Final Writing: Addicted to Derawan (non-fiction)

Ekky Hana Vicya/180410100143

Derawan is an island located in east Kalimantan, Indonesia. It is one of popular travel destination in Indonesia, because it has beautiful and exotic beach. Derawan islands also one of the paradise for those who loves Scuba Diving, like me. I started to try snorkling at a very young age, 8 years old, whereas scuba diving at 14 years old. These island makes me fall in love with the beauty of sea and it’s coral reefs for the first time.

This time I want to tell anything, not only about “how to get there”, but also the story, how much money you’ll spend there, and any other information. This is one of my trip to Derawan with my sister, Fenny.

There are three ways to get to Derawan. We can fly from Jakarta to Balikpapan, or using direct flight to Berau, east Kalimantan. The ceapest flight is about Rp. 900.000 from Jakarta to Berau directly, or use a flight from Jakarta to Balikpapan and then continue the journey by car but it will takes so much time. We will spend about 18 hours in the car. The last option is fly from Jakarta to Tarakan. The price also around million Rupiah. So I suggest you to take the first or second option. It won’t take so much of your time.
When we arrived at Berau we can continue the journey by car to Tanjung Batu, we’ll spend about Rp. 100.000 per person, then continue to Derawan using a speedboat, the price is Rp. 800.000 for two ways around, or we can use a speed boat from Berau to Derawan directly, it cost Rp. 6.000.000 including island hopping. The maximum boat’s capacity is for 5 person. If we travel in group, It is better to use the speedboat.

Me and my sister started the travel from Balikpapan, where my home is. We choosed a flight to Berau then continued the journey by car to Tanjung Batu, then to Derawan by speedboat. From Berau we spend about 3 hours until Derawan.
We arrived at Derawan on 4 pm. After checking in to the hotel, me and my sister started to play at the beach.
We stayed at BMI Derawan Dive Resort, this resort is always been my favorite place to stay since I was a little. They had the largest cottage area and placed just before the beach. The rental cost started from Rp. 525.000 to Rp. 1.650.000 including breakfast.

we can choose other place to stay though. There are many choices of resort or homestay cheaper then BMI Derawan Dive Resort, started from Rp. 150.000 per night.

Derawan is the main island of the Derawan islands, that is why we will find many resorts, cottages, restaurants, or any small stores where they sell some souvenirs and personal needs.
Derawan is the paradise for those who loves seafood, they sell fresh seafood with a cheap price, but for those who can’t eat seafood don’t worry they still sell chicken, meat and vegetable too.
The next day, me and Fenny woke up early morning to watch the beautiful sunrise by the beach, also strolled around the island. We only spend about 45 minutes to walk around the island by the beach while watching the sunrise. Such a small island, right?

Then we had some breakfast at the BMI restaurant. This place is a floating restaurant and it has a unique table design. They make a big round table with a big hole in the middle of it, wich reminded me to donnuts’ shape, so that we could see and feed the fishes while we eat.

After breakfast we prepared ourself for island hopping to the other three wonderful islands: Maratua, Kakaban, and Sangalaki, by speedboat. The first destination is, Maratua!

Maratua is one of the nearest island from Derawan. Many people called Maratua the Indonesian’s Maldives. They ain’t called it that way for no reason. The white sand and the clear torquise blue water make it called that way. If we visit Maratua in April, May, June, and September to December, we will find the best view there. The clear sky and calm sea makes the sea looks like a giant mirror. We can snorkle and swim around the pear, but we won’t find much coral reef in that area, just swim little bit farther from the pear so we could see the colorful coral reefs. For those wo loves Scuba Diving, Maratua known by the Shark point dive spot. If we’re lucky we could find a group of Hammershark Head when we dive.
Maratua also has a famous watervilla, called Maratua paradise. No wonder why people always said, it is the Indonesian’s Maldives. It’s all because the watervilla with the light blue turquoise water view that could makes the visitor amazed.
Another cool destination in Maratua is a cave that connect to a small lagoon, called Goa Haji Mangku. I’m not so sure why this place is called that way, some said Haji Mangku was the one who found this cave. I don’t know, it might be true though. This cave has a blue clear water that flow to its lagoon. For people who loves adrenaline rush, they could do cliff jumping there. I tried to jump there too! I love the feeling when the adrenaline rushed to my whole body the time I jumped, and made it to the cool water. It was amazing!

The next stop is, Kakaban. This island is one of a famous destination too. It famoused by the lake where stingless jellyfish is. Little did I know, this jellyfish only found at 4 places in the world. Three of them are in Indonesia: Raja Ampat, Sulawesi, and Kakaban.
To reach this lake, we have to walk trough a mangrove forest about 15 minutes. They make a long wooden bridge for the visitors to walk in. So don’t worry, we won’t be lost.

This lake is quite large for a small island and it surrounded by forest. We could snorkle there to see and swim along with the famous stingless jellyfishes, but we cannot use fin when we swim or snorkle there, to avoid damage of the lake and jellyfishes. When we swim in this lake, we will feel the different sensation. Imagine that we could swim along with a hundred or maybe thousand stingless jellyfish. Unbeliveable!
Kakaban island has a hidden paradise too. A small, shallow lagoon with a turquoise green water, Kehe Daeng. Not many people know about this beautiful lagoon, so that this place is so quiet and clean, kind of private natural pool. There’s a small cave that connect a Kakaban beach to this lagoon, but we can only walk there when it is low tide. This lagoon is remind me of Weekuri lagoon in Nusa Tenggara Barat. We can stay and rest for a little while in this place and enjoy our lunch. Oh, for your information, better bring some snacks or ricebox for lunch. because we won’t find it anywhere but Derawan.

The last destination is, Sangalaki. This island has a large Sea Turtle corservation place. When we visit this conservation place, we have to pay only Rp. 10.000 to support the conservation. The main destination of Sangalaki actually is not the island but the sea. For the divers, it has the famous Eagle ray or Manta ray dive spot. But don’t worry we could still enjoy the Manta ray spot by snorkling there. Sangalaki also has amazing underwater view. If we want to swim or just see the Manta ray, the best time is when the tide is begin. That is the time when the group of Manta Rays hunts their meal, Plankton. After that we return back to Derawan, enjoying sunrise on the beach.

The next day, which is also my last day. I met my old dive instructor, Mr. Alfato. He took me to do morning dive with him after breakfast. We did some discovery dive in Derawan’s pear and refresh my diving skill too. Many things we could see under the pear. Skulling fishes, giant shells, beautiful and colorful coral reefs, Moray eel, Nudibranchs, and so much more. If we dive little bit further from the pear, we will found a cool shipwreck too. What a perfect place to start a dive.

There is a dive procedure called Safety Stop. It is when the diver have to stop in depth of 3-5 meters for a minimun of three to five minutes in the end of dives, before final acsent to the surface. This Safety Stop is my favorite procedure, because I can dive and feed the fishes with some bread at the same time.

For your information, if you want to dive there you have to pay about Rp. 550.000 including a dive tank, equipment, and guide. For starters, you can do discovery dive in the pear by paying Rp. 650.000 including a dive tank, equipment, guide, and short course before get in to the water.

Derawan and its islands always been my favorite place to dive, I feel like coming home when I visit them. I dive there almost every year since my first dive in 2005 and never get bored. I am officially addicted to Derawan.

Word count: 1.597
Reference :,
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