Thousand Islands National Park

For the Thousand Islands between New York and Ontario, see Thousand Islands. For the Canadian 1000 Islands National Park, see TLTI.

Thousand Islands National Park (Taman Nasional Kepulauan Seribu) is a marine national park in West Java, Indonesia. Administratively, it is a part of Jakarta province, in the northeastern part of Jakarta Bay, so the islands can be accessed from Jakarta and Tangerang.

Despite its name, Pulau Seribu (Thousand Islands) has only 110 islands, which are mostly or fully devoted to tourism. Five of its formerly 115 islands recently were submerged.

Understand

The north side of the Thousand Islands

The chain of islands is located about 50 km north northwest of Jakarta.

History

The center of development of the island actually began on Onrust Island. The Dutch, through the VOC, initially developed the island as a naval base. The facilities were complete in 1656 and features a ship dock, shipyard, storages, and even a rectangular fort.

And for over 200 years, the fort has been a symbol of the Dutch rule across the north coast of Jakarta and Banten, and for a brief time, the British. Unfortunately the island's role declined as a port in Tanjung Priok was built and has a much bigger capacity.

Multiple uses have been made to the island, such as a rest stop for Hajj pilgrimage before the jet age, and a leprosarium after the Independence. The conservation of the area and development of the whole islands was finally kickstarted in the 1970s.

Landscape

The islands were figuratively called The Thousand Islands because it has many islands. In reality, only 110 islands exist. Even then, only 36 islands are used for recreation. Of that, only 13 islands are fully developed: 11 islands are homes to resorts and two islands are historic parks. Twenty-three islands are privately owned and are not open to the public. The rest of the islands are either uninhabited or support a fishing village.

Before your flight lands in Jakarta's airport, you can clearly see the islands. Pristine water, white coasts, and green but not-so-thick forests, in contrast to mainland Jakarta's reputation.

Flora and fauna

One eighth of the area is designated as a conservation area. It is the hatching site of the endangered hawksbill sea turtle(Eretmochelys imbricata) and green sea turtle (Chelonia mydas). The area also has a big coral reefs you can dive in to look at. Other sea species include many types of seaweed.

On land, the types of plants are either coastal or mangrove forests.

Get in

The most popular and most expensive of the two options to reach the islands is Marina Ancol in the north of Jakarta. Getting there involves turning up at jetty at Marina Ancol where there is a building containing a number of travel agencies. The agencies sell package tours for the resorts on the islands and accordingly are all more or less selling the same product at the same price. There are also web-based agencies, who you should call and then pay by bank transfer/deposit in advance.

The boats leave at various times in the morning and you are required to arrive at least 30 minutes before departure. Some resorts on nearer islands have boats that leave at 9.00am and in the case of Pulau Ayer, at around 2pm. However, these are limited and places on the boats are only available if the boat can be filled.

The other option used by some locals is via Muara Angke harbor, located in the same area as the fish market. The harbor can be reached from Grogol Bus Terminal by using angkot B-01 for Rp 6,000 and then using motorized peddy cab for Rp 5,000 due to the street is usually drown by high tide. There are regular boats to Pramuka Island, which leave in the morning around 7am, and afternoon around 1pm. There are boats to the other island(s) before 09.00 a.m., but no schedule and only leave the harbor when the boat is already full. One easiest destination is Tidung Islands, Rp 50,000 using fast boat (1.5 hours) or Rp 40,000 using traditional machine boat (up to 3 hours) (from Marina Ancol need Rp 200,000).

Fees/Permits

No additional fees and permits are required. You can only go to the islands if you are a customer at one of the resorts (although many islands having island hopping boats which allow you to experience more that one island). By purchasing the package, you acquire the right to land on the islands.

Get around

The only practical way to get around is by boat. Resort islands are located far from the administrative centers and the nature park. Usually your resort will arrange it for you.

But if you're not staying in a resort, you can ask the local fisherman to transport you to other islands. Typical fare should be less than Rp 100,000 depending on distance.

See

There are 2 or 3 very small beach areas, and it is possible to walk around the circumference of the island in under 10 minutes. You can also rent an old bicycle for 15,000Rp/hour.

The highlights of this island are late in the evening when many of the day-trippers have gone home, and you can sit on the beach looking at the Jakarta skyline. Similarly, early morning can also be beautiful. It is also popular with wedding photographers.

Do

Buy

Here's the deal: everything is slightly more expensive than in Jakarta on the mainland. Goods are harder to transport because boats are the only way to reach all the areas there.

Try haggling with the fishmongers or the fisherman for the catch of the day! Some arts & crafts made from corals or wood can be found either at the population centers or at the resorts.

Eat

All restaurants on any given island is owned by the island resort company. However, prices are reasonable in order to make the islands accessible for locals and not just rich guests.

As its location suggests, the typical meal you will get is seafood. Fish, shrimps, squid, and crabs are plenty but do not expect pretty much to get a lobster at a reasonable price. Rice is typically easy to get.

Drink

Sleep

Budget

If you are on the budget,you can stay at the main island, Pulau Pramuka. There are an array of sleeping options, from villas to homestay which price range from Rp. 250,000 to Rp. 600.000. Even the island is still a good point for snorkeling. Other good points to consider is Pulau Panggang, just a short boat ride west, Pulau Tidung, Pulau Pari, or Pulau Harapan. The latter has closer location to the national park.

Splurge

Only 11 islands are designated to be island resorts. All resorts offer ferry service from Jakarta, tucks you in cottages or bungalows, and has decent restaurant and water sport facilities.

Stay safe

You are basically safe if you are staying in a resort. However a few things to note:

Go next

This article is issued from Wikivoyage - version of the Tuesday, March 29, 2016. The text is available under the Creative Commons Attribution/Share Alike but additional terms may apply for the media files.