Belitung island is located to the north east of Sumatera. The island became a famous travel destination for local people in 2008, mainly because of the release of the movie ‘Laskar Pelangi,’ which can be translated into English as ‘The Rainbow Troops.’ Some of the locations where the movie was set have become tourist spots and are a must visit attraction for people visiting Belitung Island. Yet there is more to the island than just the movie set, Belitung is beautiful and has so many things to offer. There are the pretty beaches with big stones and the light house that was built in 1882 and then there is the fresh seafood, which just has to be sampled.
The easiest way to get to Belitung Island is to fly direct to Tanjung Pandan. There are direct flights from Jakarta as well as Batam. A round trip ticket from Jakarta to Tanjung Pandan is around $125 with a local airlines. In Belitung island, you can rent a car (cost around $40 per day) or join a tour. I would not suggest taking public transportation however, since it just doesn’t really exist in Belitung island. If you want to do island hopping you can simply rent a boat from Tanjung Kelayang beach.
I visited Belitung twice, in 2010 and 2012. In 2010, I decided to join a tour for 3 days 2 nights. You can find it easily on the internet and the one that I used (and would recommend) is belitungisland.com. They offered a great tour package for people who don’t really want to think about how to get from one spot to another spot and just want to enjoy the day and have everything taken care of for them. The second time I visited was in 2012, when I decided to take the challenge by not joining a tour and instead arranging everything myself.
I quickly discovered that driving on Belitung Island is not hard at all, the places are easy to find and the roads are mostly straight (just be careful with cars / trucks that suddenly come out from a house or a field onto the main road). With an assumption that the road is always empty, the locals sometimes don’t pay attention when they drive on the main road.
There are lots of options available for anyone looking for accommodation on Belitung Island. The choices range from homestays to fancy resorts that are located right next to the beach. You can even camp and sleep on the beach, like a friend of mine (it’s completely safe and he had a great time).
I can say that in 2012 I didn’t see very many foreigners travelling around Belitung island. I just relaxed on the beach, did some kayaking, visited the great light house (and the view from the top of it), watched a couple of amazing sunrise and sunsets and just generally enjoyed myself on Belitung island.