Versi Bahasa Indonesia: https://indonesia.tripcanvas.co/id/sumatra/panduan-wisata-pulau-belitung/
“I wish I could run away to an island and just not do anything” – we’re sure many of us have once thought this way, especially when we’ve hit another snag in a super dry work day.
And while weekend getaways to secluded islands used to be nothing more than a pipe dream, it’s no longer the case. Belitung Island, your new best friend, lives just a short 2-hour flight away from Batam (or 1-hour flight away from Jakarta), and is all ready to make your lazing-in-the-sun dreams come true!
Photo via ikasyahid
This tiny island paradise is part of the Bangka-Belitung island province in Indonesia, which also includes several other smaller islands ripe for exploration. Featuring dreamy white sand beaches and views that are like no other, here is where you’ll get to relax and cleanse both your mind and soul.
Photo by Simon Long
Unfeeling bosses, nitpicky clients and the nasty colleague who can’t use the toilet properly are all of the past – woes, begone!
Our trusty guide to Belitung island will have you on your way to freedom in no time.
Thankfully, you won’t have to teleport to another dimension to be rid of your worries from this life (at least for a day or two).
Here’s how you can get some therapy without spending big bucks on an actual therapist.
Take a direct flight to Tanjung Pandan (Belitung) via Sriwijaya Air or Garuda Indonesia. (Flight duration 1 hour. Return flights cost Rp. 850.000)
Total cost: Rp. 850.000
Step 1: Take a ferry to Batam Centre harbour. (Ferry ride takes 45 min to 1 hr and return trip costs SGD $48)
Operators: BatamFast Ferry, SINDO Ferry, Majestic Fast Ferry
Step 2: Take a taxi from Batam Centre harbour to Batam airport. (Cost Rp. 30.000 – approximately SGD $2)*
*This is if you skip the official taxis in the airport, which cost about IDR $80,000 (SGD $8.20).
Step 3: Take a flight from Batam to Tanjung Pandan (Belitung) via Lion Air. (Flight duration 2 hours. Return flights cost around Rp. 1.5 million – approximately SGD $156)
Total cost: SGD 215
Step 1: Take a flight from Kuala Lumpur International Airport via Malaysia Airlines, Malindo Air, AirAsia to Jakarta. (Flight duration 2 hours. Return flight cost RM 350)
Step 2: Take a direct flight to Tanjung Pandan (Belitung) via Sriwijaya Air or Garuda Indonesia. (Flight duration 1 hour. Return flights cost Rp. 850.000 – approximately RM 260)
Total cost: RM 610
2. Getting around:
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 will charge you!
While you’re on the island, try to contact Street Taxi yourself whenever you need transport, 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.
So you’ve successfully escaped from reality and arrived at the surreal paradise that is Belitung Island. With so many gorgeous beaches and views to choose from, how can you best utilise your day here?
Well, even if you don’t do anything and just laze around all day, here are the eight things that you definitely shouldn’t miss!
3-1. Explore a dreamy world of white – Danau Kaolin
Near Tanjung Pandan is a world of pure white that’s so unreal, you probably won’t feel like you’re in Indonesia.
Photo by ashadinatha
No, it isn’t snow you’re seeing – Danau Kaolin, also known as the Blue Lake, was born when water started collecting in a kaolin mine.
Photo by poinovella
The clear blue waters of the lake form a soothing contrast with its pure white surroundings. During the dry season, when the lake recedes, you can even see white mounds that look just like floating icebergs.
Photo via dyandinanty, ashadinatha
This is the place where you’ll be able to take pictures from any angle, and still get some pretty jaw-dropping snaps.
Photo by indra.bidy
Better yet, Danau Kaolin is the non-stinky sibling to everyone’s favourite Kawah Putih in Ciwidey. Not only is the scent of sulfur non-existent here because it’s not a crater lake, the waters are even just the right temperature for a relaxing dip.
If you don’t want to be found by your boss, why not wear white and hide out here forever?
3-2. Enjoy 360° views from up high – Pulau Lengkuas
Pulau Lengkuas is one of the many little islands populating the waters around Belitung, and also the most popular one amongst tourists.
Photo by antonifbrn
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.
Photo by wkndwanders
We say this charming infrastructure is a figure of both love and hate. You can climb up the 50-meter tall tower, and while you’re climbing, you’ll probably be wishing death by collapse on it.
Photo via bgenx, achiiiew
But once you reach the top, everything is worth it. Panoramic views of the surrounding clear waters are readily available, and you can even spot the fishes swimming in the sea from your perch.
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.
Photo by astridcandice
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!
Photo via visitbelitong
3-3. Enter the colourful world of words – Museum Kata Andrea Hirata
In 2007, The Rainbow Troops, a book written by Belitung native Andrea Hirata, reintroduced the island of Belitung into people’s minds.
Photo via dioktaviaa, arthaovky
Museum Kata Andrea Hirata, the first and only museum of literature in Indonesia, was set up by the author in 2010 to inspire people to achieve their dreams just as the main character in his book had.
Photo by toktavia, wkndwanders
The colourful and vibrant museum was constructed as a replica of the elementary school that Andrea Hirata attended as a child. Various translations of The Rainbow Troops are available, along with exhibitions about Belitung’s geology, history, literary art and even interesting short stories.
Photo via tyaasfitria, annisatiani
Sit down in the reading and writing corner, and enjoy a quiet day to yourself and your favourite book – doesn’t that sound like the perfect date?
If you’re a bit of a nerd like us, we’re sure you’ll enjoy scouring this colourful world, where the multi-faceted beauty of words are literally presented in your surroundings.
3-4. Snap a picture with a star(fish) – Pulau Batu Berlayar
Yet another sand island off the coast of Belitung, Pulau Batu Berlayar is also known as Sailing Rock Island.
Photo by irawankusuma
Why, you ask? Well, the granite stones that can be found on this island are arranged in such a way that from afar, they look like a ship that is sailing! Two particularly big rocks make up the “mast” of the “ship”, while other smaller rocks form the body.
Photo via fery julian
This island is really tiny, so other than visiting to take a picture of the natural ship from afar, tourists also come for photo-ops with another star – ahem, we mean, starfishes. These creatures can be found aplenty on the island, and while you can’t ask them for an autograph (you can try), you can feel free to snap some pictures of these beautiful creatures.
Photo by gegea_, riaaa_andriyani
Starfishes are delicate and can’t survive out of water for long, so please do not attempt to hold or remove them from the sea!*
Photo via visitbelitong
Or, you could simply float on the clear seawater and enjoy a day of doing nothing. That sounds pretty perfect to us too.
3-5. See a stone eagle roosting in the ocean – Pulau Batu Garuda
It seems almost impossible that every single random island in this area would have something special, but here we are with Pulau Batu Garuda.
Photo by indrabejoo
Other than the standard fare of gorgeous snorkelling opportunities, this island is, once again, known for a fortuitous formation of granite rocks. Rocks again? We can already see your sian (Singlish, or Singapore english for “bored”) face.
Photo by titto pramodya, mytripsneverend
Don’t worry, this sight won’t disappoint. Take a relaxing boat ride around the island, and you’ll see a few rocks that look strangely like a gigantic stone eagle that’s taking a rest on the sea.
Photo by armedian
This majestic sight has made Batu Garuda one of the must-go photo sites for tourists – isn’t Mother Nature just so cool?
Photo by bubuiori, hajirocker
3-6. Plant corals and free turtles at an eco lodge – Pulau Kepayang
Pulau Kepayang is home to an Eco Lodge, Dive & Conservation Centre that promotes eco-tourism. It also educates both locals and tourists about the importance of conserving Belitung’s natural environment. Which we totally agree with – pretty islands need to be protected!
Photo by gayuhcandra, pellenordenfalk
But when it’s not off being an environment-saving superhero, the island also offers tourists a one-of-a-kind, all-in-one holiday experience.
Photo via harrisjaputra
Not only will you get to save corals by planting one in the coral conservation garden, you can also help to save baby turtles by giving a small donation and setting them free into the sea.
The eco-lodge also provides diving, snorkeling, canoeing and even island-hopping services.
Photo by nda 2504, visitbelitong
You can even glamp in luxurious tents or chill out in your own bungalow! That’s right, it’s the perfect destination for the you who can’t be bothered with planning holidays.
Photo by ayuputri86
Besides, you’ll be doing good deeds and having tons of the fun on the way – win-win, we say.
3-7. Visit a “disappearing” island – Pulau Pasir
Technically, Pulau Pasir isn’t even a “pulau” (island) at all. Made up of nothing but sand, this little “island” sinks below the sea a high tide and emerges at low tide.
Photo by armedian
Pulau Pasir is so small (less than one hectare!) that when you stand on it, you can see all around you – yes, that translates to amazing views of the surrounding islands. Many starfishes can also be found on this island, as they are washed up along with the receding tide.
Photo by armedian
This island usually appears in the early mornings before the tidal waves come in, but whether you will be able to visit it really depends on your luck. If you come by and voila, it’s there, maybe it’s time to buy some lottery!
Photo via delladithia
3-8. Visit an abandoned tin mine – Open Pit Kelapa Kampit
Before the 1990s, Open Pit was the site of a tin mine in eastern Belitung. This area has gained fame for its majestic cliffs and scenic surroundings, but it is, in fact, not meant to be a tourist destination.
Photo by Aris Sanjaya Photography at arissanjaya
Well, that hasn’t stopped anyone from traversing the wonders of this place. Here, you’ll find a gorgeous turquoise lake situated within a pit of red cliffs, and also the old caves of the abandoned mine. Do note that you’re not supposed to swim here, or attempt to explore the caves due to safety reasons.
Photo by ramarafaelp
However, what you can do is take in the unbelievable beauty of the place, and snap tons of photos to show your friends back at home. This site is also a popular choice for couples who are looking to have their wedding photoshoots, so if you’re stepping into the altar soon, why not try something new?
Photo via bentarvirgana39
Just a note of warning – it’s not all rainbows and butterflies while you’re getting here, because you’ll have to climb all the way. But, if you can handle it, it’ll definitely be worth it. You’ll even get to see some rare plants like forest orchids on your way up!
Although it’s an island paradise, it’s hard to enjoy your hard-earned holiday if you’re out pitching tents on a hard, rocky beach, we think. No offence to all the hardcore campers out there; it’s just a matter of personal preference.
Thankfully, for those of you like us, who prefer a warm bed under your bodies and air-conditioning on full blast, Belitung Island has no lack of comfy hotels. They’ll not just provide you with a roof over your head, but also contribute to making this getaway one to remember.
Although you could argue that a night spent getting stung by mozzies in the outdoors would be memorable too in its own right…
4-1. A fun haven for adults and kids alike – BW Suite Belitung
Rarely do we see a place where parents and their children can have fun at the same time, but BW Suite Belitung has somehow made it possible. You can even save some money at the same time by making use of the hotel’s Family Weekend package!
Photo by marianarahayu269
Here, moms, dads, and little kids – no one will be left behind in your family’s pursuit of fun and games. While a kiddy pool is available for the little ones to splash around in, adults will enjoy the perfect sunsets that the infinity pool’s vantage point gives you.
Photo by vv.ciu
Besides that, the hotel also has tons of facilities readily available. Dads will love taking a break in the billiards room, while the whole family can have fun screaming your lungs out at the karaoke rooms. Outdoor movie nights are also available at the scenic Open Terrace, so if your kids are night owls, they’ll definitely love a good movie under the stars.
Photo by ms.meliana lie
BW Suite is also located right on the beach – think the children are just a bit too hyperactive for your liking? Set them loose into the sandy haven for a day of fun and games.
Photo by laimamy
Just don’t be surprised when your kids dive headfirst into the bed at night instead of running around and driving you crazy!
4-2. Never-ending fun for the family – Rahat Icon Hotel (from USD $26.90)
The whole family will have a smashing time at Rahat Icon Hotel, which has been raved about by travellers as one of the best budget hotels available on the island.
Photo by prithawibisono
You’ll find the taste of home here, as staff go out of their way to match your every need. Better yet, the hotel is also situated a mere 500 metres away from downtown and a short distance from the beach, so you won’t have to worry about having a lack of options to please those fussy little ones.
There’s even a kids’ club and games room in the compound itself – who says you have to go out to have fun? At Rahat Icon Hotel, even staying in is an enjoyment in itself.
You might have to book two rooms because there are no large rooms here, but for what they are offering you and the cutthroat price, we think it’s completely worth it.
While interconnecting rooms are available here, you can opt for the larger suites and buy extra bed space for the benefit of a family room, where the whole family can gather and bond at nights.
4-3. Escape to a beachside sunset haven – Bukit Berahu Resort (from USD $37)
Running away from real life with a loved one? Why not escape to this little beachside haven and enjoy some private time with each other?
Photo by rina sihotang
The first resort to introduce the concept of beachside wooden cottages in Belitung Island, Bukit Berahu resort is conveniently located on the beach – and not just any beach. At this beach, you’ll be able to catch some of the loveliest sunset views around. Better yet, you can do that right from the comfort of your own terrace.
Photo by gilanghamidy
Snuggle up in these snug wooden cabins and open the door to a miraculous view every day. You can’t escape from the view here, when even the restaurant features a sweeping vista of the white sand and rocky beach.
Photo by perfectessa
And if you’re imagining all the mosquitos and discomfort you’ll face living out in a cabin, let them go poof! All cottages are fully air-conditioned and even have cable TV!
Perfect views, perfect comfort and perfect price… where else can you find a better worry killer?
4-4. Teleport to another world – Billiton Hotel and Klub (from USD $49)
Travel back to the past at Billiton Hotel and Klub, a stately Dutch Colonial style building in the heart of Belitung’s main city, Tanjung Pandan.
Your escape from modern day worries will be made complete as this gorgeous hotel transports you into another world entirely. Marvel at the many antiques from days gone by adorning this place, and chill out in spacious, sunlight-filled rooms with gorgeous garden views.
Photo by travellingwithal
From regular-sized comfort to a gigantic suite with a separate living room and pantry, Billiton Hotel offers different levels of luxury to suit your needs. They even offer a Honeymoon Package that includes aromatherapy in the privacy of your room, and a swoony candlelight dinner at Verandah, the poolside in-house restaurant.
The hotel is also only 14 minutes away from the nearest beach, Pantai Tanjung Pandem, perfect for the re-enactment of that favourite drama scene. For more island-y fun, you can also head to Billiton’s Beach Club at the private Kepayang Island, and kick-start your island-hopping journey there.
It’s time to throw away the 21st century – an entirely new world is waiting for you!
As much as we’d like to lie around all day and photosynthesize in the sun, biological needs can’t be ignored.
While there are admittedly not a lot of dining choices you can find here (most of the restaurants are all within resorts), rest assured, for it’s quality over quantity. Here are some unique dining/drinking spots where you can fill your bellies up in Belitung!
5-1. Experience Belitung’s finest seafood on the beach – Sahang Beachfront Cafe & Resto
Part of the Arumdalu resort, Sahang Beachfront Cafe & Resto sits on the beachfront in South Belitung. This area is known for the freshest seafood on the island, which mean your tastebuds are in for a treat!
Photo via alfonst, elisa eliz
Sahang Beachfront Cafe & Resto combines freshly-caught seafood, edible wild plants and their own organic farm products to create unique international dishes. Don’t miss out on the famous Zori-ebi slipper prawn, and the Japanese-inspired Kaiseki Bird in a Cage! There’s also the signature Arumdalu mocktail, which is made with handpicked ingredients from the resort’s organic farm.
Photo via arumdaluresort
Are the dishes that we’ve mentioned already whetting your appetite? Well, this restaurant may be big on the food, but it’s not all just about eating here. If you favour atmosphere, this beachfront restaurant may have exactly what you’re looking for. Although the restaurant’s scenic location is already prime for a romantic dinner, you can also request for a private dinner setup to surprise your loved one!
If seafood isn’t really your thing, fret not – Sahang Beachfront Cafe & Resto offers a variety of international, Chinese and local cuisine, so there’ll always be something for everyone.
Photo via 27vakantiedagen
5-2. Have a taste of traditional local coffee – Warung Kupi Kuli
This traditional coffee shop is situated within Museum Kata Andrea Hirata – the perfect pick-me-up when you’re tired from all the reading.
Photo by abi 85
The aged wooden building and its wooden stools and tables create a vintage atmosphere, which is complemented by some of the tastiest local coffee around and a fried banana or two. You’ll even get to watch the whole process of traditional coffee-making!
Photo by Steven Edwin, rudierha, r djangkaru
If you really love the taste of this coffee, you can also choose to buy it packaged in lovely little bottles. We’d say that it would be a great souvenir if this is your last stop, but we fear you’ll end up drinking it all before you even step out of the museum.
5-3. Have a relaxing meal on a private beach – Kampong Dedaun
A short 5-min drive away from Tanjung Tinggi beach, Kampong Dedaun offers a local fine-dining experience, along with the comfort of a private beach.
Photo by fidomfs,anggapermadi
Here’s where you can laze away in a lounge chair right on the beach, watching the waves crash soothingly onto the shore. Or, you could (or should) try out their seafood dishes, including the Gangan Ketarap, Kampong Dedaun’s signature fish head soup dish.
Photo by er.pertiwi
Good food, good views, what else could you possibly need? If your answer is fun… Kampong Dedaun has that too. Bicycles are provided for you to burn off those calories, and you can even kayak or play with fireworks on the beach!
Photo by evasilviana 2
How’s that for a wholesome meal?
5-4. Sing, eat and jam to live music – Unique Bistro
Since you’re here in Belitung, why not meet some locals and have a smashing time together? If that sounds like your type of fun, Unique Bistro might be your ideal dinner choice.
This open-air beach restaurant is where everyone hip gathers for a fun time. Local bands jam out here starting from 8pm, but if you’ll prefer to sing yourself, the bistro also has karaoke available for its guests.