Do you know the novel and movie of Laskar Pelangi (Rainbow Troops)? If you have heard about it, you must know Belitung, the land of Rainbow Troops.
Belitung is also the hometown of Ahok, the former governor of Jakarta. Everyone in the world has known Ahok as the Phenomenal person in Indonesia. And now there’s a tourist destination in Belitung, called “Kampoeng Ahok”, or literally means “Ahok Village”. It is actually Ahok’s house in Belitung, and even Ahok’s mom is still living in that house.
According to Wikipedia, Belitung is an island on the east coast of Sumatra, Indonesia, flanked by the Gaspar Strait and Karimata Strait. It covers 4,800 km². Administratively, it forms part of the province of Bangka-Belitung Islands. Belitung Island is divided into 2 regencies, Belitung Regency with Tanjung Pandan as its capital, and East Belitung Regency with Manggar as its capital.
Wanna visit Belitung? Before go there, it’s better to read the things you should know about Belitung as below.
1. Belitung or Belitong
Don’t get confused on these two names, Belitung or Belitong. Both has the same meaning. Belitong is usually called by the local people in Belitong. While Belitung is a general speaking in Indonesia. And even there’s an English name of Belitung: Billiton. And there’s also a Chinese name of Belitung: 勿里洞 (Wu Li Dong).
2. Beaches with the giant granite rocks, white and soft sands
When I imagine of Belitung, the first thing that comes to my mind is the beach. Beaches in Belitung has its own characteristic: the giant granite rocks. Some of the rocks are colorful. Really beautiful. And the sands are white, soft, and clean. The point is I really love the beaches in Belitung 😀 I bet you will also fall in love with the beaches in Belitung.
3. There are no Alfamart/Indomart in Belitung
For those of you who have stayed in the big cities in Indonesia, you must have seen so many Alfamart/Indomart (the convenient store). But in Belitung, there are no Alfamart/Indomart. But, there are some department store in Belitung, even though it’s not so many in Belitung. If you want to find ATM, it’s also quite difficult to find. Fortunately in our hotel, there’s an ATM.
4. The Friendly people
Belitong people are nice and humble. The crime rate is low here. Our driver, Mr. Wawan, said that in Belitung if there’s a crime case, the perpetrator must be immediately caught before 24 hours. But it’s rare happening.
5. No entertainment place, like mall and movie theater, in Belitung
Belitung is like a small village, so no wonder why there’s no entertainment place like mall and movie theather.
6. Famous of its mining, plantation, and coffee
Belitung is famous of mining of tin, kaolin, and quartz sand. Even though Belitung is an island, but the famous one is their mining, not fishery. But now the fishery is growing in Belitung. I heard that most of Belitung people earn money from the mining sector.
Not only mining, there’re a lot of plantation in Belitung. When I was in Belitung, along the way I saw so many oil palm plantations. Besides oil palm, there are pepper and rubber plantations too.
Belitung is also famous of its coffee. Manggar, the capital city of East Belitung Regency, is called as ‘The Home of 1001 Coffee Shops’. Actually, Belitung doesn’t produce coffee, but its local people really love to drink coffee. One of the famous coffee in Belitung is Kong Djie Coffee.
7. The Empty Roads
The roads in Belitung is just like a Toll Road. And even our driver drove us like really crazy. The speed was almost 120km/hour! It was like Fast&Furious, maybe? 😛 LOL
Besides the road, there are so many trees and plantations. What a view! But if we’re outside Tanjung Pandan in the night, it might be scared. There are no street lights. So it’s so dark, and looks like we’re in the jungle. But if we’re at Tanjung Pandan, it’s crowded of people and has so many lights.
8. No public transportation
In Belitung, there’s no public transportation. So, the transportation choices are rent car, rent motorcycle, or take a taxi. There’s one legal taxi in Belitung, named Street Taxi. Online taxi, such as Uber, Grab, Gojek, are not available in Belitung.
The eighth things above I got from my observation in Belitung and the conversation between me and the driver, Mr. Wawan. I think Belitung is just like a beautiful young girl. Even though Belitung is not famous as Bali or Lombok, but I think tourism potential in Belitung is really good. So, let’s #visitBelitong now! 😉