The best beaches in Indonesia (and how to get there!) Part 1

Indonesia is a country of at least 17,000 islands, one of the most in the world and only behind (surprise!) Finland and Canada. Unlike Finland and Canada though, Indonesia is located right on the equator. The tropical climate brings lush rainforests and of course, many of the world’s best beaches.

Here is Part 1 of our personal favorites and how you can get there from Jakarta!

Tanjung Tinggi, Belitung

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Photo Credit: Kompas.com

Tanjung Tinggi became a popular destination among Indonesian travellers after it was showcased in the movie “Laskar Pelangi”. What makes this particular beach unique is the large granite rocks that fills the coastline. The rocks range in sizes from few cubic meters to some that are larger than a house.

How to get therepeta-belitung-1

The most feasible route is to take a plane from Jakarta (or your nearest airport) to H.A.S Hanandjoeddin. The flight will take around 45 minutes. Upon reaching, get to the town of Tanjung Pandan to arrange your accomodation. There are two options here, you may take a taxi or you may save a bit of money by walking to the main road and taking the local Angkot, IDR10,000-IDR15,000 per person should be enough to get you to town. The distance from the airport to Tanjung Pandan is around 10Km.

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Tanjung Pandan City, Photo Credit: bumi-nusantara.blogspot.com

Accomodation varies in terms of quality, from regular rooms for backpacking travellers in Tanjung Pandan town to something a bit more luxurious on the beaches of Belitung. Tanjung Tinggi beach is located around 27Km (45 minute journey) from Tanjung Pandan. We highly recommend you rent a motorbike in Tanjung Pandan as your mode of transportation. It will give you the freedom to explore Belitung island and it is significantly cheaper than taking regular taxis.

What to Eat

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Photo Credit: justtryandtaste.blogspot.com

Sate Ikan (Fish Satay)

Don’t let the name fool you. Sate Ikan is not grilled like other traditional Satays. Instead the fish is minced up along with other spices and then steamed. The end result is very similar to another Indonesian dish called Otak-Otak, only richer in flavor and spices. The dish can be served as an appetizer with it its own special chilli sauce (like Otak-Otak), or part of a main dish served with rice and soup.

Estimated Cost

  • Travel: Soekarno Hatta/Halim (Jakarta) -> H.A.S Hanandjoeddin (Belitung) = IDR750,000 – IDR1,000,000 (Round Trip)
  • H.A.S Hanandjoeddin -> Tanjung Pandan + Tanjung Pandan -> H.A.S Hanandjoeddin = IDR50,000 + IDR 50,000 = IDR100,000
  • Accomodation (Tanjung Pandan): IDR100,000 – IDR300,000 /Day
  • Motorbike rental: IDR50,000/Day
  • Food: IDR10,000 – IDR25,000/Meal
  • Misc (Fuel, Snacks, Drinks, Etc): IDR100,000/Day

Estimated Total Cost 3D2N:

IDR1,690,000 – IDR2,675,000

Banyu Tibo, East Java

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Photo Credit: YoPiknik.com

Banyu Tibo is a beach in Pacitan Regency, East Java. This particular beach has a unique characteristic. It has a waterfall flowing to the ocean which will provide a unique photo opportunity rarely found anywhere else. Banyu Tibo is not very popular yet as a destination and is still relatively secluded compared to other more famous beaches in Indonesia. Additionaly, access to this particular beach is quite difficult making this destination all the more exotic.

Fun Fact: Pacitan Regency is the birthplace of former Indonesian president Susilo Bambang Yudhoyono (SBY)

How to get therepeta-pacitan

There are several ways you can get to Pacitan. You can take a bus directly from Pulogadung terminal in Jakarta to Pacitan which is the least costly travel option. However if you have a bit more to spend, you may also take a train from Jakarta to Solo then take a bus to Pacitan. The bus journey from Tirtonadi terminal in Solo to Pacitan will take approximately 4-5 hours.

We highly recommend you stay a few nights in Pacitan. There are just so many beautiful places to visit in this region that is yet to be discovered by the mainstream. Accommodations such as homestays can easily be found online through a simple google search. Better yet, you can rent camping equipments and set up by the beach which is the way our team likes to do it.

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Klayar Beach, Photo Credit: carinteriordesign.net

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Teleng Ria Beach, Photo Credit: eastjava.com

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Amazon-like boat trip at Sungai Maron (Maron River), Photo Credit: Bombastis.com

For your mode of transportation we recommend renting a car which is available in Pacitan City.

To get to Banyu Tibo Beach, follow this route:

Pacitan City – Jalan Nasional 3 (Nasional 3 Road) – Jalan Pacitan Donorejo (Pacitan Donorejo Road) – Pertigaan Punung (Punung intersection) – Turn left and follow the road to Banyu Tibo Beach.

There is still a bit of hiking that needs to be done once you’ve reached the area. Rest assured, once you’ve reached your destination, your patience and grit will definitely be rewarded.

What to Eat

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Photo Credit: perutgendut.com

Nasi Tiwul Khas Pacitan (Pacitan style Tiwul Rice)

Nasi Tiwul is a dish native to the Pacitan people. Although it is called Nasi Tiwul or Tiwul Rice, the dish is actually produced from dried cassava (Singkong) instead of the usual Oryza Sativa (Asian Rice Grain). The dried cassava is cooked and then served with grated coconuts. This dish usually comes with Ikan Bakar (grilled fish), Urap (Vegetables) and Soups, topped off of course with Sambal (Chilli).

Estimated Cost

  • Travel:  Jakarta -> Pacitan -> Jakarta / Jakarta -> Solo -> Pacitan -> Jakarta
  1. By Bus = (IDR125,000 – IDR175,000) x 2(Round Trip) = IDR250,000 – IDR350,000
  2. By Train and Bus = ((Train:IDR150,000 – IDR300,000) +(Bus:IDR150,000) x 2(Round Trip) = IDR600,000 – IDR900,000
  • Accomodation: IDR100,000 – IDR300,000/Day
  • Car Rental: IDR500,000/Day
  • Food: IDR10,000-IDR25,000/Meal
  • Misc (Fuel, Snacks, Drinks Etc): IDR150,000/Day

Estimated Total Costs:

IDR2,590,000 – IDR3,975,000

Wakatobi, South East Sulawesi

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Photo Credit: wakatobi.com

Wakatobi is a series of islands located in South Eastern Sulawesi. It is best known for its world class diving location, occupying one of the highest priorities of marine conservation in Indonesia. And why shouldn’t it? The marine biodiversity in Wakatobi is absolutely awesome! Therefore make sure you’ve completed your diving license and head underwater when you get to Wakatobi. That’s not to say what’s above the water is not as stunning, the beaches in the islands of Wakatobi is worth the trip alone. There are also tons of other stuff that you can do there.

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Sunset at Hoga Beach, Photo Credit: Luke Montague, flickr.com

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Dolphin and Whale (Seasonal) watching, Photo Credit: tripadvisor.it

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Unlike the more urbanized regions in Indonesia which are already clouded by pollution, stargazing in Wakatobi is still a possibility and a magnificent experience, Photo Credit: tripadvisor.com

How to get therepeta-wakatobi

Wakatobi has become much more accessible in recent years. Direct flights from Jakarta to Wangi-Wangi (Wakatobi’s capital) is now available, although most flights require you to transit at Makassar.

Once you get to Wangi Wangi, you can start looking for your accomodation. There is a great variety of choices available from homestays, guesthouses, villas to luxury resorts. Prices naturally range greatly as well.

There are 2 modes of transports around Wakatobi. Taxis are available around the main island although you have to remember that none of them charges by argo. It would be beneficial to do a little survey and brush up your negotiation skills. There are also cab rentals that are available daily. To get to the other islands, speedboat services are available although it’s schedule is not yet reliable, you could always rent one personally which would be more costly.

What to Eat

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Kasoami

Kasoami is a dish native to the Bugis people in South Sulawesi and Buton people in Central Sulawesi. It is made from fermented Tapioca that is cooked into cone like shape. The people of Sulawesi loves their seafood and would eat Kasoami along with several dishes which includes plainly grilled fish (usually served with their own style of chilli similar to Dabu Dabu in North Sulawesi) along with several types of fish soup.

Estimated Cost

  • Travel: Soekarno Hatta/Halim (Jakarta) -> Bandara Matahora (Wangi Wangi) = IDR2,800,000 – IDR3,600,000 (Round Trip)
  • Accomodation (Wangi Wangi): IDR100,000 – IDR1,500,000 Daily
  • Transportation: Car Rental + Speedboats: IDR250,000 – IDR1,000,000 Daily (Varies greatly depending on bargaining, number of visitors etc.)
  • Food: IDR10,000 – IDR25,000 /Meal
  • Misc (Tips, Snacks, Drinks): IDR100,000 /Day

Estimated Total Cost:

IDR3,740,000 – IDR11,625,000*

*Note: Due to lack of reliable mobility around the islands of Wakatobi, costs will range greatly and will usually end up much more expensive than initially budgeted. Unless you’re planning to go extreme backpacking into Wakatobi, it is much more feasible to join packaged tours that are available online to maximise your experience on the islands at a much lower cost.