If you have seen numerous photos of pristine waters and beaches and think that it will cost a bomb or spend lots of time to visit well I have some good news. Nestled just south of the South China Sea is this enclave of islands called the Anambas and it is just a few hours away
The Anamabas Islands or Anambas Islands Regency is a group of Islands that is part of the Riau Islands Province. Yes, despite the location, it is managed together with Batam and Bintan (and other islands south of Batam)
Why Travel To Anambas: Get back to Nature!
If you do have a penchant to get away from it all (as in Internet and Smartphone detox), I would highly recommend Anambas. The place is so beautiful and serene to do other more active things rather than experiencing the place is just unforgivable.
Take a book and read while lazing on a hammock or walk around Letung town and experience a bit of local life. Or do a bit of yoga at a secluded beach.
Why Travel to Anambas: Photography
For me personally, Island life is not as dazzling as the city and hence you do get the perfect night sky with very little light pollution. The sunrise and sunset are superb owning to very little air pollution as well.
Here are some nice locations for photographers.
Location 1: Letung Village
Letung village is one place where you have the locals congregate. There are schools, clinic, masjid, scooter repair shop, small convenience stalls that are frequented by the locals so you can have a good range of subjects to shoot for street portrait photography. Besides, the locals are super friendly despite not speaking a word of English (tip: download Bahasa Indonesia into your Google Translator app as the internet is patchy)
Location 2: Padang Melang (Sunrise Beach)
Padang Melang is the main beach of the whole Island. This is also the place where the locals gather for the annual Festival Padang Melang (FDM). In its 4th year, the FDM is sort of a party for the locals to enjoy a day out with friends and family and also for tourists to enjoy what Anambas has to offer.
There are market stalls just like a Sunday market. A few food stalls that sell local food fare and strategically placed facing the sea. There is also some fun fair activities for the kids and shopping for the adults.
During the festival, there are a lot of activities for the locals to like their 5KM colour run, photography competition etc. Come nightfall, a beach party with live performances by famous Indonesian celebrities bring delight to the locals.
The vast Padang Melang beach is definitely beautiful. Stay the night at the local Homestay and enjoy the sunrise too! There are also small huts along the beach so you can set up a hammock to sleep too!
During the months of April till June, the Milkyway will appear after sunset too.
Location 3: Pantai Kusik (Sunset Beach)
For Sunsets the place to be is Pantai (Beach) Kusik that lies west to the Island. With a very long wooden jetty, it lends a good visual element that guides the eyes towards the setting sun.
Location 4: Ulu Maras / Air Tejun Neraja (water long exposure/Action shot)
The triple layer waterfall Neraja of Letung is at Ulu Maras and it takes about 50 minutes by scooter from Letung to Ulu Maras. Like most freshwater waterfall in the islands, the water is extremely cold but refreshing.
Location 5: Jemaja Natural Sea Resort / Ferry Pier (Milkyway)
This location is where we stayed for a night and because it is quite a distance away from the village, the night sky is definitely much cleaner and brighter. Walk another 10 minutes or so towards the pier and you have the wide-open sea and super clear night sky (minus the moon of course)
Why Travel to Anambas: Fresh Foods
Being in the south of the South China Sea seafood food will be in abundance and Anambas will not disappoint. Although the seafood goes without saying is great because it is so fresh, the highlight for me for this trip is the Letung Durian. Super creamy, sweet, a bit XO with a hint of mango after taste, you won’t get this durian anywhere else. Highly recommended if you are on the Island in July.
Travel to Jemaja Island
Jemaja Island can be reached via french made aeroplane ATR 72-500 with Wings Air Indonesia operated by Lion Air that will take you about an hour and cost anywhere from 150-200 SGD depending on the season. You could go the slow route, taking a 7-hour ferry ride from Batam Island itself.
My suggestion is less travel, more time on the island so the flight is what I will recommend. However do note, put aside 40SGD for your check-in luggage (both ways) so the total cost is around 200-250 SGD.
Staying in Letung
There are two main places to stay at Letung. Hotel Miranti is the largest establishment on the island with a few rooms, including a 2 level building. Room wise it is basic but is kept clean. It has a nice view out to the open sea (north facing) and is a great place to enjoy the sea breeze.
If you like something a bit upmarket, the Jemaja Natural Sea Resort is the place to be and my current favourite. With a good team of cooks, comfortable rooms and located just at the edge of a reef, you got pristine white beaches right at its doorstep on one side, and deep-sea next to its platform that you can dive into.
Many thanks to Anambas Tourism Office and Bawah Reserve for inviting me to the Annual Festival Padang Melang to really enjoy Anambas!
My Gear for the Trip
- Huawei P30 Pro Smartphone and Content Creation Center
- Oppo Reno (standard) My go-to panorama camera.
- Nikon D500 DSLR with Laowa 12mm f2.8 and 70-200 f2.8
- Parrot ANAFI Drone
- Insta360 Action Camera
- GoPro 7 Black Edition Action Camera
About Wilson Wong
Founder of the 10000+ members Singapore Photography Interest Network photography group, avid gadget lover and budget wanderluster. He also writes for Techgoondu.com a tech website for the non-techies about the latest trends in personal tech. His wish is to help people get the right stuff and enjoy life without cutting off limbs to do so.