There is no need for Jakarta Ctiy‘s resident to go far away to Bali Island or other beautiful island in the archipelago, if there is one nearby. To enjoy the delightful of Indonesia’s tropical marine, why don’t you go to the Thousand Island Marine National Park? This area is increasingly famous as one of the most favorite tourist destinations in marine tourism.
Thousand Island Marine National Park or well known as the Thousand Island (Kepulauan Seribu in Indonesian) are a chain of islands in the north of Jakarta’s bay. These islands stretches about 100 miles with 108.000 hectares of total area equal with eleven times of the Jakarta’s land area. Located 45 km north of Java sea, these group of islands are a nature conservation zone.
The number of the islands it is not a thousand islands, but consist of approximately 110 islands. Most of the islands of this region are uninhabited and a typical sand island with either vegetated coral reefs or not. From all of the islands there are estimated 17 islands were sinking due to natural abrasion. There are 36 island that can be visited for recreation, from this number only 13 islands are already well developed, 11 of it are resorts island and 2 of it are conservation parks.
There are 6 islands in this region that have been used as a tourist destination facilitated with adequate infrastructures, such as Ayer island, Bidadari island, Kotok island, Putri island, Pantara island, and Sepa island. While 23 islands are private islands and not open to the public and the rest of the islands are either unpopulated islands or used to support a fishing.
In general, many travelers came to Thousand islands to enjoy the natural beauty of tropical marine by snorkeling or diving. Tidung island has the most complete facilities and able to place tourists in large numbers. And there is Pramuka island that offers the wonderful view of nature and it is perfect spot to ecotourism and educational tours. Moreover, there are some other islands that you can visit, like Pelangi island, Alam Kotok island, and Pari island.
Most of the beaches in these chain of islands protected mangrove forest which is home to numbers of flora and fauna, such as lizards, gold ring snakes, and pythons. There are approximately 17 species of birds, 350 species of reef fish, 2 types of clams, 3 groups of algae, 101 species of molluscs, 237 species of coral reef, and 6 kinds of seaweed in this region. Meanwhile, the flora is dominated by coastal plants, for example : Calophyllum inophyllum (nyamplung), Barringtonia asiatica (Butun), Bruguiera sp. (bogem), and breadfruit.
Surrounded by fringing reef with a depth of 1-20 meters, these remarkable series of islands has a distinctive natural resources of unique coral ecosystems, which is coral reefs. One of them is Seniri coral reef, the sub-system of a productive marine ecosystem. In this region, there are some types of hard coral, like massive coral, table coral, gorgonians, leaf coral, and mushroom coral.
Travelers can reach Thousand Islands using Kerapu motor boat from Marina Jaya Ancol. You need to prepare $2.5 for the tickets (not including admission ticket to Ancol). The travel time is approximately 1 hour to 3 hours to reach the farthest island. The motor boat will depart from Marina Ancol at 08.00 or 09.00 and return back at 13.30 or 14.00.
Speedboat also available from Marina to Pramuka Island track, it costs $15. It is depart at 08.00 daily and return back from Pramuka Island to Marina at 15.00. Besides that, there is another transportation to reach the islands. Traditional fisherman timber ship that has a capacity of 50 to 60 passengers.
Some of the ships facilitated with insurances service. This traditional motorized boats departs daily from Muara Angke dock to Pramuka island and Panggang island with, it takes about 2.5 to 3 hours and only about 20 minutes to reach Bidadari island and Ayer island. In addition, there’s also ferry from Muara Angke to Pramuka island with 2.5 hours travel time. It will cost $2.5 each person, depends on the destination islands. If you are in Tangerang, you can reach these islands from Rawasaban with only $1.5.
March to May were recommended as the best visiting season, large waves often occurred in November through February, so you better avoid it. While unfavorable weather was occurred in May and August. If the weather is unfavorable then the trip will be delayed until the weather enable.
Visiting Tidung island is not complete without taste “odol” satay, this unique food is a soft fish meat wrapped in banana leaves and baked in charcoal. The process of making this food is start from removing the tuna meat and mixed it with finely spices (red onion, cilantro, brown sugar, soy sauce and pepper.
Enjoy the delicious combination of salty and sweet flavors of the seasoning blend with the soft flesh. In this island there are a lot of food stalls especially in the area of Big Tidung island to the Bridge of Love. They offer variety of sea foods, remind yourself to ordering the grilled fish, fried oyster with calamari sauce for $1.5 or fried shrimp with calamari sauce for $2.
Furthermore, there is candied ceremai, one of unique snack from Kepulauan Seribu, it made from natural ingredients with no preservatives and usually enjoyed with a cup of coffee or bitter tea and is usually served for guests in addition to the breadfruit chips (made from the superior breadfruit using herbs and also without preservatives), anda candied seaweed. (more information about Culinary of Thousand Islands)
It is easy to find this snack in September and October, because it is the month of ceremai harvest. So what are you waiting for? Treat yourself with an extraordinary journey to Thousand islands.