The Derawan Islands is situated on the northern tip of Berau Regency, East Kalimantan (East Borneo). It is a home for several enchanting marine attractions, with the underwater garden being a favorite among international tourists and world-class divers. There are four famous islands in the archipelago, namely Derawan, Kakaban, Sangalaki, and Maratua.
How To Get Here
You can book a flight from Jakarta, Bali, or any other major airport in Indonesia to Berau. From Berau, you can continue to transfer to your chosen island in the Derawan archipelago at Tanjung Redeb Harbor. Taking a boat ride to Maratua, Sangalaki, or Kakaban is an adventure in itself as you glide over clear, turquoise waters. This journey will take you about 2 hours. The first boat departs at 8 AM and the latest at 4 PM.
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The Derawan Island is home to several critical coastal ecosystems and small islands. It is including coral reefs, seagrass beds, and mangrove forests. Furthermore, this region has many protected species, like green turtles, hawksbill turtles, whales, dolphins, manta rays, coconut crabs, dugongs, barracuda fish, and many more.
Exploring Derawan Island offers a range of delightful activities:
- Rent a bicycle to ride around the island.
- Unwind on its pristine white sandy beaches.
- Enjoy a stunning sunset at the extended pier that stretches out into the sea.
- Visit Gusung Pasir Sanggalau, better on low tide (approximately 20 minutes by speedboat).
- Diving or snorkeling.
- Witness the awe-inspiring sight of turtles nesting and laying eggs at night.
Derawan Island stands as the most populated within the archipelago, serving as the primary hub for tourist amenities and services.
The island features steep terrain with limestone cliffs enveloped in dense jungle that extends to the water’s edge. Barracuda Point is a sheer underwater wall that has strong currents and attracts large pelagic species like sharks, jacks, tunas, snappers, trevallies, and a big school of barracudas.
One of Kakaban’s unique attractions is its big jellyfish lake, a mangrove-fringed lake situated slightly above sea level. Here, you’ll encounter thousands of jellyfish from four different non-stinging species. These jellyfish have lost their natural defense mechanisms because of the absence of significant predators in the lake. This phenomenon is reminiscent of the Jellyfish Lake in Palau, Micronesia. The Kakaban Lake maintains a warm brackwater environment with a seafloor covered in marine green algae. The diverse inhabitants of the lake are sea cucumbers, gobies, anemones, tunicates, crustaceans, and nudibranchs, as well as orange, purple, and yellow clams attached to the branches, not to mention the occasional snake. The lake reaches a maximum depth of 17 meters, and the visibility is unclear.
Unlike Derawan Island, Sangalaki Island has no villages. What you can find here is a private resort and Tourism Park. Tourism Park on Sangalaki Island tend to preserve marine life, especially green and hawksbill turtles.
You can reach Sangalaki Island by speedboat. It will take about 1 hour from Derawan Island. Things you can do here is:
- Seeing the hatching process of turtle eggs, watching turtles laying eggs, releasing hatchlings into the sea
- Swim with manta rays
The famous dive sites on Sangalaki Island are Coral Gardens, Channel Entrance, Turtle Town, Sandy Ridge, Manta Run, and Manta Parade.
Maratua Island is an island that has the most complete facilities. In addition to residential villages, there are many beautiful resorts, an airport, and several captivating tourist destinations.
Things to do on Maratua Island:
- Visit Halo Tube Cave. This cave was once better known as Haji Mangku Cave. But in recent years, this spot has increasingly developed its tourism potential with easy access to enter and renamed. The accessible access to Halo Tube Cave is by walking 2 minutes through the boardwalk. In addition to land, Halo Tube Cave can also be accessed by water, but only when high tide so the boat can approach the entrance. Entrance ticket: IDR 20,000/person.
- Swim and enjoy the blue waters around Maratua Paradise Resort.
- Swim with turtles at a dive spot called Turtle Traffic.
- Snorkel around Green Nirvana Resort’s pier.
The Derawan Islands, including Maratua, Sangalaki, and Kakaban, offer a paradise for nature enthusiasts, divers, and beach lovers. Whether you’re in search of stunning underwater encounters, eco-adventures, or simply want to unwind on pristine beaches, these islands are sure to leave you with memories that will last a lifetime.
Contact us now and let’s plan your unforgettable trip to Indonesia, immerse yourself in the raw beauty of these islands, and experience the magic of the Derawan archipelago.