My first vacation at Indonesia’s capital city had been one surprising discovery after another but Jakarta’s best kept secret has to be…
Lying approximately 90 minutes by boat from the metropolitan mainland, Putri Island is one of Indonesia’s cluster of islets within the Java Sea collectively known as Thousand Islands (which actually consists of 110 inhabited, uninhabited and privately-owned islands).
Development of Putri Island into a tourist resort began in 1973 with upgrades and refurbishments added over the years. Today, Putri Island and its sole resort is a top draw for Jakartans seeking an idyllic getaway with foreign visitors wishing they’d learn of this snorkeling and diving haven sooner.
As an aspiring beach bum who have had the privilege of parking myself at quite a number of sun-sand-sea type vacation spots, Putri Island ranks amongst one of my fondest. Because, unlike hyper commercialised beach/island resorts overcrowded with shops, restaurants, hotels and bars or super luxurious resortels that charge top dollar to summon a sensory high (abet being worth every cent), Putri Island offers few distractions from devoting time to appreciate the wondrous works of Mother Nature.
Putri Island and other public access islands of Thousand Islands can be reached by catching a boat out from Jakarta’s Ancol Marina. You can book a stay package with Putri Island Resort which includes return ferry, purchase ferry ticket a la carte for a day trip at Ancol Marina or charter a private speedboat.
Pier 6 is one of the piers at Ancol Marina that serves the Thousand Islands route. There are ticket counters here for purchasing island hopping day trip packages starting from Rp82,500 to Rp220,000.
The crowd on Pier 9 awaiting to board their boat. Tickets are also available for boat only transfer to and between the islands but looking at the crowd that takes this option, it would be better to buy tickets / make reservations prior to departure instead of buying on the spot. Boats depart at 8:00 am.
Our Jakarta to Putri Island ride was a privately chartered speedboat which can take up to 14 passengers. The listed price for the boat charter which goes to Putri Island and Sepa Island at the time this blog post is published is Rp4,200,000. It’s a great option if you are travelling in a group for more privacy and flexibility.
The private speedboat comes with an attached toilet, and indoor (air-conditioned) as well as outdoor seating. The ride can be a little bumpy at times so prepare for sea sickness if you are prone to it. We took 1 hour 15 minutes from Jakarta Ancol Marina to reach…
… Putri Island! As we got closer to the island, the see-through quality of the waters gets increasingly apparent. Psyched!
Putri Island Resort
More than just a beach holiday destination, visiting the Thousand Islands precinct supersizes any seaward vacation into a true island escapade. Traces of urban sophistication immediately dissolves into a landscape of rustic relaxation with seawater so clear, you can count the fish swimming in it.
Putri Island Resort is the only hospitality operator on the island with a collection of beachfront chalets for accommodation and activities such as sunset cruise, glass bottom boat excursion (both inclusive in stay package), and rental boats for visitors to explore the island’s allure.
Welcome to Putri Island! Check out the abundance of corals blanketing the shallow bay at the island’s jetty!
An incredibly rich underwater world right at your doorstep! Snorkeling and diving can be done right from the jetty of Putri Island without the need to take a boat out.
I mentioned that you can count the fish in the water earlier right? Well, start counting! LOL.
Moving on land, Putri Island Resort greets visitors with a living painting at its reception while a small gift shop at the side retails beach essentials, snacks, drinks, beers and souvenirs.
Breakfast, lunch and dinner are served at this communal dining hut. The buffet spread for the 3 meals are palatable with the fish dishes during lunch and dinner being hot property. For lunch, a huge BBQ-ed fish was the centerpiece while fragrant, crispy-fried fresh catch had me going back for thirds during dinner. The fish dishes go very fast so ensure you are on time for meals.
Sunlight filtering through a misty path that led to our chalet. Personally, I felt that Putri Island Resort could do more to enhance its landscaping but at the same breath, I enjoyed the ‘authenticity’ of the island’s raw energy.
I’m not kidding about Putri Island letting nature take the spotlight. I saw numerous markings and tracks on the sandy path leading to my accommodation unit and following one, I was brought to this massive monitor lizard lazing under one of the chalets! It was the biggest I’ve seen but I wasn’t worried because these reptiles rarely attack humans and judging from the nonchalance that this fella accorded me, it was probably domesticated on the island. It was awesome to get so close to such a huge live specimen!
If you are worried about encountering one during your stay, there’s little to be fazed about because monitor lizards are more afraid of you than you are of them.
The whole circumference of Putri Island can effectively be covered on foot in under 30 minutes with an assortment of chalet types littering the islet. This was the chalet I shared with my travelling companions.
The room was very spacious with a flatscreen TV and decent bathroom / toilet (bring your own dental kit) but the hot water supply for showers was inconsistent. Wifi is available but it comes in waves. What I really liked was that all units are just steps away from the water edge!
The resort comes with a sizeable pool…
… but compared to the endless stretch of crystal clear shoreline, where would you rather splash in?
But be careful when walking on the shores around Putri Island. It is best to trek the watery basin with footwear as well camouflaged and poisonous marine life may be stepped on unwittingly.
Putri Island Resort organizes a free Glass Bottom Boat outing daily at 9:00am. Arrive early to register and secure a seat on the boat.
Packed into an aisle that pairs 20 passengers side-by-side, the Glass Bottom Boat provides a window into life under the sea at Putri Island.
And don’t forget to catch the free sunset cruise organized by the resort at 5pm. The double-decked pleasure craft will cruise the surrounding waters before drifting on a prime spot to catch last glimpses of the day’s lights.
The sunset cruise was really popular. Thankfully we got there early to get some butt space on the open air deck in front of the ship, which is the best spot for an unobstructed appreciation of the evening hues.