Langse Cave

Langse Cave (Indonesian Gua Langse also Goa Langse, Javanese Guwå Langsé) is at the foot of a high cliff about four kilometres east of Parangtritis on the Indian Ocean coast south of Jogjakarta.

The cave is holy to the spirit queen of the southern ocean, Nyai Rårå Kidul also called Ratu Kidul. It also hosts the spirit of the cave, Éyang Langsé.

Put aside at least one day for a visit to the cave. Take a morning bus from Jogjakarta’s Giwangan bus terminal in the southern quarter of the city to the terminating bus station in Parangtritis township, a trip of about 25 kilometres. Emerging from the terminal turn left and walk east along Jalan Parangtritis – Panggang, or take an ojek motorbike taxi as far as the road will allow.

The road rises into hills. About one kilometre from the bus station turn right at 8° 1’13.60″S  110°20’18.49″E under a sign directing you to the Queen of the South resort hotel. Go down this road about 300 metres to the next Queen of the South sign but do not turn into the resort. Go straight ahead a further one kilometre through quiet bush and farmland with cliffs on your left and the sea on your right. Turn right at 8° 1’34.92″S  110°20’49.03″E and follow the paved road until it peters out at a small parking area around 700 metres short of the descent point to Langse Cave. If you are using a vehicle, you will have to leave it and walk on along an increasingly rough track.

At the clifftop descent-point you sign the guestbook and make a donation. The cliff is about 150 metres high and is almost vertical. You spread-eagle yourself against the cliff-face, or creep down rickety ladders and inch along very narrow ledges with only ropes and roots to hang on to. The descent is very dangerous. It has taken many lives. There is no safety back-up. Do not attempt it if you are not strong and fit. Do not attempt it in the wet season. Wear tough footwear, not flip-flops or fashion shoes with slippery soles. I strongly recommend you hire an experienced local guide at the clifftop descent point at a cost of Rp.100,000 – Rp.200.000 (ten to twenty US dollars).

Take food, water and a first-aid kit, but don’t over-burden yourself. Bottled water and simple snacks can be bought at the cave entrance. If you enter the cave, make sure you reward the guide or key-keeper appropriately.

Langse Cave is at its busiest during the first month of the Islamic year, Muharram, also called Surå.