Situated off the northern coast of Jakarta, Kepulauan Seribu is a group of 342 islands. Also popular as the Thousand Islands, only 36 of its islands are authorized by the government to be used for recreational purposes. Unfortunately, out of these 36 islands, only 13 islands are open for public visit, with two islands being established as National Park.
Whether going for underwater expeditions from the different diving spots scattered across the islands or engaging in wildlife photography and bird watching activities, Kepulauan Seribu has plenty of exciting activities in store. The flora and fauna of the Thousand Islands are one of the most fascinating things to observe during your trip. And yes! Do give a trying hand at fishing by teaming up with the local fishermen to learn more about their lifestyle and the Islands.
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Flora & Fauna at Thousand Islands
The Thousand Islands of Jakarta is very rich in terms of the diverse species of flora and fauna found in the region. Since the place lies close to Jakarta, more than one–eighth of the island’s area has been designated as a conservation area by the Indonesian government. The islands forming part of the Thousand Islands Marine National Park comprise of plants such as Pandan, Coconut Palm, Cemara Laut, Butun etc. Once you step into the waters, you may discover a large variety of corals, sea grasses, sea weeds etc. among other marine plants found near the island.
While it is difficult to name all of the 142 species of fishes and other marine animals found near Kepulauan Seribu, some of the prominent species which you would like to witness from your naked eyes include the endangered Hawksbill Sea Turtle, Green Sea Turtle, Golden Ring Snakes, Reticulated pythons etc. And if you are going for a scuba diving session, observing these marine animals from so much closeness is truly an experience in itself!
Places to Visit on Kepulauan Seribu
Out of the different islands forming part of the Thousand Islands archipelago, the following islands are must–visit places among both domestic and international visitors:
Pulau Bidadari: The Pulau Bidadari Island lies closest to Jakarta mainland at a mere distance of around 10 Km by waterways. During your visit to the island, you can cover the entire beach length in around 10 minutes’ time, it is that small in area. For this, you may also rent a bicycle for Rph 15,000 (Hourly basis), but it is advised to tour the island on foot to feel the vibes of the place.
Tidung Besar: Also known as Large Tidung, the Tidung Besar Island is further connected to Tidung Kecil Island (or Small Tidung) via an 8–metre tall bridge. To reach Tidung Besar, you may first reach Pulau Pramuka Island, which is the main administrative region for the Thousand Islands. From there, the Island of Large Tidung lies at a distance of around 10.5 Km in the Southwest direction, and can be easily reached via boats. You may easily observe a beautiful view of the sunrise and the sunset from the bridge, making the entire atmosphere quite romantic for the newlywed people. Not only this, rumours have it that whoever jumps into the shallow waters from the bridge is assured to find their life partner soon.
Pulau Macan: Also known as Tiger Island, the Pulau Macan Island is situated at a distance of 1.5 Hours from Jakarta mainland. To reach here, you may board a ferry from Pulau Pramuka Island. From there, the Island lies around 24 Km in the North direction, and can be reached via fishermen boats or speed boats run by the resorts. Mostly managed by foreigners, the island is famous for its natural looking huts. Staying in these huts may give you a sensation that you are on a secluded island, all by yourselves. Apart from this, you may even engage yourselves in activities such as Windsurfing, Canoeing, Snorkelling and Scuba diving.
Pulau Pelangi: More popular among the tourists as the Rainbow Island, the isle is situated at a distance of 70 Km from Jakarta mainland, and around 30 Km north of Pulau Pramuka Island. You may easily reach the island via the boats running from the Pulau Pramuka Island. Apart from the vegetation and coconut plantations, the island is more famous for the activities you can perform here. Be it snorkelling in the meth blue waters or tossing along with the banana boat, you can be sure to amuse yourselves during your stay on the island. And yes! Don’t forget to give a try to Alaska, the semi–submarine boat to go for an exciting and mesmerizing underwater world exploration along with your friends and family!
Pulau Pramuka: Being the administrative centre for the Thousand Islands, Pulau Pramuka is more developed than other islands. Present at a distance of around 50 Km north of Marina Ancol Pier and around 45 Km from Muara Angke Harbour, the island also serves as a nature reserve spot for the greenback turtles, providing the species with the ideal conditions for their hatching season. Not only this, when the newborn turtles are ready to be released into the waters, the island authorities even allow the tourists to participate in this activity. So if it’s your lucky day, you may get a chance to release some of these marine animals into their world with your very own hands!
Things to Do on Thousand Islands
Snorkelling: This is one of the activities which you may find on almost all of the 11 islands. Available for rent at different islands, you may hit either of the 19 diving spots present across the different islands for a snorkelling dive. This will surely give you an experience which will remain alive in your memories forever. Price: Rph 30,000 per person (Average price).
Boating: Since the Thousand Islands is also home to some of the local fishermen, you can book for yourselves a fishing boat and go for a sightseeing session in the sea waters. The price for renting the boat is something you will have to bargain and fix with the fisherman you intend to go. Usually, the boats carry up to 10 people, so you may even have the company of your family members or friends while touring the islands on water.
Bird Watching: The Rambut Island of Kepulauan Seribu is home to over 30,000 migratory birds and is more of a bird sanctuary than a resort island. The dense mangrove forests attract the birds to rest near them, providing you with an easy opportunity to sit in silence and watch the beauty of these birds through your binoculars.
How to Reach Kepulauan Seribu
You may reach Kepulauan Seribu through the following piers situated in Jakarta mainland:
Marina Ancol: To reach to any of the islands of Kepulauan Seribu, you may visit Marina Ancol situated in the north of Jakarta. Situated on Marina Street, close to the Istana Boneka–Dufan, Marina Ancol comprises of many different travel agency offices organizing transportation facilities to and from the Thousand Islands for the tourists. You may even book any tour package from them along with accommodation at the resort of your choice on the Islands.
The boats for the Thousand Islands depart from Marina Ancol from 9:00 AM onwards. For this, you will have to reach the pier at least 30 minutes before the scheduled departure time. If you are planning to reach Pulau Ayer Island, the boats depart from 2:00 PM onwards from Marina Ancol.
Muara Angke Harbour: Situated on Jalan Dermaga Raya Street, you may reach the Muara Angke Harbour by boarding bus from Grogol Bus Terminal using angkot B–01 route for Rph 6,000. Once you get down at Muara Angke Bus Terminal, you may book a Motorized Peddy Cab for Rph 5,000 for reaching the Harbour, which lies around 700 metres north of the Bus Terminal.
To reach the different islands, the following are the boat departure timings: Boat to Pulau Pramuka: 9:00 AM onwards (Morning session); 1:00 PM onwards (Afternoon session). Boat to other Islands: 7:00 AM onwards (Morning session); 1:00 PM onwards (Afternoon session) Please note that the departure timings of these boats are not fixed and depends upon the number of passengers on board for the islands.
Getting Around Thousand Islands
If you are having a booking with either of the resorts on Kepulauan Seribu, you may use their boat service to travel to and from other islands. If you don’t have any booking with the resort, you may reach out to the local fishermen and bargain with them for travelling from one island to another. This would usually cost around Rph 100,000 per person for you.
To reach any of the islands of Thousand Islands, you don’t require any special permits. However, you must have a booking at either of the resorts on the islands. Otherwise, you won’t be able to depart for Kepulauan Seribu from Jakarta mainland.
Best Time to Visit
The best time to visit the Thousand Islands is during the months of Winter and Autumn seasons when the weather is relatively cooler than the other parts of the month. It is advised not to travel to the place during the rainy season as the water levels are relatively higher, and boat service may also get affected due to bad weather.
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