Belitung Island: A Study of Contrasts

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The sturdy formation of granite rocks on the shores of the coast make a very beautiful scenery and a characteristic. (photo: Prive.Doc)

IO, Jakarta – Located off the East coast of Sumatra, nestled between the Strait of Gaspar and the Strait of Karimata, is Belitung Island, a charming place with a lovely seascape. It has a peacefully rugged view of pearly sands, large boulders, and clear, shallow waters. Belitung Island has many such lovely beaches, the most popular one being Tanjung Tinggi Beach, located between Tanjung Kalam and Tanjung Pendam; its name comes from the fact that it is a ‘tall’ (‘Tinggi’) ‘peninsula’ (‘Tanjung’). It is also known as ‘Pantai Laskar Pelangi’ (‘Rainbow Troops’ Beach’), after the Laskar Pelangi novels by local author Andrea Hirata.

As a tourist spot, Tanjung Tinggi Beach is close to Tanjung Kelayang Beach. It is located in Ciput Village, Sijuk District, 31 kilometers from the Municipality of Tanjung Pandan, the capital of the Regency of Belitung. Tanjung Tinggi Beach Belitung is 80 hectares of pristine white sands and large granite boulders of various sizes – from those slightly bigger than a house to cliffs hundreds of meters high.

The beach also serves as a fishing port for the locals. It is very safe for visitors who want to swim, dive, or snorkel, because it has a mild surf, with barely any difference in the height between high and low tides. This is because the beach forms a natural bay, one that modulates the height of waves and keeps them gentle.  However, one must pay attention to avoid getting stung by jellyfish.

Other than playing in the water and looking at lovely sea creatures in the glass-clear, turquoise green waters, you can climb up and down the boulders, explore many tiny caves, and take pictures. The beach shows a different face according to time of day: delicate sunrises, mysterious sunsets, and cheerful bright daytime pictures are easy to take.

With such beauty and serenity, it is no wonder that Belitung’s beaches, such as Tanjung Tinggi Beach and Parai Tenggiri Beach, attract both local and foreign tourists.

Belitung is also surrounded by more than 100 tiny islands, all composed of white sands and large granites, and only a few are inhabited. One of these rare inhabited islands is Lengkuas, where you can visit antique 19th-century homes and lighthouses constructed by the Government of the West Indies. Burung Island, Babai Island, Pengadaran Island, Lutung Island, Kera Island, and Jenang Island are among the tiny islands worth a visit.

To get to Tanjung Tinggi Beach, you take a plane from Jakarta straight to H. A. S. Hanandjoeddin Airport, Belitung Island. On arrival, you can rent a 4-wheeler to Tanjung Tinggi Beach which will take you some 30-45 minutes. It may not be as popular as Bali or Lombok, but Belitung Island is blessed with beauty and serenity. It is both a bustling fishing and tourism community, and a quiet natural beauty – something that you can definitely enjoy in various guises throughout Indonesia during your holidays.

(Muhammad Akbar)