Mention “romantic beach honeymoon”, and locales such as Bali, Maldives or Phuketimmediately spring to mind. The popular tropical destinations are hotspots for travellers from all over the world, so unless you’re lucky enough to be able to afford a luxury resort for more privacy, your honeymoon experience will probably be filled with hordes of tourists everywhere you look! Fret not though, as there are still some idyllic destinations that offer some respite from the crowd. These isolated pockets of paradise may not offer the most luxurious facilities and amenities, but make up for it with natural beauty and gorgeous landscapes.
Image: Ministry of Tourism of The Republic of Indonesia
One such option is Belitung, a sunny Indonesian island that’s less than an hour away from Singapore by plane. It has crystal-clear waters, ultra-white sandy beaches, and lush forests filled with tropical flora and fauna. We flew there directly on Garuda Airlines from Changi Airport, and the flight itself was an eye-opening experience! We enjoyed the magnificent view of a stunning golden sunset as the plane flew across the evening sky, high above the deep blue sea – it marked a wonderful start to our trip as we touched down at H.A.S. Hanandjoeddin Airport (TJQ) in Tanjung Pandan, West Belitung.
There are loads of fun activities available here, and visitors will be spoilt for choice when it comes to experiencing this tropical haven.
We’ve narrowed down a list of top attractions and activities you should try if you’re planning a honeymoon at Belitung:
Spend a lazy day swinging on a beach hammock, while enjoying the sun and sand.
#1 Enjoy nature at Pulau Pasir
Just off Belitung Island, this island is only accessible by boat and boasts pristine white sands that can only be seen during low tide. Expect shimmering turquoise waters and a charming landscape that make for lots of IG-worthy pictures. Spend the day lazing in one of the many swinging hammocks by the sea, have a breezy picnic under swaying palm trees, and just spend time chilling together.
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Stay in one of the private tree houses on Leebong Island. Entirely air-conditioned, each house has a king-size bed and shower amenities.
Private-charter boats are readily available for island hopping.
#2 Go island-hopping
There are dozens of tiny islands surrounding Belitung Island and you can spend an entire day just island-hopping. A chartered boat will take you and your partner to exclusive private islands where you can snorkel, kayak or waterski. After a day of hectic activities, quench your thirst with some chilled coconut juice – freshly plucked and readily available everywhere!
The colourful Kata Andrea Hirata Museum offers a fun backdrop for photos.
#3 Visit the Kata Andrea Hirata museum
This quirky and charming museum is curated by Andrea Hirata, author of Laskar Pelangi, a novel about life on the island of Belitung. The museum is filled with inspirational quotes, photos and personal messages, scattered among vintage posters of famous celebrities such as Elvis Presley and Marilyn Monroe. Still, it is the brightly painted exterior, filled with intricate details of glass fragments and painted rocks stuck onto walls, that makes this place such a fun backdrop for your holiday snapshots.
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#4 Witness heaven on earth at Kaolin Lake
An active mining site that resembles a lake, Kaolin Lake (above) is a popular spot for pre-wedding shoots thanks to its light blue waters and white sandy land. It almost looks like an alien landscape with its bleached colours and vast emptiness.
#5 Spot a Tarsier
If you’re feeling adventurous, take a walk on the wild side and try spotting a wild tarsier while trekking through the forest. A small primate native to islands of South-east Asia, the tarsier looks like a Norfin Troll doll with its tiny physique and huge eyes.
A cute tarsier spotted during a night-time forest trek. If you’re lucky, you might even see the agile primate jumping from tree to tree!
After a scrumptious seafood dinner by the beach, couples can choose to light up sky lanterns of varied colours for blessings and good fortune.
#6 Light up the night
To commemorate your newly wed status, you and your partner can write personal wishes for each other on a paper lantern, then light it up and release it into the night sky. After that, just sit back and watch the heavens shimmer with colourful floating lanterns!
#7 Catch the sunset at Eco Beach Tent
Spend the night in an Eco Beach Tent sited on a private island, and end your holiday with the romantic experience of watching the sun set on a glittering horizon. With sustainable ecology development in mind, Eco Beach Tents are designed and crafted with locally sourced wood and natural materials such as nipa palm. Each tent is air-conditioned and boasts shower facilities. Check out the new honeymoon package Sweet Escape, which includes a “Private Island Moment” and “Romantic BBQ”. Find out more at www.ecobeachtent.com.
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How to get there
Garuda Airlines flies four times a week to Belitung Island’s Tanjung Pandan. Travel time is less than an hour, and you get to fly on the airline’s Bombardier CRJ1000. For more flight details, visit www.garuda-indonesia.com.
For information on other honeymoon destinations in Indonesia, check out www.indonesia.travel/gb/en/home.
Image: Ministry of Tourism of The Republic of Indonesia
This article was originally published in the print edition of Her World Brides March to May 2019.