Beyond Banzai Cliff

IF you have driven all the way to Banzai Cliff in Marpi, marveled at  Suicide Cliff from a distance, got fascinated by the huge waves crashing against the rocks below, and enjoyed the quiet yet eerie atmosphere and think that you have seen everything, you’re wrong.

At the far end of the parking lot obscured beneath tall bushes is a narrow but worn trail that will not only give you a chance to stretch your legs but open more doors of excitement.

I’ve seen this narrow trail many times in the last two years as the exit point of bikers and runners in several marathon events, but I never got a chance to check out where it led until a couple of weeks ago when we had to make a trail for the company’s adventure hike the following day.

Hiking on a Friday noon with the scorching heat burning my face and shoulders, the unforgiving bites of mosquitoes on my arms and legs, and my frequent yelps of fright every time my buddies Andrew and Eric disturbed a nest of insects ahead of me was not exactly my idea of fun but it was adventure just the same.

The trail, which I learned was an old Japanese railroad now frequently used for off-road rides,  is a paradise for nature lovers — a coral forest with colorful butterflies fluttering on plants and flowers, not afraid of strangers, spiders, snails, worms, and other occupants of the jungle.

Going off the main trail a few meters into the jungle will lead you into some caves littered with remnants and relics of World War II. Half the fun is in going down the caves — or mouth of the caves as we did not explore further inside. You have to find handholds and footholds and take extra care not to slip on the sharp rocks.

We had to clear off the bushes to find a way out before we emerged back to the main trail. Further down the trail, I finally found what I had wanted to see — the late multimillionaire Larry Hillblom’s boat, or what was left of it. Near the boat was an old building which housed huge cows.

Our trek took us around the Cow Town Ranch, and down to Cow Town Beach. The tide was out and we took shelter under a huge stone crevice before heading back to where we started off at Banzai Cliff.

For seasoned hikers, the trail from Banzai Cliff to Cow Town Beach will take less than an hour, but for those who want to take it slow and easy to enjoy the sights along the way, it will take about an hour and a half.

What are you waiting for? Get some time off and prepare to be stunned by the historical treasures that lies beyond the parking lot of Banzai Cliff.



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