Tag Archives: Jakarta

South Jakarta Skyline

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South Jakarta Skyline. Taken from 13th floor of Atma Jaya University.

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Kepulauan Seribu, Jakarta, Indonesia: Where to go in Thousand Islands?

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No, No, No! Jakarta is not just about Macet (traffic jam in literal translation), banjir (flood), shopping malls, bar, clubs, restaurants, and cafes. Covered by its popularity as one of the most non liveable city on earth, Jakarta could potentially be more attractive if the governement put more attention in developing Kepulauan Seribu (Thousand Island), a regency consists of many small islands, just right at the north of Jakarta’s coast.
 
Though it can literally be translated as thousand islands, the place itself consists of ‘only’ 110 islands which 36 may be used for recreation. The farthermost is only 4-5 hours boat ride from Jakarta, the nearests is only about 30 minutes away, so in my opinion, Kepulauan Seribu is a better place to spend  my weekend at, rather than just going to shopping malls, clubs, or bar. Too cliche!
 
So what can we do in Kepulauan Seribu? Most of the places will allow you to stay at one of the house in the island’s village; and make it as your base camp to do island hopping to some of surrounding inhabited islands, enjoy beautiful untouched virgin beach, snorkelling, diving, or fishing. But for you who desire a relaxation at luxury beach resort and villas, Kepulauan Seribu has plenty of place as well. Here are some of the places you can visit in Kepulauan Seribu.
 
1. Pulau Tidung
This is the most iconic island of the entire Kepulauan Seribu Area. Even when I visited 4 years ago, the island has been so crowded with tourist and the island’s village is somehow more commercial compared to the others.
How far: 2 hours from Jakarta
Duration to stay: 2 Days/1 Night 
Where to stay: Homestay at local village
What to do: 
  • Island Hopping – go have your own adventure with your snorkel gear and and swimming suit, but don’t put your expectation too high on the underwater scenery.
  • Cycling around the village – I found it fun to go cycling around the village with my bike. Rent the bicycle from locals in a very reasonable price

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  • Jump off the Bridge of Love, a bridge connecting the two main islands (Pulau Tidung Besar and Pulau Tidung Kecil). This is the icon of the island and people like to jump off the bridge just for fun. Well, I too jumped off the bridge. :p

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  • Enjoy the tongkol (tuna fish) as most of the food in the island are made of it.
     

2. Pulau Onrust-Kelor-Cipir

Not so faraway from Jakarta, the 3 islands were used to be a fortress during old Dutch colonial time (Pulau kelor), a Moslem pilgrim hospital (Pulau Cipir), and an administrative office for VOC (old Dutch trading organization). Obviously you can do a day round trip historical vacation. 
How far: 30-60 minutes from Jakarta
Duration to stay: day trip
Where to stay: 
What to do: 
  • Take photograph at Pulau Kelor’s fortress

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  • Visit Maria Vam De Velde grave and learn the mystery of it from the local

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3. Pulau Harapan

Surrounding islands have the best beach I’ve visited in Kepulauan Seribu so far. Since it’s located quite far from Jakarta, the sea is still clean and underwater living is still beautiful.

How far: 3 hours from Jakarta
Duration to stay: 2 Days/1 Night and more
Where to stay: homestay at local village
What to do: 
  • Diving! Snorkeling! – yes, you can enjoy the beautiful colourful corals and rich variety of underwater living creature not so far away from Jakarta. One of the diving spot has a sunken ship!
  • Enjoy sunset at one of the small island which I can’t remember the name (sorry :p). 90% of the island is vast white sand beach and you can enjoy the sunset from many different angle of the island

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  • Visit Bald Eagle Reservation Center

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  • Go to village square at night, if you’re lucky you might be able to enjoy local children playing traditional percussion.

4. Pulau Macan

I’ve never been here before, but this place is quite popular among Jakarta socialites for private beach villa relaxation kind of vacation. Expect to spend about $100-$200 per night.

5. Isle Est Indes

This is definitely the most expensive island to visit in Kepulauan Seribu. Not sure if it’s worth the price or not, but expect to spend more than USD 1000 per night to stay! Rumour has it, you’ll be treated like a king during your stay. Get more information here:

http://isleeastindies.com/

 

6. Pulau Pelangi

A private resort island designated to upper class visitor, in par with Pulau Puteri, Pulau Pantara, or Pulau Macan. Not much I can tell since the last time I was there, I merely did nothing but sleeping and eating. The food and the room facility make every penny I spent worthed.

How far:  1 hours from Jakarta using speedboat
Duration to stay: 2 Days/1 Night 
Where to stay: private bungalow
What to do: 
  • Since this is a private bungalow resort and you have dig your pocket deep for it, have a quality time with it just so you won’t regret what you spend.

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  • Do nothing! Just free your mind from whatever it is in your head before you come.

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  • You’ll find these chairs almost at every spot of the island. Sit down and just enjoy your time with your self .

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  • Eat at floating restaurant (I personally enjoy the food).

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  • They provide you with many facilities if you would to spent more money. Go canoeing, snorkelling, diving, table tennis-ing, swimming, or rent a boat to just see or go to surrounding uninhabited islands!
  • Sunsetting

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Not just those 6, there are still a lot more islands you can visit in Kepulauan Seribu. Each has its own uniqueness to offer. This may not always be applicable, but the sea in all the islands located before Pulau Pramuka (kepulauan Seribu’s capital regency) is polluted. Only those located after Pulau Pramuka are clean and have beautiful corals and underwater scenery. So plan your trip well!

If you want a cheap trip, you need to find a budget trip organizer. You may find it in a lot of Indonesian backpacking communities in the web. Do contact me if you need a contact person of one of them. And I’m open for invitation if you want to go there. Since I live in Jakarta, it’s easy for me to go any time on weekend.

Last but not least, Enjoy Jakarta!