If you ever find yourself in Jakarta and itching to travel to an idyllic island, then perhaps a visit to Pulau Seribu (Thousand Islands) is an option. From the Ancol harbour in Jakarta, the capital city of Indonesia, this group of islands is only a few hours away by (speed)boat and can offer some spectacular views and relaxing opportunities found in many other tropical beach destinations. Tiger Island, or Pulau Macan, is one of these islands, and despite the name tigers are not found there, as far as I know.
I made this trip a few years ago, but I feel it is still very much valid and would love to share my photos and experiences of it with the rest of the world. In early 2013, I somehow heard about this eco-resort called Tiger Island and curiously I contacted the resort and booked a room on the island for two nights.
The resort arranged the transportation from Jakarta. From the meeting point in Ancol harbour we sailed by speedboat to the island with other passengers. The ride took more or less two hours and along the way we passed some island villages and other tropical islands. Most of the population lives on the islands nearest to Java, while the more remote islands are less inhabited. Tiger Island is one of the more remote islands and is located in a quiet part of the Thousand Islands region.
The first thing you notice when the boat reaches the island is the crystal clear water that stretches out for miles. The geographical location and the high density of small islands make the waters between the isles very calm. The shallow depth of the water is perfect for the growth of coral reefs and some parts around the island were therefore teeming with marine life. I do believe that the reefs have been quite damaged in other parts of the Thousand Islands but luckily the reefs around Tiger Islands were mostly in good condition.
Additionally, the resort has a small sister island that can be reached by swimming or canoeing. There were no facilities on that island at the time. I don’t know if this situation has changed at all. But that doesn’t really matter as the main attraction are the very pretty white sand beaches and all the snorkeling areas around the island. It is a perfect place to spend a few hours, but just be careful you don’t step on any of the many sea urchins around the island’ waters.
Staying at the eco-resort of Tiger Island basically means that your holiday consists of relaxing, chilling, indulging on delicious meals and snacks that have that rare home cooked flavor, swimming, snorkeling, canoeing, and sun tanning. And sometimes that’s all you need. The resort provides snorkeling activities and the compulsory gear.
Meals at Pulau Macan deserve a special mention as I really enjoyed every meal that was served. Breakfast, lunch, and dinner is included in the room rate. The dinners at Pulau Macan are very awesome as you eat your meals together with the other guests on the island. There is a large common table on which the food is served and the atmosphere of eating under the light of the lanterns and stars was just great. The menu consists of a lot of seafood, but it was all caught fresh and the taste was incredible. We did not have a bad meal on this island.
Overall, Pulau Macan or Tiger Island is a very nice place to stay for a few days. I feel a longer stay would be quite difficult as the activities you can perform on and around the islands are really limited. Still, it is definitely worth a trip if you are bored with Jakarta and looking for something else that is also nearby the city.