This time our journey takes us to Bangka Belitung Islands, an Island located east of the Sumatran mainland and northeast of South Sumatra province. Bangka Belitung Islands was once part of it but now became a province on its own. We travel with speedboat crossing Palembang to Muntok and it took us 3 hours to reach there. Muntok is the capital city of west Bangka in here you’ll find historical attractions located just outside the harbor, this place is known as Cape of Kalian Beach and from a far distance you could see the 65 meter lighthouse still standing firm, this is a Dutch heritage lighthouse which was built in 1862. The place offers a form of memorials of the 21 Australian nurses that became victims of bombings by the Japanese vessel in World War II, from a distance you could still see the remaining shipwreck laying there on the beach.
We carry on our journey eastwards by road to Sungai Liat city, one of the main city to explore beaches. Sungai liat city is also known for the cleanest city in Indonesia, after 1 hours drive from Muntok to Sungailiat we stopped at our first destination Tanjung Pesona beach or known for Cape of Charm beach 9 km away from Sungai Liat situated between Teluk uber and Tikus beach. This beach has trees in the background and white sandy beach overlooking the high seas. The turquoise water with blasting waves and large collections of gigantic rocks creates an exotic panorama. Not far from the beach there’s Tanjung Pesona beach resort a 3 stars hotel that offers a serene and peaceful sea view cottages. We took a short tour around the hotel and precede our journey to Tikus beach. This beach is located in Rebo Village, Kenanga Urban Village around Sungai liat district, the beach is quite unique because it has a concave shape form and surrounded by hills. We went to the hilltop and witness this breathtaking view that stunned us instantly from a distance. In the middle of the turquoise color sea lays a large collection of stacked stones just a few meters away from the hill that we stood, standing among the hills and the sparkling clear blue-green sea and huge granite rocks make us feel so small and powerless because we felt the has a greater powerl there. After enjoying the view we continue to Matras beach located 20km north from Sungailiat, with its 3 km long and 30 meters Matras beach is known for the best beach in Bangka and some even call it as “Heaven Beach”. You can go swimming, barbeque, or simply take a long walk and enjoy the stunning view of coastal rocks from a far distance. The color of the sea in here is so blue that it looks as if it bounces the color of the sky.
We continue heading south to Batu Bedaun beach or “Leafy stone”, why is it called that way is because of the tree that grows in the middle of the large gigantic stones in the sea, you can easily see them raising up in the middle. This beach is located adjacent to Parai Tenggiri beach quite unique and became a favorite spot for teen lovers in that area to spend their afternoon together. There are a lot of colorful boats bounded along the coast available for those who want to cross to the rocks islands. Not far from Batu Bedaun beach is our resting place, we are staying in 4 stars beach resort called Parai beach Resort & Spa the first and the biggest hotels still standing. The beach is also known as Hakok beach and Tenggiri beach a more popular one by the Bangka people. The resort provides variety of water sports, hill adventures and outbound activities as well as international standards sports facilities; their tennis court is often used by the Asian Olympic Competition. This 4 star beach resort located on the eastern side of Bangka Island, it offers gorgeous Parai beach scenery, this beach was named by Indonesia’s first president Ir. Soekarno. This sloping beach has the same feature like the other beach an exotic look with its giant granite rocks decorating along the beachside with different shapes and sizes. Staying overnight there gives us the complete experience of exotic tropical beach vacation.
There is more to explore as we continue our journey to Belitung Island or known as Billiton an island on the east coast of Sumatra just next to Bangka, famous for its pepper and tin production. The journey took us 3, 5 hours by speedboat the same speedboat we use from Palembang to Muntok. This time it was rather more of a rocking journey as the speedboat reach closer to Belitung Island we’ve experienced some shaky moments because of the large waves hitting us. We arrived in the afternoon in Tanjung Pandan the capital city of Belitung, this medium sized Island with 3000 square miles is smaller compared to Bangka Island. The island offers striking beaches similar like the once in Bangka Island, but Belitung has a unique feature it has Islands to explore and that brings us to our first destination Tanjung Kelayang beach. This is the starting point to explore the Northern coast of Belitung about 25 km from Tanjung Pandan. Tanjung Kelayang is a peninsula that sticks out to the north and famous for its small granite islands that can be seen 100 meters away from the beach area, as you know Belitung Island itself consist of 189 tiny islands that are spread around Belitung. We rented a fisherman boat to explore these exotic small islands, and the first island we come across is Bird Island the reason why it’s named that way is because the Islands granite monument is shaped like a beak bird made from gigantic rocks. Continuing our trip we stopped in Batu Belayar Island the whole scenery of rocks in this Island varies in sizes and has a chalk-white color from halfway to the top of the rocks and made it looked like a floating iceberg. Unbelievably beautiful the formation of the rocks looks like as if it was arranged in that order, the sand its so clean white and smooth that it feels as if you are stepping on a warm flour .We enjoyed walking barefoot in the sand in fact it feels much comfortable than wearing our sandals.
We proceed to North Tanjung binga village which takes only 30 min times, then we arrive at Lengkuas Island. This half hectare Island has a distinctive feature, you can see it clearly from a far distance the 50 m tall old lighthouse standing firmly which makes it the main attraction in Lengkuas Island. The lighthouse was built in 1882 by the Dutch and even until now the lighthouse is still functioning as guidance to direct the ships that passes through or out of Belitung Island. There are 3 lighthouse keepers living there who look after this area and we are lucky enough to meet them. They greeted us with a warm welcome and are kind enough to offer us fresh coconut drink straight from the coconut tree that they’ve picked themselves. I must say this place is so much relaxing you can just enjoy yourself laying in a hammock sipping your fresh coconut tree while overlooking the granite rock Islands across you. We don’t want to miss the opportunity to climb up to the top of the lighthouse and captured a breathtaking view, from here you can clearly see the small rock Islands just a few meters away from the Lengkuas island, some people can even swim across the other rock islands because the water is only 1.5 m depth.
After enjoying the lighthouse view and our fresh coconut drinks in Lengkuas Island we continue with our fisherman boat to Babi Island or Pig Island the name Pig Island was created because long time ago the Tjiong Ha people use to live and breed pigs and therefore a lot of pigs are found in that Island. As we approach closer we were welcomed by huge round-shape rocks standing on the beach side. Arriving in the Island we could that Babi Island have more dense forest compare to other rock islands we’ve visited before and as we walk further we could see several cottages made of local woods and met 3 people living there. We had a little chat with them and they interest us even more when they showed us the eco-tourism activity program that they’re offering such as protecting the baby turtles from the fisherman and preserve them until they are big enough to be released to the sea and also coral reef restoration program which is an adoption program for guest in order to take part in enriching the underwater ecosystem. The great thing about this Island is that visitors can stay overnight and experience the wild adventure above and underwater, Pulau Babi has a perfect sunset view and makes it a favorite spot for photography lovers. After spending few moments in Babi island, we proceed back to Tanjung Kelayang and continue by road to visit one of the famous beach in Belitung Island.
We’ve spent half a day exploring the rock islands in northern coast of Belitung. Then we proceed 2km to Tanjung Tinggi beach, this place is flanked by two peninsula the most famous and beautiful beach in Belitung Island thanks to the hit movie “Laskar Pelangi” that showed the beauty of Belitung and won a number of international awards, because of this movie Belitung islands became a famous tourism spot nowadays. You will find round shape gigantic rocks ranging from a few cubic meters to hundreds of cubic meters bigger than a size of house building. You can walk, run and even jump from one rock to another barefoot and simply pamper yourself with postcards scenery from every angle that you stand. The arrangement of these granite rocks are so unique that some of them forms like a cave in which you can use as a shelter from rain and sun. The turquoise water is so clear we could see the rocks that sink under the water. Children can swim safely here because the waves are low and the sands are so soft it feels like you’re stepping on a granulated sugar. Tanjung tinggi is also named as Pelabuhan Bilik or Bilik harbor a fishing port for the nearby village of Keciput and Tanjung Tinggi, therefore you’ll find around 20 seafood restaurants in a row in the beach area. After pampering our self in beach we decided to unwind our self by having a fresh drink and taste fresh seafood to end our day before heading back to Jakarta the next day.
Above are just a few places we’ve visited, there are many more unspoiled beach and untouched islands to discover, its richness in natural beauty makes it a photogenic place, a favorite trip for photographer. I must say that Bangka and Belitung Islands offers a whole new beach experience with it’s unique huge granite rocks decorating every angle, makes it so different from the beaches you see anywhere in Indonesia. If you are looking for a remote virgin beach, a calm and quite place Bangka Belitung Island makes it feels as if the Island belongs to you