Finally I was able to fulfill my wish to visit the Seychelles of Indonesia, Pulau Belitung (Belitung Island), famous for the movie Laskar Pelangi (rainbow quad) and the birthplace of famous Jakarta ex-major Ahok.
I found a host from Couchsurfing, he kindly hosted me in his simple room and took me around the island for the whole day riding on our motorbikes on my first day and we went to island hopping on my second day.
My favourite was the island hopping. Chartering a boat at Tanjung Kelayang port, we visited extremely beautiful island like Pulau Lengkuas with the picturesque colonial lighthouse and other two islands. Tanjung Tinggi, the Seychelles of Indonesia, was pretty too, though lots of rubbish.
The dawn at Pantai Pendam, few minutes ride from the city center was astonishing beauty. Dip in the fresh water streams in Batu Mentas was cool too.
Except for the rubbish, Belitung is a good tourist place to visit. The city of Tanjung Pandan is convenient to stay with lot of convenient shops, good places to eat and a massage place. The island is small enough to explore by rent motor bike.
My Itinerary (3-5 January 2019)
From the airport, with rented motorbike, airport --> Burung Mandi --> Pantai Nyiur Melambai --> Lunch at Restaurant Fega in Manggar --> Warkop Afui in Manggar --> Kampung Ahok --> Laskar Pelangi school --> Batu Mentas --> Lake Kaolin --> Pantai Pendam for the sunset --> dinner and massage at Tanjung Pandan
Tanjung Tinggi --> island hopping with chartered boat --> relaxing in Tanjung Tinggi --> Pantai Pendam for the sunset --> dinner and massage at Tanjung Pandan
Places to see (in order of my favourites):
- Tanjung Tinggi
It is the highlight of Belitung if you don't go to the islands.
Like Seychelles, there are picturesque stones in the beach.
Unfortunately there are lots of rubbish.
The north part of the beach was better and clean.
There is a big restaurant in the north part of the beach called Lemadang Seafood & Grill, it was not cheap, but the food was good and I could relax using their beach couches.
Just 5 minutes walk from the restaurant, there was mangrove park, Bakau Labunaji, when I went there, the place was not fit for visit, the wooden path was not well maintaned and dangerous.
- Island Hopping
Pulau Lengkuas with its lighthouse is the highlight.
Like Tanjung Tinggi, the beach has lots of big granite stones.
Other highlights were cave in Pulau Garuda and picturesque Batu Layar with stone like a sailboat.
- Batu Mentas
A river with picturesque stones, good for dip.
Unfortunately it is also rubbish invaded.
- Burung Mandi
A quiet beach and a temple with big goddess of Kwan Im statue nearby.
- Laskar Pelangi replica school
The building used for shooting Indonesian popular movie, Laskar Pelangi.
- Tanjung Pandan
It is the biggest city in Belitung Island and convenient to stay here.
It is the second biggest city after Tanjung Pandan, famous as the city with 1001 cafes.
I think the following places are not worth to visit:
- Lake Kaolin, just an excavated area of the mining. The color is beautiful only during the sunlight.
- Motorbike rent is cheap and convenience to go around the island.
- Boat charter from Tanjung Kelayang port to islands, the standard price (local boat owner community) was IDR 550k, but it is negotiable.
- March is the best time to visit since the low tide will be during daytime. During my visit, it was high tide during daytime. Low tide is good to visit Pulau Lengkuas and Burung Mandi, also Pulau Pasir (sand island) only appears during low tide.
- Great range of accommodation, from cheaper homestays to luxury hotels. I booked RedDoorz for about IDR 150k per night, cheaper chain hotels, but cancelled it since got offer to stay with Couchsurfing host.
Useful contacts and shops:
- Motorbike rental: rentalmotordibelitung.com
Found by googling.
Chose this shop because they charged only IDR 20k for airport delivery, while other shops charge IDR 50k.
They charged IDR 75k per day for 120 cc bike.
There was only one massage place, in the Batu Setam roundabout (Tanjung Pandan city center) called Kakiku, a chain massage shop.
I had 90 minutes massage express + reflexology for IDR 100k and 90 minutes full massage + reflexology for IDR 120k and was satisfied with them.
The iconic cafe is Kong Djie in Tanjung Pandan.
Manggar is famous for its 1001 cafes, and the legendary is Afui.
Lots of restaurants, the review can be found on websites.
I visited Restaurant Fega in Manggar, in higher end, for seafood and its pretty place in front of a lake.
I tried also the famous Mie Atep, where the noodle soup with local flavor is their only menu.
I like Lumedang Seafood & Grill, only ordered the fried rice which was yummy, I used their beach couch for a nap.
From IKIRU to Live Surabaya, you have to transit in Jakarta to fly to Belitung Tanjung Pandan H.A.S. Hanandjoeddin Airport. From Jakarta, it is only 1 hour flight.