sea breeze, the crashing waves, the tall coral cliff jutting some distance ahead…and the cute, tiny sand crabs at my feet. They are so fun to tease! Just a poke in their direction will drive them scurrying towards their tiny holes in the sand. 

Making a Splash at a Public Bath Tub?! 

You know that it’s not really a visit to the beach unless you get to splash around. As it happens, Drini Beach has a safe spot for just that. Right next under the shadow of the coral cliff is a naturally formed coral pool. Like the other visitors, I took my ease sitting at the edge, enjoying the small waves that lap at my legs. Some people even lie floating on the water, or sit right inside, just to enjoy being wrapped up safely by the sea. 

The water turns from cool to warm as the sun journeys on ahead, and you feel safe under the shade of the cliff towering over you. Fish swim nonchalantly in and out and around the pool, obviously used to human presence. Furthermore, there are many pretty shells that you can collect to decorate your garden or aquarium at home with. 

canoe
Exciting canoe rides at Drini Beach.

Canoeing to your Heart’s Content 

If you’re up for some excitement, Drini Beach offers canoeing services. It’s located in a lake not far from the pool. For a mere IDR 50,000.00, you can paddle around as much as you like for the day. Each canoe fits at most two adults. They set up a fence and lifeguards for canoers’ safety – they’ll ask you to turn back if you’re getting too close to the line. Canoers are also provided with life jackets, so if you lose control of your little craft and fall overboard, or especially if you run into another canoe, you’ll still be OK. And did we tell you that they have lifeguards stationed here? 

Savory Seafood 

Don’t worry about getting hungry when you’re at Drini Beach. The place is chock full of fresh seafood caught right on the day: fish, shrimp, squid, crabs. They can be fried or grilled to your pleasure right there on the beach. 

Me, I tried fried sand crabs. They’re also known as mole crabs or sand fleas in English, and undurundur laut, ketam pasir, yutuk, or kutu laut in Indonesian. They taste crisp and savory, similar to shrimp. You can get a quarter of a kilogram of these crabs for IDR 20,000.00, and that’s plenty. They’re perfect when complemented with plain steamed white rice and sambal. 

Another delicacy that I think you should try is the dark-green, crunchy, aromatic seaweed cracker. It is the perfect beach snack – lightweight, savory, undemanding, so the sea, and affordable to boot! It’s only IDR 5,000.00 per sachet. They price snacks and dishes quite low overall: a quarter kilogram of fried shrimp at IDR 25,000.00, a quarter kilogram of fried fish at IDR 15,000.00, imagine that! 

Even a Drini Beach entry ticket is ridiculously cheap at IDR 10,000.00 for each person, and this includes access to adjacent beaches! Not including parking and meal though. All in all, an enjoyable and affordable place. Why not give it a try, once restrictions are lifted? (nur)