Derawan, Exotic and Beautiful Islands

Derawan Islands

Samarinda, - The fragments of paradise are called the Derawan Islands, located in East Kalimantan. Getting there does indeed require some effort. Imagine, if you're departing from Jakarta, it means you have to use air, land, and sea transportation all in one day.

These islands consist of dozens of small islets, but there are three islands you must visit: Maratua Island, Kakaban, and Sangalaki. Let's discuss each one along with the travel costs. Love at first sight!

Yes, that's what you might feel when you set foot on this island. For those who are tired of the hustle and bustle of the capital, this place is perfect for a brief escape. The crystal-clear sea, white sandy beaches, peaceful atmosphere, and, of course, the beauty of the place will make up for the fatigue of your journey to this island.

Of all the islands in the Derawan Islands, we recommend staying on Maratua Island, especially for honeymooners. There are several accommodations on the island, but the most famous one is Maratua Paradise Resort.

The resort is partly built over the water and partly on the beach. The accommodation rates are 990,000 Indonesian Rupiah per night per person for the overwater villa and 660,000 Rupiah per night per person for the beachfront villa. These prices include three meals a day because there are no restaurants on the island.

During the day, you can clearly see various types of fish, turtles, and jellyfish swimming around the resort. In the evening, you can relax while enjoying the sound of the waves and the natural surroundings without AC, TV, or radio. This accommodation is designed to provide guests with a true rest amidst the beauty of nature. Oh, and be prepared to lose signal frequently while here.

But that's not all. When you visit Maratua Island, you must explore Haji Mangku Cave. The cave, formed due to tectonic plate movements that lifted part of the sea, will leave you in awe.

Unlike the surrounding sea, the water in Haji Mangku Cave is cold and brackish. Experience the sensation of swimming in this cave – the 20-meter depth and its crystal-clear waters will make you feel like you're flying as you can see the sea corals all the way to the bottom.
Maratua Paradise Resort

Maratua Paradise Resort
Kakaban Island
Haji Mangku Cave (Photo: unknown)

Kakaban Island

The highlight of this island is its jellyfish lake. Unlike regular jellyfish, the ones in Kakaban Island don't sting; they are known as Stingless Jellyfish. There are only two places in the world where you can find these jellyfish, Kakaban Island and Palau Island in the Pacific Ocean.

So, you don't need to worry about getting stung while swimming with these peaceful jellyfish in the calm lake. To enter the jellyfish lake, you only need to pay an entrance fee of 20,000 Indonesian Rupiah.

Use a float and snorkel, but don't wear fins as they may harm the jellyfish. Please help preserve our environment by not littering, and definitely don't catch or remove the jellyfish from their habitat.
Stingless Jellyfish
(Photo: telusurindonesia)

Sangalaki Island

If Kakaban Island is known for its jellyfish, Sangalaki Island is famous for its turtles and manta rays. This place serves as a breeding ground for turtles, with approximately 300 turtles laying their eggs on Sangalaki Island each year, and an 80% survival rate for hatchlings. If you're into diving, get ready to witness majestic manta rays swimming right before your eyes.
Sangalaki Island
(Photo: Flickr)

Costs and Travel Route
  • First, you'll need to take a flight to Balikpapan, then continue your journey with a smaller plane to Berau. The total travel time by air is approximately five hours, including a layover in Balikpapan. For ticket prices, please search according to your preferred airline.
  • Upon arrival in Berau, you'll need to continue your journey by car or public transport to Tanjung Batu port, which takes about half an hour. The cost for roundtrip airport-to-port transportation is 800,000 Indonesian Rupiah for 6-7 people per vehicle, with pick-up and drop-off at agreed-upon times.
  • From the port, you'll need to take a speedboat to Maratua Island, which is about a three-hour journey. The cost for roundtrip speedboat rental from Tanjung Batu to Maratua and back is 3 million Indonesian Rupiah for 10-13 people. The good news is that Maratua Airport is expected to start operating in mid-2016, so you won't need to switch between different modes of transportation to reach Maratua.
  • To explore the islands, you can rent a boat for around 2.5 million Indonesian Rupiah per day for a boat that can accommodate 4 people. Prices may vary for larger capacity boats.
  • You can rent snorkeling gear for 50,000 Indonesian Rupiah per item per day.