Derawan Islands, East Kalimantan – Borneo’s Little Paradise

Submitted by mumunmumun on 11 August 2014   •  Itinerary

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The Indonesia part of Borneo is usually known for its Dayak people and its orangutan. It’s hardly known to be the destination for white sand paradise. However, it has exactly that. Off the coast of East Kalimantan, lies an uber mini archipelago called Derawan Islands. It has the complete package: sand, sea, sun and smiles of local people. Although it seems that it has become popular, apparently it’s still not popular enough. Loads of travel organizers have made trip schedules to this spot, especially during Indonesian long weekends, but apparently many still haven’t heard of Derawan Islands.

Yet, the islands have so much to offer, it’s worth coming back again and again.

Derawan Islands

Derawan Island

The main island is Derawan Island. It’s a small island closest to Tanjung Batu Port compared to the other main islands. There are more options of accommodation, sea transportation and eatery. The most awesome thing about it is its regular lovely visitor, the ancient creatures. Did I mention the people are nice too?

For more about Derawan Island, check out our link here.

Beach life

Kakaban Island

One of the must visits of the Derawan Islands for me is the Kakaban Island where you’ll find Kakaban Lake, home to the stingless jellyfishes. There are four types of jellies in this lake and it is such a weird sensation to swim amongst them, especially since most of us are used to avoiding them rather than coming closer. How was it really?

More about swimming with the jellyfishes in Kakaban Lake, just click here.

Up, close, and personal with stingless jellyfish

Turtle Traffic

Some people would love to see turtles in their lifetime. There’s been one or two occasion that I’ve read people traveling to Malaysia or Indonesia to see turtles, one of earth’s oldest and most traveled creatures in the world. As rare as that sounds, there is one spot near Maratua Island, where you’ll most likely see turtles or even get bored of them considering so many of them around. Turtle Traffic is a diver’ss paradise to see and come close to turtles. Swimmers and snorkelers also have a huge possibility to meet them, too.

For more about the Turtle Traffic spot, just head to our link here.

Turtle Traffic

Night Dive at Derawan Island

If daylight diving weren’t enough for you, maybe a night dive would do. Just off the pier of Danakan Homestay, home to Danakan Dive Center, is a drop-off full of life even at night. See the night creepy crawlies that really look creepy!

Head to our link here for more info about night dives. For past experience to this island, you can read Vira’s story on this link here.

Diving Derawan Islands



How To Get To Derawan Islands

It’s a bit of a struggle to get to Derawan Islands, but what paradise isn’t? From Jakarta or Bali, you need to fly to Berau or Tarakan. From Tarakan you can get the public boat that would reach the Derawan Islands in 4-5 hours. From Berau, a 2-hour car ride will take you to Tanjung Batu Port where you need to rent a speedboat for a 30-45 minute ride to the visible islands.

For more information on how to get there you can read this link.

Garuda Indonesia Balikpapan Berau



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5 years ago

I want to dive in Derawan Island… how much it costs?!!!