World class beaches await you at this beautiful slice of paradise
As Alex Garland’s novel-made-DiCaprio flick The Beach demonstrated, the hunt for South-East Asia’s few remaining undiscovered beaches can be arduous. Which is why it’s almost shocking how user-friendly Belitung Island is. Although its pristine white sand beaches, coral rich turquoise seas and smattering of offshore islands remain well off the radar, direct flights from Jakarta make sampling the island’s tropical ambrosia practically a cinch.
Just off the east coast of Sumatra, the Belitung is not exactly small. It is slightly larger than the more famous Indonesian island Lombok. Nevertheless, a relaxed way of life and the lack of traffic — the island’s entire population is just 271,000 — mean it’s easy to strike out from the capital Tanjung Pandan and tap into a buffet of world-class beaches. Choices include Pantai Tanjung Tinggi, a stretch of white sand framed by two boulder strewn peninsulas and Leebong Island where the sunglasses are essential to counter the glare from the dazzling sand.
When to go
The dry season (April to October) is more sunny but also more windy, resulting in choppy waters. During the wet season (November to March) it usually only rains in the afternoons.
How to get there
Cebu Pacific flies from Manila to Jakarta. There are 10 domestic flights a day between Jakarta and Tanjung Pandan.
Also read: Escape the crowds at Sihanoukville, Cambodia
This article first appeared in the March 2017 issue of Smile magazine.