Belitung, a Place Where Colors and Shapes Merge into Beauty


Belitung Island is a part of Bangka Belitung Islands Province, located to the east of Sumatra Island. Belitung Island itself is then divided into two regency; Belitung Regency with Tanjungpandan as the capital and East Belitung Regency with Manggar as the capital. This island is located between Gaspar Strait and Karimata Strait.

View from Bird Island (Pulau Burung) of Belitung island in Bangka Belitung Province of Indonesia. (c) Shutterstock
View from Bird Island (Pulau Burung) of Belitung island in Bangka Belitung Province of Indonesia. (c) Shutterstock

Belitung is encircled with many smaller islands, some of them are uninhabited. Blessed with many beautiful beaches along its coastline, Belitung is also rich with history and cultural assets.

The beaches in Belitung Island are distinctive with their towering granite boulders. Smaller islands surrounding Belitung offer the best island hopping experience with their soft white sand shorelines.

Batu Belayar island in Belitung, Indonesia (c) Shutterstock
Batu Belayar island in Belitung, Indonesia (c) Shutterstock

Belitung is also has deep culinary cultures with their seafood-based dishes. Their specialty coffee is also legendary.

Tanjung Kelayang, The Center of All Belitung’s Beauty

Tanjung Kelayang, Belitung, Indonesia.

Tanjung Kelayang, Belitung, Indonesia via Instagram/gamatclothingTanjung Kelayang is simply the prima donna of all Belitung’s magnificence. This beach is simply impressive, there is no other way to describe it. It will make an everlasting great impression to whoever has the luck to behold such beauty.

Feel the soft white sand on its 4 kilometers of beautiful beach. Or just adore the grand combination of the white sand, blue sky, magnificent granite rocks formation that makes this place is truly one of a kind.

Normally, a natural beauty that’s virtually untouched like this is located in a very remote part of the country, with very limited accommodation. But here in Tanjung Kelayang, you can enjoy all these ultimate splendor without having to sacrifice the comfort of great hotels nearby.

Bird Island, Belitung, Indonesia.
Bird Island, Belitung, Indonesia via Instagram/gabriellaphotos

Tanjung Kelayang is also the most ideal starting point for you to go island-hopping on Belitung. You can easily charter a boat or arrange a tour with a travel agency.

Island Hopping Paradise

Babi (Pig) Island, Belitung, Indonesia.
Babi (Pig) Island, Belitung, Indonesia via Instagram/rezha_patty

Travelling to Belitung wouldn’t be complete without island hopping. The easiest way to start exploring the islands is from Tanjung Kelayang, where amenities abound and choices are plenty. You can easily charter a fishing boat to go from island to islands here.

You can visit a Pulau Batu Berlayar (Sailing Boat Island). This small island has a cluster granite rock formation that looks like a sailing boat. This small island has no vegetation and is one of the most instagenic spots.

You can go to Pulau Burung (Bird Island). Again, this is a small island with a unique rock formation that resembles a head of an eagle, complete with its sharp beak.

Lengkuas Island, Belitung, Bangka Belitung Province, Indonesia.
Lengkuas Island, Belitung, Bangka Belitung Province, Indonesia via Instagram/sangka_arya

There are still many more beautiful islands nearby. Lengkuas Island, Pasir Island, Kepayang Island offer similarly unique beautiful beaches and vistas. There is simply nothing like island hopping on Belitung.

Kaolin Lake, the White and Blue Marvel

Kaolin Lake, Belitung, Indonesia.

Kaolin Lake, Belitung, Indonesia via Instagram/sastroaryoKaolin Lake is a beautiful accident, so to speak. This lake exists from the crater of a kaolin mine. The deep crates created by decades of mining exploitation leaves big scars on the surface of the land. Over time, rainwater fill those craters and create a magnificent lakes.

The clean white of kaolin-covered land is now filled with deep sky blue water, creating a contrasting colors combination so stark it’s mesmerizing. Unlike many other similarly colored lakes, Kaolin Lake doesn’t have sulfur or hot springs. As a result, there are many people freely swimming in this lake.

The irony is literally visible here. On one hand, you can see the destruction caused by prolonged mining exploitation. On the other hand, the landscape is extremely beautiful. The white soil, white hills, blue water, and the overall panorama is out of this world.

Kaolin Lake, Belitung, Indonesia.
Kaolin Lake, Belitung, Indonesia via Instagram/numotoan.aj

Kaolin Lake is particularly popular for those who come for pictures, be it for Instagram or for pre-wedding photo-shoots.

Museum Kata, Where the Rainbow Troop Is Immortalized

Museum Kata Andrea Hirata, belitung, Indonesia.
Museum Kata Andrea Hirata, belitung, Indonesia via Instagram/unagustina

Belitung has produced one of the best novelist in Indonesia; Andre Hirata. His work, ‘Laskar Pelangi’ (Rainbow Troop) tells a story about a group of poor children who showed resiliency in the face of extreme adversity. This novel is a huge success and has inspired the whole nation.

Hirata decided to create Museum Kata (Word Museum) in 2010 but only opened it in 2012. Hirata claimed that this is the only literary museum in Indonesia, with collection of literary works from many countries.

But you can’t shake the feel that this is the home of Laskar Pelangi. There are books, quotes, pictures, and other memorabilia from the novel (and the subsequent movie) scattered all over the museum. This is a must visit place for Laskar Pelangi fans. This is the place where Laskar Pelangi is immortalized.

Museum Kata Andrea Hirata, belitung, Indonesia.
Museum Kata Andrea Hirata, belitung, Indonesia via Instagram/unagustina

The entrance fee to the museum covers a mini novel. You can also buy a specialty coffee and souvenirs from the museum’s store.

Batu Satam Roundabout, A Monument for a Meteor

Monumen Batu Satam, Belitung, Indonesia.
Monumen Batu Satam, Belitung, Indonesia via Instagram/gamatclothing

Belitung is very rich in minerals and other mining resources. Apart from kaolin, Belitung has Satam Stones which is highly unique. Satam stones can only be found in this island and used to be called Billitonite. It is believed that Satam stones were created when 700 thousand years ago a meteor rain hit Belitung. The meteorites then melted along with native minerals and created a new stone altogether.

Satam stones are pitch black with wrinkles and small craters. It’s very popular as ornaments or jewellery and can be quite expensive. Some locals believe that Satam is sacred item. The Satam Monument, located at the heart of Tanjungpandan, was erected to commemorate the uniqueness and importance of Satam stones for Belitung.

The monument itself is a roundabout in a relatively busy street. It has five pillars with a hexagonal platform. On top of the platform, there is a big chunk of black stone which at a glance looks like charcoal. That’s the Satam stone.

Monumen Batu Satam, Belitung, Indonesia.
Monumen Batu Satam, Belitung, Indonesia via Instagram/andrewtuhumena

The traffic around the monument can be quite hectic, so pay attention when you want to pose or take picture. You can also find many souvenir shops nearby, most of them sell Satam stones as pendants, rings, earrings, necklace, etc.

Help Protecting the Nocturnal Primate at Batumentas

Tarsius via Instagram/andri.aldelan

One of the animals endemic to Belitung Island is Tarsius Bancanus Saltator, meaning this species of Tarsius can only be found in Belitung. Tarsius is the smallest primate, only prevalent naturally in Southeast Asia. It’s a nocturnal animal, meaning it’s active during the night.

Batumentas Ecolodge and Tarsius Sanctuary offers unique experience, combining fun activities and conservationism. Located in a pristine rainforest, you can do jungle tracking, river tubing, try flying fox, or enjoy outbound activities with your coworkers or friends.

The most special activity is tarsius watching. This is a very challenging activity because tarsius has a much heightened senses. Its big eyes and sensitive hearing can make it hard to find when being cautious.

Batumentas, Belitung, Indonesia.
Batumentas, Belitung, Indonesia via Instagram/wisatabelitong

Tarsius mark their territory and footprint area by spreading their urine. Sometimes, the visitors need to depend on their nose to spot this timid animal.

Climbing the Gigantic Rock at Bukit Baginde

Bukit Baginde, Belitung, Indonesia.
Bukit Baginde, Belitung, Indonesia via Instagram/siswimamambil

Belitung has lots of big granite rocks, but none can be compared to Bukit Baginde. This hill is literally a giant granite boulder, located approximately 70 kilometers from Tanjungpandan and about a kilometer from Penyabong Beach.

This colossal rock sit majestically, overlooking a lush green plain and the sea. Bukit Baginde offers a true wild adventure in every sense of the word.

From Tanjungpandan, you can go to Bukit Baginde by car or motorcycle. From the road, you can take a trekking path that will lead you to the foot of the hill. You’ll then need to climb the rock with very limited ropes. Extreme caution is needed, not only when going up, but also when you climb down.

Bukit Baginda, belitung, Indonesia.
Bukit Baginda, belitung, Indonesia via Instagram/alfonstaekema

All of your effort will worth once you reach the top. You’ll have virtually unobstructed view of the southern tip of Belitung Island.

Belitung Pesona Beach Festival

Tari Sepen Belitung, Indonesia.
Tari Sepen Belitung, Indonesia via Instagram/cheppy_cheever

To maximize Belitung’s tourism potential, the local government held a huge Belitung Pesona Beach Festival. It’s a comprehensive festival, aimed to showcase Belitung’s extensive wealth in geology, culture, and natural wonders.

With such ambitious target, there are tons of activities held during the festival. Traditional dances, traditional foods, small scale business exhibition open the proceeding. There are also national photographic workshop, singing and painting competition.

Fun run along the beach from Mabai to Tanjung Kelayang offers different experience for seasoned runners. The closing ceremony is held lavishly with colossal dance, batik fashion show, and cultural show. The ending was tumultuous with giant lantern and fireworks.

Tanjung Kelayang Festival

Tanjung Kelayang Beach, Belitung, Indonesia.
Tanjung Kelayang Beach, Belitung, Indonesia via Instagram/timangtour

As the centerpiece of tourism in Belitung, Tanjung Kelayang is understandably made as the icon of the island. As a successful pilot project, it has the beauty and the amenities that will be copied everywhere else in the island.

Tanjung Kelayang Festival is held to further promote the beach as one of the Special Economic Zones in Indonesia. This festival is already listed on top 100 tourism event in Indonesia.

There will be culinary, kite, fashion carnival, photo and vlog festivals among others. Tourism exhibition, as the main course of the festival, will aim to attract not only tourists but also investors.

Gangan, the Delightful Fish Soup

Gangan via Instagram/ganganbelitung

One of the food you need to try when you travel to Belitung is Gangan. Essentially, Gangan is fish soup with a lot of local taste ingredients. It is spicy, sweet, and sour which somewhat refreshing.

Gangan looks like yellow fish soup from Maluku and Papua. However, in Belitung, they use pineapple to give the fresh sour taste. Traditionally, they use Ketarap fish for this dish.

Best Place to Enjoy Gangan:

  • Rumah makan Beliting Timpo Duluk – Jl. Mat Daud no. 22 RT11/RW04, Pulau Belitung, Kepulauan Bangka Belitung.
  • RM Batu Garuda – Jl. Tanjung Kelayang, Pulau Belitung 33414, Indonesia.
  • Kampong Dedaun – Jl. Sijuk | Belitung, Pulau Belitung 33414, Indonesia

Mie Belitung Atep

Mie Atep Belitung.
Mie Atep Belitung via Instagram/itsnama

This dish is probably the most popular among the travelers who go to Belitung. The restaurant is very busy as customers come and go endlessly from morning till night.

This dish is probably the most popular among the travelers who go to Belitung. The restaurant is very busy as customers come and go endlessly from morning till night.

Mie Belitung Atep obviously has noodle, melinjo chips, tofu, potato, cucumber, and shrimp. Another legendary beverage from this restaurant is Ice Kunci Lime (Kalamanchi).

Best Place to enjoy Mie Belitung:

  • Mie Belitung Atep – Jl. Sriwijaya no. 27, Tanjung Pandan, Pulau Belitung.

Belitung Specialty Coffee

Kong Djie Coffee
Kong Djie Coffee via Instagram/trisna_dwipa

Belitung is also known for its specialty coffee. There are lots of traditional coffee shop, especially in Manggar that is popular for it dark brewed coffee. Manggar even has 1001 Coffee Shop Monument.

There are lots small shops with wooden bench where you can casually chat with your friends while sipping the tasteful Belitung coffee.

Best place to enjoy Belitung Coffee:

  • Kong Djie Coffee (many outlets) – Jl. Pangeran Diponegoro, Pangkal Lalang, Tj. Pandan, Kabupaten Belitung.
  • Warung Kopi Ake – Jl. Veteran No.47, Parit, Tj. Pandan, Kabupaten Belitung.
  • Warung Kopi Atet – Jl. Sudirman, Lipat Kajang, Baru, Manggar, Kabupaten Belitung Timur.

What to Do in Belitung

Tanjungpandan, Belitung, Indonesia.
Tanjungpandan, Belitung, Indonesia via Instagram/firmantoang

To put is simply, there is no limit on how you can enjoy Belitung Island. Most of the vital infrastructure is already in place for you to explore the land and sea there.

Island hopping is the most favorite activity for first time travelers. You can go to Tanjung Kelayang and then rent a boat to go from island to island. You can even plan it ahead by contacting good travel agency before you go.

Away from Tanjung Kelayang, from Tanjungpandan, you can rent a car or motorcycle to explore the land. The road is excellent and already connects all towns in the island. The traffic is minimum even though the road is not too wide.

Replika Sekolah Laskar Pelangi, Gantong, Belitung, Indonesia.
Replika Sekolah Laskar Pelangi, Gantong, Belitung, Indonesia via Instagram/ria_bethan

If you love Laskar Pelangi, you need to visit Museum Kata at Gantung, the hometown of Andrea Hirata. You will find lots of Laskar Pelangi Memorabilia as well as literary works from all over the world.

If you just want to enjoy your evening with friends, you can hang out in one of many coffee shops. You’ll easily find one in any city in Belitung. Delicious food, mostly seafood based, are also plentiful in so many restaurants.

How to Get There

Hanandjoeddin Airport, Tanjungpandan, Belitung.
Hanandjoeddin Airport, Tanjungpandan, Belitung via Instagram/cynthia.ry

By Air

As of now, there are two direct flight from and to H.A.S. Hanandjoeddin International Airport.

  • Jakarta – Soekarno-Hatta
  • Pangkal Pinang – Depati Amir Airport

By Sea

You can also go to Tanjungpandan by sea.

  • Pangkal Pinang Port
  • Jakarta – Tanjung Priok Harbor

Best Hotels in Belitung

BW Suite Belitung.
BW Suite Belitung via Instagram/bwsuitebelitung
  • Billiton Hotel and Klub – Jl. Depati Gegedek no. 50 Tanjungpandan – Start from IDR 708.099
  • BW Suite Belitung – Jl. Pattimura Tanjung Pandan – Start from IDR 578.678
  • Golden Tulip essential Belitung – Jl. Seroja no. A88- A90, Tanjung Pendam, Tanjung Pandan. – Start from IDR 471.074
  • Fairfield by Marriott Belitung – Jl. Patimura No. 1, Tanjung Pandan – Starts from IDR698,701.
  • Green Tropical Village – Jln. Jenderal A. Yani No. 04, Tanjung Pandan Indonesia – Start from IDR 421.488
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