If you enjoy exploring caves blessed with marvelous stalactites and stalagmites, or are eager to experience it, then you might want to consider visiting Goa Gong (Gong Cave).
Situated in Bomo village, Punung district, around 37 kilometers from the southern part of Pacitan city in East Java, Goa Gong is said to have the most beautiful stalactites and stalagmites in Southeast Asia.
They are unique as well because, as the cave's name suggests, they can make gong-like sounds (the gong is the biggest metal instrument in the Javanese gamelan orchestra) when they are hit.
According to a tourism guide book Pacitan Kota 1001 Goa (Pacitan, the city of 1,001 caves), Goa Gong was found in 1924 by two residents of Bomo village - Noyo Soemito and Joyo Rejo. At the time, the area of Pacitan was going through a terrible drought, which urged Noyo and Joyo to meditate inside the cave, where they found four wellsprings.
Interestingly, after Noyo and Joyo left, Goa Gong was not visited by anyone until local residents rediscovered the place on March 5, 1995.
A year later, the regency government of Pacitan started to build facilities such as stairways, fences, lighting and air conditioning. But due to the deep and steep shape of the cave, the air inside is still quite stuffy, with a humid temperature. Having a flashlight at the ready before making your way into the cave is a good idea.
Goa Gong has a walking path as far as 300 meters as well as seven areas and four wellsprings. Prepare to catch your breath while strolling because of the steep road and the area's lack of fresh air. Also, mind your step because the path is rather slippery due to droplets of water from the cave's roof.
The trip is worth your while though, once you have seen the cave's magnificent rough stalactites and stalagmites that look like marbles and crystals. Their uniquely diverse shapes only add to their beauty.
The addition of colorful lighting inside the cave make the stalactites and stalagmites look more radiant and breathtaking.
If you are particularly interested in the ones creating gong-like sounds, they have names: Selo Citro Tirto Agung, Senden Bumi, Selo Giri, Selo Cipto Agung, Selo Pakuan Bomo, Selo Adi Citro Buwono, Selo Bantaran Angin and Selo Susuh Angin.
Goa Gong has one entry and exit point, so visitors must head one way on the route. The middle area and the shape of the cave is rather spacious and deep. The farther you get to the tip of the cave, the lower the ground gets.
The entry fee for Goa Gong is Rp 7,000 (less than S$1.30) per person. A local guide is available at an additional fee of Rp 5,000.
How to get there
There are two ways to reach Goa Gong. The first is through Pracimantoro district in Wonosari, Gunung Kidul regency. The second is from the city of Pacitan via Surakarta, commonly known as Solo, and Wonogiri.
For a more efficient option, there are plenty of travel agents available that provide a direct trip to Pacitan from Malang, Surabaya, Solo and Yogyakarta.