Written by Beverley Lennon
Co-written by Nadia Crowe
Edited by Beverley Lennon
Long weekend? School holidays, or simply keen for a treat? Time for an island getaway somewhere close by! Somewhere with great weather, nice beaches and unique places to explore!
Malaysian islands like Langkawi, Perhentian or Tioman are a classic but probably filled with other people looking to get away too and they are such a hassle to get to, alas you need somewhere you can fly into easily! See and do what others have not! You will definitely want to skip the usuals when you get to know that a mere 2-hour flight can take you to a cluster of lesser-known exotic islands – Belitung!
With pure and pristine beaches, Belitung is gaining exposure and is now ready to welcome tourists with attractions, landmarks and resorts! The main island is surrounded by numerous offshore islands with matching charm and beauty!
Don your swimsuit, but also your greed and hunger for seafood because this 5D4N itinerary to Belitung will be a feast for both your eyes and stomach! Just picture your next seafood feast by the beach… rhymes with perfect island getaway doesn’t it?!
Ready, set, pack and go! (P.S. Get a window seat for the best of views!)
8 Untouched day-trip beach destinations in Thousand Islands where you can escape from Jakarta, with 2D1N options!
Belitung is slowly becoming one of Indonesia’s most sought after destinations – Batam who? This first-timers itinerary will let you experience as much as possible of this incredible island.
You’ll go from the North to the South, base yourself in the West and take day trips to the East, you’ll eat like the locals do and head to untouched paradises, all in a mere 5 days!
Skip the crowds of Bintan or Bali, experience an island yet to be compromised by tourists, all the while discovering amazing coffee shops and roaming around pristine beaches!
Getting to Belitung
Eat and do like the locals from West to South!
There’s no better feeling than stepping off the plane and realising you’ve arrived at your holiday destination, especially when it’s an island!!
Once you’ve gotten through the airport, and sorted out all the boring details, you’re ready to start, finally!
Your first day will be filled with landscapes that look like they come from different planets, refreshing swims, and your first taste of the beach life.
Tucking into flavourful Indonesian food should be part of your holiday while in Belitung and this is how you start your first day on the island!
Strive to find a seat and indulge in their sweet shrimp homemade noodle soup – a must-try on the island (based on locals’ recommendation!). Expect a delicious concoction of sweet broth, yellow noodles, potatoes, fried shrimps, bean sprouts topped with crispy crackers. Their stuffed crab shells are a big hit too!
Fun fact: It’s so popular that even celebrities have dined there!
Photo Via Widhnugroho, Mario_susilo
Check in and drop your bags off at your hotel so you can roam free without having to lug them around!
Photo Via Fairfieldbelitung, Bennybong74, Fairfieldbelitung
You should expect the unexpected while travelling around in Belitung as the island has been blessed with unique and surreal natural attractions such as the famous Danau Kaolin.
This cotton castle is the result of past mining activities that have transformed the surroundings into a real phenomenon.
You are bound to fall for the gleaming all-white landscape, beautified by milky blue waters where you simply pose with as a backdrop! But no swimming is allowed!
Photo Via Poinovella
Tip: This is not an official tourist attraction, so please do not expect facilities to be available, as the place has not been developed for visiting purposes.
While in Belitung, you won’t have to head to a luxury hotel to enjoy a swoosh in a beautiful infinity pool because guess what?! Nature has created one in the middle of lush greenery and it is one that is hard to compete with.
In all privacy and peace, enjoy a refreshing dip with a 300-metre-high panoramic view in this pond-like natural pool that stretches out to infinity and beyond…
Fit for the faint-hearted, this 10 minutes trek is perfect for couples, families or anyone looking to unwind from the worries of daily life.
Photo Via Irw_montrachet
After a day filled with adventure, it’s time to drop your anchor at Sahang Beachfront Café & Resto for an early dinner.
The restaurant unites the freshest produce and puts in so much dedication in the presentation of its dishes.
Overlooking ocean views, visitors haul in a mouth-watering variety of meals but the chef’s recommendations (which also happen to be guests’ favourites) include the Bird in a Cage – choice of chicken or duck seasoned with 10 Indonesian spices and guaranteeing an explosion of flavours as well as the Mango Zori Ebi – freshly caught prawn topped with Seliu Mango, presented on a seashore decorated plate.
Photo Via Sahangresto
Hop, hop, hop from one island to the next!
There’s no better way to spend a day than boating from island to island, and Belitung could not be better placed for island hopping. Why visit one spot when you can see many different landscapes in a single trip? With sublime beaches at every turn and the most relaxing of vibes, it’s no surprise that Belitung island hopping is bound to be on beach lovers’ bucket lists.
After a hearty breakfast at your hotel, head to Tanjung Kelayang and board a boat for your day out island hopping!
At Tanjung Kelayang, simply charter a private boat or share it with other visitors. But you might want to do all necessary bookings prior to your tour (we recommend at least 2 days before to ensure boat availability).
Tours are sold on a “per person per day” basis and the more people you manage to gather, the cheaper it is (approximately USD $24 per person per day for tour of 15 pax). While most tours offer lunch as part of their packages, you might want to opt out and pack your own (bring and share anyone?).
While you may customize your tour to your liking and interest; please note that some of the islands proposed below have admission fees for conservation and preservation purposes (Rp. 5,000 per person for Pulau Lengkuas; Rp.15,000 per person for Pulau Babi).
Hop on board if what you are looking for is a balance of exhilaration and relaxation, adventure and pampering!
Island 1: Enjoy drop-dead gorgeous views atop a lighthouse at Pulau Lengkuas
Adorned by an iconic lighthouse built in the 1880s, Pulau Lengkuas is not only a charming island of majestic beauty but it’s also part of Belitung’s history.
Head up the lighthouse via its spiral staircase and be greeted by an ultimate 360-degree view of the azure water surrounding this fascinating island. Though you are only allowed to reach till the third floor (out of 18), the view is still mesmerising. Not a single skyscraper to obstruct the view!
Breathe in the freshness of the sea, and breathe out the cares of the day!
Photo Via Inkkyarista
Island 2: Swim and snorkel your way through transparent waters at Pulau Babi
Literally any island surrounding Belitung mainland is paradisiac. Really! You can’t go wrong visiting them but Pulau Babi is something else – it’s so clear, you’ll almost think you are in an aquarium or on a postcard!
Every 20-something should come here. Okay we take that back, everyone should come here once in their lifetime. What’s to love? The laid back atmosphere and the bluest waters caressing the shores, as though you were on a deserted island on a TV show!
Photo Via Fery_julian, Hanapotrait, Laksamanaeye
Island 3: Get lost in between giant granite rocks at Pulau Batu Berlayar
If seashells are what you usually look out for at the beach, this island is bound to upgrade your hunt to giant granite rocks!
Scattered all around on the shores, these rocks are real natural phenomenon surrounded by crystal clear waters! Have fun posing and hiding behind them!
Photo Via Antonchandra
Island 4: Head underwater among lively colourful corals at Pulau Batu Garuda
The water at Pulau Batu Garuda is the perfect shade of blue and screams “COME SWIM IN ME!”.
Besides its near-perfect visibility, it is home to many treasures – gardens of corals boasting in various colours hide schools of fish on their quest for some fresh algae feast. Put on your mask and fins and slip right in!
Photo Via Bayu_afriyadi
Island 5: Lie on a sandbar surrounded by starfishes at Pulau Pasir
Although it is originally an island, this place has got everything to be a sandbar.
Lie in the middle of the ocean, surrounded by year-round crystal clear waters dotted by giant starfishes!
Did You Know: One starfish can create another one without mating!
Note: Avoid taking starfishes out of water as they struggle to find their way back to the sea and often die from suffocation if left out for too long! We highly recommend not touching them as any sunscreen residue or bacteria on your hands are extremely toxic to them!
Photo Via _febrian
Interacting with locals helps you see things from other people’s perspective – set for sunset time at Tanjung Binga and have a chat with the local fishermen, get to know their daily lives while you relish on a sky show with hues of orange and tones of blue merging like an abstract painting.
Photo Via Novian_altelucav, Antonchandra, Arraster
Get a taste of what it’s like living on an island close to your favourite sea creatures! Feast on fresh crab, fish, lobster, and squid straight out of the sea at this oceanside restaurant. Their dishes are best accompanied with a side of sautéed vegetables and they all come at super affordable prices!
You may come for the beautiful view, but you’ll leave with dreams of lobster and freshly caught crabs; this restaurant redefines “cheap seafood by the beach”!
Photo Via Batugaruda.Seafoodbelitung
Road trip to the East for spectacular scenery and best views!
It’s time to head inland, where the crowds are thin, as things become a little less explored. Experience culture, art, and incredible landscapes. Top it all off with some delicious local food and the first of many coffee shops!
Famous for their pork noodles, Bakmi Achoi is a must for anyone who wants to taste the best food that Belitung has to offer. They often say less is more, and this is definitely the case for these simple yet tasty noodles!
This place is so good, that crowds line up from the early hours of the morning just to get a little taste, make sure you get there nice and early too!
Photo Via Sudjiii, Foodirectory
East Belitung hides a spectacular, rugged landscape where you can find the ruins of an abandoned tin mine which dates back to the ‘90s!
The way to the open pit is a challenging one, get ready to take a deep breath and hike up the terraces to soak in the amazing views of the greenish lake surrounded by lush flora.
The location is best explored with the help of a tour guide who will find adequate paths to ensure a smooth experience!
Photo Via Herry.sulistya
Ask true beach lovers to name a favorite swath of sea and sand in Belitung, and the answer changes with the tides. Thankfully, the island is surrounded and covered in oceans, seas, and lakes, which means there’s a beach to indulge any whim.
With its multiple colourful traditional boats aligned perfectly, this beach goes unnoticed to none!
If you are keen to mingle with locals and other international visitors, drop by there for some memorable moments. Take a turn on the swing and get lost in the ocean views!
Stroll along a beach walk and take a soothing dip in the clear water – it’s an awesome post-hiking remedy!
Photo Via Jimeowam_, Siti.fajriah, Nyjulesrotty
This restaurant offers the best and freshest fusion dishes with a prime ingredient – seafood!
But seafood is not the only thing that Rumah Makan Fega masters, you will surely enjoy a great meal but the view does not get any better!
Take in views of the stunning lake while you breathe in the delicious smell of your seafood plates getting ready. Just like dining aboard the Titanic, this restaurant is sure to satisfy more than just your stomach!
Photo Via I_pratita, Evatriana_rachel
If you are not aware, the island of Belitung was first introduced to people through an incredible story known as The Rainbow Troops (a book written by Andrea Hirata in 2007).
The bestseller was sold around the world with shattering records and Andrea Hirata subsequently set up a literary museum in Belitung to commemorate the success, allowing you to immerse yourself in the story!
Read it and visit it, you will feel like you’ve become part of the story! Unlike your traditional museum visit, expect an interactive one where you are bound to put your creativity into practice for the best shots!
Doors on the ceiling? Why not? They open millions of possibilities!
P.S. Now you know why the museum is decked in rainbow colours – blame it on the novel’s title!
Photo Via Fennylaveniashi
Notice that Belitung has an incredible coffee culture (blame it on their Dutch influences) and you should not miss it! Surely, you will get an eye roll or two while fighting your way through this local coffee shop to find an empty seat but you won’t regret a tad bit when you get to sip its strong brew served at incredibly affordable prices!
Contradictory to your usual over commercialized coffee shop chains, this coffee joint in Belitung does not serve different types of frappes or cappuccinos; what you’ll be getting is a modest warung (casual dining experience) with a choice of either black coffee or milk coffee….
Fun fact: You won’t come across any coffee plantation in Belitung (most of the coffee beans are brought in from Lampung!), but you will find many coffee shops around the island. There are so many of them that the town of Manggar has been nicknamed the City of 1,001 Coffee Shops!
Photo Via Niknicktea
At least one of your nights in Belitung calls for a memorable feast on traditional specialties and nowhere does it better than RM Belitong Timpo Duluk!
At first glance, the interior will leave you in awe as bicycles, baskets and all sort of knick knacks and antique items are scattered around, so it’s charming and welcoming for an authentic dinner experience!
From its setting to its cuisine, you are sure to be transported to local cultures! The local dining experience involves dishes being shared among a minimum of 4 people on a long table so forget about your picky tastes tonight. Dishes that are to-die-for are their local satays, coconut milk curries and fish soup served in a young coconut (a bomb mix of flavours!).
Keen for some dose of spiciness? Add in their traditional sambal to tickle your palate!
Photo Via Dsyzhuang
Conquer mountains and refresh in cooling waterfalls!
After beaches and culture, there’s really only one more thing left for your to do – hike up one of Belitung’s tallest mountains, then cool off in the waterfall below. Finish off your final full day with one last beach sunset, and start stocking up on some souvenirs for your loved ones at home!
With over 11 franchises all over Indonesia, and this one being the original, you know you can rely on Kong Djie for top notch coffee. Head over and grab a strong dose of caffeine as you have a long active day ahead! Keep things simple with one of their black coffee with milk so you can truly taste the local take on everyone’s favourite bean juice!
Photo Via Fairfieldbelitung
Having a good balance of relaxation and active moments during a holiday is vital to its success. That’s why a hike to the top of Belitung’s tallest mountain is in order! Not to worry for those of you who feel you may not be fit enough, despite being the tallest, it’s actually only 510m tall!
In roughly 60 – 90 minutes you’ll have scaled the beast and reached the top, with sprawling views of the rest of the island, you’ll feel like all your efforts were completely worth it!
Photo Via Yant_yanto
There’s no better feeling than jumping in ice cold water after a few hours of exerting your body! Within 45 minutes of departing from the top of Gunung Tajam, you should be back at the bottom and ready to cool off in the refreshing waters of Gurok Beraye, a fantastic waterfall!
Photo Via Lviaozz_
After all the calories burned during your little hike, there’s plenty of room in your stomach for a hearty meal and you can never go wrong with seafood! What’s best about this restaurant though, is the souvenir shop attached to it!
Get a head start on all your shopping, and pick up a few trinkets to take back home and give to your loved ones.
Photo Via Fransgallate, Rikacatering, Devidevoth
Being on an island, sunsets are best experienced from the edges of the ocean! Pick a secluded spot, lay down your sarong and have a little siesta before jumping into the water to have one final moment in the ocean.
Once you see the sun begin to set, take a moment to soak up the last bits of your holiday, watch the colours of the sky flip from blue, to light yellow to a deep orange, and finally to a soft purple. A perfect ending!
Photo Via Madhityaz
Gangan is a type of curry, and one of the traditional cuisines of Belitung, with their own special spice mixtures, your taste buds will be in for a treat! Make sure to order a little bit of everything, you deserve to feast on your last night in Belitung!
If you love it, make sure to snap a picture of their blackboard where they state the ingredients that go into making the delicious fish curry, time for some experimenting at home!
Photo Via Sweeta-Octavianti, Leonie-Piccadilly
There’s always room for dessert! Indonesia is famed for its sweet martabaks, and many even say that Hok Lo Pan is where the spongy delicacy originated, head on down to taste the classic, and the more adventurous.
Maybe even bring some home so you can munch on them for longer!
Photo Via JWP, William-Ariowibowo-Kadar, Atungliem-Liem, Cnlulaby
Souvenir shopping and a century old coffee shop stop before leaving!
As always, a holiday must come to an end, but make sure to take some trinkets back home with you so you can always remember how much fun you had!
Take home a slice of Belitung with edible souvenirs to gift to friends and family, and fill your own kitchen cupboards!
This traditional outlet offers a range of local crackers, fish floss and shrimp paste to fill your suitcase with so forget the usual tacky souvenirs this time! They are delectable and ripe with authentic local flavours that might get your friends to consider Belitung as their next island getaway!
Photo Via Dlaiqa
Make it a holiday ritual, start planning your next visit to Belitung at a coffee stop at Waroeng Kopi Ake!
The local coffee joint has been standing proudly and serving one of the island’s best coffee for more than a century! Back in those days, young Dutch hipsters would come to the coffee house, newspaper in hand and saunter away their time, admiring one another’s get-ups, but today visitors flock to the local spot for a warm and indulging coffee boost prior to their next adventure!