Off the eastern coast of Sumatra, flanked by the Gaspar and Karimata Straits, lies an enchanting island with beautiful beaches and fascinating scenery called: Belitung Island. Belitung Island is divided into two districts, the Belitung district with Tanjung Pandan city as the capital, and the East Belitung District with Manggar city as the capital.
In September 2005, a native Belitung writer, Andrea Hirata, published a novel entitled “Laskar Pelangi” (translate: The Rainbow Troops). Set in the enchanting Belitung Island, the novel was widely known and it has been translated into English, Malay, Chinese, Vietnamese and Korean. Later, in 2008, the novel was made into a movie, and the enchanting sceneries of Belitung Island were introduced to the rest of the world. The name ”Laskar Pelangi” even became the name of the island’s seaport following the movie’s fantastic success.
The most interesting about the Belitung beaches are the fascinating granite rock formations that spread through its shallow shores. Ranging from several cubic meters, these giant granite rocks can measure up to the size of a typical house. Some formations of these giant rocks even have short tunnels underneath, making this an exciting playground for visitors to bathe in its calm waters. And one of the most iconic granite rock beach sceneries is found at the Tanjung Tinggi Beach, which was featured in the Laskar Pelangi movie.
There are also other beaches that offer similar sights of magnificent granite rock formations and relaxing ambience, among them are: Tanjung Kelayang Beach, Burung Mandi Beach, Tanjung Binga Beach, Punai Beach, and Membalong Beach.
For you who love to go diving, snorkeling or just hopping island, Belitung will satisfied you. The coral banks right offshore in many places are still in fantastic shape, and many smaller largely uninhabited islands surrounding Belitung. The various shapes and color of the coral reefs, along with hundreds of different types of fish and the crystal clear waters call out to any dive enthusiasts to explore the scarcely known Belitung seas. Divers may try the sensation of diving while watching the shark in Nangka Island, swimming with hawksbill turtles in Lengkuas Island and exploring caves in Seadong Island. And there are many unique places to explore like: Karang Selai, Batu Selutik, Batu Malang Penyu, Karang Bugis, Batu Mandi, Kunyit Island, Buku Limau Island, Mempirak Island and Keran Island.
Belitung is surrounded by more than 100 small islands. Almost all of them are decorated with white sand and granite rocks, and only a few are inhabited. One island in particular, the Lengkuas Island is the site of a 19th century antique light house. The Light House was built by the Dutch in 1882, it still maintains its main function today in guiding ships sailing through and out of the island of Belitung. Approximately 50 meters in height, it is as tall as a 12-storey building. It has a window on each floor, giving visitors a chance to enjoy the different views from within the lighthouse. While the lighthouse itself is an exceptional feature, the spectacle it offers from the top is truly spellbinding. Here one can get a complete 360 degree view of the fascinating Island and all the wonders that surround it, including the crystal clear waters and other spreading tiny islands.
And there are also giant granite clusters that you can reach it by walking across the shallow waters that are no deeper than 1.2 meters. The water is so transparent that the bottom of the sea is clearly visible. Below the surface, the waters around the island are filled with colorful fish of various kinds, pristine coral reefs, a large number of starfish and more of the fascinating granite boulders. The moderately calm and shallow water makes it a perfect place for swimming and snorkeling, while on the beach the fresh breeze will truly indulge those who lay down on the soft white sands.
The best time to visit Lengkuas Island is from March to November. During these months, the climate and waves are fairly friendly and perfect for swimming and snorkeling. It is not advisable to visit the island from December to January, since waves are strong and tend to be dangerous.
Bring sufficient amount of food, water, and other logistics since there are no facilities or food stalls available on the island and no source of fresh water.
Klayap team will be ready at the Tanjung Pandan Airport, Belitung holding a signboard with your name written on it. Then we will go to Tanjung Pandan city. In here, you will get to savour an authentic local cuisine: Mie Belitong (Belitong Noodle)! After that, we will check-in to our hotel.
Wash up and rest for a while before we go to East Belitung. At there, we will be exploring Burung Mandi Beach which is beautiful and we will also visit Kwan Im Temple and see buildings that still preserving Chinese-influenced unique structures.
Then we will go to Manggar, the Capital of East Belitung, which also well-known as Kota 1000 Warung Kopi (a town with thousand coffee shops). It was named so because during day time, we will see crowd of locals enjoying their coffee at the shops which are spread everywhere. And of course, we shall not miss to try the Manggar Coffee at one of the local coffee shops, too!
Our lunch will be served at one restaurant by the Bandoeng River. After lunch, slowly we will go to Gantong. Does Gantong sound familiar to you? If yes, then you must have heard about the story of Raibow Troop before because here was where the story came from.
In this little city, we will visit SD Muhammadiyah (Muhammadiyah Primary School) that appeared in the Rainbow Troop movie. If you love photography, then you should not miss to capture Bendungan Kepice Gantong with your camera!
Next, we will visit Museum Kata, a museum that was built by Andrea Hirata. If we are lucky we will meet Bang Ikal there. Sharing and photo sessions will be the closure of our programme for the day. Back to our hotel and free time. We will have our dinner at the hotel.
Enjoy the bask of the sunrise early in the morning at Kaolin Lake. This lake that has clean white color land and light blue water, is not derived from the crater like Kawah Putih (Lake Crater White) Ciwidey, but it was was formed from the former site of the abandoned mining Kaolin which fortunately enhance the natural beauty. After spending some times here, taking photos and such, we will go back to our hotel for breakfast.
Day 2, we will explore the islands! From morning to evening, we will explore the marine life in Belitong. Boat for island hoping and snorkeling equipment will be prepared for us. Tanjong Kelayang, Pasir Island, Lengkuas Island, Burung Island, Kepayang Island, and Batu Berlayar Island are the islands that we will explore throughout the whole day.
At Lengkuas Island, we will climb up to the top and witness the unblocked view of the beautiful scenery around the island. Then, we will enjoy our simple buffet lunch at the island that has been prepared for us. Next, we will wait upon the sunset at Tanjung Tinggi or Tanjung Binga.
Day 3, breakfast will be served at the hotel. The rest of the day will be free programme. We will stop by at the local shops to buy local snacks or delicacies before heading to the airport.
Then, see you guys next time!
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