An idyllic island surrounded by white sand beaches, crystal blue waters and hundreds of uninhabited coral-lined islands as far as the eye can see. No, we’re not talking about the Maldives, but the island paradise of Belitung, Indonesia.
If you’ve never heard of it, we don’t blame you—for years, the only way to get there was via a connecting flight from Jakarta or Kuala Lumpur. This meant that Belitung remained a secret vacay destination that was known to only the most avid beach-seeker. Until now.
How do I get there?
As of October, you can fly straight there from Changi Airport every Monday, Wednesday, Friday and Sunday on Garuda Indonesia. The best part? It’s less than an hour away and a return ticket starts from just $168 all-in.
Where is it?
Belitung is located off the eastern coast of Sumatra. It’s about 6 times the size of Singapore, yet with a population of just over 250,000.
Despite being relatively huge, the main draw is along the fringes, where you’ll find the spectacular beaches and countless exotic islands scattered off the coast.
What’s there to do?
If your idea of the perfect beach getaway is spending the day lazing about on a recliner, soaking up the sun, sand and sea, it doesn’t get much better than Belitung.
The calm and shallow coast is also perfect for relaxed water activities like paddle boarding, kayaking and snorkelling. Since the waters are crystal clear, these are how you get the best views of the colourful marine life and coral reefs circling the island.
Another must-do is island-hopping, where a boat ferries you to a collection of small islands that dot Belitung’s northeastern shore.
The action starts at Tanjung Kelayang jetty, which is about a 45-minute drive from Tanjung Pandan, the city centre. Be sure to ask your hotel concierge to help you book a boat and taxi at least a day beforehand.
The islands you get to visit depend on the time and tide, so no two island-hopping tours are the same. Read on for highlights of a typical tour.
“Pasir” means “sand” in Bahasa Indonesia, and that’s all you’re going to find on this tiny island… save for a single hammock and some swings!
This island (if you can call it that—it’s no longer than three buses) only appears in the morning when the tide is low, and is completely submerged come afternoon when the tide rises, so be sure to plan accordingly.
As you can see, this surreal spot is made for the ‘gram.
Another popular spot is Pulau Lengkuas, which is home to a century-old Dutch lighthouse where you can get a panoramic view of the surrounding waters.
It’s also one of the few islands with a bar, so you can while away the day sipping on ice-cold beer by the beach.
Another highlight is Pulau Leebong, which is one of the more developed islands off Belitung. The island has a restaurant, a provision shop, and a range of accommodation options, including an actual treehouse!
For some reason, the water surrounding the island has an especially deep greenish-blue hue, making for amazing panoramic snaps.
Be sure to visit Chicas Beach, a five-minute walk from the jetty. Just off the coast, you’ll find shaded platforms that are perfect for a mid-tour ‘gram session.
So Many Islands, So Little Time
There are literally hundreds of islands to visit, each ripe for exploration. You can spend days exploring… or just chilling, if that’s your vibe. Read on for more highlights!
No trip to Belitung is complete without a visit to Danau Kaolin, a lake within the island itself. With its impossibly blue waters and pure white landscapes, this beautiful lake is an Instagrammer’s dream.
During the dry season from around April to October, the water recedes, revealing white mounds of stone that resemble floating icebergs. Truly a sight to behold.
Eco Beach Tent
If you’re all about that glamping life, book a stay at Eco Beach Tent. Located in the North West of Belitung, the luxurious resort was designed with sustainability in mind, with all structures crafted from local wood and materials from the surrounding jungle.
Next Door to Paradise
We’ve only scratched the surface of what Belitung has to offer. Thinking of visiting? Head to www.indonesia.travel to make the most of your trip to paradise on earth.