Island Getaway Unsung: Tidung

"Hey, let's have a beach getaway!"

"Sounds great. Where to?"


I was about to strangle my friend who proposed this idea, but then it hit me. Jakarta is not all about an over-crowded, over-polluted city. Jakarta is also about the high criminal rate and endless floo... err, that's not it. What I was trying to say is that Jakarta also has Kepulauan Seribu (Thousand Islands) under its administration. The chain of islands are located north of Jakarta's shoreline and they have a lot to offer.
So after a long time of preparation, me and my friends went to Pulau Tidung, one of the islands in Kepulauan Seribu. We left from Bandung only a few hours after midnight, and we arrived in Jakarta really early in the morning. To take the ship that would take us to Pulau Tidung, we went to the pier in Muara Angke. OK, so the place smelled bad (it's a fish market, d'oh). But I was just glad that the place didn't really live up to its name (Muara Angke = carcass estuary).
Hm, something smells. Oh, it's Muara Angke in the morning

Sardines ready to leave for Tidung
I seriously thought that the ship carried more people than it can handle, we were all packed like sardines. But since I was with friends it wasn't so bad. We arrived on the island after approximately 2.5 hours, just like what people told us. I was feeling a bit under the weather at that time, but the promise of an enjoyable vacation gave me strength. White sandy beach and clear blue water, just what the doctor ordered!

After we've finished unpacking in our homestay, there were some funny moments as we tried to get familiar with our rented bicycles. God, when was the last time I rode a bicycle? But somehow we managed, and that afternoon the residents of Pulau Tidung saw six city geezers on their bikes going to the beach. From there, we took a boat to Pulau Ayer to do some snorkeling.

Sore eyes and sea water, perfect!
It was really a wonder to see the coral reefs teeming with all sort of underwater creatures in the shallow waters of Pulau Ayer. The clear water didn't hide anything, the fish went about just like they didn't care about us being there. Lucky for us, we have some pictures of our visit to the underwater garden courtesy of Phebe's camera. After a satisfying session of snorkeling, we went back to Pulau Tidung.

The fish didn't  run away when they saw us. Maybe because we smelled fishy?
There were various activities offered on the beach, we chose banana boat and canoeing. The banana boat ride turned out to be a so-so experience, but I somehow enjoyed canoeing. Yes, me. The lazy bum who hated sports. I might regret writing this in the future, but let's leave it at that for the moment.

Going bananas... nah, not really
Of course, there was also the legendary Jembatan Cinta (Love Bridge) that connects Pulau Tidung Besar (Big Tidung Island) and Pulau Tidung Kecil (Small Tidung Island). Did I jump off of it? Oh yes, I did! I even have a video to prove it. But I haven't got anything out of it yet. Aren't I supposed to meet the love of my life by now? What? Wrong legend?

Can you see the Love Bridge in the distance?
Ah, yes. I was expecting the food to be expensive, as usually they have the tendency to rip you off in touristy areas. But in Pulau Tidung, the price range was normal and the people were friendly. I remember thinking, "There's nothing 'Jakarta' about this place!"

All in all, it was a nice experience in Pulau Tidung. Despite all my aversion to the capital, I'm convinced that you can actually go to Jakarta for a vacation. The trick is; don't actually go to Jakarta. Ha.

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