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Reno Nismara

03 Sep 2019 - 6 min read

Cradled by the Colorful Bangka Belitung

Fotografer: Christ Mandey Messakh

Bangka Belitung Islands was originally part of South Sumatra and it officially approved as a province of its own in 2000. This relatively young age makes Bangka Belitung Islands focus on the development in various sectors, one of which is tourism.

The province is increasingly improving after Laskar Pelangi (2008), one of Indonesian best-selling movies of all time, takes place in Belitung Island successfully gained interest from tourists to visit the region.

Over time, Bangka Belitung Islands — with the two main islands of Bangka and Belitung — is blooming into a tourism destination with multiple attractions. In the search of must-visit places for you, Traveloka together with Cia Wardhana and Andri Mashadi, hosts of television program Weekend List in NET., explore this colorful province.

Learn New Things In Bangka

Not many people realize — perhaps because they have fallen in love with the amazing beaches — that Bangka is a source of knowledge. There are many places offering knowledge and activities at once. From religion, flora and fauna, to efforts in saving animals from extinction.

Location: Goddess Kwan Im Sampur Shrine

Info:

The shrine is famous for the goddess Kwan Im statue, standing on top of lotus petals, with 10 meters height. Statues of 2 disciples and 2 turtles symbolizing longevity also built nearby.
Besides praying, you can also learn about gods and goddesses in Confucianism religion.
You can also seek treatment from a physician who is believed to have the ability to cure illness. According to people who have been treated here, the physician will experience a trance when performing a healing ritual in his room. Practice schedule: every day from 10:00 – 15:00.
The name ‘Sampur’ is originated from a beach located nearby, the Sampur Beach.

Location: Bangka Botanical Garden (9 kilometers from Depati Amir Airport)

Info:

Bangka Botanical Garden is built on top of land previously used for tin mining, processed to restore the land fertility. Now the 312 hectares land is filled with a variety of fruits and cattle farms.
You can pick fruits right from the trees and milking cows here.
Many students visit to learn about plants and cattle here. Even experts from Netherland and Taiwan also come for observation.
The place is selected as the icon of environmental awareness for Bangka Belitung community.
Due to its educational purpose (family tourism activity is still on progress), visitors can enter for free.
Operational hours: 08:00 – 17:00.
"Says who you have to go all the way to South Korea to take beautiful pictures like in Nami Island? You can do it in Bangka also."
- Cia Wardhana

Location: Tongaci Beach (59 kilometers from Depati Amir Airport)

Info:

Besides a tourism destination with soft white sand, Tongaci Beach is also known for turtle conservation. There is a pool with green turtle and hawksbill turtle, several pools for hatchlings, and conservation area inside the marina.
This conservation process is run by Tukik Babel Foundation, which previously runs conservation not far from Tongaci Beach, precisely in Batavia Beach.
At certain hours, visitors will hear a bell that signals turtle feeding time and you can witness the staff feed the turtle.
The entrance to Tongaci Beach is decorated with a colorful umbrella in various sizes. The small umbrellas illustrate the diversity of tribes, races, and religions of the Indonesian people. There are 5 large umbrellas reflecting the principles of Pancasila, and 1 very large umbrella to symbolize Indonesia.
Entrance fee: Rp2.000/person
Water Activities in Belitung

With many surrounding islands, Belitung is often used as a starting point for island-hopping activity. You can rent a boat directly from the fishermen at Tanjung Kelayang Beach for Rp500.000 for 10 people and Rp700.000 for 35 people.

Info:

You can jump into the water from big granite rocks surrounding the island. But wear hiking sandals or shoes to avoid slipping when climbing the rocks.
You can also swim in the cave during the tide.
Many people also snorkel around the beach. The water in the area is calm and ideal for a casual swim.
"From all island-hopping destinations in Belitung, this is a must-visit place. Swimming in the cave and see colorful rocks."
- Cia Wardhana
"So this is the island famous for its cave. The path is pretty painful because there are a lot of rocks, but immediately paid off with the experience gained. This cave is directly connected to the sea, so there is sea water coming in. It's really good to relax."
- Andri Mashadi

Info:

Here is the location of 70 meters high lighthouse (18 floors), a relic from the Dutch colonial era. Even though it is already more than 100 years old, the lighthouse is still operating to navigate ships.
At the request of the regent, visitors can only go up until the 3rd floor. It also depends on the weather, because there is a risk of being struck by lightning during the rain or storm.
Lengkuas Island also stores a natural pool formed by granite rocks, called Angels Pool.
"The most famous island in Belitung because of the lighthouse. But the water in the island is also very clear."
- Cia Wardhana
"One of Belitung’s icon is in Lengkuas, the lighthouse. There is a rule that not everyone can go up, to preserve the lighthouse."
- Andri Mashadi

Info:

Besides the snorkeling spots around, Kepayang Island becomes the tourism destination for Kepayang Restaurant, the only place to eat among the surrounding islands.
The food price ranges from Rp15.000 – Rp135.000. There is also a meal package for 10 people for Rp100.000/person.
The menu consists of seafood and various sauteed vegetables.
"Eating on this island is so good, it's intoxicating! After a tiring snorkeling and swimming, go and enjoy crab, shrimp, and fish here."
- Cia Wardhana
"The food here is really that good. Although the island is dedicated for eating, the beach is not so bad. So we can enjoy an exquisite meal and a nice view."
- Andri Mashadi

Info:

It becomes famous since being used as a shooting location for Laskar Pelangi movie.
You can enjoy water activities here by renting a paddleboat (Rp100.000), inflatable boat (Rp100.000), or animal-shaped tube (Rp70.000). The rental service is available from 07:00 – 18:00.
There is also mat rental (Rp20.000) if you want to have a picnic by the beach.
"Sit on top a calm water while sipping coconut water, then playing paddle board during sunset is an amazing experience. The scenery is breathtaking."
- Cia Wardhana
"Sunset moment in Tanjung Tinggi is different from other places because the beach is naturally wonderful. Yes, it is crowded, but it does not spoil the beauty."
- Andri Mashadi
The Culinary Heritage

Bangka Belitung Islands own a culinary flavor that has been passed down for generations. Fortunately for visitors, there are a number of eating places serving this heritage, some even have been established since 80 years ago.

Location: CitraLand Botanical City Pangkalpinang, Jl. Alexander, Air Itam, Bukit Intan, Bangka

Info:

The main ingredients of food in this place are sweet potato or cassava, inspired by the childhood experience of the owner who consumed sweet potato as a cheap and easily found staple food.
Recommended menu: sweet potato-shrimp satang, sweet potato-fish baung, lempah kuning fish head, and sweet potato leaves vegetable.
Food price ranges from Rp10.000 – Rp55.000
"Not even a single dish here is disappointing. The yellow spices are awesome, especially with chili sauce; you will continue ask for more rice. Fear of getting fat? Calm down, they serve brown rice."
- Cia Wardhana

Location: Jl. Jelutung, Bintang, Rangkui, Bangka

Info:

Koh Ayong, the owner of the place, has explored his signature ice dessert menu since 1974. The flavor of the dessert has evolved along with the customers’ feedbacks.
The dessert contains cooked red beans with condensed milk and coconut milk, grass jelly, cendol, kolang-kaling, cassava tapai, and young coconut. Then covered with shaved ice smeared with condensed milk. The sweet and savory flavor from each of the ingredients is very satisfying.
Price: Rp12.000/bowl
"The heat in Bangka will melt with the fresh Ayong Ice. It tastes like a mix of ordinary mixed ice dessert, green banana ice (es pisang ijo), and iced fruit cocktail. Confusing, right? Just try it yourself."
- Cia Wardhana
"After being hit by the hot sun, enjoy something fresh, the owner is also very friendly. It’s the best!"
- Andri Mashadi

Location: Jl. Muhidin, Sungailiat, Bangka

Info:

First opened in 1938, the place is mentioned as the oldest coffee shop in Bangka.
Now Tung Tau Coffee Shop has 4 big branches: Tung Tau Toniwen, Tung Tau Semabung, Tung Tau Soetta, and Tung Tau Gabek.
Other than coffee, the place also serves toast that you must try. The bread texture is soft, as it is a homemade recipe.
Try the chicken porridge with thick chicken broth.
Food and beverage price ranges from Rp10.000 – Rp30.000
Opens 24 hours.

Location: Jl. Siburik, Tanjung Pandan, Belitung

Info:

In Belitung, this the oldest coffee shop. A nomad from Bangka named Ho Kong Djie set up the place in 1943.
The coffee beans come from Java and Sumatera.
It also sells thin toast served with chocolate sprinkles and cheese topping.
Food and beverage price ranges from Rp2.000 – Rp15.000.

Location: Jl. Lettu Mad Daud, Kampung Parit, Tanjung Pandan, Belitung

Info:

With the tagline “Recipe of 1918”, this restaurant is built in an old house bought by the owner, Isyak Meirobie.
There is a meal package Dulang Set consists of fish skewers, fish soup served in a coconut shell, coriander chicken, and stir-fried gizzard.
It also sells berega, authentic dish of Belitung with the main ingredient of white rice flour served with savory coconut soup and mashed fish meat.
The food here is served on top of simpor leaves to add a classic atmosphere of Belitung.
"A super delicious restaurant! Even the rice smells good because it’s wrapped in leaves from a native plant in Belitung."
- Cia Wardhana
Where to Stay?
Novotel Bangka Hotel & Convention Centre

As one of the famous hotel chains in the world, Novotel becomes a top accommodation option for the majority of visitors to Bangka Belitung.

Novotel Bangka Hotel & Convention Centre
8.7

Jl. Soekarno Hatta KM 5, Pangkalan Baru, Bangka

Starts from Rp977.076/night
Hotel Santika Bangka

The hotel is ideal if you want to stay in the city center, near the airport and not far from the beach.

Hotel Santika Bangka
8.3

Jl. Soekarno Hatta No. 17, Pangkalan Baru, Bangka

Starts from Rp524.210/night
La Lucia Boutique Hotel

The only boutique hotel in Belitung, offering stylish exterior and interior design.

La Lucia Boutique Hotel
8.7

Jl. Air Saga No. 3, Tanjung Pandan, Belitung

Starts from Rp800.000/night
Kelayang Beach Hotel

This hotel is located by the Tanjung Kelayang Beach, within a walking distance from the pier to start island-hopping activity.

Kelayang Beach Hotel
8.8

Jl. Tanjung Tinggi, Desa Keciput, Sijuk, Belitung

Starts from Rp485.000/night
Transportation
To Bangka

Bangka has Depati Amir Airport located in the city of Pangkalpinang. In terms of development, this airport has undergone several physical changes, both for passenger and runway terminals. Airlines that operate here are Batik Air, Citilink, Garuda Indonesia, Lion Air, NAM Air, Sriwijaya Air, Susi Air, and Wings Air.

To Belitung

If you want to arrive in Belitung, there is H.A.S Hanandjoeddin International Airport, located in Tanjung Pandan. This airport serves international flights, even though only Kuala Lumpur and Singapore. Airlines that operate here: Batik Air, Citilink, Garuda Indonesia, Lion Air, NAM Air, Sriwijaya Air, and Wings Air.