The Gem in the Ocean
What do you do when you have a short vacation and don’t know how best to enjoy it? For those close to South East Asia, Pulau Macan is an incredible destination to spend some quiet time away from the world! All you got to do is reach Jakarta and then hop into a ferry for a ride to Tiger Island that houses the Pulau Macan resort. Tiger Island, just a 90-minute ferry ride from the city, seemed like the best choice.
Taking the cruise from the Marina, I embarked on an adventurous ride through the bumpy ocean waters. With no land in sight, all I could see in the murky waters getting clear and migratory birds returning home in their formations. The sweet sound of nothing was echoing all throughout my head as I left behind the maddening sounds of India behind.
Indonesia has many beautiful islands that you can visit. Each has its own charm and offers a vast array of fun and exciting things to see and do. You will find a number of small private islands with enchanting luxury resorts that offer more than just comfortable accommodation. And one of the most fabulous holiday destinations is Tiger Island. The cozy, little island can be covered in just a 10-minute walk. But there is so much you can do around here.
First Impressions Of Pulau Macan!
As I stepped off the boat and onto the wooden walkway, I couldn’t help but notice how green and clear the water was! Teeming with aquatic life and great for scuba diving, this island charms you as soon as you step foot on it. The islands are located in the largest archipelago in the world, off the North West coast of Java, Indonesia, and houses a luxury resort, Pulau Macan.
With 6 sea-facing huts, 3 cabins, and 5 tents the resort has plenty to offer for every kind of traveler. The island is owned by an American, who took over it in the late 1970s and converted it into an eco-resort.
The 80% self-sufficient island is organic – bungalows, huts, and furniture are all made out of driftwood. The owners installed solar cells and built their own vegetable garden. They are also very careful with water and waste management; the rainwater gets filtered for everyday use.
There is electricity available on the island, however only in the evening or in the daytime and by request. From the solar-powered energy, rainwater showers to the beautifully crafted driftwood interiors, the resort definitely stays true to its nature-friendly promise.
I was spending just the day there so sadly couldn’t stay in these stunning sea-facing open huts! Most of the rooms don’t have doors and have direct access to the ocean. You can literally wake up every morning and jump into the water right from your bed! Finding a quiet spot on the tiny island, I spent a couple of hours relaxing on the patio looking into the ocean, trying to spot as many fish as I could.
A Seaside lunch!
Lunch was an exorbitant spread of literally everything I could have imagined. The resort sources organic fruits and vegetables and the seafood is freshly sourced as well. Surprisingly much of the produce is grown in their in-house organic garden.
Everything looked scrumptious and I binged on the creamy fish, sausages, rice, and tomato curry! Lunch was served in their restaurant but I chose to sit by the water on a private deck. In front of me were stunningly azure waters with a view of the adjoining islands. What a way to have a meal!
The heavy meal was followed by a short nap on another patio that extended into the water. A calm breeze blowing gently put me to sleep as I could hear the lazy waves crash into the wooden pillars below me. I woke up, a short while later, not believing I was witnessing sunset in this heavenly location. Everything was just so perfect around me; it almost looked too good to be true!
An hour later, my cruise boat was being rocked gently by the waves as I was on my way back to Jakarta. It had been a good day and I was looking forward to exploring Jakarta City next!
Activities in Pulau Macan
Although the island is a small one, there is plenty you can do even in the absence of TV or wi-fi! Snorkeling is the most popular activity on the island. There is a big abundance of hard and soft corals and amazing varieties of fish most of which can be seen in shallow reefs. The water around the resort is crystal clear, very shallow and that makes it a perfect snorkeling destination. Gear is available at the resort and you can jump in directly from your bed!
Besides snorkeling the resort can also arrange to take you to scuba diving locations nearby. There are some shipwrecks in the region and for a fee, the resort will help you hire a speed boat that will take you to the diving location along with diving equipment and instructors if you need one.
Pulau Macan resort also has another island attached to them and it’s a 10-minute kayak ride away. The island is not inhabited and can be explored in 5 minutes. This is a great location for you to kayak to, take incredible shots of sunrise/sunset and laze around for a lovely tan. I would suggest you not fly drones really high on this island as there is a lot of interference from nearby cell phone towers and our drone got stuck in the air for quite some time here!
If you are looking to avoid exerting yourself then you can laze around the island, read a book, take a nap on the hammocks or just sit on the long deck that extends into the water admiring the gorgeous sunsets!
How to reach Pulau Macan
The departure point for most islands in Pulau Seribu is at the Ancol Marina, at Pier 17 in Jakarta city. These boats might stop at a couple of islands before reaching Pulau Macan, and the trip usually takes about 2 – 2.5 hrs. But you will find boats that will take you directly to Pulau Macan as well. Departures from the Marina’s in Jakarta are around 8 am and arrival time to the island is around 10 am. Departures from the island are around 2 pm and arrival time to Jakarta is around 4 – 4:30 pm.
The boat leaves again the next day between 2-2.30 pm depending on the weather conditions. You would reach Jakarta, again at the Pier at the Ancol Marina, between 3:30 – 4:30 pm. From there you can call an Uber home.
Best time to visit Pulau Macan
The best time to visit Jakarta is during the dry season, approximately between June and September, with temperatures ranging 24-32 degrees Celcius; over 11 to 12 hours of sunlight and clearer days for sightseeing and easier travel to the city’s major landmarks. For a lesser crowded Jakarta, visit during the month of Ramadan, which also usually coincides with these months.
It is best to avoid the wet season, approximately September through January. Jakarta occupies a low-lying area of approximately 662sqm near the north-western coast of West Java. With an average elevation of 8m above sea level and with dense urban development, floods have become a regular sight annually.
Disclaimer – My trip to Indonesia was through Indonesia Tourism and Malindo Air. Although my trip was sponsored by them, I have written a genuine account of my experience while at Pulau Macan for a day.