Stumble Into Indonesia's Unseen Places
An impulsive “yes man” decision was what got me going on my 2nd trip to Pramuka Island in Kepulauan Seribu (read my 1st one here). Plus, I wanted to test out my brand new mask, woohoo! And the trip took only 2 days with a really cheap cost, and I was going with my usual traveling mates. Did it turn out as exciting as I hoped? Umm.. Let’s just say that we had quite different interpretations of “a relax trip”. My friends seemed to be happy with mostly lazing around and sleeping in, while I thought I could’ve done more around the islands, especially if it was organized a little better. But hey, a nice breezy wind on the beach is always a treat. It’s almost always better than any day you spend in a polluted city 😀
HOW TO GET THERE
We took the public boat from Muara Angke port in the North Jakarta, costing IDR 30,000 / pax, about 2,5 hours to Pramuka Island.
Mrs. Wiwit’s 1-bedroom homestay. IDR 400,000 /night.
Pre-ordered meal around IDR 20,000 / meal / person.
We spent more time waiting for the ordered boat, and ended up renting another boat so as not to waste any more hour. The boat rent cost IDR 350,000 – 500,000 per day.
We meant to hop on three locations: Air Island, a sandbar and Semak Daun Island. Turns out, the water was high, that the sandbar was a no show. So we had to skip that and – unfortunately – didn’t replace it with another destination.
I was only happy because it had been 4 months since my last dip in the sea, and I wanted to test out my new mask. The underwater view itself was a yawn. I remember my excitement when snorkeling around here 2 years ago. But now… well, blame my Komodo and Togian experiences that set the bar higher. On the bright side, now I know that my brand new mask works like it should! Yay!
Oh and we created our own couture (if not commercial and catalogue) photo session. Average-looking beach, too long a time (we arrived there at 4PM and sunset was at 6), not enough things to do. I had to entertain myself with trying to sleep on the beach on my polkadot beach cloth with my untired eyes.
It’s a restaurant in a wooden stilt house in the middle of the sea (often called Karamba, which in Indonesia means a bamboo cage that’s placed at a river, sea or lake for fishery purpose), only 15 minutes of boat transfer from Pramuka Island.
From Pramuka Island, go by ojek boat and pay IDR 3,000 /pax. Menu ranges from seafood to the general Indonesian food like fried rice or noodle and stirfried veggies. It cost us IDR 600,000 / 12 people. Full and satisfied, we were.
Snacks, instant noodles, tea and coffee are available in warungs on the island. The ones we went to were at the main jetty and the other was in front of Wisma Mutiara, which was also near the main jetty. A portion of instant noodle with poached egg cost less than IDR 10,000 (that’s less than AUD or Euro 1 to you!).
There are also so many gerobak you can find on the island. They sell food like deep fried tofu and banana, mi bakso (noodles with meatballs), and bottled drinks. Some of them provide little wooden tables and benches or stools around the staion and you can eat peacefully like in a real café, under a tree shade. Of course it’s a lot cheaper than a real café, but mind your belly, make sure you can handle the Bali belly if you should catch one.
There are more and more cottages and homestays open for business on this island. We actually wanted to stay at Wisma Dermaga like we did 2 years ago, but it was fully booked and so were other cottages. So we settled for a homestay, which is like a pavilion with one bedroom with AC, a living room, and a bathroom. Yup, for all 12 of us.
They provided mattresses in the bedroom and living room. It’s like staying at a dormitory, but with your own friends. The house, including the bathroom, is clean. It’s located next to the owner’s house, Mrs. Wiwit.
The cost? IDR 400,000 / night for the stay, and IDR 20,000 / meal / 12 person. My suggestion would be, make sure about the check in and check out time and be prepared to stand up for your rights. There was some miscommunication or misinformation between us and Mrs. Wiwit, that we were to check out earlier than we should have if only things were clearer from the beginning.
Like always, we took the budget transportation to Pramuka Island. That is the public boat from Muara Angke port in the North Jakarta, costing IDR 30,000 / pax. Now, Pramuka and the rest of 1,000 Islands are the closest oceanic experience one can get from Jakarta. So it’s no wonder that boats are always full. And in our case, we went there at Lebaran holidays. It was almost like a suicidal act.
Because of the crowded passengers and the thing with the harbormaster that took so long to sign the license for the boat to go (they said it was because there were still many passengers sitting on the open deck where they were supposed to be inside for safety reason), the 7 AM departure stretched to 9.30 AM. Lordy Lord!
The boat ride took about 2,5 hours to Pramuka Island, and it was quite wavy. I spent the hours with reading a magazine, drawing, and even typing an Indohoy article on my iPod. Couldn’t sleep like anyone else.