Planning the Trip
- There are 13 bungalows on the island that can be rented. Each has two bedrooms and a central open room. Each building is equipped with a squat toilet and bak bath. All nine (9) in our group shared the single building and one toilet.
- There is an electric generator that runs from 5 PM till 6 AM.
- There are three “shelter buildings.” Two are designed for sitting and relaxing. The other one, being much larger, can be used for group meals as well as for conducting large activities.
- To arrange for a stay at the island, you can just show up, or you can make prior connections with Mr. Edi Septriwiguna (Kepala Dusun—head of the village on the Jambi side of the island):
- Cell phone: 085668280239 (The provider “Indosat,” is very reliable on the island).
- Mr. Edi’s other cell phone number is: 085269743205 (The provider “Teklomsel” has poor reception—send an SMS/Text message only to this number. When the signal is strong enough, he’ll receive the message.)
- Since the bungalows don’t have beds, you may want to bring a rolled up mat or a thin mattress that can be rolled out. We slept on the concrete floors.
- There are no air conditioners. We kept the windows and doors open at nights. Because the rooms were so hot, several of us slept outside the second night under one of the shelter buildings. The breeze made it comfortable, though the noise from the wildlife made sleep difficult (or was it the snoring from the others in my group?). The animals that make a racket are the tokek, the fruit bats, and the chickens (at 4:20 every morning). The sound of the waves rolling in on the beach, however, was very hypnotic and relaxing.
- You may want to bring all the water you’ll need, as well as food. We brought those supplies with us. We also bought fresh fish locally, as well as chickens and eggs. If you don’t want to be troubled with bringing along the extra supplies, you could ask Mr. Edi to have everything on hand for when you arrive (We recommend bringing your own.).
- Cooking utensils can be provided for by Mr. Edi (plates, cups, silverware, pans, etc., etc.). His wife will cook for everybody as well, if that is what is requested, and they do a very good job. Everybody on the island seems to be very welcoming and hospitable to guests.
Cost for Room, a Cook, and Additional Food
- The cost for renting the rooms and the services of cooking is all “voluntary.” We paid the following:
- Room cost (total amount for all 9 people): Rp375.000 per night ($39.50 USD).
- Cost for additional food (fish, chicken, and eggs), as well as cooking and clean up after meals: Rp400.000 for 5 meals ($42.21 USD).
Boat Rental to Get to Pulau Berhala
- It is best to get a group to go to the island. This will not only provide safety, it will also enable everyone to share the cost.
- Large speedboats will seat 35—40 people (depending on the amount of supplies that are brought along).
- Small speedboats will seat 9—15 people.
- One person who rents out boats is “Donal.” Cell phone: 085266247777
- Speedboats can be hired for a round-trip “adventure” for Rp5,500,000 ($580 USD).
No Toilets On Boats
- The trip going to and from Pulau Berhala can be broken up into several legs to provide for toilet breaks.
- The first stop could be at the grave of Orang Kayo Hitam, or the Berbak bridge (there’s a floating warung/store there which has a toilet (hole in the floor that drops into the river).
- The next stop could be Nipah Panjang.
- The trip to Nipah Panjang from the City of Jambi takes a speedboat 3 hours.
- The trip to Pulau Berhala from Nipah Panjang will take an additional 1 hour and 40 minutes (times vary based on the weather—if the driver can see clear enough to navigate precisely, since they don’t use GPS).
We recommend you thoroughly read Berhala Island (Part 1) to understand the dangers involved and the challenges we faced during our boat ride to the island. There may be seasons when the seas are a little calmer. The boat drivers can be asked what time of the year would be the best for sea travel.
We’ve written several other articles about Pulau Berhala and Datuk Pulau Berhala. They can be accessed by clicking the below links.
- How to Get to Pulau Berhala
- Things to Do and See on Pulau Berhala
- Two Province’s Struggle for Possession of Pulau Berhala
- Myths about Datuk Paduka Berhala
- Article: The Myth of Datuk Paduka Berhala (written by an Indonesian)