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Maratua Island, Exploring Underwater Life of Island by Diving in East Kalimantan

Maratua Island is one of island among four famous islands in Derawan Archipelago. The three islands are Derawan Island, Sangalaki Island, and Kakaban Island. Because each of the islands has beautiful panorama, they are well-known as Paradise Island. Maratua Island itself is comparable to other islands because Maratua has incredible underwater life and so popular for professional divers around the globe. They consider underwater life of the island become one of hidden paradise for divers.
Most of visitors who come to Maratua Island love to snorkel and dive. So, it’s not surprising if the island becomes one of favorite spot for diving and snorkeling around Derawan Archipelago. And as a Paradise Island, you can enjoy and want to stay longer to explore the area that has sharp and pointed shape at the south of Tarakan City.
Administratively, Maratua Island is located at Maratua sub-district, Berau Regency, East Kalimantan Province, Indonesia. The island is adjacent to Malaysia and Philippine. To reach the island, it will take more time. If you start your journey from Balikpapan City, you can take a flight to Tanjung Redeb, the capital of Berau Regency. Then, continue your trip by renting a speedboat to Maratua Island and it takes around 3 – 4 hours.
However, if you like to through Tanjung Batu or the capital of Derawan Island, you have to take a land transportation which takes 2 hours from Tanjung Redeb. Then, take a speedboat for about 30 minutes. Along the way, you will be attracted by stunning panorama, like blue ocean, green scenery, and attractive birds. 

Actually, there are many resorts with international class around Maratua Island.  They offer the cottage right on the water and united to the beauty of the island. Thus, the visitor can enjoy marine life right on the deck. However, mostly tourist will stay in Maratua Paradise Resort.
But, if you like to be a backpacker, you can stay in the guesthouse and live with local resident. They offer their rooms at home with affordable cost. And if you like to stay in Balikpapan, you can choose hotels or villa, like Swiss-Belhotel Balikpapan, Ibis Balikpapan, favehotel MT. Haryono – Balikpapan, Aston Balikpapan Hotel & Residence, Swiss-Belinn Balikpapan, The New Vilabeta Resort.

Maratua Island is one of marine destination in East Kalimantan. The beauty of natural scenery will fondle you because you can do many water sports. Underwater life has crystal water with exotic panorama, especially when sunset. The stretch of the coastline and white sand are like the guardian of the island.
Snorkeling and diving are the main attraction in Maratua Island. To support these activities, there are some dive operators to provide the equipment of diving and snorkeling. Only by diving for about five meters, you can enjoy the panorama of underwater. The marine life here are various, like cuttlefish, ghostpipe fish, bluering octopue, pigmy seahorses, ribbon eels, scorpion fishes, barracuda, white tip sharks, hammerhead sharks, and many more.

Although Maratua is a small island, but it has around 21 popular diving spots. Each spots offer different experience, challenging, beauty, and diversity. They are Second Channel Shark City, Midnight Snapper Run, Sea Wall, Sea Wall Garden, Big Fish Country, Small Fish Country, Leo Point, Turtle Paradise, Divers Delight, Batfish Alley, Mid Reef, Turtle Traffic, Fusilier Paradise, Lumanlang, Maratua Reef, and many more.
          Turtle Traffic is a spot that are fulfilled by green turtle. Their age can be hundred years old and most of them swim in the deep of water while searching food. Maratua Island itself is the most favorite place for turtle to lay eggs and feeding. Thus, it’s not surprising if Maratua well-known as the Turtle Capital of Indonesia. 
Besides that, you also can play with jellyfish freely and safely because they don’t have sting. This is can be unforgettable moment because you can swim so close with them and even touch them with your bare hands. Yes, this is one of uniqueness of Maratua Island and it won’t be easy to find this kind of spot. Just have fun and ask your friend to take your pictures as you diving or snorkeling.
After you satisfy exploring underwater life at Maratua Island, next you can sit and relax at the coastline while enjoying the breeze. Waiting the sunset can be interesting activity because you will witness the silhouette at the west. Don’t forget to capture the picture because it can be incredible picture you have in Maratua because the gradation of colors and the background of the sun is so amazing.

Telunas Beach as the Best Relaxing Gateway in Batam

Telunas Beach is the mainstay of tourist destination in Karimun Regency to attract tourists, both local and international. The beach has white sand and exotic panorama just like a hidden paradise. With very fine of sand, you even can hear the sound of its sand when you step in. Although Telunas is a new beach but the popularity has been spreading from around the world, especially for tourist that comes from Singapore. The location itself is so close to Singapore and that make one who want to relax and rid the stress come here to enjoy the life.
Telunas Beach offers you eco-friendly, quality of life, and has potential to be developed because it has special character. Everyone can have fun and do many things, like water activities, hiking, or just explore the area around the beach. Fresh air, beautiful scenery, friendly people, and the beach itself will make you love to stay longer here.

Telunas Beach lies at Sugi Island, Moro sub-district, Karimun Regency, Kepulauan Riau (Riau Archipelago) Province. To reach the beach, you can take a boat or speedboat from Tanjung Balai for about 45 minutes. If you start your journey from Batam City, you can take a ferry that departs from Sekupang Port and it takes around 90 minutes. But, if you come from the big cities in Indonesia, like Medan, Jakarta, Bali, you can take a flight to Batam. 
Most of visitor who visit Telunas Beach will stay in one of beautiful resort named Telunas Beach Resort. They have cottage made from wood. To reach the resort, you can start it from Sekupang Port in Batam for about 90 minutes. And if you start your journey from Hang Nadim Airport, it takes an hour by a car to Sekupang Port. Staying in the cottage can be unforgettable moment because the ambience is so comfortable and you can find tranquility and serenity because each cottages face to the ocean. 

However, if you still want to explore tourist destination near Batam City, you can stay in Swiss-Belhotel Harbour Bay, Gideon Hotel Batam, Harmoni Suites Hotel, Golden View Hotel, Nagoya Mansion Hotel and Residence, Batam View Beach Resort, HARRIS Hotel Batam Center, and Tempat Senang Spa Resort & Restaurant.

As the first time you step in Telunas Beach, you only have two words to say, spectacular and amazing. Yes, that is true because the beach is such like an amazing place to relax for one who needs a quite spot and chill for romantic long weekend. That is mean you can spend your days with your couple.
The location of the beach is great and you can find pretty view wherever you go. And you may not miss to walk with bare foot in this sandy beach. If you like adventuring and exploring, this is the best zone because you can do many things, like kayaking, fishing, canoeing, hiking, and swimming. 
In Telunas Beach, you also will love to start your day by sitting while seeing crystal water with turquoise ambience of the water. The fish swim freely and sometime they jump on the surface to show off their skill. The beach has long coastline with sloping condition and sandy with many dense trees at the edge of the beach.
If you don’t want to do anything, you can pick your favorite books and stay on the hammock while enjoying the breeze from the ocean and overlooking the water. Maybe, while reading the book, you can hear other visitors play soccer or volley. Although there are many things you can do at day, you still can do something at night by looking crab.
Most of the visitor in Telunas Beach is expats from Singapore, Malaysia, and Korea. They come with group about 30 – 90 people and do many things, like outbound, tracking to the forest, camping, or just doing water activities.  

It is not surprising if Telunas Beach become favorite spot for people who come around Batam because the provider of the beach offers eco-friendly facilities, attractive activities, and consistent to develop the beach. Besides that, it will be a good chance to try local dishes that have delicious taste.
Coming to Telunas Beach means you ready to the ambience of nirvana. Lovely place, incredible scenery, stunning atmosphere and serenity. This is the time to leave stress behind and enjoy the live while watching the sun going down.

Galang Island, Memorizing a Refuge of Vietnamese in Batam

Galang Island ever became a hot discussion in United Nations because the island served as a place for refuge of thousands people from Vietnam. They crossed the ocean and left their country after war between South Vietnam and North Vietnam. They came with boats with alarming condition because they had jostle in a small boat. They drifted for months in South China Sea with unclear purposes.  Most of them died in the middle of sea and some of them could survive and reached Indonesian territory, including Galang Island, Tanjung Pinang, and the closer islands.
United Nation and Indonesian government stated that Galang Island was a safe place for refugee before they sent back to the other countries. They were so happy and thanked to God because they could find a peace in a beautiful island with white sand. There, they started to build houses, place of worship, schools for their children and cemetery.
Currently, the camp becomes a tourist destination site. By visiting Galang Island, you will be brought to remember the tragedy in the past when thousand Vietnamese left their country to find protection. There, you will see so many ruins, like a church and a pagoda which are treated well and can be used by visitors. 
The refugee came around 1976 to 1996 and this can be seen from a replica of a small boat that was used in 1975 by hundred Vietnamese to cross the ocean and escaped from their homeland because of civil war.
Galang Island is a small island at Kepulauan Riau Province and the camp itself is situated at Sijantung Village, Galang sub-district, and lies close to Batam. It can be reached for 56 km. You can take a ferry from one among six terminal ferry in Batam. If you start your journey from Jakarta, you can continue it again to Hang Nadim Airport in Batam.
The easy way to visit Galang Island is by driving a car because from Batam to the camp needs two hours. The road is quiet and no traffic. But, you still have to be careful when you driving. Just watch the signpost because the gate is not prominent. Then, you have to pay IDR 5,000 or US$0.5 to park a car and admission ticket is IDR 3,000 or US$0.3 per person.

Actually, there is no hotel in Galang Island. But, you can find them in Batam Center like The Centro Hotel & Residence, Ace Hotel Batam, Batam Centre Hotel, King's Hotel Batam, Venesia Hotel, Harmoni One Convention Hotel and Service Apartments, Cittic Batam Hotel, Crown Vista Hotel, and Indah Hotel. 
Besides that, there is no food vendor or restaurant near the camp. You can enjoy the local culinary in Nagoya, Batam Center, and Barelang. For the souvenir, you can purchase it in the island, like pin and t-shirt.

Entering to the area of the camp, you will be welcomed by dozens of monkey that hanging on the branch of trees. They running and jumping at the edge of the street to catch the nuts that are threw by visitors from their car. The situation is so quiet and there is no activity around the island. 
The tree lining along the street and guide you to reach the camp. Accompanied by the breeze and peaceful atmosphere, your coming will be enlivened by the chirp of birds as if this area is belongs to them. And when you come closer, you start to see the camp that looks like a settlement that has been left for a long time. The farming area stretches widely, green and thriving. 
The sign board ‘Welcome to Vietnam’ will show you that this place was occupied by the refugee. All of the real life that had undertaken by Vietnamese can be seen. All are using Vietnam language for museum and grave. When you walk around the camp, you will find traditional boats that were used by the refugee. It’s wooden boat and they struggled and challenged the high waves to reach the land before they arrived to Galang Island.
Besides that, there are ruins of boat burnt by refugee to protest because that couldn’t get a new citizen. Initially, the settlement was small but lately the new boats came again. Even, they reached Bintan Island and Anambas Island as well.
Not only the houses, but you still can find a small jail and security post. These building were used by Indonesian military to secure, monitor, and preventing vaginal disease, i.e. Vietnam Rose that brought by the refugee. The jail itself was used to prison robber, rapist, killer and one who tried to escape.
Near the entering gate, you will find a woman statue. This monument built to memorize the tragedy of Tinh Han Loai. She was a woman the killed herself because she shied after raped by the other refugee. The cemetery of Nghia-Trang Galang is one spot here. There are 503 graves of refugee. They died because of disease after sailing for months. The cemetery itself is still visited by their family that comes from Vietnam.
Although Indonesian government monitored very tight, but they built worship place, like Quan Am Tu Pagoda, Nha Tho Duc Me Vo Nhiem Church, Protestan Church, and Mosque. The Quan Am Tu is the most prominent worship place and it can be seen clearly from the distance. The building itself are original because the current government keep it very well. 
If you want to know the condition of the refugee, you can go to the museum that displays lot of photo, family photo, activities during their life in the camp, and household stuffs. The museum was used for an office for the UNHCR. Near the museum there is a ruin of hospital that kept the box of medicines.
By visiting the camp in Galang Island, you will be brought to the life of a refuge with Vietnamese who escaped from their country. If you still have time for your vacation, you can continue the trip to Melur Beach in Barelang that is close to the camp. The beach is so beautiful and offers you natural scenery.

Manikin Beach, Relaxing at the Beach with Natural Scenery in Kupang

Manikin Beach is kind of gem in Kupang City. The beauty of its beach brings us the goodness of life because we will see all about natural scenery and natural life. The white sand covers the surface of the beach just like other adjacent beaches such as Nunsui Beach and Lasiana Beach. The surface of the coastline are wide, especially when the tide is low. Yet, if the tide is rising, the water will come up and take the coastline along three km. 
Recently, the tide is rising dramatically and the waves erode most of the area of the beach. To avoid this, the local government build a small dike. In other part, you will see the stretch of trees that planted to prevent abrasion and to break the waves so that the erosion won’t be in serious condition.
Manikin Beach is located at Tarus Village, Central Kupang sub-district, Kupang Regency, East Nusa Tenggara Province. Precisely, it lies right at the coastal area of Kupang Strait in the west of Timor Island or at the west of Kupang Regency. The position of the beach is so strategic because it is situated around the main road of Trans Timor, near to El Tari Airport, and adjacent to the Kupang City. 
It takes around 20 km from Kupang and you can ride public transportation, like bemo or bos, motorcycle, and a car. The route of public transportation is Kupang – Oesao and Kupang – Camplong. The infrastructure itself is adequate and accessible so that you can reach the beach easily.

Local government has been developing the infrastructure around Manikin Beach. The road access, toilet, and other facilities so that you can spend your time freely with fun. You also can taste local dishes like epe banana, boiled corn, roasted corn, and young coconut. And if you want to explore the area around Manikin Beach, like Lasiana and Nunsui Beach, you can stay in Hotel La Hasienda, Hotel Pantai Timor, Sylvia Hotel Kupang, dan Hotel Astiti.

Because the location of Manikin Beach close to the center of city, thus the beach become one of favorite tourist destination for people from Kupang. That is why the beach so crowded during weekend and holiday season. They come with their friends and family.
The marine life in Manikin Beach is so vary as well and one of them is whale. Sometime, the fishermen find many whale that separated from their colony and drifted ashore. This occasion become attraction for local residents and they drove to the beach to watch it. 
Manikin Beach is suitable spot for those who want to relax their mind from routine because it has beautiful panorama. Besides that, the view that surround the beach still natural and it will be more perfect if you come to catch the sunset.
For adventure lover, you can explore the area around Manikin Beach. There is a river estuary which located near the beach and it can be the specific icon for Manikin compared by other beaches in Kupang City. In addition, the view toward the Kupang Strait from Manikin Beach is more attractive because you will see the background of fishermen boats, Semau Island, Kera Island, and Tanjung Sulamu which it looks so gorgeous when the sunset comes.
If you like water activities or beach sports, you can play volley ball, swimming, sun-bathing, or just strolling along the beach. Your vacation will become unforgettable moment if you camping there with your friends. Play guitar and sing together.
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