Derawan Islands: Small nirvana on earth waiting for you to explore

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The beauty of the rising sun is visible from your room window in the morning. (photo: IO/Prive.Doc)

IO, Jakarta – It is not exaggerating  if the natural beauty of Indonesia is called a miniature paradise. It is not only the rain forest but also the lush or clear ocean which is legendary. One of Indonesia’s natural beauties that always awaits and calls the tourists to visit is Derawan Islands. Located in East Kalimantan, Derawan is a magic in the form of tiny islands. Touching the ground is the start of a holiday trip that you will not forget for a long time. If you already have an intention to vacation at the beginning of this year, it’s good to put Derawan into your list.

Derawan Islands have different water characteristics. There are high-flow and danger, some are calm and safe, and display the beauty of the underworld which is unmatchable. Because of the many characters flow on these islands, the marine biota, animals and plants are very diverse. Derawan island is located right in the derawan islands, district derawan, berau district of East Kalimantan province.

Derawan Island is famous for its water clarity, this is one of the islands in the eastern region of East Kalimantan. Derawan Islands consists of four main islands: Derawan, Sangalaki, Kakaba and Maratua. Not only tourists who stay on this island, there are about 1,000 heads of families who are natives of this island. They mostly work as fishermen.

The majority of the population work as fishermen, but now there is a transfer of professions to be motorists (the term for speed boat driver), and also entrepreneurs. Since the tour to Derawan Island is known to the wider community, the activities of residents on this island began to wriggle. It can be seen that some houses become souvenir centers or open other types of businesses, such as food stalls, grocery stores, even bicycle rental places.

Around the island, some marine biota live become the target of tourists to take pictures. There are turtles and various types of fish. Shift slightly toward Maratua Island, tourists will pass the path of the group of dolphins. If lucky, visitors can meet a herd of dolphins. Because the main island Derawan is surrounded by oceans then of course the mainstay tour is the charm of its underwater. The underwater enchantment which is not easy to get and not often reached by many people makes the island of Derawan is still clean.

The beach has a stretch of white sand with rows of coconut trees. Of course this spoils the tourists who want to relax on the beach or island with beautiful scenery. As far as the eyes see there are only the sea and also the blue water.

If you are curious about how turtle eggs look like and pond farming done by Derawan community, you can visit Derawan Island directly. You can join education tours which is one of of them is by looking at the conservation of turtles, where turtles are treated and re-released when their ages are enough to be in the wild. This reduces the possibility of dead sea turtles when hatching. You can also see fishing activities in the Derawan archipelago sub-district which is the main livelihood of Derawan residents that catch fish in the sea.

Other tours that tourists should do  is snorkeling. The fact that, the data says Derawan has a wealth of biodiversity and also a place of living coral reefs whose order is number two after the Raja Ampat Islands. Of course this makes us very proud. This proves that the inhabitants of Derawan can co-exist with coral reefs and fish without destroying them, which is also used as a tourist tour for both entertainment and for education.

To get to Derawan you have to board an airplane to two nearby towns that used to be the point of crossing: Tarakan and Berau. Ticket prices for Jakarta-Berau, whether requiring transit in Balikpapan or without transit, will be more expensive than the Jakarta-Tarakan ticket price. However, the sea trip from Berau to Derawan will be cheaper and faster.

Conversely, the ticket price from Jakarta to Tarakan will be cheaper as there are more Jakarta – Tarakan flights compared to Jakarta – Berau. However, you will take a longer trip from Tarakan to Derawan. There are three cities that you have to pass by land route before finally can cross to Derawan. For those who do not have much time or reluctant to spend energy on the trip please select Jakarta- Berau route.

Hotel rates in Derawan Islands are very various. It starts from Rp.250.000 / night to millions per night, and for those of who have limit  budget, there are also a guesthouse that has a starting price of Rp.100.000. Guest houses on Derawan Islands usually uses the resident’s home, making it possible for you to interact directly with the local community.

In addition to Derawan Island, you can also stay in Maratua Island. Unfortunately the number of lodging on this island is still very limited. Not to mention the price which is  millions of rupiah per night. You can consider lodging on this island if  tranquility is your concern.

To explore the beauty of the Derawan Islands, all you have to do is to rent a boat. The price is expensive if you rent it by yourself. Therefore, you had better look for other groups who want to share the boat rental with you. The rental rate for fishing boats to tour to the three islands of Maratua, Kakaban, and Sangalaki is Rp. 1.600.000 with capacity 10 0rang.

You can also rent a speedboat with a capacity of 4 people, with an estimated rental price of Rp. 1.600.000 for those three islands. The difference between these two methods of transportation besides the price, lies in the speed and convenience. Traveling between islands with fishing boats will take longer due to the less modern machines. Fishing boats will not be as comfortable as speedboats, because the boat must accommodate 10 passengers. Yet, fishing boat is relatively cheaper because the rate can be shared for more people.

The next activity is to go to Kakaban Island to meet with the species of friendly jellyfish. Basically, the jellyfish actually stings, but because its habitat is a brackish water lake that has undergone a complex process of chemical, physical, and biological reactions for thousands of years, the jellyfish here eventually lose their stinging ability.

(Muhammad Akbar)