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Lady Riders in Belitung Island, Indonesia



Our flight from Jakarta to Tanjung Pandan was delayed. We reached the orphanage, Panti Asuhan Yatim, and Dhuafa Muhammadiyah Putra Anda, at around 7pm. It was drizzling, but once we stepped out of the car, the orphanage girls performed us a welcome dance. We were so touched by their enthusiasm and warm welcome. The secretary, Mr. Naryapandi, told us that the girls have been practicing hard since the first email sent, indicating our interests to visit the home.

There are three shelters under the same group; Panti Asuhan Yatim and Dhuafa Muhammadiyah Putra Anda (Boys), Panti Asuhan Yatim and Dhuafa Putri Aisyiyah (Girls), and Panti Jompo (the elderly). We were told that the children of about 80 have gathered at the place since 2pm. By the time we arrived, there were only a few stayed, mostly girls. If we do it again, we will schedule our meeting the next morning instead. It is hard to predict airline delays and road conditions.

Mr. Naryapandi told us some disheartening stories about the residents in the shelter and introduced us to the three young siblings, who lost their parents. My heart sank in the middle of the ocean, I felt a lump in my throat. I was thinking how lucky we are having our family to take care of us, and how often we take our parents and loved ones for granted. We just presumed that they will always be there, and to know that these little ones only have each other is heartbroken.

Our rented motorcycles were delivered to the hotel the next morning. After breakfast, we all geared up and proceeded to the nearest place to fill our fuel. We encountered a few incidents before our long ride. Mel fell off her bike with a slight bruise, and Lynn’s bike could not start after fuelling. We have to wait for a replacement.

We cannot always control everything that happens to us, but we can control how we respond. The ladies were supportive of each other, the group cohesiveness was excellent. Sometimes, when we traveled in a group, not everyone is onboard with the plan. We are fortunate this time, that the group compromises and respect their similarities and differences.

Some of the interesting places we visited were Kaolin Lake. This place is used to be a mining site but after stopping the mining activities, the land naturally became a beautiful and breath-taking artificial lake.

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Belitung island became famous after the successful award-winning movie Laskar Pelangi (Rainbow Troops) which portrays the struggling life of the island’s poor children and their teachers. We went to Laskar Pelangi, the replica of the elementary school SD Muhammadiyah Laskar Pelangi where the movie was shot. We met the village children who sang us a song from the movie.

We stopped by at Bendungan Pice, the legacy water gate system left by the Dutch.  There are 16 gates controlling the water flow of the Sungai Linggang.

Revolving around Andrea Hirata’s most popular work of Laskar Pelangi, Museum Kata Andrea Hirata’s display an abundance of colorful artwork and inspirations quotes. We had our snacks at the charming traditional coffee shop.

We do not know much about Indonesia politics and refuse to get involved with the saga, but understands that ex-governor of Jakarta, Mr. Basuki Tjahaja Purnama or “Ahok”, is a well-respected figure for his strong stance against corruption and his huge contributions to Jakarta. Kampong Ahok is a souvenir store that sells many merchandises with Ahok’s figure on it. The fried banana fritters were yummy!

2017-11-26-PHOTO-00002781aTanjung Kelayang is a beautiful white sand beach decorated by granite rock formations. It has a panoramic view of the blue sea, swaying coconut trees, low tides, and gentle tropical breeze. We had an impromptu meet up with Belitung Bikers, sharing our passion for motorcycle riding, and took some pictures together.

Belitung has many small beautiful islands scattered around it. We had our picnic at Lengkuas Island and some of us climbed the lighthouse which was built in 1882. We also visited Burung Island, Babi Island and Sand Island. Not all of us have a passion for the underwater world, so we only spent a little time snorkeling off the boat. The weather was not great, and the water was choppy, so on the way back, almost all of us get very seasick.

IMG_5178We had our last meal in Belitung at Rumah Makan Timpuk Dulu. It is a unique culinary place that serves Belitung traditional cuisine. The ambiance was great and the food tasty.

Belitung island is beautiful, the lovely beaches are perfect for a picnic, and the turquoise waters are great for snorkeling, diving, and swimming. The locals are friendly, always smiling, and have a laid back and relaxed attitude.  The most exciting about the trip is the bond between the group. The lady bikers from Singapore and Malaysia hit it off right away and remain good friends.

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Accommodation

  • Hotel Harlika Jaya, Tanjung Pandan [IDR165,000/room per night]
  • Guest Hotel, Manggar [IDR400,000/room per night]                                           http://www.guesthotel.biz/
  • Bukit Berahu Cottages, Tanjung Binga [IDR435,000/room per night] http://www.bukitberahuresort.com

Places we visited & the Contacts

  • Orphanage: Contact Bapak Naryapandi WA: 0822.1639.6662, hp. 0819.4910.6767 Email: tahtanaryapandi@ymail.com
  1. Panti Asuhan Yatim dan Dhuafa Muhammadiyah Putra Anda
  2. Panti Asuhan Yatim dan Dhuafa Putri Aisyiyah
  3. Panti Jompo
  • Lengkuas Island (Light House 18 floors, 300 stairs – entrance fees IDR5,000/pax
  • Sekolah Dasar Muhammadiyah (Laskar Pelangi) – entrance fees IDR15,000/pax
  • Bendungan PICE – the legacy water gate system left by the Dutch
  • Museum Kata Andrea Hirata – entrance fees IDR50,000/pax
  • Kaolin Lake
  • Kampong Ahok
  • Tanjung Tinggi Beach
  • Tanjung Kelayang Beach
  • Pulau Batu Berlayar
  • Tanjung Pendam Beach
  • Bukit Berahu Beach
  • Kepayang Island
  • Rumah Adat Belitung
  • Ishadi Kain Cual (fabric shopping)
  • Island Hopping (Pulau Pasir, Pulau Lengkuas, Pulau Burung, Pulau Babi, Pulau Batu Berlayar): Contact Ranto, hp: 0812.7882.4809 (IDR450,000 for boat, IDR30,000/snorkelling set)
  • Motorbike rental: Ibu Fina, hp: 0812.7441.8735(IDR80,000 per day). You can also liaise with Ibu Fina for transportation and tour packages.


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