This post by j’smama reminds me that I, too, has shut down my other travel blog in Tumblr. Also, in welcoming my third year of being with Peter a.k.a. Mr. Dodol in June, I guess it’s time for me to look back at our first trip together to Indonesia’s famous Belitung Island (read: excuse for not being able to post anything this weekend). I went there in August 2013.
Belitung is located close to the southern Sumatra. It started to become famous after the movie Laskar Pelangi (The Rainbow Troops) was filmed in the area. As they say, Belitung; the Nation of The Rainbow Troops. The trip also a way to celebrate Peter’s 23rd birthday (oh God, we were young.)
We took the first flight from Jakarta on August 30 and arrived in Belitung at 07.33 am. A young Indonesian-Chinese man picked us up at the airport, he was holding a paper with my name on it; I felt so tourist-alike, in my own country.
We decided to stay in Bukit Berahu cottage after reading a few good reviews on it. Our cottage was located right in front of the beach and the water of the sea was very calm and mirror clear. It literally looked like a giant pool, so beautiful. As we walked along the beach we bumped into some wild dogs hanging around on the soft-and-pillowy-sands.
The plan was to rent a bike for the whole three days, but little did we know that the town was very empty. (Bear in mind it was 2013). Not only that we were surely gonna be lost but the lack of nighttime lighting was worrying. Anyhow, all the roads looked similar to me. So, a hired car it is.
We decided to contact the guy who picked us up at the airport, Hendra or as local people called him; Ahen. Chinese-Indonesian from western Indonesia like to put the letter “A” before their names. I have friends whose nickname are Abun, Awi, then we have Jakarta’s Deputy Governor who is from Belitung: Ahok.
Our first stop was the Kwan Im Goddess Temple in Manggar, East Belitung. On our way to Manggar we stopped by at Tanjung Tinggi beach where the Laskar Pelangi was filmed. The water was clear, the beach was full of giant granite rocks and it was beautiful.
After two-hours’ drive, we made it to the temple. Oh God… I felt like I was in China. The temple was located on top of a hill. It was painted bright red and built like a palace.
Our day was ended at a Kaolin Lake. Then Ahen dropped us back to the cottage at the right time to catch sunset.
Our grand destination was Batu Mentas conservation in Badau district to see the cutest and tiniest Tarsier. Do you know that today Tarsier can only be found in the Philippines, Borneo, and Indonesia?
Please meet Benji, a 4 year old tarsier living in comparatively huge cage. He was so cute, and so shy. So, so shy. He was hiding under the leaves and stayed calm. Benji and his friends from Belitung communicate through ultrasonic sound, so they don’t talk!
Island hopping! No more Ahen for this day, sorry dude we thought riding bike was more fun. Well, it only took about 20 minutes to reach Kelayang beach for us to take the boat for island hop.
The first island in the itinerary was Pulau Pasir or The Sand Island. It was not even an island I’d say but more of a pile of sands. When the tide high you won’t be able to see the it.
We found starfish! The starfish were superstars, people were racing to take them, hold them, take a picture with and of them. I did too! It was big and heavy and felt so hard. Prostoreaster nodosus they are, starfish who were found in Indo-Pacific area and live in shallow water.
Our next stop was Lengkuas Island which famous for the Dutch colonial lighthouse built in 1882. We went to the top but the beau went hurry back down due to his phobia of heights. Here is a snap from the top:
Peter kept on saying, Belitung is Bali-before-the-Lonely-Planet. I can’t be more agreed to that, the beaches were fantastic (and quiet too). For anyone looking for a quick beach escape, I would recommend Belitung because not only it’s less touristy, but mannn.. return flight tickets from Jakarta to Belitung are way cheaper than to any other beach destinations.