8 Things To Do In Belitung – The Secret Island Paradise In SEA That’s A Cheaper Alternative To Bali

Things to do in Belitung

Maldives, Bali, Phuket. Randomly ask any of your friends and chances are, they’ve been to one of these frequented tourist destinations for an islandic getaway. 

But just 4 hours away from Singapore also lies the secret Indonesian island of Belitung; one to be reckoned with besides the usual suspects for its equally picturesque scenery and nature spots.

From rainbow-coloured rocks to venturing into a bat cave, here are 8 things you can do and discover on your first Belitung trip.

1. Blue Kaolin Lake – snow-white sand with Icelandic vibes

Image credit: wanderspiel

No, your eyes are not fooling you. This winter-like wonderland exists right in Indonesia. Once a mining site, the Blue Kaolin Lake paints a reflection of the sky with its cyan blue waters and white sandy dunes. Think Scandinavian landscapes, but with summer temperature. 

You can even elevate your bluff game with your friends and followers by making them think you’re at Iceland’s iconic Blue Lagoon on a vacation. 

Blue Kaolin Lake
Image credit: wanderspiel

As its name suggests, the water is exposed to kaolinite – a soft clay. Although locals sometimes shower with the water here, it is not drinkable. Refrain from swimming in the lake too as its depth is unknown and the land is considered fragile.

Image credit: @nguyenkhangmc

Getting there: Blue Kaolin Lake is best accessed by car, a 10-15 min drive from Tanjung Pandan City. 

2. Batu Baginde – hike up 250m to enjoy a limitless view of the island

Gear up and unleash your inner Tomb Raider as you ascend Batu Baginde. It may look like a mountain, but it actually constitutes two giant granite rocks which represent both genders.

Expect a trek through a dense forest before you reach the starting point of the climb. There will be pre-installed ropes and vertical stairs to ease your journey along the way. If that ain’t enough, you’ll be relieved to know a clear path will lead you straight to the summit.

The climb might prove difficult for some, but you’ll be rewarded with a beautiful overarching view of the island which makes it all worth it.

Image credit: @kikyy_yo

Getting there: Batu Baginde is best accessed by car. It’s a 2- to 3-hour drive from Tanjung Pandan. Head to Membalong district first, then Tanjung Kandi Village. Your trek will start there.

3. Kelapa Kampit – explore this abandoned cave and tin mine

Image credit: @eddie cheever

A jade-coloured lake seated within the pit of majestic red cliffs,  Kelapa Kampit is a tranquil former tin mine. Its terrain is reminiscent of the rice paddy fields in Sapa, Vietnam.

Image credit: @faujian_ares

Take a moment here to simply soak in the peace and quiet of this idyllic place, far away from the city crowds and traffic.

There are even some mining caves to explore, although it is best to stay at the mouth of it for your own safety.

Getting there: The fastest route to Kelapa Kampit is less than an hour’s drive from Bandara via Manggar Street. Upon reaching Kelapa Kampit District, head over to Senyubuk Village to visit the open pit.

4. Pulau Lengkuas & Pulau Batu Berlayar – island hop to spot starfishes and enjoy views from a lighthouse

Flanked by balmy palm trees and an iconic ancient lighthouse built by the Dutch in 1882, it is impossible to miss Pulau Lengkuas

Image credit: TripCanvas

Don’t just admire it from outside though – climb up to the tower’s third level and you’ll be greeted with a panoramic view of the island and the surrounding blue sea.

Image credit: TripCanvas

Being an island on its own without any interference of city lights, you may even want to stay here past sundown for a night to stargaze.

Image from: @belitung_fun

Apart from the seriously sick views, you can also snorkel at Pulau Lengkuas. Dive underwater to swim alongside schools of fish while enjoying the corals – an experience you rarely get in Singapore.

Getting there: Take a 20-minute boat ride from Tanjung Kelayang or Tanjung Binga. It’ll take you 30-45 minutes if you were to take a boat from the seaside of Belitung. Boat fares range from USD$26.60-USD$38.

Hop onto the next island, Pulau Batu Berlayar known for its granite rocks which look like sailing ships docked at the little island from an aerial view. Pack a drone along for an overhead shot!

Image credit: TripCanvas

We all know Spongebob lives in a pineapple under the sea. But who knew Patrick and his friends live at Pulau Batu Berlayar – there are plenty of starfishes to be found on this island.

Image credit: @mariagracellaa

Yes, you might be a tad starstruck and want some photos. But do be mindful that starfishes can suffocate and die if they’re out of the water for more than 5 mins, so don’t leave without ensuring they’re back in their comfort zone

Getting there: Get to Pulau Batu Berlayar from Tanjung Kelayang by a 10-minute boat ride. Neighbouring islands will be included if you’re booking a tour to Pulau Lengkuas.

5. Tanjung Pendam Beach – for aurora-like sunsets and paddle-pop skies

Pink skies during sunset
Image credit: @alisonaliceally

If you’re a sunset-chaser, Tanjung Pendam Beach is an ideal place to catch one. You’ll want to be there early during evenings to await the skies transition from blue to a pinkish-orange hue as the sun sets.

Image credit: indonesiakaya

Along your stroll on the beach, drop by huts that double as mini galleries to enjoy locally-made paintings and handicrafts. You can even purchase them as a souvenir.

Belitung’s special dish – Gangan
Image credit: sahabatnestle

If you’re feeling peckish, there are little tuck shops to get your dose of Belitung’s local cuisine – such as Gangan (curry based soup). 

Getting there: Take a car ride westward from Tanjung Pandan City; the distance is approximately 4KM.

6. Tanjung Kelayang Beach – rainbow granite rocks with nearby local restaurants

If you’re looking for more than just a no-frills beach, Tanjung Kelayang should be on your radar. It is decked with many white granite rocks near the shore; perfect for you to sit atop and have your very own Little Mermaid moment. Watch your steps as you climb though, for these granites can be quite slippery.

Image credit: @angmoh83

Don’t be fooled by the granite’s pristine exterior. Venture in between them and you’ll be met with a spectrum of rainbow hues on the inside walls. 

Image credit: @rizkavirli

The beach features beautiful shorelines that stretch approximately 4KM in length. Plus, the waves are not too strong either, which makes it a good swim spot. 

Look out for local restaurants along the shore that specialise in seafood as well. Some of its more famous dishes include Cah (stir-fried) Kangkung and Fish Soup.

Image credit: indonesiakaya

Getting there: It takes approximately 30 minutes to get to Tanjung Kelayang from Hanandjoeddin Airport by car.

7. Nek Santen Cave – venture into a Bruce Wayne-worthy bat cave

Image credit: @Yant Yanto

This one’s for you thrill-seekers out there. Even if you’re not the most keen on the outdoors, you’ll want to witness the grandeur of being inside a natural cave.

Nek Santen Cave is located on Mount Kubing in the Membalong district. It is rather secluded and less touristy, so expect a smaller crowd when you’re there – no need to jostle with tour groups or camera-toting visitors.

It gets pitch dark the further you’re inside, so it’s best to stay near the mouth of the cave and only venture in further if you feel confident and comfortable.

Image credit: Ann Froschauer

This cave is home to a ton of bats that might intimidate initially, but they’re generally shy creatures and will not attack unless they feel threatened. While you’re having your very own National Geographic moment, remember to not use flash photography or you’ll risk startling them! 

Image credit: @eddie cheever

Tip: Besides a trusty flashlight and solid footwear. make sure to pack some snacks and extra water with you during your bat-excursion. A pair of gloves will also come in handy to protect you from the cave walls.

Getting there: Head over to Membalong district from Tanjung Pandan through Membalong Raya Street by car. It’ll take you approximately 1 hour and 30 minutes. From there, head over to Lassar Village and trek towards the cave.

8. Museum Kata Andrea Hirata –  free literary museum with Moroccan town vibes

Image credit: @iamhendraw

Teleport to Morocco when you visit the Museum Kata Andrea Hirata – its tiled floors and colourful doors call to mind the vibrancy of Moroccan sites. It’s also Indonesia’s first literary museum founded by Andrea Hirata.

For those interested in Belitung’s geology, history, literary arts and tales, this is the perfect place to learn about Indonesia’s culture through the galleries that are home to photography exhibits.

Image credit: @moseskwik_

Apart from learning, you can also shop for some locally-made merchandise ranging from clothing to body care products to take home.

Image credit: @museumkataandreahirata

End your tour at the museum coffee shop that’s converted from a kitchen – Warung Kupi Kuli, with a fresh cup of Belitung’s charcoal brewed coffee. This rustic cafe with vintage decor – such as sewing machines, vintage wall clocks and old-school telephones – will make you feel like you’ve traveled back in time. 

Image credit: tanyaapa

Plus, entrance into the museum is absolutely free of charge!

Image credit: @dkgustinov

Address: Lenggang, Gantung, East Belitung Regency, Bangka Belitung Islands 33516, Indonesia.

Escape to the island paradise of Belitung with AirAsia

An islandic getaway wouldn’t feel like one if it’s packed with tourists. Lead the pack of your travel buds by heading to this hidden-gem that’s just 4 hours away from Singapore, for an experience of peace and quiet while getting closer to nature.

The lesser-known Belitung is now made more convenient to reach with AirAsia’s new fly-through flight from KL. There are 2 ways to get there from Singapore; via Jakarta with flights starting from 1st October 2019, and via Kuala Lumpur from 2nd October 2019 onwards.

Prices start from $100 (all-in one way) too, so you won’t be putting your personal finances at bear market, while still getting to soak in a well-deserved upcoming getaway. 

Book your next AirAsia Holiday Quickie to Belitung here

This post was brought to you by AirAsia.

Dion Lim

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