This Hidden Gem Island In Indonesia Is Known For Its Breathtaking Beauty

It may not be on as many travelers' bucket lists as Bali, but this gorgeous palm-fringed Indonesian island has its own set of unique beauty that stands apart from the country's other tourist-filled shores. Situated in the Java Sea on the east coast of Sumatra, Belitung is renowned as a tropical oasis with an endless white sand coastline. Its tightly knit collection of over 100 surrounding islands makes island hopping a fun and convenient way to experience even more of Indonesia's iconic and renowned beauty.

Belitung also diverges from the traditional tourist hot spot in the area with its thriving wildlife sanctuary. Preservation of the island's landscape and natural heritage is the pillar of life in Belitung, from the ocean's coral reefs to the exquisite forests that cover the region. The Belitung people uphold a harmonious and synchronized lifestyle, perfectly balanced with the exotic wildlife and geological wonders. 

Adaptations to support the plants and animals residing on and around the island are integrated into every aspect of daily life. Coral plantation and tree planting support a healthy ecosystem while initiatives to help release turtles minimize the loss of native animal species.

Public lighting fixtures such as street lights are uprooted from the community in an attempt to minimize the disturbance of nocturnal critters. Even basic essentials such as water are collected in a manner that reduces our carbon footprint. Rather than emitting heat from the damaging process of drilling to obtain water, buckets collect rainwater, providing a fresh source of clean water for locals. Belitung's natural species are so unique to its region that the park is one of the world's most renowned UNESCO Global Geoparks, a type of heritage site containing unique geological elements.

Get lost in Belitung, from land to sea

Located in Air Raya Village is a unique geological structure that dazzles visitors with its crystal clear water and rocky outcrops. Kaolin Lake, a giant crater chiseled with pockets of bright blue water and white mineral deposits, is a former mining site where Belitung's indigenous people excavated the lake for kaolin or clay. Its former use as a mining site has inflicted significant damage to the territory, yet that doesn't impact its natural and serene beauty that still exists today.

Tucked in the heart of Belitung's jungle, Batu Baginda is a natural wonder, offering some of the best views of the island from atop a giant granite boulder. This short hike takes travelers no more than 15 minutes and weaves through a tropical sanctuary across the wrinkled forest floor. Sweeping panoramic views of the island's southern mountains and the Java Sea await hikers at the top of the cliff. The vantage point from the top is what earned this monument its moniker, which translates to "His Majesty, The Rock."

Framed by whispering coconut palms, Tanjung Kelayang Beach is one of Belitung's most picturesque stretches of coastline. A popular hot spot for swimming and sailing, it's even the site of an iconic local event, known as Sail Indonesia, which draws hundreds of yachts. Located next to some of Belitung's best dining outposts, it's the perfect place for an afternoon dip in the ocean, followed by an indulgent meal.

A colorful culinary scene

For a taste of the freshest goods and produce on Belitung Island, stroll through Pasar Tradisional, the region's traditional open-air market where locals buy, sell, and exchange an assortment of organic goods. It's full of energy as residents hurriedly carry out their weekly shopping trips, making it an exciting hot spot for visitors to witness the heart of Belitung culture. Fresh fruit stands, seasonal veggies, and dried goods create a vibrant display of the island's bountiful harvest.

Considered one of Belitung's best eateries, Bukit Berahu Resto expands on the culture's seafood-inspired cuisine. This local hot spot specializes in Indonesia's favorite traditional fare, including gorengan, fried fritters with a filling of meat or veggies, and mandi, a native dish with a base of meat and rice, beautifully blended with a selection of local spices. It wouldn't be a trip to Indonesia without trying nasi goreng, the country's national dish that features fried rice and an egg.