Beli-where? I obtained a number of confused seems to be once I stated I used to be headed to Belitung. Most Singaporeans are solely accustomed to Bali as a vacation vacation spot in Indonesia, and for the time-strapped ones it’s Batam or Bintan as an alternative, however there are over eight,000 islands within the Indonesian archipelago and I’m fairly stoked to introduce Belitung, a comparatively untouched treasure that was as soon as solely recognized for tin-mining however is being touted because the ‘new Bali’ with its lovely seashores and signature giant granite boulders.
Because of Garuda Indonesia who invited me to take a look at this new spot on their inaugural continuous flight from Singapore to Belitung that they launched in October 2018.
- 1 Tips on how to get to Belitung
- 2 How a lot time to spend in Belitung?
- 3 Tanjung Kelayang + North Islands
- 4 Leebong Island
- 5 Tanjung Pandan – Metropolis Centre
- 6 East Belitung
Tips on how to get to Belitung
Belitung is part of the Bangka-Belitung Islands, situated east of Palembang in South Sumatra. Garuda Indonesia is the primary airline to supply continuous flights from Singapore to Belitung – beforehand you’d have needed to transit in Jakarta or Palembang. It takes simply 50 minutes to get from Changi Airport to H.A.S. Hanandjoeddin Worldwide Airport in Tanjung Pandan (TJQ).
Right here’s the Garuda Indonesia schedule as of Dec 2018:
SIN > TJQ: depart 1720 (Mon, Wed, Fri) or 1730 (Solar) – arrive in Tanjung Pandan 1750 (Mon, Wed, Fri) or 1800 (Solar)
TJQ > SIN: depart 1450 – arrive in Singapore 1620 (Mon, Wed, Fri, Solar)
Observe Belitung’s time is +7 GMT (1 hour forward of Singapore)
H.A.S. Hanandjoeddin Worldwide Airport is a tiny airport, a type of the place you get to stroll throughout the tarmac with none aerobridges or fancy duty-free outlets, so don’t plan to spend an excessive amount of time hanging out on the airport.
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How a lot time to spend in Belitung?
You possibly can technically do a fast weekend journey to Belitung for those who take a half day on Friday and fly again on Sunday – that leaves you simply 1 full Saturday and Sunday morning to do stuff which is fairly tight, but when that’s on a regular basis you’ve, concentrate on the island hopping within the northwest space.
Ideally you must spend at the very least 4D3N in Belitung to get a style of quite a lot of actions past the island hopping, particularly if you wish to take a look at East Belitung. Belitung is 6x the dimensions of Singapore and it takes 1.5-2 hours to get from Tanjung Pandan throughout to East Belitung.
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Tanjung Kelayang + North Islands
The primary factor to do in Belitung is to island hop and benefit from the lovely seashores, and top-of-the-line locations to take a look at is Tanjung Kelayang within the northwestern nook of Belitung Island, about half an hour’s drive from the city centre of Tanjung Pandan.
I recommend dedicating at the least in the future to island hopping by way of boat, and to select a weekday when it’s a lot quieter. Dry season is from April to September – I visited in October and we did encounter some wet days as you’ll see from the pix, however take into account you’re within the tropics, rain occurs anytime it needs to in these elements.
Tanjung Tinggi Seashore
Tanjung Tinggi is probably the most well-known seashore in Belitung because it was one of many key filming places for the 2008 film Laskar Pelangi or the Rainbow Troops (see the trailer right here), which was tailored from the award profitable ebook by Andrea Hirata, a author who made his mark on the worldwide circuit together with his story based mostly on his childhood in Belitung.
The seashore was fairly quiet on a weekday, however from the variety of stalls arrange round I’m fairly positive it will get fairly crowded on weekends. The sand was very nice, wonderful white grains and delightful clear blue waters. There are many the massive granite boulders that Belitung is understood for scattered alongside the coast – we took a little bit of a stroll and clambered round them for a fantastic sea view.
Tanjung Kelayang Seashore
A lot of the northern island hopping excursions begin from this seashore a brief drive away from Tanjung Tinggi. There’s a big plaza and really mushy white sand and a bunch of eating places and eateries situated round right here. In the event you moderately not take a ship, this seashore appears like a pleasant various to hang around at, although I’d stroll a bit additional down the seashore to keep away from boat visitors.
Burung Island + Garuda Rock
One of many photograph stops on the boat tour of the north Belitung islands is that this uncommon rock on Burung Island that is called the Garuda Rock or Batu Garuda as a result of it seems very bird-like with a beak. The Garuda is an eagle or phoenix-like legendary creature that’s additionally Indonesia’s nationwide image used of their coat of arms.
Sometimes the boats cease far out for one of the best photograph ops as a result of you possibly can’t see the Garuda in case you are too shut, and in addition vacationers aren’t allowed to land on the island lately to raised protect it.
Lengkuas Island + Snorkelling
Lengkuas Island is one other Belitung icon due to the distinctive lighthouse that stands 12-storeys tall and was constructed over 100 years previous by the Dutch in 1882. You’ll be able to climb as much as the third degree of the lighthouse for a panoramic view, however we encountered some fairly heavy rain whereas on the island so I spent extra time having fun with the positive white sand and climbing across the big boulders.
Kelayang Island + Swimming Cave
Kelayang Island didn’t appear notably exceptional at first, till our guides took us on a bit of stroll by way of the island’s vegetation. A brief scramble by means of typically slippery rock pathways and jungle, we ended up in a cute little cowl amidst the boulders the place you’ll be able to swim and discover the rocks within the water. I’d already turned into dry garments at this level so I didn’t get within the water, however value testing.
Extra lovely seashores (are you uninterested in me saying that but) may be discovered on Kepayang Island, nevertheless it’s common largely as a result of it has a big restaurant space serving up nice BBQ seafood, and showers + bogs so you’ll be able to clear up after all of the water and sand actions. We loved chilling out with some beer after a busy morning of exercise.
Keep: Eco Seashore Tent by Billiton
If you wish to keep someplace quiet with an awesome view, take a look at Eco Seashore Tent by Billiton, situated down the seashore from Tanjung Kelayang on the primary Belitung island. We spent a night right here having tea and testing their seashore, and it’s actually peaceable and serene. In case you are fortunate, you’ll get to see a stunning orange sky because the solar units.
There are only a handful of huts at Eco Seashore Tent dealing with the ocean, constructed with sustainability and eco-consciousness in thoughts. The rooms are particular person little huts impressed by and constructed utilizing native supplies, they usually also have a turtle conservation programme on Kepayang Island.
Take a look at Eco Seashore Tent by Billiton on reserving.com [affiliate link] or go to their web site for extra info.
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Leebong Island is situated off the west coast of Belitung, they usually supply a day tour package deal that allows you to go to the instagrammable sand bar island, do a little bit of a mangrove tour after which sit back on Leebong Island for lunch and water sports activities. You possibly can keep in a single day at Leebong Island as properly if you wish to – they’ve some fascinating locations to remain in if you’d like one thing somewhat totally different.
To get to Sand Bar and Leebong Island, head to Pegantungan Harbour to get a ship that may deliver you on somewhat tour. Extra information right here.
Sand Bar Island + Mangroves
This intriguing island isn’t even actually an island, however a sandbar that seems and disappears relying on the tide, however some savvy people arrange some swings and hammocks reworking this random spot in the midst of the water into an Instagram paradise. Examine the tides earlier than visiting! Alongside the best way, make sure that to take a look at the mangrove timber as nicely – we handed by means of a reasonably slender channel with the branches brushing up towards the boat and received an up shut take a look at the mangroves.
Keep: Leebong Island
We stopped over at Leebong Island to have lunch and loosen up for a bit. This recreation island gives actions like kayaking, SUP, seashore volleyball amongst different issues, and in addition has some very nice seashores and waters value hanging out in. I used to be glad sufficient consuming from a coconut and strolling across the place.
When you’ve got the time, I’d additionally take a look at their cool stayover choices, together with a 2-storey bungalow and a very cool treehouse! Take a look at extra on their web site.
Tanjung Pandan – Metropolis Centre
Tanjung Pandan on the west aspect of the island is the primary metropolis centre of Belitung Island (and the place the airport is situated. In case you are brief on time, this might in all probability be the perfect place to base your self in.
Treetop views and Tarsiers at Bukit Peramun
We reached the Peramun Hills within the late afternoon as our primary aim was to go hunt for the uncommon Tarsier monkey (extra on that under), however whereas we have been ready for night time to fall and these nocturnal creatures to emerge, we took a little bit of a hike by means of the tree-covered hills of the Peramun Hills.
The trek is pretty brief (about 30 minutes) and properly marked – I recommend sporting respectable footwear as a result of there are loads of leaves and probably slippery rocks, and it will get a bit steep at factors however in any other case the trek is sort of doable for many. I want we’d gotten there a bit of earlier as a result of there have been some pretty views of the forest cover from above that I might have wish to see with a bit of extra mild, however alas it was a bit cloudy that day.
Because it acquired darkish, our guides introduced us again right down to the start line and went on a little bit of a hunt to seek out the elusive tarsiers, these tiny monkeys with big eyes that may solely be discovered on sure islands in Malaysia, Indonesia and Philippines. They referred to as us over once they discovered one – we needed to shoot shortly as vibrant lights aren’t nice for his or her delicate eyes, however it was actually cool with the ability to see them within the wild.
Kaolin Lake for that IG shot
One of many photographic highlights of Belitung is that this aqua blue lake surrounded by white stone which we stopped by on our solution to the airport. The lake was shaped from the Kaolin mining on the island, and you may see a number of of those uncommon blue patches whenever you fly over the island (get a window seat!). It was fairly overcast so the blue was kinda milky, however there’s one thing fairly surreal concerning the white and blue mixture.
This one continues to be a functioning mining space, so you possibly can’t get too shut – cranes have been working whereas we have been there – there’s a carpark and a fence that you need to keep behind for security.
Mie Atep – Conventional Belitung Noodles
One of many conventional native meals to eat in Belitung is Mie Belitung, and the perfect place to eat it in is Mie Atep. The store seems to be deceivingly small from the doorway however truly has extra seats hidden within the again. It’s additionally widespread with celebrities whose pictures line the partitions close to the doorway.
Mie Belitung is a yellow egg noodle dish soaked in a sweetish shrimp gravy topped with bean sprouts, cucumber, shrimp, potato, egg and topped with the marginally sourish keropok. I personally choose one thing extra savoury, nevertheless it was a reasonably fascinating dish. The portion isn’t very massive although, wash your meal down with the citrusy Jeruk Kunci.
Seize a cuppa at Kong Djie
Belitung is understood for wonderful espresso, and one of the best place to attempt the native brew is on the oldest espresso store on Belitung – Kong Djie. There are a number of branches in Tanjung Pandan, however this one at Jalan Siburik is the unique outlet that’s all the time crowded with locals and vacationers alike. Black espresso (Kopi O) or espresso with milk (Kopi susu) are the star gadgets right here, however I made a decision on their iced milk chocolate (coklat susu), which was refreshing however not too candy.
I appreciated the native chillax vibe of the place – it’s not a flowery cafe and there are automobiles/vans rumbling by this busy junction, and you must hold the flies from attacking your kueh snacks on the desk, however you do get that native coffeeshop vibe.
Drinks value between eight,000 – 18,000 IDR (S$1-2) relying on what you order. Open day by day 6am – 11pm, extra at their Fb web page.
Keep: Fairfield by Marriott
We stayed on the Fairfield by Marriott lodge, one of many newer and fancier resorts that yow will discover in Belitung as we speak, although it appears like extra new gamers might be getting into the market within the coming years. I had a pool view room on the primary degree, which was good however I kinda want that the balcony wasn’t sealed up and I might entry the pool immediately from my deck. The rooms have been undoubtedly snug and repair was good. I’d contemplate springing for an ocean-view room because it’s proper by the ocean – there’s a seashore close by however it’s not as fairly as Belitung’s different seashores.
We had a reasonably tight schedule and spent most of our days outdoors, solely getting again to the lodge at night time, so sadly (and in addition as a result of I’m ineffective within the mornings) my photographs are all fairly dim night time photographs. There aren’t that many facilities close by – it’s essential to catch a journey to get to the most important downtown space in Tanjung Pandan.
The rooms vary from round 650,000-2,100,000 IDR (S$60-$200) – My room value about 750,000 IDR (S$70) per night time. Take a look at Fairfield by Marriott on reserving.com [affiliate link] or on their web site for extra.
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Belitung is quite a bit greater than I assumed it will be – it’s about 6x the dimensions of Singapore! However in addition to Tanjung Pandan and the islands, I’d advocate making the 1.5-2 hour drive throughout the island to East Belitung when you’ve got the time to spare and take a look at Gantung and Manggar as properly.
We have been supposed to take a look at a couple of different sights right here just like the Kwan Im Goddess Temple and the Burung Mandi or Chook Tub seashore, however alas we have been fairly tight on time and needed to skip these spots.
Study Belitung’s literary hero at Museum Kata Andrea Hirata
In the event you’ve been questioning what all of the fuss about Laskar Pelangi or the Rainbow Troops is about, you possibly can study extra concerning the guide at this vibrant little museum within the writer’s hometown of Gantung. Arrange in 2010, this open-air museum was set as much as encourage different younger individuals of Belitung to dream past their village, so the reveals about Hirata additionally function many different well-known authors and literature amidst vibrant cheery partitions. Don’t go anticipating something tremendous fancy, and the doorway ticket features a copy of the well-known Laskar Pelangi so you’ll be able to learn it for your self.
Entrance payment 50,000 IDR (S$5), open 930am – 5pm, Extra on the web site.
Laskar Pelangi Faculty
One of many main units used within the 2008 Laskar Pelangi film was the SD Muhammadiyah Gantong elementary faculty constructing set and you may go to a reproduction of it right here in Gantung. I extremely advocate testing the film when you can beforehand, as a result of it gained’t actually make sense in case you simply go to it with none background information – by itself it’s a moderately ramshackle wanting constructing with 2 lecture rooms you can enter and fake to be a scholar in, however that’s actually about it should you don’t have some other context. There are some meals and souvenirs outlets in a mini ‘village’ on the entrance space of this vacationer spot.
Entrance payment three,000 IDR (that’s like… S$zero.30)
Decide up native batik at Galeri Daun Simpor
In case you are trying to decide up souvenirs, pop by the Galeri Daun Simpor in Gantung the place you’ll be able to see batik making demonstrations and decide up some batik items with native impressed prints. We arrived round lunch time and the women have been all resting then, however it’s not a nasty pit cease after an extended experience over from Tanjung Pandan.
Throughout the street is a standard Belitung home generally known as Ahok’s Home – Ahok is the hakka nickname of the previous Jakarta governor (2014-2017) Basuki Tjahaja Purnama and this was his childhood home.
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I solely spent a couple of days in Belitung and if I had extra time, I’d wish to discover the east aspect of Belitung and maybe the southern bits of the island a bit of extra, however as a primary style, I actually loved my brief time there and assume it’s undoubtedly value a fast getaway, particularly if you wish to keep away from the tried and examined vacationer hotspots. Learn a bit extra about it over on the Fantastic Indonesia web site.
Have you ever been to Belitung? Inform me what I ought to return to take a look at.
Take a look at all my Indonesia posts for extra.