Experiencing beautiful Tiger Islands, north of Jakarta

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Besides snorkeling and scuba diving, visitors can go around the island by using a rowing boat. (photo: IO/Prive.Doc)

IO, Jakarta – Thousand Islands, situated off the Northern Jakarta coast, are famous for their beauty and charming atmosphere, especially for citizens of the capital. These places are favorited by both local and international tourists who long to breathe the scent of the sea, away from metropolitan hustle, without having to travel far away. This region is already popular, with the likes of Tidung Island, Semak Daun Island, and Pari Island. Even though you might already know about those famous spots, we bet you have never heard of Pulau Macan [Tiger Island]. Actually, its popularity has risen over the last two years.

However, as a private island run with an eco-friendly system, a limited guest list, and quite a luxurious price, it is no wonder Tiger Islands has fewer visitors than other, surrounding islands. Tiger Islands is divided into two smaller groupings, Greater Tiger Island with lodging facilities, and Lesser Tiger Island which is uninhabited.

Tiger Islands Village & Eco Resort is a lodge located on the greater island, one which combines eco-living ambiance and modern technology, hence creating a very natural feeling. Management produces their own organic crops for food menus. I had a chance to taste their culinary options and came to the conclusion that the food display and presentation is fairly simple but the fresh ingredients on their own create a stupendous flavor.

Greater Tiger Island has a number of facilities, including Cottages, a Club House, and a Bamboo Bar & Sundeck. The Club House is the main building for a buffet-style meal, allowing guests to finish their dishes whilst watching some of the movies provided, or merely reading a book. Bamboo Bar & Sundeck is a suitable spot for those who like to mingle with other guests and bask under strobing sunlight. Moreover, there is a special souvenir shop which also provides gear for diving enthusiasts.

For cottages alone, there are several kinds of room type available to choose from, and the most affordable one is an Island Tent. You may imagine a simple camping tent, although it is surely not. The resort provides decent tents which shelter up to three people each, comprised of mattresses, clean blankets, pillows and candles to drive mosquitoes away. Meanwhile, the most popular room type is Sunset Hut. This spacey cottage could shelter four people, since it has one double bed and two single beds. What makes it special is that this cottage faces the west where you can enjoy magnificent sunset views. Sunset Hut is also equipped with good suite bathroom facilities which add to the natural atmosphere during your private time.

Apart from enjoying the lodge, snorkeling and scuba diving activities will provide a delightful underwater experience. If you prefer island-hopping, the resort management can also arrange trips to visit neighboring islands by vessels, including Lesser Tiger Island. Travelling to Tiger Islands, you have to spend at least Rp1.5 million per person for two days and a one-night stay.

Please note that the price is valid for weekdays with a standard lodging type of tent, and if you wish a larger cabin or villa, the price will be higher. If you bring children age 3-10 years old, stay rate for the weekdays is around Rp1.3 million per person per night; there is no charge for toddlers younger than three.

Although it may seem expensive, the fares are directly proportional to the many benefits you will get. Those fares already include vessel costs from Ancol Marina to Tiger Islands, food and snacks during your stay and snorkeling equipment. Getting to Tiger Islands is not difficult, as you just have to take a boat from Ancol Marina Sixth Pier, then travel over the water for 90 minutes before arriving at Tiger Islands. Boats provided by Tiger Islands Village & Eco Resort are available in Marina Ancol every day at 8 a.m. to pick up the guests. Meanwhile, the boat for a return trip will depart from Tiger Islands at 2 p.m. every Sunday, and if you want to use inter-island ferry, it will depart around 4 p.m. or 4.30 p.m.

(Muhammad Akbar)