Stumble Into Indonesia's Unseen Places
Submitted by mumunmumun on 31 August 2015 • Destination
Born and raised in inland Bandung, I envied the people in Jakarta for having such a great beach getaway to the Kepulauan Seribu, just within arms reach. With only about 2 hours with public wooden boat from Muara Angke Port or 1 hour on the speedboat from Marina Bay Ancol, the residents of the Big Durian can have a sun-kissed tan after swimming in the blue-turquoise ocean. However, as I have traveled and lived in Jakarta, I found that people usually tend to outgrow of this destination. Apparently, I have the eye of a child and am still fond traveling to Kepulauan Seribu.
It’s probably because I’ve changed the way I’m traveling to Kepulauan Seribu. I don’t take the Muara Angke boats anymore, because it takes too long, I’m not too fond of the port entrance and the port water. Bleh! I don’t travel in groups of 20 people anymore, nor do I run around the island demanding a packed itinerary seizing my precious youth. I take things slow and calm now, and eventually that brings me to this post. Here are 5 things why still I like traveling to Kepulauan Seribu.
These days, I’m traveling to Kepulauan Seribu for my necessary dives. Hence, I usually take the speedboat. It’s about 1 hour on the fast boat and relatively convenient, while some people in Jakarta can’t even get to their office in an hour. In the city that craves efficiency, ironically it’s more efficient to a holiday destination than it to work. A beach and island life an hour away? I’m sold!
Most of the islands in Kepulauan Seribu are filled with resorts. On these islands, it’s easy to feel that relaxed ambience. But as a budget traveler, I’m most familiar and still like Pramuka Island. I particularly like how it has a friendly and small settlement complex. Much of the paths are in a grid-like order and houses are close to each other with open fences. It’s a typical Indonesian neighborhood with a dash of sand. The populated island thus provides many things to see, a lot of people to talk to, and all in a beach vibe ambience. Who wouldn’t like that?
Being so close and popular amongst the Jakarta people, Kepulauan Seribu has become a very affordable getaway. Some open trips can go as low as USD 20 / person for a full board 2 days 1 night snorkeling trip with 20 other people. It might sound crowded but still insanely cheap. My last diving trip was about USD 120 for a full board 2 days 1 night dive trip, which included 5 dives and full gear rent. Not too shabby to refresh in the ocean.
You know what? The sea floor might be full of sand and particles. Underneath it all, there’s actually some great marine life, interesting landscapes, and surprising structures. Seeing past the sand, the life is colorful and various. And even Kepulauan Seribu has challenging wrecks, which I can’t say about many dive spots.
I hold a sentimental reason liking Kepulauan Seribu. It’s where I did my first dive and I strongly feel that it’s the best site for those learning. More about this on this link about 10 dive tips for beginners.
Since my first visit to Kepulauan Seribu, which was already a famous vacation getaway at the time, the island has changed a lot. While AC’s and drinking water in gallon bottles were already common, Pramuka in particular has become ‘Cyber Island’ (when clearly that’s only to state they have online connection), the presence of organic and non organic wastebaskets, fast fiber speedboats and a sort of public transport that has stereo and colorful lights on them. There’s always something new every time I visit the island once in a blue moon, so it’s always fascinating.
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