Who would have thought that you could find heaven on earth so close to Jakarta? Tiger Island, locally known as Pulau Macan, at the northern tip of the Thousand Islands, is just such a place.
Wake up early morning and head to pier number 17 at the marina in Ancol, North Jakarta, to board the daily speedboat departing at 8 a.m. You can register from 7.30 a.m. onwards, so make sure to arrive a little early so as not to miss the boat as there’s only one departure a day.
Once you’re on board, relax and enjoy the ride and the astonishing views.
If you decide to go on a windy or rainy day, be ready for an adventure. For the price of a regular speedboat ride, you will be enjoying a rollercoaster ride – it’s certainly not for the faint-hearted.
After about one-and-a-half to two hours, depending on the weather, you will arrive at the beautiful Tiger Island. The views are incredible, the sand is white, the water is crystal clear, and the surrounding nature is very well preserved.
The island is very small and home to one resort only, Tiger Island Village & Eco Resort. But trust me, this is not just any kind of resort, and you won’t be looking for more. The staff are very friendly and welcoming, the food is delicious and fresh, the environment is eco-friendly and the huts are open-fronted.
The management team is very keen to preserve the island as it is, and are very serious about their conservation strategy. They try to recycle and reuse whenever they can. While taking a shower, for example, the waste water goes directly into filters which then discharge the clean water back to the sea, and the waste gets used as compost for their gardens.
But they also aim for more, wanting to create a learning center and be the model for other eco-resorts nationwide. They have planted coral next to the pier using biorock technology, mangrove trees on a nearby islet, and are looking to engage in more activities in the near future.
Whether you decide to relax on the driftwood veranda, sunbathe on the sun deck, or go snorkeling, it’s your choice. But don’t leave the island without going for at least one snorkeling adventure. The world underwater will fascinate you. So put your head under the water to admire the beauty of nature, including corals, stingrays, sea urchins and many different species of fish.
But the journey doesn’t end here. There is even a smaller, undeveloped island connected to Tiger Island where visitors can go to, either swimming, paddling on a stand-up board, or walking in the shallow waters at low tide. It is there that the mangrove trees have been planted.
Try to be back by 1 p.m. to enjoy a tasty and healthy lunch, then catch your return boat, departing every day at 2 p.m., taking you back to the marina in Ancol.
The resort is currently under renovation until March 2015, but you probably won’t even realize and it certainly won’t disturb your stay.
Instead, you will quickly understand that this place is paradise and you will definitely not want to leave.
So if you have the option to stay overnight, do not hesitate. Hop on a boat to enjoy a slow-paced way of life and beautiful views, as much on the ground as under water.