It’s been a while since I write something in this blog especially a travel related one. Well, now it’s time for one.
Pahawang Island. That’s the name of the place, it is located administratively in Lampung Province, Indonesia. It’s on a bay of Lampung, southern part of Sumatera Island. On the google map, I checked it’s name Bay of Ratai, I’m not sure if this accurate but well, there’s the island.
I think the best way to get there is by joining an open trip, usually organised by travel groups or agents, do some research and reviews first or maybe ask your friends that been there before. Need no worry if you are a lone traveler, or travelling in small number of people, as in open trips, usually you will be joined or grouped together with other groups to make up the numbers. The one that we used to travel there is Fun Trips Tour, they are decently organised and good travel group, I’m mildly annoyed by the delays of the scheduled trip and the proportion between the guides and the guest, there are 47 of us and only 2-3 guides available. But overall it’s a good experience.
If you are from Jakarta, you can join the trip from Jakarta or Merak (the ferry port). A trip from Merak will save you some money as it cheaper to travel from Jakarta by bus. Just keep your alert level high though especially if you travel alone and start from big bus station. So 8 of us board a bus from Kebon Jeruk a bit of “shadow bus stop” but it will give you more options of buses.
As the Pahawang Island is on Lampung, we need to cross the Sunda strait from Merak. Ferry from Merak to Bakauheni is operating around the clock and in a steady interval of 30 minutes (I guessed, as it seems they come and go steadily and I havent checked the schedule). A ferry trip across the strait will cost 1 and half hour of your life and is a good opportunity to catch some sleep. We arrived in Bakauheni at the dawn of the day, and from Bakauheni there will be another 3 hours of car ride to the south of Bandar Lampung, Ketapang port to be precise, before we can arrived safely on Pahawang Island. I’m thinking the drivers are naturally talented racers, as they are all driving a bit too fast and seems unsafe, but actually is how the usually drive, so I’m not sure about that. I just decided to have a good sleep throughout the journey so I don’t have to experience the a-bloody-hell-of-a-ride on the road to Ketapang.
The first day of the trip, after we embark on a boat from Ketapang, we directly go to a Kelagian beach for some briefing or some sort of explanation how to do snorkelling (hint: better if you watch some videos in youtube if you never do snorkel before). Then a short boat trip to the snorkelling spot, and enjoy the view! Fortunately the weather is really clear and beautiful so it’s a very enjoyful day to snorkel. There are some man-made underwater scenery if you want to take photos of (or with), and the place is famous for its clown fish (a.k.a Nemo thanks to certain blockbuster animation movie) and it is really plenty of them!
Snorkel aside, the above-the-sea scenery is a joy to behold as well. Blue sky*, blue sea, white beach, it’s basically a tropical paradise. And what better is, on the Pahawang island itself, there will be no or bad signal reception! But it what make a getaway more enjoyable, right? And on the island itself, there are no electricity grid, so the electricity will be run on diesel generator only from 5 on the afternoon until the dawn.
The island itself is a bit like remote-ish island with no electricity grid and bad reception, sparsely habited but actually has 5 villages on the island. One may wonder how those inhabitants started to built civilisation on this island? Well, according to our tour guide story, most of the inhabitants ancestors are fishermen and sailing far over the sea and island hopping. To this day, most of them are still fishermen or fish farmers, but after the rising of tourism industry, the number of sea-going fishermen are dwindling, as they more and more depending to tourist coming to the island for their income, albeit it’s all still traditionally managed.
Well, staying on this island for a tourist trip is a fun experience to have. With unique island atmosphere, no electricity, bad reception you’ll get a proper escape from city life and you’ll encounter a traditional fishermen (ish) life in a village, monkeys hopping from trees to trees, breezing seashore, white sands, and places for snorkelling. Moreover, you’ll visit not only Pahawang but shored up on Kelagian island as well.
Honestly, two days and one night in this island is not enough to explore all islands and surrounding area has to offer. Anyway after the trip has to come to and end, we all back to Ketapang port and will transported back to the Bakauheni Ferry Port and back to Merak of Java island. A little bonus: it’s actually a sunset trip!
You should try travelling to this small paradise south of Sumatera.