Bangka Belitung Islands
Province of Bangka Belitung Islands (abbreviated as Babel) is a province of Indonesia consisting of two main islands of Bangka Island and Belitung Island. Bangka Belitung is located in the eastern part of the island of Sumatra. On my second day in Belitung, in line with the itinerary I made before doing the short trip of Babel, I went around 6 islands by purchasing 6 island boat rental package (Rp.350.000,/person.) Already included was snorkeling facilities in 2 spots and lunch at the beachside restaurant of Kepayang island (one of the island’s six island destinations).
I met with our wooden boat driver who would also serve as our guide. At 07:50 AM, the boat began sailing across the ocean, splitting the blue of the water and the sky. That day, we were lucky because the weather was quite sunny and the sea water was quite calm so the trip was very comfortable. After 20 minutes of sailing, we arrived on the first island “Bird island,” which is more known by the locals by the name of the Garuda Stone island (Batu Garuda island). This small island is filled with large stones and the arrangement of its stones shape like a bird. The island is uninhabited; only a very small island with sand and the order of many large stones.
From Bird island, we continued onto a sand bank, which is located only 10 minutes from Bird Island. Incidentally because it was still early, the sand banks had not yet closed the high sea water. It if it was past 11 am, usually the sand is covered by sea water. Next, we headed to Lengkuas island. It was a 25 minute journey from the sand bank to Lengkuas Island. The boat was moving at quite a slo speed. On the way to Lengkuas island, there was also a snorkeling spot!
The main destination of Lengkuas Island is an old lighthouse built by Dutch Colonial Government in 1882. The good thing is the lighthouse still works to guide traffic of ships that travel through or in and out of Belitung island. The lighthouse has 12 floors with a window in every floor, giving those who climb up a chance to rest and enjoy varied and beautiful scenes from within the lighthouse.
On the island of Lengkuas, there are also many large piles of rocks on the edge of the beach and on one side, there is a tiny pond in the middle of the rock called the “Angel Pool.” On this island, there are many sellers of coffee drinks, coconuts and light snacks such as fried bananas, fried tofu and others.
From the island of Lengkuas, we continued the route to Kepayang Island. Kepayang Island is the largest island among dozens of clusters of exotic small islands in North Belitung. The island is also called Pig Island. The area of the island is approximately 14 hectares with some interesting beach side. The island is clearly visible from the west side of Tanjung Kelayang beach. On the way, we saw many sailing boats anchored in the middle of the sea. Most of those on board were foreign tourists. On this island, we rested while waiting for lunch that was already part of the package around the island. While waiting for lunch to be served, we enjoyed warm fried bananas and a cup of Belitung coffee.
Lunch was excellent! In addition to warm rice, there were spicy green vegetables, fried krispi squid, grilled fish with a variety of spices (one sweet soy sauce, one more spicy) and snails such as the type of mussels seasoned with sweet spicy acid. I couldn’t wait to grab a plate and taste all these foods. It tasted SO good because the seasoning was soaked into the meat. All the fish and seafood is still fresh taken from the sea so it gives a very tasty flavor.
After lunch, our journey continued to Batu Berlayar island (Sailling Rock island) which is only 15 minutes from Kepayang island. Sailing Rock island is one of the islands around Tanjung Kelayang Beach. At first glance, if you look from a distance, this island looks like a sand dune filled with granite. These stones stand on a soft white sand island and are surrounded by blue calm sea water.
Walking around Sailing Rock Island is a very enjoyable activity. Entering the granite crevices in the sand becomes an unforgettable experience here. Not only is the granite stone beautiful, you can also find marine life such as beautiful fish and starfish!
As a suggestion, if you want to explore all the islands as I did, come in May to October. If you come in November to April, the sea will have giant waves and the water is high enough that there are some small islands that sink under the water.