A Day Trip To The Hidden Paradise Of Indonesia, Pulau Macan

I was apprehensive of visiting Jakarta for the second time within a year as I thought I had already seen the most of it. I was happily proven wrong. I got to see a totally different face of Jakarta this time I visited the capital city of Indonesia.

I was on a very short trip to Jakarta and had only two days in my hand. I got to see Kota Tua, an old town in Jakarta on the first day. I also did a city tour, some shopping and managed to visit the National Museum. Day 1 in Jakarta was more of understanding the history of the city. I could experience the vibe of the urban metropolis that is Jakarta. It was a happening day.

More excitement and fun was waiting for me on Day 2. For most people, Indonesia is all about Bali. Indonesia, being an island country must have other islands worth visiting, I thought while I was doing my research. Then I came across a wonderful island, just two hours away from the city.

yatch heading toward Tiger Island (Pulau Macan)
PC: Thara Nandikkara

Pulau Macan is a pristine little island that belongs to the thousand island cluster which is located within the largest archipelago in the world, Indonesia and is just two hours from the capital city, Jakarta. It is a privately-owned island like most of the islands in this area.

Pulau Macan, also known as the Tiger Island are twin islands located close to each other. One of the islands consists of sea-view huts, a café, and dedicated people to help you with anything on the island. The other which is known as the Little Island is a loner island where you can wander without getting lost. The best part is you can walk between the two islands as the water there is shallow. You can also take a boat if you are short on time.

Boat on Tiger Island (Pulau Macan)
PC: Thara Nandikkara

Even though Pulau Macan is not very far from the city for a day-trip, one can also spend a night or two in the sea huts on the island. I would recommend staying overnight in the tiny huts with a magnificent sea-view as nothing can beat the feeling of waking up to the sea on a dreamy island. If you are particular about staying in the city or is on a short trip, you could take a boat in the morning, spend a day on the island and return by evening. We were on a brief trip to Jakarta and decided to spent our nights in the city.

Hut on the pier of Pulau Macan, Tiger Island
PC: Thara Nandikkara

The Pulau Macan eco-resort has 6 seafront huts, 3 cabins with 2 rooms each and 5 tents at 2 campsites, with an exclusive camping area on the Little Island. All the huts have patios that open right into the sea. They have interesting names that go like Coral, Island, Sunset Beach and so on.

One of the important things that drew me to this island is the way it is taken care of. Pulau Macan Eco Resort is built in complete harmony with nature.

The owners and caretakers do everything they can to make life on the island as close to nature as possible without disturbing its balance.

The buildings and its furniture (even in bathrooms) are all natural. There is little to no plastic on the island. They have proper water conservation and waste management system.

To top it all, corals have been artificially planted on columns as part of coral conservation.

Huts on Pulau Macan, Tiger Island
PC: Thara Nandikkara
Accommodation on Pulau Macan, Tiger Island
PC: Thara Nandikkara

Pulau Macan is an ideal place to escape from the hustle-bustle and unwind yourself and have some quality time with yourself or with your loved ones. It also offers a number of things for the adventurer in you.

The island has watersports like snorkelling and scuba diving. You can borrow a snorkel, a life-vest, a swim fin and have some fun in the water. You can also rent a kayak or a small boat and paddle away in the pristine blue waters.

For those who like to stay on the island without getting wet, there are in-house games like Ping-Pong and Pool or you could just have wholesome food, listen to the amazing music played on the record and relax.

View from Pulau Macan, Tiger Island
PC: Thara Nandikkara
Pier on Pulau Macan, Tiger Island
PC: Thara Nandikkara

Their lunch and dinner buffet menu have amazing food including rice, meat, seafood, vegetables and fresh fruits for dessert. There is a provision for unlimited tea and coffee throughout the day. I must say that one of the best coffees I ever had was from here.

Food on display at Pulau Macan, Tiger Island
PC: Thara Nandikkara

There are speed boats and regular ones that leave to the islands from Ancol Marina, Jakarta. It takes about 2 hours to reach the tiger island from Marina. Daily boats start the service by 8 a.m. and start back around 2 p.m. We got to stay on the island till 4 p.m. as we had booked a private Yacht.

Woman on a boat at Pulau Macan, Tiger Island
PC: Thara Nandikkara

Even though it was windy in the evening, the sea was calm. Two hours of gazing at the sea on the way back didn’t tire my eyes at all. I was reminiscing the little time I could spend on that gem of an island. I wish I could stay there for the night.

Pulau Macan truly is a paradise on earth. The open sea slowly started changing its colour. I could see the horizon gradually lining with skyscrapers. I wonder how a city could offer two entirely different experiences in two days. Jakarta kept surprising me. I am sure this city will have something new in store for me if there is a third time.

View of Jakarta skyline
PC: Thara Nandikkara

Read more first-hand experiences of the Jakarta trip.

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