PULAU SERIBU

(One Thousand Islands)

Just north of the capital of Jakarta, which is located on the island of Java, you will find 128 small islands. This area is refered to as “Pulau Seribu,” or in English, “One Thousand Islands.”

Indonesians enjoy traveling to these islands for weekend getaways. I understand that there are some islands that have been built into expensive resorts, and that are frequented by wealthy Indonesians.  Several weeks ago some Indonesian friends invited my wife and I to travel with them to one of the islands and spend the weekend. We were very thankful we went, because we had a great time and made wonderful memories (and had 3 days of language / cultural study).

The island we went to is “Pulau Tidung” (Tidung Island). This island isn’t frequented by the wealthy, it is mostly a weekend getaway for the young middle class, and since we are still immersed in language and culture studies, it’s best that we don’t go to the expensive resorts, where the people will most probably speak a great deal of English.

The Cost
What would a 2 night stay at “Pulau Tidung” cost? For the 2 1/2 hour van ride to and from the city of Bandung to Jakarta; for a 3 hour boat ride to and from “Pulau Tidung;” for a two-night stay at the “hotel” on Pulau Tidung; for the rental of a boat for one day while at Pulau Tidung (two crew members), and for all our food, it was only $40.00 US per person. We paid $45.00, but at the end of the trip $5.00 was given back!

No, it isn’t a luxury resort, and I’m sure most westerners wouldn’t enjoy the trip because of the conveniences they would not find on this island, yet, we enjoyed ourselves immensely!

Since I know the western mind, I’ll warn you about what to expect:
1. The boat ride was cramped (Indonesians love crowds–so if you like to be close to people…).
2. The boat engine was very loud. You have to speak in the person’s ear next to you for them to hear you.
3. You smell the fumes from the engine exhaust for the 3 hour trip (based on where you are seated).
4. One toilet for the entire boat (3 hours of travel–drink accordingly!).
5. If you sit on the top deck, be warned that the sun is merciless. You don’t want to get fried before you get to the island.
6. The only accommodations on the island is what is called a Losmen (hotel with few conveniences). You can also camp with tents.

The Losmen:
No air-conditioning, and it is hot.
No hot water, and only a bak to bathe from.
No western style toilet (squatty potty only).
No restaurants (food can be purchased from small stalls).
Be prepared to sleep on the floor (and you might see a rat or two!!!)

It was a great time for language learning, as well as spending time with great people. We would do it again in a heartbeat!

You can view the video we made of our weekend below. There are two videos. The first is the short version, and then the second one, with photos of the people we were helping us with our language development. We were very fortunate to be able to spend the weekend these wonderful people!

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