You can tell what a paradise is when you see one! Belitung is an island on the east coast of Sumatra and can be reached by 45 minutes flight from Soekarno-Hatta Airport in Jakarta. With a collection of tiny islands and majestic underwater world, no doubt Belitung is one lost tropical paradise in Indonesia.
I went there via Sriwijaya Air from Jakarta and took the earliest flight, about 06.30 am. I can tell you that it’s the best way to get the best out of the trip. The day is still young when you arrive and there’s plenty of time to waste, not only on the beaches, but inside the city as well. Tanjong Pandan is the biggest city in Belitung and you can barely see any high rise building more than 4 story. Though there are still some footsteps of Dutch architecture, the city used more Javanese style approach of city landscaping. Belitung itself is the land of Malay and Chinese people that have been there for generations.
There are some popular beaches on the west and north coast of the island. One of them is Tanjung Tinggi Beach which largely advertised through a movie called Laskar Pelangi by Riri Riza. I personally think that this beach is the most interesting. There are massive rocks the side of the beach where you can climb or play hide-and-seek between them, but be careful of the wet and steep surface of the rocks (I got few scratches there :( ). This is truly the work of nature as a landscape artist.
Another interesting beach is Tanjung Kelayang. This is where I departed to small islands around. The beach can be called as the boat’s parking lot. There are quite a lot of fishing boats and tourist boats “parked”. Despite from all of that, the beach also has the stunning natural beauty that made me take out my camera automatically and start shooting, the boats are one of the attractions too.
In my trip, I visited two of the small islands called Lengkuas Island (the one with the lighthouse) and Burung Island, also a few of tiny sized islands. Every island has their own breathtaking view. You can rest and enjoy the tropical lunch at either Lengkuas or Burung Island. The locals provide picnic blanket and you can bring your own lunch to be enjoyed under the Sun.
There are snorkeling spots and diving spots around those tiny islands. All of the underwater views are sublime and worth the price of getting there. Don’t worry if you never snorkeled or dove before, the locals will teach you. There are also changing rooms available on the coast after the trip.
Don’t forget to try the local food called Mie Bangka Atep before you leave. It’s located at the center of Tanjung Pandan and I can tell you this small restaurant is really famous. Don’t ask me about how good it is, just try one, and you tell me!