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Virtual tour explores Thousand Islands regency

Ni Nyoman Wira
Ni Nyoman Wira

The Jakarta Post

Jakarta  /  Sat, September 5, 2020  /  02:29 pm
Virtual tour explores Thousand Islands regency

An aerial view shows Jakarta's Thousand Islands regency. (Shutterstock/File)

Thousand Islands regency is often seen as a convenient travel destination during the transitional period of large-scale social restrictions (PSBB).

Located not too far from Jakarta, the regency consists of several islands, including Bidadari, Kelor, Cipir, Onrust and Pramuka.

The head of the Thousand Islands Tourism and Creative Economy Agency, Puji Astuti, told in August that all islands had reopened for visitors.

The regency can be reached from several points in North Jakarta, including Marina Ancol wharf and Kali Adem port. Travelers are required to comply with health protocol, such as by undergoing temperature checks, carrying medical certificates and maintaining good hygiene, to cross to the islands.

Guide Agnes Felicia from tour operator Wisata Kreatif Jakarta said the fee for water transportation services would depend on which island to visit, and the best time to travel was from May to September.

“The price from Marina is usually higher, but it equals comfort and a shorter traveling time,” said Agnes during a virtual tour to the Thousand Islands on June 27. The tour was a collaboration between Wisata Kreatif Jakarta, tourism technology company Atourin and conservation-based village Kampung Berseri Astra. “To book a speedboat from Marina to Bidadari Island, for instance, is around Rp 400,000 (US$27.20) or Rp 500,000. Each speedboat can fit 16 to 20 people and the trip will take about 20 minutes.”

The tour’s first stop was the 6-hectare Bidadari Island, which features resort areas and historical sites filled with old canons and fort ruins. Visitors would need around 30 minutes or one hour to explore the whole area.

Our next destinations were the uninhibited islets of Cipir, Onrust and Kelor. They are often included in a one-day itinerary by tour organizers as they are located close to each other. Reachable in only 15 minutes from Bidadari Island, Cipir was made a quarantine site by the Dutch in the early 1900s, when Batavia was hit by cholera. The islet features a museum and ruins of old buildings.

Ruins of Martello fort on Kelor Island in Thousand Islands regency draw many tourists.Ruins of Martello fort on Kelor Island in Thousand Islands regency draw many tourists. (Atourin & Wisata Kreatif Jakarta/File)

Kelor is smaller than Cipir and was previously used for Batavia’s marine defense system. Travelers can visit the ruins of Martello fort on the islet.

Like Cipir, Onrust also served as a quarantine site in the past. The islet is said to have been home to one of the largest shipyards in Southeast Asia in the 17th and 18th centuries.

From Onrust, we traveled to Pramuka Island, an inhibited 16-ha island, where the office of the Thousand Islands regency administration is located. Mahariah, a native and pioneer of Kampung Berseri Astra, said the island had five wharfs, each serving a different purpose, such as for the boats of civil servants and fishermen.

Pramuka Island has spots for sunrise and sunset viewings, diving and snorkeling.Pramuka Island has spots for sunrise and sunset viewings, diving and snorkeling. (Atourin & Wisata Kreatif Jakarta/File)

Mahariah said that the island used to be uninhibited and was known as Elang Island. Most of the residents had come from the neighboring island of Panggang and now work as fishermen, guides, civil servants or teachers.

Visitors can cover the entire part of the island in less than one hour by bike. It also has spots for sunrise and sunset viewings, diving and snorkeling. Those who travel to Pramuka Island can stay at residents’ homes. “All homestays are sprayed with disinfectant before guests arrive and after they depart,” said Mahariah.

On the second weekend of June, just after the PSBB had been relaxed to allow for more economic activity, around 1,900 travelers flocked to Thousand Islands regency. It welcomed 619 visitors on June 13 and 1,265 people on June 14. (wng)