When you say the words “white sandy beach”, “cottages with a view to the whole wide ocean”, “cottages with your own private beach”, “clear blue sea”, and “honeymoon destination”, your mind will be brought to the ambience of the Maldives.
Right, the Maldives, or known as Maladewa in Indonesian, indeed is one of the most popular honeymoon destinations in the world. Its glorious charm invites travellers from all over the world, including from Indonesia, to come and visit the spot – even though geographically the Maldives are relatively hard to reach.
You will have to switch transportation means several times, especially if your destination is one of those private resorts that are only accessible by chartered planes. Add in the price of cottage rentals, in which one night rent would cost you one month worth of paycheck.
In other words, a vacation to the Maldives would break your bank.
But hold on, don’t let it break your spirit just yet! If you have a dream to experience the Maldives vacation, yet your budget could only bring you to Malangbong, don’t feel down just yet. As it turns out, Indonesia provides vacation spots scattered throughout the nation, which are often referred to as “the Maldives of Indonesia.”
If you don’t have the budget to travel to the Maldives, go ahead and check out these cool places. Who knows, the location might be more accessible from where you are, and the costs will be friendlier for your bank account, rather than having to fly to the Maldives.
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1. Let’s Start with Pulo Cinta, the Latest Go-to Place in Gorontalo
Have you ever heard of Pulo Cinta? Or maybe you’ve seen a picture of a group of cottages in the middle of the ocean, in which each cottage is connected by a walkway forming the shape of a heart.
Yup, that’s Pulo Cinta.
Pulo Cinta is the name of an eco-resort complex in Gorontalo. For the past few years, this resort has stolen the heart of many travellers and honeymooners due to its unique concept.
Pulo Cinta is built in the middle of the ocean, surrounding a small heart-shaped island and connected by a heart-shaped walkway. Hmm, just based on that short description you might have guessed why the island is so popular among honeymooners, right?
What’s so Attractive about Pulo Cinta
Or course Pulo Cinta’s point of attraction is more than just its heart shape. Conceptually, Pulo Cinta offers the eco-resort concept. For an example, the electricity in the resort is generated by solar panels. The design of Pulo Cinta Resort is inspired by traditional housing, in which you will remain cool even with the absence of air conditioning unit.
In addition, Pulo Cinta is attractive for its Maldives-like ambiance. With its cottages in the middle of the blue ocean, plus the variety of ocean-based activities you can do here – such as diving, snorkeling, etc. – Pulo Cinta often is referred to as the Maldives of Indonesia.
Pulo Cinta has 15 cottages with varying size, starting from a one-bedroom villa to a 212 meter square three-bedroom one. The rent is also variable. On average, you can rent a cottage in Pulo Cinta for $225 – 375 per night. So much more affordable than the Maldives, isn’t it?
How to Get to Pulo Cinta
If you’re departing from Jakarta City, you may take a flight to Gorontalo. Once you land, you can head to Boalemo Regency by car for approximately 2 hours, followed by a 25-minute boat ride to Pulo Cinta.
2. Also Located in Eastern Indonesia, Ora Beach is Ready to Intoxicate Maldives-Seekers
Ora Beach (Pantai Ora) is one of the tourist destinations in Indonesia that is often compared to the Maldives. Located in Central Moluccas District, Moluccas, the beach features things that remind us of the Maldives. Let’s start with its white sandy beach, with the calm ocean surrounding it. No wonder this beach is mostly eyed by those who would love to experience the ambience of the Maldives in Indonesia.
What’s So Attractive about Ora Beach
Other than its white sandy beach and clear blue ocean, the surrounding ocean in Ora Beach has a remarkable diversity under the sea. Its coral reefs and ocean life are like magic spells that attract travellers to come all the way to Moluccas and visit Ora Beach. The ocean life in Ora Beach is so rich that you do not need to dive in too deep to enjoy it. You only have to dive 2-3 meters down to savor the charm of the ocean surrounding Ora Beach. Isn’t that awesome?
Other than the astonishing ocean view, Ora Beach also offers other tourist attractions. For example, the Manusela National Park. You can also go island hopping and visit several tiny islands surrounding the Ora Beach. No need to worry about getting bored to death during your stay in Ora Beach!
Accommodation in Ora Beach
In Ora Beach, there is a resort that offers the ambience of the Maldives: the Ora Beach Eco Resort. This resort consists of cottages above the sea. The rent is charged per person, which may be adjusted any time. As there are very limited amount of cottages, we recommend you to contact the Ora Beach Eco Resort immediately if you would like to stay there.
How to Get to Ora Beach
The easiest to go to Ora Beach is by starting from Ambon. You can continue your trip to Hulnara Harbor, Tuleho, followed by a ferry ride to Amahai Harbor in Seram Island.
From Amahai Harbor, you may rent a car to Saleman Village (approximately 2,5 hour drive) to get to the harbor, followed by a boat ride to Ora Beach (approximately 15 minute trip).
3. Dodola Island in Morotai Also Offers a Piece of the Maldives-like Charm!
Eastern Indonesia, especially the Moluccas, offers a lot of natural beauty that is constantly compared to the Maldives. Other than Ora Beach, another spot that is often referred to the as the twin sister of the Maldives is Dodola Island.
The island exhibit a charm that reminds you to the Maldives, starting from its white sandy beach and its gorgeous underwater nature. However, there is something else that gives Dodola Island its own characteristic. Hmm, I wonder what that is?
Attractions in Dodola Island
Dodola Island actually is made up of two islands: Dodola Besar Island and Dodola Kecil Island. Uniquely, these two islands are only connected during low tide. During the moment, you will see a sandy path, and you can cross the islands without getting wet. Isn’t that unique?
In addition, Dodola Island offers a beautiful ocean view: blue-greenish water with white sandy beach. The underwater view is also cool, and you’ll find at least 13 favorite diving spots. In fact, as there are several remains of sunken ships and airplanes surrounding the island, you will find a lot of unique views while diving in Dodola.
Interestingly, despite constantly being compared to the Maldives, Dodola Island is inhabited. The ambience in this island is very close to the nature as it is rarely disrupted by human activities.
As Dodola Island is inhabited, don’t expect to see a cottage above the sea as in the cottages in the Maldives. But don’t worry, it doesn’t mean you have to go camping to stay overnight in this island. There are several cottages managed by the local government around Dodola. To obtain more information about the cottages, please contact the tourism office of Daruba, Morotai.
How to Get to Dodola Island
One of the easiest way to reach Dodola Island is to head to Ternate. Then you can get a ride on the Cessna airplane to Morotai (a 45 minute flight), continued by a speedboat ride to Dodola Island.
4. Moving to East Kalimantan, Get Ready to be Mesmerized by the Beauty of Maratua Island.
Derawan Island is among the favorite destinations for marine tourism in East Kalimantan. Numerous divers from all over the world love coming to Derawan to adore its underwater charm. However, do you know that not far from Derawan Island, lies an island that is often compared to the Maldives?
Maratua Island, the so-called ‘twin sister of the Maldives’, is not that far from Derawan Island. It only takes around one-hour speed boat ride to get to the island, located in Sulawesi Sea.
It’s true, it is not that simple to get to Maratua Island, as the island is among the farthest islands in Indonesia, bordering with Malaysia. However, all of your effort to get to Maratua will be paid off immediately once you witness pieces of the Maldives there.
Attractions in Maratua Island
The main advantage of Maratua might be its location, which is not that far from Derawan Island. Considering that Derawan Island became popular before Maratua did, the short distance among these two islands indeed has become a plus point.
In addition, Maratua Island has underwater view that is as gorgeous as that in Derawan Island. Its clear blue ocean, extremely diverse underwater life, as well as its variety of diving spots, are some attractions offered in Maratua. Don’t forget it’s charming white sandy beach, with the quite ambience surrounding the island, ready to mesmerize travelers who are tired of the hectic city life.
The most well-known place to stay in Maratua is Maratua Paradise Resort. The resort consists of cottages that remind you of those in the Maldives. Travelers may choose a unit above the water or one by the beach. Typically, the units by the beach are offered at lower rates compared to those above the water.
If you feel that the cost of such resort will break your bank, you may opt for various homestay offered by the locals. The rate is way cheaper (starting from $11.5) compared to staying in a resort unit. Of course, you get what you pay for. The location of the homestay places are less strategic compared to those resorts by the beach. In the end, it’s all up to you, whether you prefer to get a cottage or opt for the homestay.
How to Get to Maratua Island
To get to Maratua Island, you may take a flight to Balikpapan. From Balikpapan, transit to another flight to Berau. Next, take a boat ride to Maratua. If you are staying at the Maratua Paradise Resort, you may contact the resort management to have them pick you up at the airport.
5. Last But Not Least, the West Coast of Indonesia Also Exhibits Maldives-like Charm in Iboih Beach.
Moving on to the Western corner of Indonesia, we have Iboih Beach, which is equally beautiful to the Maldives. Indeed, Iboih Beach is often compared to the Maldives, even though this beach has a different exotic side that does not exist in the Maldives (check out Attractions in Iboih Beach).
By the way, Iboih Beach is located in Weh Island, Sabang. Officially known as ‘Teupin Layeu’, the island has long been popular among beach-loving backpackers. Therefore, when you visit Iboih Beach, don’t be surprised if you meet a lot of international travelers who have been staying there for weeks.
Attractions in Iboih Beach
Iboih Beach is known for its amazingly beautiful underwater view. It is so pretty that you do not to dive to immerse yourself in the underwater charm, as you can see it all from the surface. To satisfy your eyes even more, you can do a variety of recreational activities such as snorkeling or diving.
Another attraction lies in the conservation forest surrounding Iboih Beach that accentuates its exotic nature; something you won’t find in the Maldives. The combination of conservation forest and the clear blue ocean creates a heavenly ambience in Iboih Beach. Moreover, Iboih Beach is scattered with golden sand. No wonder there are loads of travelers and backpackers who love spending time in Iboih.
To add more information, if you are bored with the beach- and ocean-themed activities, you can also track the forest. This activity is quite favored by the travelers, especially since there are many exotic species in the forest.
In addition, there are several yummy culinary venues around Iboih Beach. You can try local delicacies such as the octopus satay, or go on a culinary adventure at various eateries around Iboih. You can also try fruit salad from Klah Island, mie jalak (a type of noodle dish), or get some local snakefruit or salak from Sabang. Therefore, your eyes are not the only ones that are pleased by the gorgeous view, but your tummy will also be pampered with various local delicacies from Iboih.
Iboih Beach may not provide any Maldives-like cottages over the ocean. However, there are various types of accommodation you can choose surrounding the harbor and not far away for the beach, starting from boarding rood, hostel, hotel, to resort. Along the beach you will find several bungalows available for rent, if you want a place to stay that is very close to the beach and the ocean.
The variety of accommodation types in Iboih Beach indeed is a plus point for travelers. You may choose different types of places to stay to fit your liking or your budget. Typically, rent in Iboih Beach ranges from $56 to $187 per night.
How to Get to Iboih Beach
If you’re coming from out of Aceh, you’ll need to head to Banda Aceh. Then you can continue your trip to Ulue-Lue Harbor and take the ferry or the speedboat to Sabang. From Sabang Harbor, head to Weh Island to access Iboih Beach.
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