Western tourism is booming in Batu Karas mostly due to the beginner surf break, noted as the best place to learn to surf in Indonesia by Lonely Planet. The break is, unfortunately, quite crowded and lacks the power that more experienced surfers will desire from Indonesian surf.
If you plan on surfing here in Indonesia’s cooler months, consider bringing a springsuit or light wetsuit as the water may be chilly. Moreso, it can serve as protection against jellyfish and bluebottles, both of which occasionally swarm the beach. Reef booties are not necessary for the reef break, but they do sell them in one of the surf shops in town.
Ladies, please note that this place is a little different than Bali and lounging around in bikinis is not really common practice yet. Just keep in mind that this is a Muslim area, albeit a very laid back one, and dress accordingly.
Ojeks in Pangandaran charge around 100,000 rupiah for the 1-hour drive to Batu Karas. Alternatively, you can rent a motorbike in Pangandaran for 50,000 per day, offsetting the transportation cost and having freedom to access the local beaches and attractions on your own. Be very careful for potholes, especially on the first half of the road after leaving Pangandaran.
By car, the trip from Pangandaran to Batu Karas usually takes about 1 hour, via Cijulang. Parts of the road are quite bumpy, as trucks and heavy rain have their effects on the road conditions. As there are also frequent road construction and improvement works, the road conditions change frequently.