Belitung Islands – A Hidden Paradise

The first time I saw beautiful beach of Belitung Islands in Mr. Sindhiarta Mulya’s MP, I immediately amazed. I contacted my travel buddies (Mery and Angel) and we’re agreed to plan a trip to Belitung. We made phone calls to the person who might have known much about Belitung and decided that June or July would be the perfect month to visit Belitung. And, my oh my, it’s just the right time. They say it was peak season, but no one’s around. We know the plane was packed and the hotel was fully booked. But in the soothing beach, we haven’t seen anyone. So, we decided that, this might be our personal paradise. A hidden paradise.

It took us just a fast 45 minutes to get us from Jakarta to Tanjung Pandan. We flew by Sriwijaya Air (IDR 1.100.000 return) that has a big plane (Boeing 737-200) and good service.

A driver picked us at the airport (IDR 1.200.000 2 days, 1 airport pickup, food and tip). His name is Pak Untung and he’s very easy going and kind. We like him.

We were craving for some local food for breakfast, so, Pak Untung drove us to the nearest place to eat. He then introduced us to Belitung’s Noodle (Mie Rebus Belitung). It’s a tasty noodle, we loved it so much!

Then we’re off to Manggar area where we could go to have some coffee. But before that, we stop at the legendary school of Indonesia’s best selling author, Andrea Hirata, in Gantong area. Andrea Hirata wrote Laskar Pelangi, semi-autobiography book, as a tribute for his devoted teacher and Laskar Pelangi friends in a very small elementary school in Belitung. I was so inspired by his book and I wish someday I could visit his school and commemorated Andrea Hirata and his Laskar Pelangi friend’s brave heart. God hear my thought and granted my wish. Alhamdulillah, thank you Allah.

Earlier, Pak Untung showed us the path where Laskar Pelangi used to walk to school. Gosh. It’s like 20 minutes driving from there to school! I can’t imagine how those little feet walking back and forth everyday.

And if you asked me did I meet Mira Lesmana, Cut Mini, etc who happened to take some motion pictures for their upcoming ‘Laskar Pelangi’ movie, the answer is NO. That’s because they has just left Belitung when we arrived hehe.

After having fun with some grass outside the school, we immediately go to our next destination: Manggar. We stop at a cafe in Tanjung Kelayang and have a cup of coffee by the pond.

Can’t wait to see the beach, we asked Pak Untung to drove us to our hotel, The Villa Lor-In, in Tanjung Tinggi. It took us around 45 minutes from Manggar to Tanjung Tinggi (30 minutes from the airport).

And when the first time we see the beach line in front of the hotel, our jaw dropped. It was totally, THE BEST BEACH we’ve ever seen in our whole life. I’ve seen a lot of beach from all over Indonesia + Phuket in Thailand, and THIS IS STILL THE BEST BEACH I’ve ever seen in my whole life! The sand was bright white and the sea has beautifully combined turquoise + blue color. Plus, no one’s around! Where’s everybody?? It’s peak season they said!! :D

We were jumping up and down, can’t wait to touch the beautiful beach. But we must first check-in to our hotel. We booked a room with 2 bed and a beautiful outdoor bathroom (hehe) for only IDR 350.000 per night (it’s okay to have as many people as you want in the room).

We immediately rushed to follow Pak Untung. He brought us to the seafood restaurant. We ordered seafood like crazy and ended up splurge IDR 250.000 on this very first lunch. We always made the same mistake again haha. I kind of surprised with the price, I thought the fish price would be cheap as they live near the sea. But somehow, the raise of oil has a huge impact on the fisherman and the fishes they sell.

After having seafood that enough to feed 100 polar bear, we finally managed to take a walk near the restaurant. We found huge rocks and start climbing it. Yes, the mal-rats-and-shopaholic-queens were climbing the rocks. Mery lead the way and we ended up having the best view that looks like coming from a postcard and taking as much crazy-high-fashion pictures as we can.

After satisfied ourself with the view, we went back to hotel and literally running to the beach. It was a very… very… calm beach. Mery and Angel were floating in their back and since I can’t swim (confession), I must learn one or two techniques from them. And it works… I was floating and watching the blue sky and the friendly white clouds. It’s like I was floating in cloud 9!! We watch the sunset as we sleep comfortably in the soft white sands. And sometimes we read our books. Most of the time, we used it as a pillow.

At night, we had dinner at Pak Untung’s house in Tanjung Pandan, 30 minutes from the hotel. His wife selling a yummy tekwan and we’d like to try. We also went shopping in town because no one selling anything near our hotel. We prepared some mineral water and snacks. We also bought some local food for family and friends in Jakarta. I spend IDR 100.000 that night.

The next day, we wake up early and went straight to the beach. Mery tried to jog and Angel’s tried to meditate. I enjoyed my time with my camera capturing the sun behind the coconut trees. But I’m not alone, there were 4 photographers gather and taking pictures around me with their complicated tools.

We had breakfast and Pak Untung picked us up. We’re going to Lengkuas Island and Burung Island today. We rent a boat for IDR 500.000 to go to those two islands.

It took us 30 minutes to get to Lengkuas Island. The view in the journey was just amazing. I remember that we also use a boat in Phuket, and the view was also amazing, but that’s it. We can’t really touch the beauty. But in Belitung Islands, we can be part of the beauty and having it as long as we wanted!

The boat can’t go further to Lengkuas Island’s sand and I must wet my Levi’s jeans through the sea to get there. There’s a vintage lighthouse in the center of the island and less than 7 people stayed around the lighthouse.

We climbed the 18 floors of spiral staircases of the lighthouse and enjoyed a very beautiful view from the top.

We bring our own lunch because no one really sell anything there in the island, and we really enjoying our nap there. We then gave the lighthouse family (Ha!) IDR 30.000 before we left.

We’re off to Burung Island. Another amazing island of Belitung! We were jumping, sleeping, and rolling around like crazy.

Then suddenly a cute chubby cat came in our way. It’s really weird since nobody live in Burung Island. He’s very healthy and friendly, following us everywhere we go. He even rolling around with us. I don’t know who the cat was, but he was giving us a sad look when we left him. But he didn’t try to chase us. He just watched us for a minute and go back to the forest. Awww :(

At the hotel, we float and swim in the sea in front of our room and eat our dinner while watching the sunset waving down the clouds.

Then we spend the whole night reading our books. I’m having a good time with my book, The Namesake by Jhumpa Lahiri. I will try to finish it as soon as possible :p

Finally, on Monday morning, we had to say goodbye to the beautiful island. The civilization calling our names over and over again, we must get back as soon as possible hehe. But the memory remains and will always kept in our hearts.

I’m having a plan to make some kind of Laskar Pelangi tour on Belitung for the book lovers. If you’re interested please contact me :)

For 316 photos of Belitung Islands – Hidden Paradise, please check my Flickr

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A writer of 30 books. Founder & Chief Content Officer of Zetta Media, a digital media network. Founder of NulisBuku.com & Storial.co. Initiate StartupLokal, the biggest startup community in Indonesia. Co-Managing Director of Girls in Tech Indonesia.
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Comments

  1. Reply

    Hi Ollie! nice posting, memang belitung bagus banget, pantai dan lautnya masih oke punya. saya ngeliat ada 2 sisi “sayang” ..sayang potensinya belum di publish sebagai salah satu sumber devisa negara, sayang yg kedua, aku ngerasa sayang juga kalau keindahan wisata ini di exploitir dan dikeruk abiss tanpa memperhatikan dan menjaga keseimbangan serta keindahan alam naturalnya …yah, biarlah seperti ini barangkalai hehe

    [Reply]

  2. Reply

    Pool noodles are exceptionally helpful to support amateur snorkelers.

    [Reply]

  3. Reply

    Heya¡­my very first comment on your site. ,I have been reading your blog for a while and thought I would completely pop in and drop a friendly note. . It is great stuff indeed. I also wanted to ask..is there a way to subscribe to your site via email?

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  4. Reply

    When in Bali remember that hands on hips is a sign of superiority or anger.

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  5. Reply

    I used to own a site just like yours, for an unknown reason I stopped doing it. Definitely keep up the good work, you’re a great author.

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    • yuri
    • October 15, 2010
    Reply

    wow, those are some seriously great pics! May i ask what camera did you use?
    I’ve been there too and stayed at the same hotel but i dont have gorgeous pics like yours :)

    [Reply]

    • Tina
    • December 3, 2012
    Reply

    Touring is amongst the very best experience one could have in everyday life.
    The opportunity to make new friends, investigate new spots, and understand
    new civilizations is remarkable. The guidelines on this page
    must last well on your own interesting activities.

    [Reply]

  6. Reply

    belitung bagus banget untuk wisata nya tak heran kalau belitung jadi objek wisata internasional karna pesona alam dan wisata laut nya sangat bagus banget.

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  7. Reply

    Wow those pictures look awesome! Thanks for writing about Belitung. This is such a great article :) Anyway, if you need more reference about Indonesia maybe you can also visit http://www.jakpost.travel, I also read some informative articles there. I hope it could be useful for you too.

    [Reply]

    • Riyat Sevin
    • February 10, 2014
    Reply

    Hi every one, I have read yr comments and yes its true,
    My name is Riyat,I have been traveling to Indonesia for the past 5 years,and I have been just about every part of the country,my last visiting place was the belitung island and I have fallen in LOVE with it, and I have fallen in LOVE with the most beautiful girl in the island,and You know what? i have married her and we are the happiest loving couple in this world Elhamdulillah, we have house,Land on the beach and we will live there for ever insallah, It’s a very beautiful island with real Innocent people,and they are so friendly dont know the word LIE is!! and it;s a paradise, every morning I go to beach fish market and buy fresh fish,prawns and mud crabs,then we go to Tanjung tingi beach to eat,hahahaha,
    if you want to get away from this cruel world to live in peace,that is the place on this earth !! All I can say is Dont make this place another Bali !! this place is free of every bad things,,if any one needs any info pls write to me, bye for now,and see you in Belitung”

    [Reply]

    • Siti
    • March 13, 2014
    Reply

    I’m SO glad I found your blog. The dishes and deersst you cook look amazingly good! And the pictures look perfect – can I ask what camera you use?

    [Reply]

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