Leaving Derawan

Derawan Island: Getting Around

Accommodation

Accommodation is one thing that you shouldn't worry about in Derawan. Choices are plenty, ranged between deluxe water villa to a simple room on local people's house. However, get an advance booking during long weekend  since the increase of visitors will be signifficant.

 

- Mirroliz Pelangi Cottage:

   Standard Non-AC = IDR 250k

   AC Room = IDR 385K

   Reservation = Usman (+62813 4780 7078 or +62812      5863 696)

 

- Danakan Homestay:

   Standard Non-AC = IDR 250k

   AC Room = IDR 300k

   Reservation = Icuk (+62813 4722 9602)

 

Note: I have stayed there before that's why I recommended above accommodations.

Getting Around

- Walk about 20 minutes to circle the island for getting    the whole view of Derawan Island.

 

- Sunrise: Head to Derawan Resort (BMI) area for the      best view during sunrise.

 

- Snorekeling: Still in BMI area. Rent the snorekeling        gears for IDR 30k.

 

- Gusung Island: A white sand island which emerges          during low tide window. Get a boat for IDR 150k (3        pax - 15 minutes) to transfer you there. It's a must          visited destination.

 

- Day trip to Maratua, Kakaban & Sangalaki: 

   IDR 1500k / boat (3 pax - 2 hours sail distance). Talk    to your homestay owner to arrange it.

Food

I found no issue at all with the food. Restaurant is plenty and the food is vary. Price will be around 10k to 25k for local food and 40-50k for seafood.

Diving

Derawan Island does have a beautiful coral garden, turtles and various type of fishes. But, it is just not that special. Even though that it is entirely depent on the weather, however the current and the visibility in Derawan Island is quite good for beginner.

 

I'd recommend dive with Danakan for the most reasonable price and service. I met the owner (Kadek) before once we were on the same offshore project and he is a very experienced commercial diver for subsea works. That's the reason then why I choose Danakan for my diving provider in Derawan Island.

 

Contact:

Icuk (+62813 4722 9602)

Budi (+62813 4793 3749) [ He is a very good macro spotter]

 

Price:

IDR 350k / dive incld all diving gears

 

Dive at Derawan: No additonal surcharge

 

Dive at Sangalaki: Additional

IDR 900k for boat (3 pax)

 

Dive at Kakaban: Additional

IDR 1300k for boat (3 pax)

 

Dive at Maratua: Additional

IDR 1500k for boat (3 pax)

 

Dive at Channel: Additional

IDR 1800k for boat (3 pax)

Derawan Sunrise, captured nearby BMI area. This is my favourite spot for awaiting the sun to shine.

Getting Into Via Derawan Island

From Tarakan

Tarakan Airport - Tarakan Port: IDR 50k (Taxi)

 

Option A (Direct to Derawan Island)

 

Tarakan Port - Derawan Island:

     - Medium Boat (10-15 pax capacity): Not sure but              can be up to IDR 3000k ++ one way [2-3 hours]

     - Small Boat (3-4 pax capacity): IDR 1800k ++ but           I won't pick this option if I were you [4-5 hours, at           open sea, with a small boat, Good Luck!]

 

Option B (Via Tanjung Selor)

 

Tarakan Port - Tanjung Selor Port:

     - Public Boat: IDR 120k-140k (1.5 hours)

 

Tanjung Selor Port - Tanjung Redeb

     - Land Transport: IDR 110k / pax (2-2.5 hours)

       [Pick up station is just around the port. Ask local            people nearby for transportation to Tanjung Redeb        (not chartered one)]

 

Tanjung Redeb - Tanjung Batu

     - Land Transport: IDR 100k / pax (3 hours)

       [Pick up station is also nearby. Or you may call Mili        (+62823-5340-9480). Any chartered car will cost            you around IDR 450k++]

 

Tanjung Batu - Derawan Island

     - Small Boat (3 pax): 100k - 130k / pax or 300k /               boat (15 minutes). [Just head to the port and you             can easily find the boat]

Tips!

I wouldn't go from Tarakan if I travel not with a big group. Getting to Derawan Island by renting a medium boat is a great choice if you have at least 8 persons in your group. But if you are just a solo traveler or perhaps only bring 2-3 friends, I better go through Berau.

 

Or, you can take Tanjung Selor route if you want to fill up some sight-seeing, for additional 5++ hours.

From Berau

Berau Airport - Tanjung Redeb:

 

To go to Tanjung Batu by shuttle car, from airport, you just need to ask the driver about its exact pick-up location whereabout then tell him to drop you there. 

 

     - Airport Taxi: IDR 70k (15 minutes)

     - Get Ojek outside the airport for IDR 25k

 

Berau Airport - Tanjung Batu (direct):

     - Airport Taxi: IDR 500k++ (3 hours)

 

Tanjung Redeb - Tanjung Batu

     - Shuttle Car: IDR 100k / pax (3 hours) [You may             call Mili (+62823-5340-9480). Any chartered car           will cost you around IDR 450k++]

 

Tanjung Batu - Derawan Island

     - Small Boat (3 pax): 100k - 130k / pax or 300k /           boat (15 minutes). [Just head to the port and you             can easily find the boat]

Tips!

Make sure you reach Berau Airport before evening. All this shuttle cars are only available from morning till around 3-4 PM. Afterwards, you need to make a special call / charter.

Tarakan?

But if you ended up going via Tarakan, don't forget to visit Bekantan (Proboscis Monkey) Nature Park and then have a lunch at Kenari Crab Restaurant in town. Yummy!

Proboscis Monkey

Bekantan (Proboscis Monkey) - As captured in Tarakan Nature Park which is specially designated for this species.

Transportation, Budget, etc

Final Verdict

Media gives a publicity to a place which owns special value. It happens as well in Derawan. As soon as its beauty was smelled by the people from the big towns - even from around the world - there is significant raise on the visitors and there are more investors come to join this tourism business opportunity. It is a good news for the locals. There are more jobs for them, even this great condition transforms them to be great businessmen. But everything surely comes with consequences. 

 

Derawan, despite of the facility & transportation advancement it had, there a major concern especially on regards to the over-development in the shore area. There are many accommodation which were built on the beach line for the last few years, resulting a noticeable loss for its white sand beaches. In my point of view, Derawan has lost a big portion of its value & makes me move my attention to Maratua. In other words, if I come back & certainly I will come back to this archipelago, I directly set my aim to Maratua, not Derawan anymore.

 

Maratua Beach - To preserve the condition of Maratua Beaches, local government established a policy to forbid any residential structures / resort to be constructed within the beach area.

But, that is simply a taste, my taste, and I won’t curse this kind of matters since everybody shall realise that things always move to degrade. There is cost which lies on every advancement, just like an airport which is currently constructed on Maratua that invites a lot of new cottages on its shore line.

 

But again, I won’t complain about this and even I think that we are not supposed to blame this condition. They said that tourism tend to damage the environment. It may be right but we simply can’t deny this situation because human always try to take advantage for any opportunity that may arise. It is not their fault, it is only because everything advances for degradation. Then it is our government that we rely to control the degradation level. It is their policies & enforcement that we hope can minimise the potential risk.

 

Derawan Shore - With a massive development of resorts within the shore line, currently there is not much beach area left in Derawan Island.

One thing that we, as a traveler, can do to participate on this kind of campaign is just to adapt our mindset. We are there to appreciate the destination, to feel gratitude towards the wonder of nature, so it is not merely for having fun. We shall be responsible for not making the environment dirty or get damaged. We have to nurture its beauty. Traveling should enrich our humility and sense of emphatic, instead of becoming a more arrogant creature.

 

I know that sometimes, some of us feel that they can do whatever things they please because they have paid a good amount of money only to be there. Such kind of persons will always exist in this earth and nothing we can do except only to change our own mindset. We are only responsible for our own actions. So it is expected that we can be a kind of traveler who enjoy their time but still capable to retain the values of the place that they visit, therefore this destination will be still available - and good - for our next visit, perhaps with our kids, in near future.

 

~ End

Getting Into via Maratua Island

From Berau via Tj. Batu

Berau Airport - Tanjung Redeb:

 

To go to Tanjung Batu by shuttle car, from airport, you just need to ask the driver about its exact pick-up location whereabout then tell him to drop you there. 

 

     - Airport Taxi: IDR 70k (15 minutes)

     - Get Ojek outside the airport for IDR 25k

 

Berau Airport - Tanjung Batu (direct):

     - Airport Taxi: IDR 500k++ (3 hours)

 

Tanjung Redeb - Tanjung Batu

     - Shuttle Car: IDR 100k / pax (3 hours) [You may             call Mili (+62823-5340-9480). Any chartered car           will cost you around IDR 450k++]

 

Tanjung Batu - Maratua Island

     - Small Boat (3 pax): 1500k / boat (chartering - 2.5           hours). [Just head to the port and you can                         easily find the boat]

 

OR, Go to Maratua Island via Derawan Island

Tanjung Batu - Derawan Island

     - Small Boat (3 pax): 100k - 130k / pax or 300k /           boat (15 minutes).

 

Take daytrip island hopping to Sangalaki, Kakaban then drop you at Maratua for IDR 1500k / boat (3 pax). Contact your homestay owner to arrange it.

 

WAIT! Is that my Teddy? Yeah, THAT'S MY TEDDY!! Oh boy, I'll go there now, I'll go now!!

Direct From Berau City

New!

Maratua people has their own local mass transportation which runs regularly from Maratua Island direct to Berau Coal Port at Berau City.

 

The ticket price is IDR 250k / pax (for local tourist) & IDR 400k / pax (for intl. tourist) with 3 hours sail distance. This would be the fastest and cheapest way to directly reach Maratua Island.

 

However, the trip is not scheduled firmly hence you need to call below numbers just to confirm the date or for any reservation.

 

Dandi (Boat Captain): +62823 5229 5400 - But he's not the only captain.

 

If you plan to go diving using Maratua Dive Center, then you may call Putu (+62852 8243 3466) to get any info about the boat schedule and reservation. No additional cost.

 

If you plan to stay at specific homestay / resort, you may call the owner directly and ask him to reserve your seat or just to get any further info. As I knew, there would be no additional cost.

 

Upon receiving confirmation schedule & reservation, then you may follow below sequence as soon as you have reached Berau Airport.

 

Berau Airport - Tanjung Redeb (Ask the driver to drop you at 'Berau Coal Port'):

 

     - Airport Taxi: IDR 70k (15                       minutes)

 

Once you are there, contact the captain just to notify him & to make appointment.

 

Tanjung Redeb - Maratua Island

     - Public Speedboat:  IDR 250k               (local tourist) - IDR 400k (intl.           tourist) [3 hours - with                           reservation first]

Maratua Island: Getting Around

Accommodation

Unlike in Derawan, accommodation in Maratua Island is quite limited and the price is a bit more expensive. This is due to no electricity is supplied by the govern-ment hence they need to run their own generator so you can enjoy electricity from 6PM - 6AM.

 

- Losmen Ananda:

   Non AC Room = IDR 300k

   AC Room = IDR 350k

   Reservation = Umar (+62821 5924 5421 / +62821          5577 7660

   (+) I was staying there for almost 2 weeks & they treat           me like I'm one of his family. For several times,               Umar & his son accompanied me to go around the           island for sightseeing. He also offered me his                     motorcycle - for free - if I'd like to explore more.               And for the last couple days, he always send me               delicious lunch & dinner! Seems like my charm               work well this time ;)

   (-)  The accommodation, location & the scene is pretty           basic. The homestay is on the shore side but if I'd             like to go snorekeling, I prefer walk around 12                   minutes to the south rather than on the beach                   nearby.

 

- Maratua Paradise Resort:

   Beach House = IDR 550k ++ / person 

   Water Villa = IDR 660k / person

   Reservation = Asnar (+62822 5128 9616)

   Notes: *Price is per person, not per room. 1 room can    accommodate until 3 persons. If you are a solo                traveler & do not have other person to accompany          you, then you will be charged around additional              40%.

   *The price is including 3x meals / day + beverages.

   (+) I think, this resort is what makes Maratua                         becomes popular. The location, beach, sand &                   scenery is so damn great and I'd suggest you to at           least stay in this resort for 1 day just to breathe                 the atmosphere. I love its exceptional clear tosca             beach during the daylight.

    (-) Expensive.

          And actually you can still visit its beach even                     though you are not staying there, because the                   beach is not made private.

 

- Rivi Bungalow:

   Seaside Bungalow = IDR 350k / room

   Reservation = Rivi (+62812 5304 6781)

   (+)  The bungalows are located right on the beach                    surrounded by coconut trees & hammock. I think            that this bungalow should have your                                    consideration if you look for budget                                    accommodation there.

    (-)  Not sure because I haven't stayed there yet.

 

- Maratua Guest House

   Jungle Bungalow = IDR 500k++ / room

   Reservation = maratuaguesthouse.com

   (+)  If you want to have a quite escape with a nature                atmosphere, then this bungalow would suit your              need. The location is simply out of nowhere and              the bungalow is placed within the jungle. Don't                worry, they have a decent facility such as                            restaurant, beach & else, so you won't gonna miss            a thing.

    (-)  When I said that the location is out of nowhere, it            is really out of nowhere. Unless you rent a bike /              motorcycle, getting to nearby village will be a                    struggle. Because sometimes I'd love to walk                    around the village just to have a chat with locals /            other tourists or to try different restaurants. And            by staying here means is not a good option for                  doing that.

Dive at Maratua

Food

Basically, choice for local restaurant is not as many as what you can get in Derawan Island. The menu is also quite basic, such as meat ball, fried rice & seafood - with a slightly more expensive price. Local food price is around IDR 10k - 15k & seafood will be around 40k - 50k.

 

When I was there, there is a new restaurant opened just by the side of the beach. The food is served inside an individual hut which I think it is awesome - considering that the price is really affordable. You can't also expect that Maratua is like Bali, so this kind of place is quite rare here. Try its grilled fish!

 

Need to be noted that this review is only cover Teluk Harapan area since I haven't explored further to other village.

Diving

Before mid 2015, unless you visit Maratua on a daytrip from other island, you can only dive here if you are staying in one of the resort - which is either Maratua Paradise, Nunukan or Nabucco. Yes, resort is expensive!

 

For example, diving package at Maratua Paradise resort will cost you IDR 900k / 3 dives - exclude the rental gears, which can cost you another IDR 400k for full set. Actually the price is not bad, however I am not going to spend IDR 600k++ in a every night for staying there. 

 

Glad that finally an 'independent' dive center was opened there. The name is "Maratua Dive Center" (Putu: +62852 8243 3466). Now I can stay wherever I want and can keep going for a diving.

 

Price per dive is IDR 350k include full set rental. However you may need to note that additional charge may occur if you'd like to go for farther spot. This term is also applied if you dive via resort dive center - with various different prices.

 

Below is only an estimated additional boat charge if you dive on Maratua Dive Center.

  - Diving at Payung-Payung

     Additional IDR 500k / trip

  - Diving at Kakaban Island

     Additional IDR 700k / trip

  -  Diving at Sangalaki Island

     Additional IDR 1100k / trip

  - Diving at Channel (Nabucco Area)

     Additional IDR 900k / trip

 

The boat is good for 12 pax so bring more friends or just join any available trip during your stay there.

Night dive is also available for around IDR 450k / dive. Passionate on Underwater Photography? Don't worry because Irwan (Divemaster) is a very good macro spotter.

Getting Around

- Motorbike Rental: IDR 150k / day - exclude fuel

- Guide: IDR 150k - 200k / day

- Daytrip to Kakaban: IDR 400k - 500k / boat / 3 pax

- Daytrip to Sangalaki: IDR 900k / boat / 3 pax

- Daytrip to Derawan, Sangalaki & Kakaban: IDR 1500k / boat / 3 pax

- Daytrip to Nabucco Area: IDR 500k / boat / 3 pax

- Best snorekeling location is in Turtle Traffic nearby Payung-Payung or around lighthouse. Get a          boat for around IDR 300k to transfer you there.

Good Bye Maratua! See you in Maratua

Let's go home Teddy.