Though it literally means ‘A Thousand Islands’, the Kepulauan Seribu archipelago located north of Jakarta’s coastline actually comprises 110 islands – only 45 of them are open for tourists such as Macan, Pelangi, Puteri and Ayer. Interestingly, the size of Seribu Islands is seven times bigger than mainland Jakarta.
Sepa Island or Pulau Sepa, the island of our choice, is only seven hectares wide. To get here, we had to endure a two-hour boat ride from Marina Ancol Jetty, ample time for us to catch some sleep. Sepa, means ‘kick’ in local language. From lazy sunbathing by the beach to myriads of fun-filled water activities like banana boat, jet ski, snorkelling and canoeing, this island is definitely ideal for a weekend getaway.
I tried snorkelling and canoeing for the sake of the experience and I found it exhilarating. The waters are abundant with fishes, even though near the shores. Most of the time, I just swam nonchalantly and later found myself sitting back and felt at home while listening to good music and reading a book. I only realised how fast the time flew when the glorious sun began setting on the horizon. My short stint at the island was only a teaser, tempting me to revisit it soon.
|How to book?
If you wish to experience Sepa Island, you may book yourself at www.sepaislandresort.com. A night here costs IDR1.9 million (around MYR520) per person including dinner, lunch and return boat transfer.
Sepa Island is operated by the only resort on the island, Sepa Island Resort, which has been operating for 30 years. It has 38 cottages styled in a rustic, Indonesian vernacular whereby each of them can accommodate a minimum of two guests and a maximum of four. It is a non-flashy kind of resort and feels homely with welcoming staff, comfy rooms, delicious local buffets and of course, amazing natural surroundings.
While in Jakarta…
This fine dining restaurant in South Jakarta is famous for serving Indonesian delicacies. Set in authentic royal Javanese décor, the restaurant’s distinctive value has put itself as ‘the Best Indonesian Restaurant in Jakarta’ by Indonesia Tatler. Among the must-tastes are utak-atik ikan, kerapu bakar madura, bebek mawur and iga lada hitam.
Kota Tua Jakarta
Also known as Jakarta Old Town, this historical area that dates back to the times of Dutch rule has now become a centre of attraction for both local and international tourists alike. Travellers should stroll around Fatahillah Square where youngsters and families hang out, specifically in front of the iconic Jakarta History Museum. Besides street performances, travellers can also savour various kinds of food at nearby trendy restaurants.
For batik lovers, this place is definitely a haven to those seeking this form of textile that are not only available in various designs and colours, but sold at fairly reasonable prices. Bargaining is part of the culture here, therefore travellers can try their luck in purchasing batik at a more discounted price, be it for personal collections or as souvenirs.
Also read: 14 Places To Visit In Jakarta
A proud symbol of Indonesians’ struggle for independence, Monas or the National Monument is a 132-metre tall building located in Merdeka Square, Central Jakarta. The dimensions used for the monument incorporate the date 17 August 1945, which is Indonesia’s Independence Day, while the concept is said to derive from linga and yoni in Hinduism, altogether meaning of balance and harmony.
Said to be the largest mosque in Southeast Asia with the capacity to accommodate over 200,000 worshippers at any one time, Masjid Istiqlal holds philosophical meaning behind its outstanding architecture by Frederich Silaban. This includes the 45-metre diameter of the dome that signifies the country’s year of independence (1945), seven entrances to symbolise layers of heaven, 12 pillars to indicate the Prophet Muhammad’s date of birth (12 Rabiulawal) and five floors that denote the pillars of Islam.
Honoured by TIME Magazine as one of the World’s 100 Greatest Places 2018, MACAN Museum is Indonesia’s first modern art museum. The name is the acronym of Modern and Contemporary Art in Nusantara. Opened in 2017, the museum has been dubbed as an oasis for arts and culture enthusiasts to appreciate artworks by local and international artists. During our visit, the museum was running the highly acclaimed Life is the Heart of a Rainbow exhibition, which is a survey of 130 masterpieces spanning over 60 years by celebrated Japanese contemporary artiste Yayoi Kusama.
Gaya Travel Magazine expresses our heartfelt gratitude to the Embassy of the Republic of Indonesia in Kuala Lumpur and Jakarta Tourism Board for making the writer’s trip to Jakarta possible. For more information about Jakarta, please browse jakarta-tourism.go.id/2017/.
This article is included in Gaya Travel Magazine Issue 13.4.