1. Anambas – Bawah Island
Experiencing local hospitality and friendliness towards travelers is no longer as common as it once was in the past, when traveling to faraway lands was a rare event. The way it can be found in spades in the Anambas Islands of Indonesia, makes this place a joy to visit.
But in fact, Anambas has a lot more to offer. The pristine Anambas are a true tropical paradise, still largely undiscovered. Here you can step back in time, swim in warm blue seas, azure lagoons and view underwater scenery unparalleled in Asia. Cruising through the Anambas you'll come across the occasional island village. Inhabitants are few and warmly welcome visitors with smiling faces and kindness.
Explorers curious to visit this paradise region don't have to travel to the end of the world. An easy start can be made from the cosmopolitan travel hub of Singapore. Then a leisurely daysail on a yacht brings you to this hidden gem in the South China Sea.
Best time to travel May/June to October.
DAY 1: Singapore to South China Sea
Depart in the morning from ONE°15 Marina in Singapore. Customs and Immigration clearance out of Singapore is a quick and efficient on-water process, just a few minutes from the marina. You can sit back and, after clearance, enjoy a two-hour sail across the Singapore Straits to Nongsa Point Marina.
At Nongsa Point, your captain arranges for clearance into Indonesia. You may go ashore to walk around and have a look around the marina. After completion of formalities, set sail for the Anambas Islands.
DAY 2: Pulau Bawah
As the sun rises, awaken to clear blue skies. The first of the Anambas Islands come into view and arrive at Pulau Bawah in the late morning. The gorgeous lagoon is surrounded by pristine (really!), white sand beaches and coral reefs. Swim and snorkel and, in between, enjoy delicious meals on board.
DAY 3: Exploring Pulau Bawah
There's no way anyone could get bored in this amazing anchorage! Spend the day enjoying more swimming, snorkeling or paddle boarding. Rendezvous diving can be arranged, if you'd like. Or pick one of several hiking trails on the island for a vigorous jungle trek.
The island is home to an exclusive resort project: 'Bawah Private Island'. Opened mid 2017, this extreme-eco resort has safari tented villas and water villas that afford unbelievable sunrise and sunset views. Even before opening, the resort received Indonesian and international accolades.
DAY 4: Pulau Airabu
A pleasant sail brings you to Pulau Airabu, another equally stunning, azure-colored lagoon. With a little luck, you may have an escort of a playful pod of dolphins. With a little more luck, you might catch a fish for a delicious seafood dinner. The local fishermen know how to conserve their resources. No trawling fish nets are allowed. Just simple line and hook are used to fish those Tongkol (little tuna), Kerisi or Kerapu (grouper).
At Airabu there are beaches, mangrove forests and coral reefs to explore in every direction. And very likely, there will not be another yacht in sight.
DAY 5: Lubang Tamban
Early morning, sail with the wind northeast to your next destination. The Island group of Lubang Tamban is largely uninhabited and surrounded by the clearest water you've ever seen. It has amazing coral reefs. Walk on the white sand beach, snorkel amongst beautiful corals, get coconuts straight from the trees and feel like a modern-day Robinson Crusoe.
DAY 6: Tarempa, Siantan Island
Tarempa, in the heart of the Anambas, is the capital and administrative center of the Anambas. There are many small shops, a bakery and a market offering a wide range of goods. Walking through this friendly and clean town is accompanied with waves and hellos. You'll be met with an openness and generosity that is humbling. Rent a moped, or "ojek" as they're called in Anambas, for a ride around town.
Dine on-board, or enjoy a local dinner with yummy fresh seafood at one of the lively restaurants in town. Highly recommended is to try some of the local delicacies like nasi dagang, roti rendang, smokey tongkol, or the popular mie Tarempa (spicy fried noodles with fish and egg). Local cultural events are organized now and then, such as a dance or kiteflying. Or you might catch a local wedding.
DAY 7 and 8: Jemaja Island Group
This group of islands is again largely uninhabited, and has numerous, wonderfully sheltered bays and coves. You'll want to spend at least one night at Pulau Ayam, a true gem, with fine white sand beaches, and the remains of a simple resort onshore. The following day you'll cruise to Padang Melang, which has the longest white sand beach in the Anambas. There is a small, colourful village to explore. Beyond the village lie shimmering rice fields and there are waterfalls further afield.
DAY 9: Departure for Nongsa Point Marina
After breakfast, set course for the return trip to Nongsa Point Marina. Help take the helm, trim the sails, or lounge in the spacious cockpit or on the flybridge. Curl up with a book and relax in the stillness without interruptions. Then again, you might have a tuna striking the fishing lines, or dolphins surfing on the bow waves.
DAY 10: Return to Singapore
After checking into Nongsa Point Marina in the morning, depart for Sisters Islands, Singapore, for inward immigration clearance to Singapore. After a farewell breakfast, disembark at ONE°15 Marina Club in Sentosa around noon.
The Anambas Islands are an amazing, authentic place with kind and generous people, living at a blissfully unhurried pace. If you like to go off the beaten track, prefer active holidays and idyllic and secluded Survivor-type lagoons, then Anambas is the place for you!
Charter yacht BLAZE II, a Sunreef 62' catamaran, sails to Anambas from May to October. She has four spacious double cabins with private bathrooms, and accommodates up to 8 guests. Captain Ekachai and his 2 crew provide outstanding service, and have received nothing but praise from previous charter guests.
For more information, please contact Sytske Kimman at Sytske.Kimman@NorthropandJohnson.com.