Here is the guide to Belitung Island. Although not as popular as Bali or Lombok, Belitung is blessed with some of the best beaches of the country. The sand is soft and as white as palm sugar. Some even argue that the sand here is even whiter than that in Bali.
Belitung is also surrounded by more than 100 small islands. Almost all of them are decorated with white sand and granite rocks, and only a few are inhabited. One island in particular, the Lengkuas Island is the site of a 19th century antique light house. The Light House was built in Dutch colonial times and offers a beautiful overview of the area. Burung (Birds) Island, Babi (Pig) Island, Pengadaran Island, Lutung Island, Kera (Apes) Island and Jenang Island, are among some of the smaller islands that offer great experiences.
As Belitung is a relatively small island, taxis are the transport of choice. Street Taxi Belitung is the only licensed taxi service on the island with a meter, and is the only taxi you should take.
While airport taxis are also available, these are operated by local drivers and will charge you a lot more. If you are looking for an airport pickup service, Street Taxi only takes bookings. So it’s best to call them prior to your arrival. Charges are between IDR $75,000 – IDR $80,000 (USD $5.70 – USD $6.00), almost three times cheaper than what the airport taxi.
While you’re on the island, try to contact Street Taxi yourself as many hotels work with local drivers for a hefty commission. If you need to hire a boat for some island hopping fun, Street Taxi also offers boat booking services for IDR $450,000 (USD $34) in low season, which is nearly half the price that most hotels charge.
Yes, your eyes are not fooling you. This winter-like wonderland exists right in Indonesia. Once a mining site, the Blue Kaolin Lake paints a reflection of the sky with its cyan blue waters and white sandy dunes. Think Scandinavian landscapes, but with summer temperature.
An abandoned mine that is now filled with unbelievably blue water, making for an otherworldly sight. The clear waters provide a distinct contrast to its pure white surroundings. It makes you feel like you’re in a volcanic crater, but without the pungent smell of sulphur. You’ll be able to take some jaw-dropping photographs here, so don’t forget your camera!
You can even elevate your bluff game with your friends and followers by making them think you’re at Iceland’s iconic Blue Lagoon on a vacation.
As its name suggests, the water exposes to kaolinite – a soft clay. Although locals sometimes shower with the water here, it is not drinkable. Refrain from swimming in the lake too as its depth is unknown and the land is considered fragile.
Getting there: Car would be the best transport to Blue Kaolin Lake, a 10-15 min drive from Tanjung Pandan City.
A 10-minute drive from Tanjung Tinggi will take you to another beach, Tanjung Kelayang, where you are in for more than just a dip in the turquoise-blue water.
Tanjung Kelayang has a more open seascape which means slightly stronger waves. Local fishermen park their boats here and offer to take visitors on island-hopping trips.
For about 500,000 rupiah (S$50), you can rent a boat for up to 10 people.
Top of the island-hopping list is a visit to Pulau Lengkuas, a secluded island with an iconic lighthouse.
Built by the Dutch in 1882, the 12-storey tall lighthouse still functions as a guide for ships sailing through Belitung. Visitors can climb up the lighthouse and enjoy the breathtaking 360-degree view from on top.
Hop back on the boat and the captain will take you towards slightly deeper waters where you will be in for an underwater treat.
With snorkeling gear provided by the boat crew for a fee, you can watch various species of colourful fish and pristine coral reefs.
Another unique feature in Belitung waters is Pulau Pasir, a patch of sand in the middle of the sea that disappears into the water in the afternoon. Starfish are often found lying on the sand at low tide – a novelty that is definitely worth a snap.
Once you touch down in Belitung, don’t waste any time and head straight to the beaches! Despite being the most popular beach there, Tanjung Tinggi Beach compared to other famous tourist destinations is still relatively quiet. With the soft sand, calm sea breeze and coconut trees swaying in the wind, you’ll feel all your worries melting away at this idyllic island.
Tanjung Kelayang is another popular beach with impeccably clear waters. Lay out a beach mat to sun tan, read a good book, or climb some granite rock formations around the beaches. When the sun sets, get your camera ready to take a good shot of the resplendent horizon!
Getting there: Both beaches are close to each other, and are a 30-minute drive away from Hanandjoeddin International Airport
If Laskar Pelangi was your inspiration for this trip, then you must visit Museum Kata Andrea Hirata (The Andrea Hirata Words Museum). It is Indonesia’s first and only literature museum. It is also Hirata’s promise to Belitung – to build an educational space with the profits he received from the novel.
The museum situated in Gantung, which isn’t too far from Manggar town. If you haven’t heard, coffee houses are big in Belitung, especially in Manggar. It is the place where locals converge for spirited discussion. It reflects its tin mining past when workers would gather to fuel up for the day. Among the many coffee shops in Manggar, Warung Kopi Kong Djie remains a favourite among locals and tourists alike.
As you wander the streets of Belitung and peer into the local restaurants, you’ll notice the popular Bedulang family-style of eating. It’s a communal experience where small plates of food are served on the table or floor making it easy for diners to share. Rumah Makan Belitong Timpo Duluk gets our vote. It is small and crowded, and you’ll be squeezing for space to feast on authentic Bedulang fare. Its specialty: the Gangan fish head soup served in coconut husk.
Belitung cuisine is similar to Sumatran food, heavily spiced and often laden with coconut milk. But you can definitely find lighter fare, like Mie Belitung (noodles with a broth) at Atep, which you can wash down with a refreshing Jeruk Kunci (calamansi and salted plum drink). The local snack worth trying: Ketam Isi (crab cakes cooked in shell).
At Kepayang Island Conservation Centre, you’ll get the chance to have fun in the waters and do your part to ensure the island remains sustainable for tourism. A conservation project implemented by a local NGO, the centre offers you the chance to participate in ecotourism activities. For example: planting corals in the coral conservation garden, or donating a small amount to set a small turtle free in the sea. Proceeds go towards supporting the centre and the local fishermen involved in these efforts.
In addition to these eco-friendly activities, you can also stay in eco-lodges and embark on guided tours to the surrounding islands. Do your part for the environment and have fun along the way!
Getting there: You can contact the conservation centre at +62-81280180246 / +62-81949189456. The centre offers airport transfers and boat services to the island.
The reason is this gorgeous, ancient lighthouse that was built by the Dutch in 1882. For many years now, it’s been guiding the boats around the area, and also attracting tourists to the island.
We say this charming infrastructure is a figure of both love and hate. You can climb up the 50-meter tall tower, though the highest level you are only allowed on is the third floor (out of 18!).
Despite so, you will see be able to marvel at the panoramic views of the surrounding clear waters from the third floor, and you can even spot the fishes swimming in the sea.
Pulau Lengkuas is also a snorkeling destination and a great place to just chill and enjoy the beautiful sight of white sandy beach, crystal clear waters and granite rocks.
If you’d like to, you can even camp overnight on the beach to watch the stars (just ask the lighthouse operators for permission first). Sounds like heaven to us!
Getting there: Getting to Pulau Lengkuas takes around 20 minutes by boat from Tanjung Kelayang or Tanjung Binga. From the seaside of Belitung, it will take about 30 – 45 minutes. Boat fares range from IDR $350,000 – IDR $500,000 (USD $26.60 – USD $38), but will be cheaper if you hire a boat with your friends.
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