Exploring the Paradise: A Trip to Derawan Island, Borneo
Borneo, the world’s third-largest island, is a tropical paradise renowned for its breathtaking natural beauty and rich biodiversity. Nestled off the eastern coast of Kalimantan, the Indonesian part of Borneo, lies a hidden gem called Derawan Island. This pristine island, with its crystal-clear turquoise waters and vibrant marine life, offers a dreamlike destination for nature enthusiasts and adventure seekers alike.
Derawan Island is part of the Derawan Archipelago, a group of islands in the Celebes Sea. The archipelago is a UNESCO World Heritage Site and is known for its unparalleled marine biodiversity. The journey to Derawan Island begins with a flight to the city of Balikpapan, followed by a scenic domestic flight to the town of Tarakan. From Tarakan, visitors can take a speedboat or a traditional wooden boat to reach Derawan Island.
As you approach Derawan Island, the first thing that will capture your attention is the stunning panoramic view of pristine white sandy beaches fringed by lush green coconut trees. The island’s tranquil atmosphere and laid-back vibes immediately transport you to a world of serenity and relaxation. With no cars or motorcycles on the island, transportation mainly consists of walking or hiring a bicycle, adding to the island’s charm and peacefulness.
One of the highlights of a trip to Derawan Island is exploring its underwater wonders. The island is renowned for its exceptional diving and snorkeling sites, where you can discover a vibrant kaleidoscope of coral reefs teeming with a diverse array of marine life. Dive into the crystal-clear waters and be mesmerized by the sight of colorful coral gardens, graceful manta rays gliding majestically, and playful sea turtles swimming alongside you. The island is also home to the rare and endangered green turtles, and witnessing them nesting or hatching is an awe-inspiring experience.
Another must-visit destination near Derawan Island is Maratua Island, located a short boat ride away. Maratua is famous for its mesmerizing jellyfish lake, where you can swim among countless non-stinging jellyfish. It’s a surreal experience as you float in the calm waters surrounded by these gentle creatures. Additionally, Maratua offers stunning limestone formations, hidden lagoons, and pristine beaches that are perfect for relaxation and exploration.
Back on Derawan Island, take the opportunity to immerse yourself in the local culture and interact with the friendly Bajau people, known as “sea gypsies.” Their traditional wooden stilt houses over the water and their unique way of life add an authentic touch to the island experience. Don’t miss the chance to savor delicious fresh seafood, including the famous local specialty, “ikan bakar” (grilled fish), which will tantalize your taste buds.
For those seeking adventure beyond the underwater realm, Derawan Island offers activities like island hopping, kayaking, and fishing. Explore nearby islands such as Sangalaki, known as the “turtle island,” where you can witness massive gatherings of manta rays and snorkel alongside them. Sangalaki is also a nesting site for endangered hawksbill turtles, providing an opportunity to observe these magnificent creatures up close.
As the day comes to an end, witness the breathtaking sunset on Derawan Island. Find a cozy spot on the beach, feel the gentle breeze, and watch as the sky transforms into a palette of vibrant colors, casting a magical glow over the horizon. The serene beauty of this natural spectacle will leave you in awe and create memories that will last a lifetime.
Derawan Island is a true paradise that offers a captivating blend of stunning landscapes, vibrant marine life, and warm hospitality. Whether you are an avid diver, nature lover, or simply in search of a peaceful escape, this hidden gem in Borneo will exceed your expectations. Embark on a journey to Derawan Island and unlock the wonders of this untouched tropical paradise.