Archipelago diaries |

The Thousand Islands: A Mesmerising Archipelago near Jakarta

Archipelago Diaries | 22 February 2019

When things get hectic in the urban jungle of the capital, head to the hidden gem on the north coast of Jakarta - to the Thousand Islands. An archipelago that stretches 45 km on Java Sea, these islands are the perfect getaway.

Tiger Island is the destination for honeymooners. The island offers sustainable tourism as the romantic huts are built in natural style. Photo courtesy of Coral Triangle/NOW!JAKARTA

According to the Jakarta Tourism Office, around 36 of the 342 islands are used for recreation and now only 13 island is fully developed for mass tourism. There are 11 islands built for resorts and two islands have historic record to be an heritage sites.

Why not to visit the Thousand Islands sometime? It’s easy to get there by speed boats that leave from Marina Ancol, an integrated amusement area with elaborate facilities in North Jakarta. For budget travellers, there are regular boat from Muara Kamal and Muara Angke. For those interested in island hopping, most resorts have available boats for rent. The rest of the islands are uninhabited and are used for fishing. At the Thousand Islands, tourists can chose either the budget or luxury option. There is even an opportunity to join the marine conservation program.

Here are the some of the popular recreation spots at Thousand Islands.

Nautical Haven at Bidadari Island
Bidadari island is 30 minutes away by boat, the nearest island from marina Ancol port which has also become one of the most visited islands. The 17th century Fort Martello is the signature at this islands. The photogenic scenery also features rare trees. Here people can stay in floating cottages or unwind and sink your feet in the sand. Fresh from the water, the seafood cuisine at Bidadari Island is recommended.

Flaoting Staycation at Ayer Island
Ayer island is the home of nautical resorts that offer vacationers the choice to stay either in floating cottages or in villas on land. Inspired by traditional Papuan houses, the resort has opened vacation facilities such as restaurants, an arcade zone, karaoke, playground, a sports field, and large swimming pools. This resort is suitable for family and group gatherings.

Witnessing Dutch Indies History on Unrust Island
Pulau Onrust is a small island that hides a historic Dutch fortress and other remains from the colonial times, built around the 1800s. The island is open for marine tourism, functioning as the islands’ museum. The fortress has served different functions including as a shipyard of the Dutch East India Company (VOC), a weather station, a sanatorium, a Hajj quarantine, and even as a prison for notorious criminals.

All in One at Pramuka Island
Pramuka Island is the centre of island administration and the most inhabited islands in the cluster. The neighbourhood, communities, and government office are all there. Pramuka Island is also the centre of conservation programmes such as nature reserve for greenback turtles. Vacationers can participate in the conservation program by helping care for the rarest turtle at the area or snorkeling to see colourful fish and coral reefs. At Pramuka Island people will get a chance to get closer with marine animals and how to take care of them..

Feel the Love at Tidung Island
Jembatan Cinta or Love Bridge is here. An 800-metre bridge that connects the small space to the mother island is the preferred spot for lovebirds, as the bridge is believed to symbolise the path to love. Tidung Island’s clean water offers the perfect spot for diving shots. Visitors can also explore the island on bicycle.

Honeymoon at Tiger Island
Tiger Island is the destination for honeymooners. The island offers sustainable tourism as the romantic huts are built in natural style. When you stay here, you will sense like you are on a secluded private island. Tiger Island is the perfect spot to witness sunset during golden hour. There is direct access from the water to reach your bed at the huts, which brings you even closer to mother earth. Couples can also participate in watersports, canoeing and windsurfing.

Those who want to explore more destinations at the Thousand Island, consider Pari, Putri, Pelangi, and Sepa Islands.