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.