Who would have thought that only a short boat ride away from Jakarta, you can find beautiful crystal clear water and white sandbanks? I definitely did not think so! Knowing Jakarta as a big city filled with smog and traffic? It seemed pretty impossible to me that so close to that you can find a stunning island getaway.
Just off Jakarta's north coast you will find the Thousand Islands (it is not a thousand tho, i already asked). It is an archipelago of stunning little islands. Some of them are inhabited and are home to local villages, whereas others are completely deserted. Around two hours from Jakarta, you will find a little island called Pulau Macan, in English Tiger Island. It is a tiny island with only one accommodation, the Pulau Macan Eco Resort. But don't underestimate its size - the island is stunning.
Pulau Macan offers different types of housing - from a simple, closed double room to bigger open rooms that are located right at the ocean. And I really mean, right at the ocean. You can jump into the water straight from the terrace. If you want to feel like living in a Pinterest dream, definitely go for the open huts right at the water. They can accommodate between two to six people and are just super nice. All simple and rustic, the interior is mostly made out of wood, only fans, open bathrooms - a perfect beach feeling. While taking a shower in the outdoor bathroom, you have a view straight of the ocean and the islands around. It is just a really nice getaway.
The whole island itself can be explored in just a few minutes. The restaurant serves food from morning until night and the deck right on the water helps you out with booze, coconuts and more. Activities that you can do on Pulau Macan are of course swimming, snorkeling, stand-up paddling... I think that is about it. Unless you are also into board games (we had a serious morning session of Monopoly). The hotel offers in the afternoon a short tour with the boat to the islands around, where you can go snorkeling along the reefs. We saw beautiful fish in all different kind of colors, sizes and shapes. The corals are massive and really pretty. Just in front of Pulau Macan as well and underneath the jetty, are some pretty good snorkeling spots, where you can just swim to from the hotel. Be aware of a fish (apparently they call it the welcome fish), which is white/pinkish. This one really likes to bite. It is not dangerous, but damn it hurts. Also, there are a lot of sea urchins around so they advise you to wear water shoes at all time. So definitely - do it! No joking when it comes to sea urchins, because their stings are insanely bad and can ruin your trip for sure.
The accommodation on Pulau Macan offers all-inclusive rates, which means that you pay for the whole trip, may it be one, two or more nights. It includes the boat rides, room rates depending on the length of the stay, all meals from breakfast, lunch and dinner, and the rental of snorkeling equipment etc. Depending on the accommodation type, the price rates vary. But we do really recommend to go for a hut right by the water, it is just such a nice feeling waking up on the deck with a view of the ocean right in front of you.
We only stayed for one night, which was totally enough for us. The boat leaves in Jakarta at around 8am from the marina in Ancol (North Jakarta). The ride takes about two hours, stopping at Pulau Harapan first. You arrive around 10am in Pulau Macan, where you can go straight for a breakfast. On our first day, we went snorkeling and swimming around the jetty and the deck. Later that day, we took the snorkeling tour to the islands around and then visited the neighbor island, which is Pulau Macan Kecil. Even with a higher tide, you can walk to Pulau Macan Kecil, because it is quite shallow in between the two islands. Pulau Macan Kecil is not inhabited and offers you wide white sandbanks with such clear blue water. Nothing besides trees and jungle can be found on the island, which makes it perfect for an afternoon chillout. The walk over there takes about 15 minutes. Be sure to wear some water shoes, we spotted a lot of sea urchins on the way and definitely some water, as there is nothing on Pulau Macan Kecil. At night, we had dinner and drinks on the deck which was super nice and then just passed out early, as there is not much to do at night on the island.
The trip was definitely worth it for us! The price per pax for one night is around 2.5 million IDR, which is around 180 dollars. This includes everything - all meals, boat rides, activities, room rates, simple beverages etc. The only thing we paid for extra were wine and some coconuts. But you can also bring your own wine, they will only charge you a small corkage fee at the hotel. This price was for the Island Hut, which accommodates up to 4 people (if you squeeze, also six people, as there is one big king-size bed and two smaller ones, which are quite big tho). The Island Hut, as also the Sunset, Coral or Zen Hut, all have an en-suite open bathroom and are right located at the ocean. Another cheaper option would be the Driftwood Huts, which only accommodate two people and are right at the ocean as well, but don't have their own private bathroom.
If you are looking for a quick getaway from the city, we recommend going to Pulau Macan definitely! So easy and so quiet - perfect for a chilled hideaway.
A video of our trip will be coming up soon as well!
Love, Juliette & Marissa