The Exoticism of the Derawan Islands, a Charming Hidden Paradise

The Exoticism of the Derawan Islands, a Charming Hidden Paradise – If Pesona Friends are familiar with the island of Kalimantan which is rich in its biodiversity, Pesona Friends must also already know and have heard of the beauty of Derawan Island. This archipelago in Berau Regency, East Kalimantan, which consists of 31 islands, is nicknamed by tourists as a hidden tropical paradise. Among the popular islands are Derawan, Maratua, Sangalaki and Kakaban. When traveling to these islands, Pesona Friends will enjoy views of the exotic white sand beaches complete with the color of the water which has several beautiful shades of clear blue. Apart from that, Pesona Friends can also see turtles around the coast or snorkel and swim with turtles in the sea.

The Derawan Islands themselves are known as the home of sea turtles, especially giant green turtles and hawksbill turtles which are rare and endangered in Indonesia, you know. Apart from that, this island sea is categorized as a conservation area for a variety of marine animals ranging from giant turtles, dolphins, manta rays, dugongs and barracudas, stingless jellyfish, and even whales. There are 460 different species of coral and 870 species of fish that Pesona Friends can find here. Therefore, this destination is called the second best place for marine tourism after the Raja Ampat Islands, West Papua.


The origins of the names of the four most famous islands in the Derawan Islands originate from folklore told by local residents from time to time. So in ancient times there were two families who lived on different islands who wanted to hold a wedding ceremony for their two children on Panjang Island. The man’s family and the woman’s family then both headed to Panjang Island using a sailing boat until finally the two families met on one route. Unfortunately, before arriving at Panjang Island, both ships experienced a disaster so that all the passengers drowned and it is said that each part turned into an island. Derawan Island was taken from the prospective bride who was still a girl (virgin) while Kakaban Island was taken from her older sister. Meanwhile, Sangalaki Island is taken from the prospective groom and Maratua Island is said to be the incarnation of the female’s future in-laws.

Initially in 2005, the local government registered this destination with UNESCO as a world heritage site. Since then, this island has been nicknamed Pristine Island because the beauty of the island is still well maintained and maintained. The village on this island was previously an administrative village before being converted into a tourist village so that the villagers became more aware of the importance of maintaining cleanliness and preserving the village’s nature.

Tourist Destinations

After understanding its origins and exploring Derawan Island, Pesona Friends can also tour other islands to find out the uniqueness of each one, from Kakaban Island, Maratua Island, to Sangalaki Island. Pesona Friends can do the first adventure by exploring marine tourism on Kakaban Island. When you walk here, Pesona Friends can see the lake which is formed from seepage of sea water through the pores of the soil and also rainwater. This is what makes this lake have a variety of marine biota. If Pesona Friends are still curious, Pesona Friends can dive and find types of jellyfish such as Jellyfish and Moon Jellyfish.

Continue to Maratua Island, here Pesona Friends can go around the beach while watching cute turtles on the coast. Apart from that, in Maratua Pesona Friends can also do diving activities to enjoy its underwater charm. Oh yes, the location of Maratua Island is one of the outermost islands of Indonesia which borders Malaysia, you know. After leaving Maratua Island, Pesona Friends can go to Sangalaki Island to see more unique and different marine life. It is in Sangalaki that Pesona Friends can find shallow lagoons covered with coral, manta rays, as well as green and hawksbill turtles. Famous diving spots on this island include Coral Gardens, Channel Entrance, Turtle Town, Sandy Ridge, Manta Run and Manta Parade.

Culinary Destinations

There are several special foods that Pesona Friends can try when visiting the Derawan Islands. Because this archipelago is rich in various marine animals, it is not surprising that this also influences the local culinary delights. The first food that Pesona Friends can taste is called Kima-kima. This food is a large sea shell served like salted fish. Before being processed, these shellfish are dried like salted fish before being given spicy seasoning. The savory taste of this food is perfect for Pesona Friends to enjoy with a portion of warm rice.

Next there is Kulabutan which is a large, dried squid. Usually Pesona Friends can find this food in local restaurants, but there are also those who sell the raw version before processing it. For dessert, don’t forget to take the time, Pesona Friends, to taste the typical durian that only grows in Kalimantan, including Derawan. The orange flesh offers a sweeter taste with a fluffier texture.

How to Get to the Derawan Islands

To travel to Derawan, Pesona Friends can take the main route by air and land. The air route is usually reached by direct flight from Jakarta to Balikpapan or by ship from Surabaya.

Air Route: Pesona Friends can land at Sepinggan Airport or Sultan Aji Muhammad Sulaiman Airport in Balikpapan from Soetta Airport in Jakarta which takes two hours. After that, the flight continues to Berau Regency, then to Tanjung Batu Harbor by speed boat and continues to Derawan Island by sea for around 30 – 45 minutes.

Land Route: The land route can be taken from Tarakan which continues to Tengkayu Harbor and then continues to the island area using a speed boat. Pesona friends can go to Tarakan first by plane which will land at Juwata International Airport.

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